Looking for Ms. Right

For some of you more professional or casual acquaintances who read this blog, if the details of my dating life are TMI, this might be a good place to stop … But for all my good friends, this is a coming out of sorts. Something’s been occupying my mind lately, and normally when that happens, I blog about it. This is one topic that’s been off limits, because it’s related to (~whispers) sex. And that’s just not something I normally talk about here. But it’s just as much about love, and friendship, and who I am. So I decided to just jump in. I’m interested in living an honest life – it’s pretty much the most important part of my philosophy these days. And just because my family and colleagues might be reading this (gulp) this can’t be nearly as hard as it was for my gay friends.

So here’s the out-of-the-closet part – I’m bi. I don’t mean this in a night out, just playing, bi-curious way. I’m talking life partners, lovers, friends, what have you. I’ve never felt the need to exclude an entire half of the population from any way that I might feel about anyone, just because of their gender. This feeling started in high school, and I’ve just gotten more confirmed in my certainty about it as I’ve gotten older. People are people, and I like, love, and am passionate about them because of who they are.

Here’s the weird thing. It’s hard to be seriously bi. It’s easy to be playfully bi, and have a lot of fun that way. But very few people take it seriously as an orientation. My husband never took it seriously when I had feelings for women, which could have been a real mistake on his part. But it seems most guys feel the same way – which makes it a little easier to be yourself, but at the same time, easier to have things become truly complicated. To most guys, it’s just a fantasy that they can’t really feel threatened by. They don’t seem to really understand that they could lose you to a woman just as easily as to another man.

At the same time, lesbian women generally won’t give you the time of day. I swear they’ve got some kind of radar that tells them that you’re not truly a dyke or whatever, committed to the lesbian cause and forsaking all men. Never mind that you might be a perfectly good life partner – because when I choose someone again, it will be just as much from the heart no matter what gender he or she is. Being bi doesn’t mean you’ll sneak off and be unfaithful with the other gender, though people do seem to think that.

I did have a couple of serious relationships with women in college, before I got married. None of them worked out, for various reasons. The first girl who really fell in love with me was only 16. When she decided she wasn’t going to go to college in order to stay where I was going to graduate school, that was the end of that. No matter how painful for her, I could never allow an intelligent young woman to end her career that way. The older woman I fell for turned out to be a closet alcoholic, and after a fair amount of abuse, I picked myself up and walked out of that one. The bi-curious women I fell for were always way more into men than me, which seems to be the main story of the women I’ve met since then.

I always thought that if my marriage ended I’d be interested in being with a woman next. Of course, it didn’t work that way – it’s the person that matters after all. So after a long and committed relationship with a man that I was very much in love with, I now find myself truly single again – and wondering how to even go about meeting women. Finding a good man is hard enough ;)

Or more precisely, how to let someone know I’m interested in her without risking offense and the end of a friendship. There just aren’t a lot of self-identified bi women out there, especially ones that aren’t already partnered. When I get interested in a woman, she’s almost always someone I’ve met through work or some other similar venue – and I have no clue how to start. All my life in that situation, I’ve chickened out. After all, the friendship is important to me, and there’s no reason to openly represent my orientation in that context. Unlike my gay friends who are out, the women around me have no reason to know I might even have an interest.

So I’m interested in hearing from all of you in the know out there – if you’re a straight or bi woman, how would you prefer to be approached? Has this ever happened to you, and how did you feel? If you’ve been the one doing the approaching, how did that go? For my gay and lesbian friends, any advice? (and do keep in mind, this is a family-friendly blog)

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9 thoughts on “Looking for Ms. Right

  1. suz says:

    This is a really thought-provoking post. To get this out of the way, demographically, I’m married to a man and as far as I know I’m straight – my gay friends say I’m straight and can’t escape that fact – but certain women have turned my head and in the past I have joked “that I haven’t found the right woman yet.”

    The word “approached” felt scary to me. Perhaps b/c I’m an introverted sort. I’ve always been of the ‘get together in small ways and watch how it grows’ without putting the whole “dating” veil over it.

    So, if it were me (introverted, shy) as the hypothetical object of your affection, here is how you could snare me, convolutedly:
    -cast the net wider than just “approaching me” -> rather, “structure situations” … get me involved in something engaging with you – a something that shows you in your best light (I get many crushes at work, as I’m always a sucker for someone who’s smart, competent, on top of things)
    -and then subtly evolve that something into a more Exclusive thing between you and the Other (late nights, coffees, etc.)
    -and then, voila, before one knows it, we’re a couple.

    Best to you – The integrity and vulnerability expressed here is itself attractive.

  2. Very interesting thoughts. We share the situation of often meeting someone intriguing at work. I have the added complication that they may be a client or long-time colleague (my field is pretty small). So I have to wait until it’s appropriate and be super-careful with it. Hence, I’ve never actually gotten up the courage to say or try anything.

    To me, it feels a tiny bit inappropriate to not be clear about what you’re interested in, and just hope that things will develop that way. In my experience, the “voila, now we’re a couple part” doesn’t happen with women friends – a professional friendship is often the result, which is nice in and of itself, but probably won’t go anywhere further unless you make a move or talk about it. And I kind of worry about a possible sense on her part of having been misled about intentions, even though in almost any case, I would be perfectly happy with a friendship too.

  3. suz says:

    Yes – I think you’re right – and in rereading my reply, I do think I spoke too broadly.

    I do not speak from the experience of moving a relationship into the next step with a woman. To be honest I’m not particularly skilled at the “moving to the next step” part with any entity. I prefer to agree that things seem to be pointing to the moving to the next step. LOL – when it comes to my heart, I’m a total weenie.

    I keep flipping back from the Interested’s perspective – which is hard, given my unfamiliarity with the full landscape – and the Other’s perspective. From the Other’s perspective, I would not like to be misled, no. I don’t like false pretenses. But there’s a part of me that likes subtlety rather than “full frontal” clarity … more Moon, less Sun, you know?

    Again – that’s me. Thank you for your gracious reply, btw.

  4. flit says:

    I don’t even know how to pick up men! Really!

    But one thing you might try is to wear a significator like a rainbow brooch or necklace, if you can find one you like.

    I’ve only been approached a few times but it’s never felt threatening or bad in any way; one I was unsure about as a person so while I was curious I decided it was too emotionally risky (from watching her behavior with others, it turned out I was right.) Once was after I was serious with Brad or I might have been interested; she was very appealing! I have very little awareness of signals in general so they pretty much had to be blunt with me.

  5. Sheila says:

    I have enjoyed reading your blog and I understand, as this is where I have been for a while. You are right. People do not seem to take bi-sexuality seriously, including bi-sexuals. Most bi’s that I have met see it as a curious playfulness to be experienced and nothing more. They do not seem to see the potential. And with lesbians, it seems to be all or nothing. It would be wonderful to meet a bi woman and have the relationship grow into something nurturing and fulfilling – a life partner.

    Meeting and the approach – is what I am unsure of. I would prefer for this to be able to unfold naturally, but this doesn’t seem to be happening either. For me, it would be spending time together, involved in something we both share a passion for. I can then see us becoming closer and opening up more, becoming more personal and intimate in our conversations and exchanges – feeling the excitement and passion of that new attraction.

    Maybe I am putting too much faith in the drawing power of that spark – and trusting that she is feeling and seeking in the same way that I am. I am too introverted and shy to take such bold steps. Maybe I need to change my perspective and find the courage to take a bolder step. I would definately regret a missed opportunity.

    Reading your blog has brought comfort to me – in just knowing that someone out there is thinking about this in the same way that I am.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Teresa, just be who you are. If you are open to it, a relationship opportunity will come your way. You’ll know when you meet someone whom you really like and whether you can take the risk of taking it further. Intuition ………… haven’t we heard that word often!?

    I think that same sex relationships can have just the same issues in getting off the ground as man – woman relationships. It can be a risk in initiating something but you’re a strong woman and have much to offer. Someone turns you down, so what? Many others will just like you for who you are.

    Seeking out professional groups of gay women could be an option. Not all fit the ‘lesbian’ (hate that word) stereotype.

    I know one woman who went through a relationships agency as well, and it worked for her.

    Good luck. Your openness is so refreshing.

  7. Sheila says:

    Hi, I posted earlier about how I needed to change my perspective and take a bolder step and I finally did this. Sometime ago, Craig’s List was introduced to me. One day, while listing something for sale, I ran across their personals section for women seeking women and I read through the ads. And, I decided to place a personal ad. It was free and easy, so why not? I was able to list a large, detailed personal ad for my area. I listed details of what I was looking for and also some information about myself and received several responses. I met someone who has been searching for the same. We have our first in person meeting coming up.

    We began exchanging emails with photos, at first. Then we exchanged phone numbers. Yesterday was nice. I received a text message and photo of her at work. We are really enjoying this flirtatious stage, too. And, both of us are excited about our upcoming date.

    I am thankful that I took that step and met someone that I have so much in common with. And, it is great to feel that connection…

  8. Teresa Michelsen says:

    Congratulations! I also took a bold step and went to an all-women dance, where I met several nice people – one of whom I’m going to a walk and a movie with in a couple of weeks. So yay for boldness :)

  9. Sheila says:

    Ah! Congratulations to you, as well! Maybe we can keep each other posted on how its going…

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