When my relationship with my long-term girlfriend came to an end, so did a part of me that existed when we were together. She was my first real girlfriend. Yes, I had dated women before her, but I hadn’t invested in anyone in the same way that I did with her. When we came to an end I went through depression and felt lost for a long time. I had forgotten who I was without her. She was my everything, my family, my best friend – truly my other half.
Before we got together I was new to embracing my lesbian identity. I was still growing in the acceptance of who I really was and had just accepted that, as much as it was more socially acceptable to be bisexual in the heterosexual world, it wasn’t me and I could only see myself dating women. Once I had accepted that, I had the strong desire to make lesbian friends and date, but I didn’t know where to start. All of my friends were straight and, not only would they strong Christians, they certainly were not open to going to a gay club and playing wing woman as I mingled with like minded people. I was isolated from the lesbian community.
It was just as I was growing to accept my isolation that I met my ex. We went to university together, she sat next to me in class one day and the rest was history. We were inseparable from that point on. The days of desperate loneliness and isolation were such a faint memory that I almost forgot they existed. In true lesbian style we were in a relationship within two weeks of the day we sat next to each other. We were in constant communication. The average day would consist of waking up to a loving exchange of text messages, seeing each other at our university campus and spending the day together, hanging out after uni and having late night phone calls until the early morning. It felt like I was finally alive. Like I was being heard and seen for who I truly was and I was safe in being vulnerable with her. Through our bond I got to know myself on a deeper level. Everything was her and this is the way it continued throughout university and for the years that followed it. We supported each other through our stressful final year exams and in the stages after university when trying to make sense of the world and where we fit into it.
I became really close with her family who welcomed me in with open arms. This was meant so much to me especially because my family are devout Christians and I was still in the closet at home. Knowing that there was a family that saw and loved me for who I am gave me a new sense of pride in who I am. As well as this, I became close with my ex-girlfriend’s friends. Finally, I had a circle of lesbian friends to share experiences with, who understood the dynamics of my relationship and who affirmed that I wasn’t a weird, sinful and hell-bound sodomite.
After several years spent in a loving relationship it came to light that we were no longer in a romantic relationship, but rather a friendship. As much as we tried to relight the flame in our relationship, it was inevitable that we had grown together as friends and both of us wanted to feel romantic love. We started off by having a break and eventually agreed that we were better off as friends. It was around this time that my ex-girlfriend also realized that being friends with me was confusing for her and she would rather have a clean break.
After our break-up I felt lost. I didn’t know what to do with my spare time; I didn’t know who I could talk to because I was hit with the harsh reality that my lesbian friends were actually her friends and now that we were no longer together, they took a step back from our friendship. As did her family. I was once again alone, lost and isolated. I started hanging out with my straight Christian friends again, but this made me feel worse. They tried their best to understand and be there for me, but it was in this period that I realized how different a lesbian break up is from a heterosexual one. All of their suggestions on how to move on didn’t quite work for me because there are totally different conventions in a lesbian relationship.
My straight friends didn’t understand why I couldn’t just go to a club and meet a new partner until I explained how small the lesbian scene is and the chances were I would bump into my ex or her friends and feel awkward for the entire night. They didn’t really understand how I had lost most of my closest friends during this break-up and they most certainly didn’t understand how co-dependent and emotionally entangled our relationship was. Not only was I dealing with the pain of the break up but I was being reminded of how alone and misunderstood I was in the world.
It took quite some time, but I began working through the difficult emotions and learning to be myself again. I noticed that all of the self-help books I read were heavily geared towards the conventions of straight relationships, so I had to figure things out for myself. I am in a much better place now and this experience lead to me writing The Ultimate Lesbian Guide to: Getting Over Your Ex.
Break ups are hard generally, but there are added stakes in lesbian relationships and I felt the necessity for advice that spoke specifically to the conventions of a lesbian relationship. I wrote this book in the hopes that it could aid the healing process of any woman who finds herself in the position I was in after my break up.
This is the first in a series of self-help books that are catered for the lesbian experience. Lesbians are often an ignored part of the LGBTQIA community. I hope that in writing this series of books lesbians will feel acknowledged and receive help catered to their lives.
The Ultimate Lesbian Guide to: Getting Over Your Ex is available to purchase as an eBook and paperback on Amazon.