Friday 22 September 2017

Dear Mary: 'I thought I was hetero but am now intrigued by a lesbian'

You can contact Mary O’Conor anonymously by visiting www.dearmary.ie or email her at dearmary@independent.ie
You can contact Mary O’Conor anonymously by visiting www.dearmary.ie or email her at dearmary@independent.ie

Mary O'Conor

Dear Mary: I am a 25-year-old heterosexual female, or at least I like to think I am. The reason I say this is because I met a lesbian about six months ago, and I have been intrigued by her - well, at least that is how it started off.  I am doing some study, and I also work.

A couple months ago, there was a big misunderstanding. At that time I was craving having her around me, I couldn't go a day without thinking about her. Well, we stopped talking for two months because of the misunderstanding, and I did somewhat get over her. I would still follow up on her by following her social media. She would continue to "like" my pictures on Instagram although she "unfollowed" me.

But then we went on a weekend trip with mutual friends, and she apologised for taking things the wrong way and for cutting ties with me. But to get to the point. She gave me signs, whether intentional or not, that she's interested in me. She asked me to walk outside in the backyard with her alone, she put her arms around me when she thought I might be cold, kissed my cheek and told me she loves me. So we drank a little and I decided to tell her how I felt. I texted her saying I wanted to kiss her, although we were sitting side by side. She then turned to me and said 'then kiss me'.

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Well, we ended up kissing, and I loved it.

I told her that I have been having these feelings for her for a while now, but was too afraid to tell her. She then said she couldn't do this, and went inside. We didn't really speak much after that.

The next day we both sort of ignored each other.

Please help me. I know in the long run I cannot be with her because my family, culture and religion do not permit it, but I feel so heartbroken. I don't know what to do, and I would love some advice.

MARY: I'm sure it has been very confusing for you thinking of yourself as heterosexual and then finding yourself becoming infatuated with this girl. So let's forget the labels for a while and concentrate on the feelings.

To begin with, you were intrigued by her, and after the misunderstanding was cleared up, you found that you still had these same feelings.

What I don't know, however, is what is going on in her life. She led you on, gave you permission to kiss her and almost immediately after that she cut you off. Is she perhaps involved with somebody else, and isn't available to you? Or she may think that, long-term, your family and culture would have too strong an influence on you to allow anything to develop between you.

Another possibility is that she does not want to be responsible for you having a same-sex relationship when, up until now, you were known to be heterosexual. Or she may think that you are just playing with her, trying it out to see what it is like, and then may drop her when she would by then have feelings for you.

So there can be all sorts of reasons why she walked away from you, and only she can answer these questions. So I would advise that you ask to meet her for a coffee and tell her that you don't want to go on ignoring each other, that you enjoyed the kiss and your time together, and ask why she felt that she couldn't go forward with you. This will make things clearer for you with regard to her.

Regarding your own sexual orientation, I couldn't say on the strength of one email what you are, and you probably don't expect me to.

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It helps if you can think of your sexual orientation as a continuum, with heterosexual at one end and lesbian at the other. Ask yourself where you would put yourself on the line, and bear in mind that some people are very definitely at either end, whereas others find themselves moving along the line at some time in their lives.

You may find it helpful to speak to a therapist about this, as it's not something that you can easily discuss with your close friends.

As you are not in Ireland, I am not recommending any specific therapist but, as always, your general practitioner would be a good source of referral.

You can contact Mary O’Conor anonymously by visiting www.dearmary.ie or email her at dearmary@independent.ie or write c/o 27-32 Talbot Street, Dublin 1. All correspondence will be treated in confidence. Mary O’Conor regrets that she is unable to answer any questions privately.

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