I’m a female who’s into men. My current partner is male. I consider myself to be straight. However, at a certain point in my life, when I was younger, I did try to date women.
The problem is I’m heterosexual. So what happened when I attempted to have relationships with women? I ended up hurting a lot of them.
Though these women developed feelings for me, I could never like them back the same way.
How could I? I’m straight.
It’s not like I never felt anything for any of these women. I definitely felt attracted to them. But I couldn’t fall in love with any of them. No, I can only fall in love with a man.
Why did I pursue relationships with women if I’m actually heterosexual? First, I did it out of curiosity. I was curious to expand my world. However, there was a deeper, more insidious reason I chased these women:
I loved the attention.
I was so lonely in my young adult life. I just wanted a relationship with someone. Anyone.
I decided to try to fall in love with a woman because I wasn’t having much luck with men.
Men were a mystery to me. Sure, they were attracted to me. I could go home with all the men I wanted — but I couldn’t seem to get a guy to commit to me.
I was needy and insecure around men. That turned men off.
So I moved my pursuits to women. It was easy to get a female interested in me, mostly because I didn’t feel nervous around women like I did around men.
Women didn’t have the power to hurt me like men did. I could flirt with women with aplomb.
But there were consequences: I hurt people.
I led on lesbians when I'm actually straight. But I only did this because I was desperate for love.
The first lesbian I dated and hurt because I was straight.
Take Veronique whom I met one night at a dive bar when I was twenty-four years old. She had short, bleached-blond hair and was wearing a white tank top, a pair of tight jeans and combat boots.
I fell in lust. How could I not? Veronique was hot. The ways her curves filled out her jeans and tank… She definitely piqued my interest.
However, I didn’t feel vulnerable when I laid eyes on her. My heart didn’t beat rapidly in my chest. It was nothing like the way I felt around men. Still, I was curious about Veronique.
She was playing pool. I remember watching the way she handled the cue stick. I kept fantasizing about her handling me the same way.
Because I felt so confident (because I was actually straight), I strode right up to her and came on strong. Before I knew it, I was using one of my eyeliner pencils to write down her phone number on the back of a receipt.
I called her the following day. We made plans to meet. Though I was excited about seeing her again, something was missing.
She wasn’t a dude.
The truth was, a part of me desperately wanted to feel nervous, at a loss of words around Veronique. I wanted to feel the butterflies in my stomach of falling in love with someone new. But I didn’t — I couldn’t.
I was straight.
No matter how attracted I might have felt toward Veronique, she wasn’t a guy. But, at that point, she was the next best thing to a man. She was someone to give me attention, to make me feel loved.
But she ended up falling for me. Because I was incapable of falling for her in the same way, I only ended up hurting her.
The reason I had so much trouble with men was because of my terrible relationship with my father.
What was my problem, you might ask. Why was I doing this? Why couldn’t I just be happy with the fact I was straight and try to find a man to love me?
Like I said, finding a man to commit to me was proving very difficult. The reason: my terrible relationship with my father.
Yes, my relationship with my dad was to blame. I’d never gotten the love I needed from him growing up. My dad was one of those men who was there without ever really being there.
Though my parents were married throughout my childhood, my dad often traveled for work. When he was home, he wasn’t really present. He had so many issues from his own childhood that he was trying to work out.
His father was an abusive alcoholic. My dad grew up poor, unloved, with parents who failed him. My father had so many problems and hang-ups he wasn’t dealing with — or was trying to deal with himself, without seeking professional help.
Therefore, he couldn’t really be there for me. That meant I grew up with a big hole inside of me that constantly needed to be filled. I kept looking for other people to give me the love my father never could.
Whenever I met a man I liked, I re-experienced my childhood all over again. I’d chase the guy, hoping to be loved. I’d just end up getting rejected because I made myself too easy.
Worse, I typically sought out men who could never love me. How could I not? That was all I knew. I’d never felt loved by my dad. Why should I expect any other man to love me?
I didn’t have this problem with women though. I didn’t feel vulnerable around women because I was straight. I could date them and feel confident.
That was cool for me, but I treated these women terribly.
I tried to date another lesbian.
After Veronique, I attempted to date a beautiful lesbian named Rosa. She was the opposite of Veronique. Well, except for the beautiful part. She was gorgeous but in a completely different way.
With long, black hair and alabaster skin, she was a striking goth. I met her at a dance club. She was fragile, sweet, and quiet. I was lucky enough to secure her undivided attention, at least for a couple of weeks.
She was really into me. For me, something wasn’t right though. Rosa would touch me and I wouldn’t be able to stop thinking about how different her touch was from a man’s. A man’s touch is so aggressive, at least in comparison to the way a woman touches you.
A man’s body feels different, too. It has none of the soft, squishy curves. It’s hard and muscled.
A woman’s smell is sweet. Men smell sour in comparison.
I couldn’t stop thinking about how Rosa wasn’t a man. I desired a man’s body and a man’s touch, and even his sour scent. But here I was, fooling around with a woman.
As you can imagine, my relationship with Rosa was short-lived. She got tired of waiting around for me to decide whether I was a lesbian or not.
I wasn’t. I was just a straight girl who was leading her on.
I used to wish I was a lesbian.
It’s not like I was a 100% terrible person. I’ve always been a little too open-minded for my own good. I truly wished I could make a relationship work with another woman. I believed if I tried hard enough, I’d finally feel something.
I sincerely wanted to be a lesbian. I thought my life would be so much better if I could just manage to fall in love with another woman.
I know I’m writing this from a place of extreme straight privilege — not as a sexual minority who has had to fight for their right to be respected for their sexual orientation.
Instead, I’m someone who could make the choice to date a woman or not. Maybe you can understand why I look back on these years now with a lot of embarrassment.
I’m humiliated by the way I acted while pursuing women even though I was straight. I’m not embarrassed about having had these experiences with women. There’s nothing wrong with having same-sex relationships.
What I’m embarrassed about is not being able to be happy with who I was. I’m mortified by the fact I used women for attention — especially when I knew full well I wasn’t gay and yet I kept trying to date women because I didn’t want to be alone.
That’s the embarrassing part. At least in the years since, I’ve done my inner work. I realize I was just trying to fill my voids. This is why I think it’s so important to go to therapy. We may not be aware of how badly we’re treating people if we haven’t looked deeply into ourselves.
We may do stupid, terrible things in an effort to avoid pain. But in doing these things, we act like vampires with people who don’t deserve it.
That’s what I did with these lesbians. They actually wanted relationships with me, and I just used them for the easy sense of closeness.
But the important thing is that I finally realized what I was doing wrong and underwent the necessary therapy to overcome my issues.
I now realize that people don’t exist for my amusement or as a way for me to mitigate my pain. The only person who can really make me feel better is me.
I haven’t led on another lesbian since and I never will again.
Photo by Michele Seghieri on Unsplash
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