Home' LOTL : April 2004 Contents ADVICE BY DAWN COHEN
Q I have only been with women for many years, but am now
ambivalent about identifying as a lesbian because I want to see
myself as attracted to a person not to a gender. -- Free Spirit.
A You know that it is the connection with the person not your expectations and
projections on to them that is important, but you are trying to find that human-to-human
connection by dispensing with your lesbianism. Big mistake. There is a very subtle
manifestation of lesbian oppression where lesbianism is seen as narrow, limited or
excluding, and heterosexuality is viewed as more open. Whether you are heterosexual,
homosexual or bisexual there is a limited number of people with whom you can have
meaningful relationships in a lifetime. If they are all female, all male or all red-haired
nervous musicians your psychological task remains the same: to connect with the
essential human being that is both intertwined with and transcendent of their gender
and other characteristics. Focus on that, and you will find what you need.
Q I have been having an Internet relationship with a woman who
has been avoiding me since we met for the first time. I fear it is
because I was once intersex, and now have transitioned. -- Dejected.
A A major attraction of Internet relationships is the safe distance provided by the
computer screen. It is extremely common for an earnestly passionate lover to panic at
the intimacy of meeting in the flesh, and to run away. You are left trying to work out
what went wrong, and everyone in your situation focuses on his or her most vulnerable
area. For you that is your intersex past. No matter what the surface cause of her
distancing, you need to let her go, and explore your own fears of intimacy. Could it be
that you also feel safer behind a computer screen? Work on that and you will find it
easier to attract someone else who can cope with breathing the same air as her lover.
DISPLAYS OF DISAFFECTION
Q My partner is wonderful in many ways, but she always puts me
down in public. I tell her I will leave her if she keeps it up, but that
does not stop her. -- Frustrated.
A There are two ongoing behaviors which will always destroy a relationship, no
matter what else is going well: one is physical violence, and the other is threatening
to leave. Never say you will leave as a way of letting off steam or of cowering your
partner into listening to you. Only say it if you mean it. Otherwise wait for a quiet time,
and explain to your partner how her behavior is impacting on you. Tell her you will
give her time to change, but you do expect her to work on it. Be interested in why she
is doing it. Connection comes through sharing our vulnerability with others, and some
people long for intimacy but are terrified of exposing their own vulnerability. Instead
they expose their partner in public in the futile hope that that will suffice.
The opinions expressed in this column are the personal views of the
writer, they are not intended to be a substitute for professional
medical advice. If you need medical or psychological help please see
your local GP or psychologist.
THERE ARE TWO ONGOING BEHAVIORS WHICH WILL
ALWAYS DESTROY A RELATIONSHIP, NO MATTER WHAT
ELSE IS GOING WELL: ONE IS PHYSICAL VIOLENCE,
AND THE OTHER IS THREATENING TO LEAVE.
NO MATTER WHAT THE SURFACE CAUSE OF HER
DISTANCING, YOU NEED TO LET HER GO, AND
EXPLORE YOUR OWN FEARS OF INTIMACY.
Clinical Member CAPA
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