Growing up in a fairly aloof household, physical and emotional closeness have always seemed scary to me. When I was twelve years old, it got scarier. I’d had a ‘boyfriend’, but that wasn’t much more than hanging out after school holding hands. My relationship with Elise was different.
I wanted to be around her, I wanted to do whatever I could to make her smile. Most importantly, I wanted to understand what I felt for her. She was a friend, but every time I thought about her, there was a tug in my chest. It took me a year and a half to realize I was in love with Elise.
‘I shoved my feelings into the darkest corner I could find’
For three years after, I forcefully shoved my feelings into the darkest corner I could find. I never told her how I felt, because, after all ‘it’s just a phase’, right? It’s what all the movies said, what my family said, what Elise herself had said, to another friend of ours when he came out as gay. It’s not love, if you’re going to grow out of it – or at least that’s what I thought.
At twenty, I started to question that rationale. How could I still find myself attracted to both women and men, after eight years? Surely, I would have passed through that ‘phase’, after eight years. By now, I’d had a few serious relationships – with men. I was still staunchly refusing to believe that my attraction to women was anything more than a physical curiosity.
‘I couldn’t deny my feelings for Anna’
Enter Anna. I was finally getting over a nasty break up, when I met this wonderful ball of happiness. Discovering quite a few common interests, it wasn’t long before we attached the term ‘best friend’ to one another, and spent any and all free time together. Again, I felt that strange tug in my chest – by now, I knew that feeling.
I couldn’t deny my feelings for Anna, but I could keep them to myself. Our friendship continued to grow, over the course of a year. We’d even spoken about becoming roommates, to save on rent.
One night, not particularly different than any other we spent together, I found that I couldn’t continue to keep this secret to myself. It took me fifteen minutes of stammering, awkward analogies, and awkward pauses to tell Anna that I was in love with her. I explained that, while I had questioned my sexuality before, that something this strong couldn’t be called into question.
Anna, quite thankfully, understood why I hadn’t said anything previously. She knew what I meant about thinking it was a phase, about being fooled into thinking that bisexuality wasn’t a real thing. Not only had she lived it first hand, she’d had it thrown at her as an insult – ‘bisexuals are just sluts that’ll have sex with anything’ (another woefully common expression).
Fast forward another two and half years, and Anna and I are happily coupled, and proud of our sexuality.
Being curious is natural. Feel free to question yourself, to ask those ‘what if’ questions. Anything can be a phase, but it doesn’t mean it is a phase. Whether you’re homosexual, heterosexual, or something in between, don’t let anyone else dictate how you feel about someone.