I’ve been out of the closet for about four years and there’s one question I’ve been asked more than any other when people find out I’m in a lesbian relationship: “Who’s the guy?” Uh, no one, dummy—I’m gay for a reason.
Seriously, someone being “the guy” would defeat the point. If I wanted to be in a relationship with a guy, wouldn’t I be straight? I’m with a woman because I like women. Two women can co-exist in a relationship; we don’t automatically cancel each other out or anything.
Short hair doesn’t mean butch. Often times, people are quick to assume that since my girlfriend’s hair is shorter than mine or because she wears basketball shorts instead of dresses, she’s the “man” of the house. Wrong! We both work, we both cook, we both clean. Sure, she’s better at creating BBQ magic in front of the grill whereas I love baking cupcakes, but that doesn’t mean either of us are fulfilling stereotypical, outdated gender roles.
We don’t have roles, only responsibilities. A traditional, old-fashioned straight relationship would see the man as the breadwinner while the woman takes care of the house and the kids and ensures her husband’s dinner is on the table when he gets home from work. Because these roles are so ingrained, lesbian relationships get extra scrutiny. Who opens the jar of pickles? Who mows the lawn? How can a relationship function without a man? Pretty happily and easily, in fact. We have to change the oil in the car, take the trash out, cook meals, do the laundry, blah blah blah. It’s both of our responsibilities, not one of our jobs. Society needs to get on board.
She’s my girlfriend, not my girl friend. My career involves me being on the road a lot, sometimes a few cities away, most times states away. I meet new people constantly and they all ask what my boyfriend does for work or if I have one. When I tell them I have a girlfriend back home, they automatically assume I must be talking about a girl who happens to be my friend and continue to badger me about my non-existent boyfriend. I break it down as much as possible that I’m in love with a woman so why is it so hard for some people to understand?
I don’t need a list of every gay person you know. While I think it’s a bit backward, I am aware that not everyone approves of same-sex couples, so I don’t share details of my dating life and sexuality right away. When I do mention I’m in a lesbian relationship, it’s freakishly common for the straight people who aren’t phased by the LGBTQ community to immediately tell me every gay person they know and have ever met. Sorry, I still don’t want to hear about your gay cousin in Alabama or your niece who just went through a rough breakup with her girlfriend. I don’t want anyone’s phone number or life story, and I don’t want to go on a date with the only lesbian you know—you aren’t a matchmaker.
No, our kids don’t need a father figure. As my girlfriend and I become more serious, we’re starting to talk about eventually starting a family. People have quickly assumed that she’d be the disciplinary one since she presents as more masculine. For one, our hypothetical child doesn’t need to have a dad in the picture—two women are fully capable of raising a child. Also, she may come across as more masculine, but that doesn’t make her role as a parent that of the father figure.
I don’t need a groom to have a traditional wedding. My lady and I have talked frequently about what our wedding would look like. We both come from Christian backgrounds and want to keep that alive at our wedding by doing something super traditional. Yet again, people jump to conclusion that my girlfriend will be wearing a tuxedo with a best man by her side. That’s not the case at all. We’ll probably both wear white and neither of us will be in a tux. Believe it or not, it’s possible for us to have a traditional ceremony without a groom.
We both “wear the pants,” thanks. Why is everyone so quick to assume that my girlfriend runs our relationship solely based on appearances? Yes, I’ve made it abundantly obvious that I’m girlier than her, but we both have equal say in our relationship. We don’t need to fulfill the same roles that straight relationships do in order to be considered a legit relationship. Hopefully one day I won’t have to justify that.
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