Hating Her and Him

Friday, February 09, 2007

Question

I discovered my attraction to other women in college, and unlike some of my friends who "experimented" with bisexuality, I have continued to be in lesbian relationships. But I was never interested in separatist politics and thought hating men was a waste of time. My last lover was a "lesbian virgin" who had never had sex with men and disliked the fact that my best friend is a gay man.

Our romance was bittersweet and intense because we disagreed about many things but had a lot of physical passion for one another. I was so wrapped up in her that I neglected other things in my life and tried to placate her by not doing things or seeing people she detested. I thought we were so crazy about one another that things would somehow work out, but she never made any compromises for me.

Now she's left me for a man. She was seduced by a male co-worker, and when I am feeling spiteful I think it was just because he can help her career a lot. But most of the time I just feel really bad about myself and draw up endless lists of all the things I couldn't offer her because I am a woman. None of this makes any sense—she hated penetration, so how can she be enjoying sex with a man? Why did she pick him instead of me?

She hid this affair from me for weeks while continuing to keep up the same front about being a separatist and attacking me for not being enough of a feminist. Not being radical enough or enough of a dyke. I had to run into them in a public place, having a date, on a night when I thought she couldn't see me because she was sick. I watched them for a long time before I let them know I was there, and it was obvious they had become intimate. I'll never forget the smug look on his face. She fell apart, but he looked at me with such contempt, and never lost his cool. I think the fact that she was a lesbian made taking her away from me very important to him. And I have to admit that I hate him for that. It feels really bad to hate somebody when I have so little, really no, power to do anything about it.

I feel humiliated, as if everyone can see that I lost some kind of competition. She never apologized for her deceit, just told me I should have known she was not getting her needs met with me, and that she never made me any promises. There are days when I cry so much that I have to come home from work. There's stuff of hers in my apartment but I don't want to see her to return it. I am falling apart. How could she do this to me?

Answer

What a mess. You've been treated shabbily. This is no time to force yourself to see the woman who hurt you. Box up her stuff and give it to a mutual friend to return or just mail it to her. But get rid of it since you don't have to keep on seeing it and being triggered by it.

Since you are paralyzed by your grief and feeling so much anger, I recommend that you see a counselor, even if it's short-term. Be sure to find a therapist who is NOT homophobic. I just don't want you to lose your job or have more serious fallout as a result of this divorce. She's not worth it. Crisis counseling can help you to keep yourself together until a little healing can begin.

Few things are more painful than being a lesbian who has lost a lover to a man. You already know what I'm about to say, but let me explain to my other readers that lesbians live in a culture that constantly threatens them and puts them down. Lesbian sex is seen as being inferior to straight sex. And since same-sex couples are not allowed to marry, one woman is not able to offer another woman the same benefits that a heterosexual man can offer. If there's a competition, it's not a fair fight.

This guy is the kind of person who makes me hope, really hope, that karma does exist. Let's put a big mental arrow over his head, pointing the way for Nemesis to find him. The girl you lost sounds like a handful to me. She won't lose her critical and mean-spirited ways just because she is with a new lover with a different gender. I think he'll discover that being a hardcore lesbian separatist's first boyfriend is a tough row to hoe.

I don't think she left you because she prefers men over women. I think she did it because she's a cruel person who likes to inflict suffering on those who are infatuated with her. You stuck with her through all kinds of crap. She probably couldn't think of anything else outrageous enough to force you away.

Her behavior is no referendum on lesbian love or lovemaking. If woman-to-woman sex was really worse than hetero lovemaking, straight men wouldn't hate and fear lesbians or feel competitive with them. He's afraid of the knowledge that one woman has of another woman's body. If a woman wants another woman, the most sexually skilled male lover in the world will not be able to change her mind.

A bigger question for me is, why did you fall so hard for somebody who was such a putz? You sound like a fine woman to me, somebody who's a catch. Next time, don't trade pieces of yourself away because somebody else burns up the bed sheets. If you hook up with another hellcat like this one, laugh at her bitchiness, enjoy the sex, and continue to be yourself no matter what. You'd be better off, in my opinion, looking for a hottie who has some gay male friends of her own and a more open and tolerant attitude toward life.

Some of us seem to have an unconscious belief that tragedy is inevitably linked to passion, that you can't have intense desire without intense suffering and incompatibility. If that's true, we might as well all kill ourselves right now. I know it's not. I've had sweet-hearted lovers who were devious and evil lust monkeys when the sun went down. Evil and devious in a good way, I mean. The kind that makes you get wet.

Here's my wish for better days and nicer girlfriends. Grab on to that wish and paddle for the shore!