Just when I thought it was safe to come up for air and believe in common decency again, reality jolted me right back to the here and now. My best friend and her girlfriend of almost two years were breaking up. She shared the disappointing news that her girlfriend was having an affair. Given that this was her girlfriend’s first “real” lesbian relationship, I assumed she was seeing a man.
I was wrong.
“It’s someone in our circle,” my girlfriend said. Her words echoed … In our circle … in our circle.
Of all the women in the Washington DC metropolitan area, she chose to have an affair with someone in our circle? That is the ultimate violation of friendship. What happened to the lesbian girl code? You do not date the ex of one of your friends. Ever. Period. End of story.
I cringed when she revealed who the other woman was. It was shocking and yet, it all made sense. The other woman has a reputation for “buying” the affection of women, only to have them leave her when they get want they want. My best friend reiterated how her girlfriend zeroed in on how socially awkward and gullible the other woman was. After listening to the whole story, I was more disappointed in the other woman versus my best friend’s girlfriend. How can you willingly violate friendships and boundaries knowing that it will cause hurt and division within a long-standing circle of friends?
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My friend went on to tell me that recently, her girlfriend had been distant, showing signs of anger and resentment. She said she couldn’t put her finger on it but something was off. They had been experiencing the typical growing pains that come with blended families: adjusting to new boundaries, different parenting styles and conflicting levels of self-awareness. But I thought they loved each other enough to work through their differences. One night, her girlfriend confessed that although she had been praying for clarity, she was strongly attracted to another woman in our circle.
The act stung even more because my friend thought they were working through normal relationship issues. She was blindsided. She began to doubt herself when her girlfriend created false accusations to justify her deception. I reassured her that she had been more than enough. However, she allowed someone to rush her into another relationship before she was ready. She had not given herself time to grieve and heal from the last break-up.
I consoled her as a best friend should, without judgment or false pretenses. I reminded her of a time in our past when she didn’t want to hear what I had to say regarding another heartbreaking relationship.
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“I’m not a friend who is going to tell you what you want to hear. You were wrong. If you stop talking to me, then so be it. I love you and I am going to be here when you come to your senses,” I said. I was speaking from experience. I thought of how I grieved over the end of my own marriage for two years. I recall family and friends trying to convince me that dating would distract me from the hurt. How could I entertain the idea of dating when I no longer believed in the sanctity of marriage, fidelity, and honesty? I would be wasting precious time while projecting feelings of mistrust onto someone who did not deserve it. I refused to allow anyone to rush me through the grieving process. It was tough but I was unshakable. I was determined to feel the full range of emotions brought on by deception. Most importantly, I had to own my part in making the same decisions yet expecting different results.
I realized I had a pattern of falling in love with women who, for whatever reason, were not comfortable with their sexuality. As a result, I sacrificed my happiness for theirs. For years, I remained in their shadow, dimming my own light. I did not realize, until after my divorce, the toll that level of sacrifice took on my spirit.
We laughed about how recently I passed a “Pop Quiz” that God had given me. It is amazing when you surrender to God’s will and you begin to have clarity. God will send you everything you asked for then throw in a trick to see if you are obedient. I told her that I’m not looking for anyone. I am praying for God to mold me into who He wants me to become. As a result, He will send me my reflection in a partner. I told her of a situation where a dear friend, whom I love and respect, recently confided in me that she has always been attracted to me. She went so far as to say that her feelings were more than platonic. We had long ago connected on a spiritual level. She fell into the category of what I am normally attracted to. However, there were glaring red flags that I could not ignore. She is the ex of a friend. She is bi-sexual. She is a public figure with a religious following. I laughed to myself at the first thought that came to mind…“ABORT! ABORT!”
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I gently revisited how my friend had jumped from relationship to relationship without giving herself time to grieve or time to heal. I thought of the age-old joke about lesbians and their overzealous efforts to quickly forge committed relationships with women they don’t really know. The “U-Haul” joke is perhaps the most well-known lesbian joke: What does a lesbian bring on the second date? A U-Haul. I tried to lighten her spirit by reminding her of the fabulous new bachelorette pad she just rented. I reassured her that she would have all the time and space she needed to finally find herself.
I made her promise to be still, to love herself more than she had loved others. She revealed that she didn’t know if she knew how to do that. I told her that we would take one day at a time. Being there for our sisters is a major part of the Lesbian Girl Code.