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I Have a Boyfriend but Think I’m a Lesbian

Apr 26, 2022

I Have a Boyfriend but Think I’m a Lesbian

Getting into a relationship can seem like a no-brainer. You and your crush both like each other and you become official. Talks about crushes on cute boys may fill the group chat with your friends. The pressure of being a woman and getting into a relationship with a man is high, and you may have never considered anything different.

What happens when you’re in a relationship with a man and you simply don’t feel the attraction? You may love and respect this person, but you just aren’t feeling the spark and passion. You may be unsure of your feelings or feel like you’re being inauthentic by being in the relationship. In this situation, you’re certainly not alone, as 92% of women have questioned their sexuality.

It may seem like a roller coaster of emotions, but there’s a way to navigate this situation while allowing yourself to live your best life.

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Am I a Lesbian?

Knowing whether you’re a lesbian is ultimately a very personal decision that you have to come to with yourself, but some feelings you’ve been experiencing may point in that direction.

Mentally you may have realized that you’ve been feeling unfulfilled in a heterosexual relationship, no matter how hard you’ve tried to be happy. If you’re feeling a constant struggle to feel fulfilled in these relationships, or even experiencing a sense of emptiness within yourself when being in relationships with men.

The feelings may even extend into other parts of your life, where no personal achievements make you feel accomplished, or nothing can make you feel whole. You may not be able to accomplish exactly what it is about the relationships that aren’t fulfilling your needs.

Mentally you know that you’ve secretly been feeling attraction to women, but you’re unsure of if the feelings are real or not. It’s important to know that your feelings are real and you should trust what you’re feeling as real. It can be easy to gaslight yourself out of believing what you know to be true due to societal expectations of women’s sexuality.

Reframing Your Thoughts Around Sexuality

From childhood, you were likely told that a relationship is between a man and a woman, so having romantic or sexual feelings may bring up shame or embarrassment. You may find in your relationship with a man that you may him platonically and have deep feelings for him, but the relationship is lacking passion and intimacy. There may have been a lack of romantic attraction and passion, even if you do feel love for your partner. Sexually, the relationship may be lacking as well.

You may have been willing to put up with these thoughts and feelings because you believe that you should be in a heterosexual relationship, but at this time it’s important to break down the barriers of having a traditional relationship. Starting to understand that people have all different sexualities and attractions can help to be honest about your feelings. Compulsive Heterosexuality may have caused the belief that you have to be straight and in a relationship with a man, but the reality is that any relationship that’s healthy and loving is acceptable.

What is Compulsive Heterosexuality?

Understanding the concept of Compulsive Heterosexuality can shed a lot of light on why a woman who’s attracted to other women may get into and stay in a relationship with a man. This phenomenon is far more common than many may think and often not talked about.

Compulsive Heterosexuality is a theory coined by Adrienne Rich stating that heterosexuality is assumed and enforced upon women by a patriarchal and heteronormative society. It discusses that individuals are assumed to be heterosexual unless proven otherwise. 

Due to the patriarchal influence on society to serve men’s needs, heterosexuality requires men to force women into heterosexual relationships and marriage in a patriarchal society. Women are made to believe that heterosexual relationships are inevitable and women aren’t allowed to explore other sexualities due to societal expectations.

This plays into the pressure that women often feel to be in a heterosexual relationship due to being indoctrinated to believe that they need to fit a certain role in a relationship. When getting into these relationships, this is often a time of realization that they don’t feel attraction to men at all.

Are We Born Lesbian?

You may have heard that people are born lesbian which may confuse you if you realized your sexuality after getting into a relationship with a man. However, there’s no scientific evidence that you’re born with a specific sexual preference. One study from Scientific American reported that there’s no single cause or gene to determine sexual orientation.

Identifying your sexuality is very personal and unique to each person, and it’s likely to be based on a mixture of factors including genetics, life experiences, socialization, and individual differences. It’s also not uncommon as you get older to learn more about yourself and have a better understanding of what you like. Through experiences being in relationships with men, you may realize you have a lack of romantic or sexual attraction to them.

Is It Wrong to Come Out As Lesbian and Leave the Relationship?

Even if you have a lot of love and respect for a male partner, it’s likely the right decision to be upfront about your feelings with them. It’s a very personal decision to make, but out of respect, you may want to let him know that the attraction isn’t there. It’s unfair to yourself and your partner to be in a relationship that’s not fulfilling to you. Both of you should be able to be happy and be in a relationship with someone who’s attracted to you.

Sometimes it’s easy to ignore the feelings and hope they’ll go away, but this is a bad idea because it won’t happen. The longer you wait, the more miserable you may be.

How to Tell Your Partner

Bringing this conversation up to your partner can be nerve-wracking, but it’s important to sit down and have an honest conversation about your feelings and attraction. It’s best to explain to them that this is your sexual preference and has nothing to do with anything they may have done wrong.

Don’t be surprised if they are confused or don’t understand because you still need to tell your truth. Even if they’re upset, know that you did the right thing for both of you by being honest.

Living Your Lesbian Truth

Your main focus should be living your authentic truth and gaining confidence in your sexuality. Even after leaving the relationship, you may still realize that there are lots of feelings that you have about your sexuality. It’s common to feel scared or possibly even more confused. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a professional therapist if you need help deciphering your feelings.

Find Community with HER

HER is a great place to be loud and proud about your lesbian identity, and find many other queer folks that you can relate to. You can find friends to confide in about your feelings, or even possibly your special someone through the different communities. There’s somebody for everyone, download HER today!

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Alexandra hails from Boston, MA but is currently living in the DC Area. She's passionate about social justice, self-care, spirituality, and watching documentaries. She's no stranger to telling her story through writing and has written for a variety of freelance publications. You can find her on Instagram at @lexlexlexlexlex__.

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