[Quick title clarification – I’m referring to female bisexuality versus male sexuality in this article]
For the longest time, I knew I was bisexual and I did nothing about that. I had lots of relationships with men, and was happy for the most part, but avoided getting close to women because they were scary. I felt I didn’t understand women, that they were complicated, immune to me bossing them about (like I do with men), capricious, generally untrustworthy, and willing to shame me for transgressions against an idea of femininity that I didn’t understand or match. Most of this, of course, was borne out by my personal experiences with the women I went to high school with, who on the whole were really horrible towards me, mostly because I didn’t fit in as a geek, tom boy, and someone who wasn’t born in the town (Bendigo is an incredibly insular town). I think I might have gotten over particular subsets of women being horrible to me if it had been confined solely to school and hadn’t continued on the workplace, with several female coworkers and a few female managers acting in the same way.
I slowly cultivated female friends who didn’t play games, were trustworthy, and built me up, but it took a long time, and a lot of hard work on my behalf. There were a few women I was interested in, but each time I came to the conclusion that those particular were not safe for me, that they’d attempt to manipulate me, shame me, be capricious, or betray my trust – either through things they’d say or the way they’d act in relation to me or other people.
For the longest time, women were far too scary to be in relationships with. I developed a method of testing the waters (with everyone, not just women) to see if people were safe. I stopped having secrets (well mostly – there are some things that I tell very few people), and I started telling everyone everything that they wanted to hear. You want to know how I manage three relationships at once, sure, you want to know how much I earn, sure, you want to know my sleep arrangements, sure. I decided that if I didn’t have any secrets then it’d be a lot harder for others to attempt to shame me or manipulate me with information because it was all out in the open. It then became a case of who judged me or acted poorly towards me (or others).
I say all this because I know that I am not a lone bisexual woman who is or has struggled with all the societal messages that we’re fed about women, and as a result struggle to approach women for fear of back stabbing, shaming or something else. I’ve met, and am friends with, many bisexual women who are confused about what we’re told about other women, and don’t know where to start in relation to approaching other women.
I cannot actually offer much advice, sadly. There are many women out there that I am incredibly cautious of. I’ve slowly gathered a close knit group of female friends (mostly also queer) who have demonstrated their trustworthiness, their awesomeness, and I am incredibly blessed to be their friends. I would never have met my female partner had it not been for my husband talking me up to her and her up to me (he is lovely too), and us being wonderfully compatible.
Does anyone have any good ideas on how to get this to work apart from patience, courage and good judgement?