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Ask Anna: Navigating straight curiosity while in a queer relationship

Anna Pulley, Tribune News Service on

Published in Lifestyles

Dear Anna,

I'm seeking advice about my sexuality and relationship. I'm in a sapphic relationship and while I love my girlfriend deeply and envision a future with her, I can't shake this lingering curiosity about being with men — despite not actually wanting to act on it due to my commitment to my current relationship. As I've only been with women, will I always feel unsatisfied or worry that I'm not queer enough? How can I fully embrace my queer relationship without this consistently plaguing my mind? I've been given advice to explore while I'm young, but I don't want to end things with my girlfriend. Am I destined to feel unfulfilled in queer relationships just because I haven't experienced being with a man? — Confused By Confusion

Dear CBC,

Navigating the landscape of sexuality (especially when you’re queer) can sometimes feel like embarking on a journey without a map — full of unexpected twists, turns, self-revelations and surprise pit stops to Gary, Indiana. HOW DID WE GET HERE?

There are some who would disagree with me, but just as people grow and change over the course of our lives, so too can our sexuality — what we desire, what we don’t desire, what we long for and what we don’t. We’re not static creatures and neither are our hearts and minds. This is a good thing, fundamentally.

About your questioning: It's a testament to the depth of your feelings for your girlfriend that despite these curiosities, your heart is steadfast in its commitment to her.

Also, feelings of curiosity, especially about alternate paths we haven't walked but could, are a natural part of the human experience. Ask any person in a long-term relationship — straight or queer, married or not, if they’ve ever questioned their relationship. If they answer anything other than yes, they’re lying.

It’s natural to wonder, to question, to poke holes in truths we assume about ourselves. Again, this is a good thing. It’s part of being a growing and evolving human. It’s good to wonder, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re unhappy or want to change anything about your current situation.

Your emotional monogamy towards your girlfriend is clear, and that in itself is a beautiful foundation for your relationship. The "what-if" scenarios echoing in the chambers of your heart-mind-vagina don't define your capacity to love or be loved. Think of them more like whispers of speculation, not directives for action.

 

Such musings about different experiences don't make you any less queer. Queerness isn't measured by a tally of varied experiences but by what resonates with your heart and spirit. You're valid in your identity, regardless of who you have (or haven’t) slept with. So know that.

Regarding your fear of perpetual dissatisfaction, I offer you this thought: Satisfaction in a relationship is more often cultivated in the garden of presence — not in the way-out fields of speculation about other partners. Or to paraphrase an iconic ‘90s R&B song, immortalized by TLC, Don’t go chasing waterfalls when the rivers and lakes you’re used to are just fine. Embrace and nurture your connection with your girlfriend, celebrate the ways she stirs your soul and let those be the experiences that define your fulfillment.

Also, not to be a downer, but life is long and the chances that you’ll be with one person forever are slim. You’ll more than likely get a chance in the future to experiment and explore. Or! Perhaps down the road, you and your girlfriend will redefine the boundaries of your relationship to allow other people in. This happened to me and a previous partner — we were monogamous for years, until we weren’t. And it opened up a new avenue for us to learn, grow and explore together.

Sometimes, the doubts and questions are like uninvited guests at the party of your heart. Acknowledge them, know that it's normal to ponder the beats of different drums, but also remember the music you and your partner make is unique and irreplaceable.

In the arms of your chosen love, you are building a life shaped by shared moments and tenderness. If you find joy and connection there, hold onto that. It's rare and beautiful.

The real question to ask yourself isn't whether you're queer enough; it’s can you allow yourself to be immersed in the love that you have, without letting 'what might have been' cast shadows on what is?

Wishing you strength and wonderment in uncertainty,

Anna


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