My partner is confused about her sexuality. How can I help her?
When it comes to someone else’s sexuality, you don’t get a deciding vote – but you can help them figure it out for themselves. Here’s how.
So your girlfriend is questioning her sexuality… yikes! The best advice we can offer is this: if you think it’s tough for you, imagine how difficult it is for her.
Yes, you read right! We try not to sugarcoat things, especially when it comes to issues involving identity. The process of self-discovery that she’s going through is bound to pose more than a few challenges – for both of you – and despite your own reservations, it’s important that you support and love her throughout. While it might not safeguard you from having your heart broken, it will guarantee that you come out the other side as “the good guy” (or girl).
The next important thing to remember is that you aren’t the first couple to go through something like this. In fact, it happens more than you think! A lot of people we know have questioned their sexual orientation while in relationships. Without a doubt, this makes things a lot more complicated. But as nice as it would be if everyone discovered who they were attracted to before they reached dating age, life isn’t that seamless! Luckily, it doesn’t always result in a breakup. It might (so be prepared), but either way, you have two choices: say your goodbyes, or stand by her until she figures things out.
Contrary to what you might be thinking, neither of these choices is wrong. Whether or not your girlfriend wants to take this time to explore her options by dating other people, you don’t have to stick around. In fact, if you’re going to have a tough time being supportive, you probably shouldn’t. Here’s our advice: talk to her. Figure out what she needs. If it’s space, do what you have to do to grant her that request. Step aside temporarily or permanently, but whatever you do – respect her choice.
If the result of your discussion is that you both want to stay together while she figures things out, then commit to a bumpy ride. Do your best to come to terms with the fact that the dynamic between you might change – either emotionally or sexually – and make sure you have what it takes to deal with your feelings without overburdening her. Yes, relationships work both ways, and it’s just as much her job to help you cope than vice versa. But take it from us – the last thing you want to put on her during this time is pressure.
No one can predict the future. At the end of the day, you might live happily ever after, or you might lose the woman you love due to something neither of you can control. Ultimately, the only thing you can control is the role you play in the situation. Do you want to be supportive, or back away to protect your feelings? Remember – the only wrong answer is the one where you force her to be something she’s not.