Despite being part of a happy couple since I was 19, I have explored the world of lesbian friendships pretty much on my own. My love is not one for socialising, and I respect that. I’m not much of a social butterfly either, but I do like to go out for a meal or chat online etc and I enjoy the mutual support I gain in friendships and being able to talk about life, the universe, and everything with lesbians I enjoy spending time with.
But, here’s the thing, some lesbian friendships can be really TOXIC in a way that is unique to lesbians (well, it probably applies to gay men too but I don’t know many).
Lesbian friendships can be tricky. For a start, we all have a lot of emotional baggage, it comes with the territory. We, well at least I do and I have observed this in others, put a lot of emotional stock in friendships and this can be particularly tricky in a lesbian situation. The question is, when does a close friendship cross the line? Our friendships can become very deep, which is one thing I love about being a lesbian. BUT, where is the line drawn? Some might think that’s easy, draw the line at sex, simple. But sex isn’t the only component of a relationship. When does the emotional dependency of a deep friendship cross that line? Can you cheat without having sex? Okay, so the boundary might be that you should love a friend, but be “in love” with a partner. And yes, that’s true, but again, where is the line? If we are, for whatever reason, getting emotional support from a friend rather a lover, is that cheating? In a heterosexual relationship it is pretty common for the woman to get emotional support from her girlfriends and to rely on them heavily. How does that work for lesbians? Like I said, it’s not straightforward. I’ve learned the hard way that BOUNDARIES are key. If you are in a relationship, DO NOT become somebody else’s pseudo girlfriend!!!!! Do not allow yourself to be manipulated in that way, and never allow her under your skin so much that you start to measure your own self-worth by her judgement rather than your own. Like I said, lesbian friendships can be toxic.
I have, as a result of a particularly bad experience, set myself some rules of thumb for forming and maintaining friendships with other lesbians.
No 1. Don’t befriend a lesbian who is both single and who may potentially be attracted to me or I to her. NO, NOPE, NEVER AGAIN. I never have had and never will have any intention of cheating on my partner and sexual tension in a friendships just makes it too complicated. Yes we are all adults, but boundaries can be easily broken and it’s not worth it.
No 2. If she starts lecturing me on how I should be living my life. RUN AWAY.
No 3. If she starts giving me unsolicited relationship advice. RUN AWAY.
No 4. If she crosses any personal boundaries that I have deemed necessary. RUN AWAY.
No 5. If she starts using me as a date to social events. RUN AWAY.
No 5. If she EVER deliberately tries to make me feel bad about myself in an effort to manipulate me. RUN AWAY.
No 6. Online friendships stay online unless boundaries are in place. Especially if the potential friend is single.
Okay, that’s all I can think of for now. I am interested in how other lesbians have fared in balancing friendships and relationships, so please do comment if you feel like sharing. I’d love to read about your story 🙂