Recently, a few months ago, my serious girlfriend and I ended our relationship of a little over a year. Although she was openly bisexual leaning towards women, it didn’t factor into our loving relationship nor to its demise. After realizing that we are not completely compatible she made the rational decision that we shouldn’t date anymore, and I of course followed suit. Our break up was very amicable so we decided to remain close friends. A few days later, we met for coffee and she shared that after some space to think, she is a lesbian. My initial response was joy. She then shared that I played a big part in her discovering that she is a lesbian. When I heard that I sincerely felt the utmost happiness and fulfillment. I helped someone I deeply love discover herself. The different responses I have heard from many of my friends made me want to share my story.
The social norms that shape our minds along with definitions of romantic and platonic relationships give us a false pretense of what fruitful connections can be like. Literature, films, and run of the mill experiences often paints a picture of romantic love turning into hate. There are conversations of friendship post romance which usually means the broken couple at best can occasionally communicate and awkwardly share the space of social gatherings with minimal shifty glances from mutual friends. Such renditions have left me confused in the past and after experiencing the end of such a serious relationship, I am left flabbergasted at the state of how many relationships end. The transition from a romantic to a platonic relationship between my ex-girlfriend and me was so smooth that I have come to understand that there was no transition at all. It’s not that I loved her, it’s that I love her. Whether or not we are bound in a co-dependent understanding of life doesn’t effect the way I feel for her well-being. I still provide love through friendship in a different context but with the same eagerness. We were planning a future together and now we talk about our separate futures, giving each other advice about the women we hope to find. We still visit bars together as friends but now we swap stories about hot women we meet and share pick up tactics from two different gender perspectives. Finally, we still visit lesbian events at the infamous Church Street in Toronto with our lesbian and bisexual friends as we always did, but now as two single individuals ready to frolic about pumping our fists to her potential hook ups.
The previous point raises just as much eyebrows as hearing how happy I am about my role in my ex’s realization. Since I have many lesbian and bisexual friends I am often invited to lesbian nights at gay bars. When I was with her, we would go and always have a great time dancing and drinking without the excess of creepy men hitting on her when I turn around to chat with a friend. Through our experiences she was able to see how normalized same sex encounters are in many circles, including my circle of friends. I have always showed absolute love and respect for friends that engage in same sex relationships and also support for them when some individuals or groups treat their relationship from an outdated, ignorant perspective. She told me that most importantly, I opened her eyes her a new world, where she was able to understand how she identifies by visualizing it. The way I conduct myself also proved the support that gays and lesbians get from loving friends. Our encounters with the LGBTQ community was common throughout our relationship and it had no effect to the love we had and have for each other. After our amicable discontinuation she was able to contemplate her sexual orientation without the weight of being involved with a boyfriend. Within just a week after we broke up, I was able to see the excitement and fulfillment in her eyes with accepting her sexual orientation.
The relationship and how it ended was a hell of an experience for both of us. I learned that previous romantic relationships can be fruitful platonic ones, as long as the couple understands that love does not have to be lumped in to the romantic and platonic dichotomy that consumes our culture. I learned that if you love someone, helping their self discovery is the most rewarding feeling that you can experience. Also swapping hook up stories with your ex is just as fun and hilarious as anyone could expect. I can proudly say that my ex-girlfriend is a lesbian, and I couldn’t be happier.
*Proof read, revised, and approved by my ex-girlfriend.