Dr. Darcy Smith on the difficulties of being a lesbian

Ask a Mental Health Professional the Difficult Questions

Dear Dr. Darcy:

I’m in my 30s and my bisexuality has never been a big deal to me. I live in NYC, so I’ve managed to keep my girl-relationships isolated to the city, and my hetero identity in my home-state of Connecticut. A few months ago, I started dating an older woman and now I’m totally in love with her. She wants to advance our relationship, move in together and meet my family and childhood friends. The thing is, I always planned to be a soccer mom, live in the ‘burbs and have a husband. Honestly, I don’t know if I want the difficult lifestyle that goes with being gay. Am I a terrible person for wanting an easy life?

So you want to be a soccer mom… Life often interferes with our best laid plans, and my first question is, why can’t you be a soccer mom within the context of a lesbian relationship? But let me slow down—I’m getting ahead of myself.

It sounds as though you have some issues with being gay in any capacity, by relegating your relations with women to Manhattan. You need to explore the reasons for your resistance to living a gay lifestyle, and it’s a dialogue you need to have either with people in your life who support you, or on the couch of a shrink’s office. In addition, you can try connecting with women in the lesbian community to familiarize yourself with it. People are often afraid of what they don’t fully understand and you may find that your hesitance abates as your gay network grows.

There’s no denying the hetero-privilege that straight people, often unknowingly, enjoy in our society. Nonetheless, most lesbians I know couldn’t imagine their lives any other way. You may find the transition smoother if you move to a community with a significant gay and lesbian presence. Also, provided your profession is conducive to change, you may want to look into companies/organizations that are recognized as gay-friendly. You can orchestrate your life so that being gay is, at worst, a non-issue and at best, the norm.  Not to sound like the tree-hugging social worker that I am, but I want to point out that the way to even out the playing field of hetero-privilege is to fight the fight, not to jump ship.

I think the extent of your conflict depends on how you define the term “easy lifestyle.” There’s nothing “easy” about going through life without the one you love. Sure, you may fall in love again, but at the risk of sounding like a Hallmark card, you’ll never know what could have been if you never take the risk.

Email questions to dr.darcysmith@gmail.com or call 212-604-0144.

*By submitting questions, the writer acknowledges that she has no rights of confidentiality and that her question or a version thereof may be printed in GO Magazine or GOMAG.com. Correspondence between Dr. Darcy Smith and a writer does not constitute a therapeutic relationship and such a relationship and rights/privileges associated with such can only be established through a scheduled, in person session.

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