5 Things Lesbians Would Hate to Happen
Some straight women imagine that lesbian relationships are pure bliss. They remember how well they got along with their best friends and think that every day must be filled with shared feelings and every night must be a joyful slumber party. Think again. We lesbians know that our relationships, like any other relationships, must be carefully tended, cared for, and worked on. We have many of the same fears and concerns as straight couples, and a few extra that are unique to our relationships. This article examines five top lesbian fears, explores why they send terror through us, and offers suggestions for neutralizing these fears.
No relationship is perfect. Like male-male couples and male-female couples, lesbian couples have their share of strains and concerns. This article lists five of the top lesbian nightmares and suggests ways to avoid or neutralize these common fears.
Nightmare #1: Lesbian Bed Death
Lesbian Bed Death, or LBD as it is known in the lesbian community, occurs a few months into some lesbian relationships. Somehow the sex disappears, and the relationship that burned so hot at the beginning becomes more of a platonic friendship. It’s perfectly normal that as the relationship progresses you won’t feel the same scorching heat you felt when you first met your partner, but there’s no reason to let sex fade away entirely. Communication is the key here. Talk to your partner about your concerns. You may decide to set aside a “date night” once a week, or perhaps you’ll explore mutual fantasies to keep things interesting.
It is not normal for anyone to lose all interest in sex. If this is the case with you or your partner, visit a doctor to make sure you are healthy. If so, consider marriage counseling with a therapist knowledgeable in lesbian sexual issues.
Nightmare #2: Serious Illness or Injury or Partner
Everybody dreads their partner being seriously sick or injured, but for lesbians the fear is even worse. We all fear that some homophobic member of our partner’s family will step in and whisk our partner away from us. This fear isn’t unfounded either–it has happened in the past to same sex couples and will probably continue to happen in the future.
The fix? See an attorney immediately and have legal papers drawn up that allow your partner to make health care decisions for you when you cannot. Select an attorney in the gay community or at least one who is familiar with lesbian and gay issues. Ask about any other documentation you might need to protect your relationship as well.
Nightmare #3: Domestic Violence
Some people still have trouble believing that domestic violence can occur between two women. They either fantasize about a “cat fight” or simply assume that women are too gentle-natured to beat their partners. The truth is domestic violence does occur in anywhere from 10 – 20% of lesbian relationships.
If your partner deliberately hurts you physically or emotionally, call the local domestic violence hotline to get support and to explore your options. If your community has a gay and lesbian center, contact them as well. Remember that being abused is never your fault. Ultimately, you will probably need to leave the relationship and perhaps even press charges against your partner to ensure your own safety.
Nightmare #4: A Break Up
Since lesbian relationships are not recognized by the courts in most states, a break up, especially one that involves children, can be extremely nasty. You may feel as if you were left holding the short end of the stick while your partner took everything.
If you feel you have been legally wronged, or if there are children involved and you want to try for visitation or even custody, it’s time to see a lawyer. Choose someone who is familiar with gay and lesbian issues. Also ask this attorney to dissolve any paperwork you had drawn up to protect your relationship with your partner (e.g., medical power of attorney).
Nightmare #5: Being Outed
Many lesbian couples live relatively closeted or hidden lives. Being outed (that is, identified as a lesbian) to one’s family, community, or place of work can be a dramatic and painful experience. Remember, though, you have nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about. If someone confronts you, hold your ground and don’t deny the information. Either refuse to confirm it or be honest. (“I really don’t see how that’s any of your business, Bill” or “Yes, Mom, Margie and I are lesbians. We’ve been together for about five years now.”)
Better still, come out yourselves rather than waiting to be outed. That takes the timing and control away from someone who is being a jerk and puts it back in your hands. And nothing takes the winds out of a homophobe’s sails as effectively as being told, after his or her dramatic announcement, “Yes, we’ve all known that for years. Where have you been?”