I'm going to start this with a bit of a disclaimer. I don't really think in terms of labels or orientation. Love is love, be it same or opposite sex. I'm also something of a bad example I guess. In terms of pure numbers and experience (what little I've had) I'm told I'm a Lesbian. Heck I've even had people break up with me because I was a Lesbian. The vast majority of my history has been with women, all have ended badly with me getting hurt. The one man I dated, I married, and he in effect killed me.
Prior to Earl, I was something of a "Militant Radical Lesbian Feminist" of the Man Hating variety. Not because I said so, but because other folks figured that out and decided the label fit.
Earl was a Man "trapped" in a DES body. He more or less "passed" as female when he really put his mind to it, but otherwise he was a dude. Through and through, no question about it. He was also suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Not because I say so, or because anyone in the medical field says so, but because in the years since he killed me, I've found out from reading. So he "suckered me in" sold me someone he wasn't, couldn't and would never be in order to get from me what he wanted. I fell for it hook, line and sinker. And because he was passing mostly as a woman at the time I was head over heals stupid in love before I found out his little secret. Now I'm not a bigot, far from it, I love people. Doesn't matter what the details are, but I just love people. I'm a very social creature by nature, and this has only grown stronger with time. I don't know if it would have made a difference if I'd known from day one he was male, but I certainly would have been WAY, WAY more cautious.
So when we started dating, I thought I was dating a woman. I thought I was falling in love with a woman, again. It was nothing new to me. Every serious relationship I'd had before Earl was with women. In the purest sense of labels, that makes me a die hard lesbian. Before Earl I'd never been with a guy. Admittedly because I had a very unhealthy attitude toward men. The person I was in those days used to say quite seriously that "Men should be kept in cages when not being used, other wise kept on a very short leash, and beaten regularly just so they know their place." Pathetic yes, also a bit prophetic too, because that was in essence what Earl believed about women, and spent more than a decade of my life doing to me.
So like I say, I went into the relationship with blinders on, and a false sense of who I was dating. A big part of that is my own fault and I get that. I'm attracted - even still somewhat to this day - to men who are bad for me. Guys like my Dad. Which is part of why I'm in no rush to start dating anytime soon. I'm still healing and looking at how I wound up HERE instead of where I wanted to go with my life. I want to avoid making the same mistake again.
So as part of my healing and growth process I started to fall back on the whole man hating lesbian thing in my post Earl life. My sister pulled me up short and read me the riot act. "Little or no experience, or one bad experience with men should not be a reason to be a lesbian, let alone a venomous man hating type. You're too old for this crap, I put up with it from you for years, enough okay?" She then launched into the details of why it was so much harder to be a lesbian, and how it cuts down on my options for a serious relationship. She also went into the whole thing of lesbian drama, and how it just spools out endlessly and that Lesbians are more crazy than men. She also argued that I was straight, had always been and was in denial. "At best Sam your a straight leaning Bi girl, but a lesbian? Nah, you're just too straight to be a lesbian."
Wow, well thanks ever so much for the vote of confidence.
Now, in my experience, on balance, lesbians are no more or less "crazy" than men. In fact anytime you bring two people together regardless of the details, there is going to be some drama.
Case in point, my sister (the one of great lectures above) is in a highly dysfunctional relationship with someone who is almost as bad for her as Earl was for me. It's a matter of degrees I guess.
But it, and a comment I made elsewhere on the web, got me thinking. First the comment I made:
Am I asking too much to want one who's smart, funny, AND cares about other people feelings? Someone who is sensitive and empathetic? Passionate about something other than TV and sports? Some who's actually emotionally invested in relationships? Who will get to know me? Someone who will know when to shut the heck up and hold me instead of badgering me with how HE thinks I should SOLVE the problem?
Oh good God, I sound like a lesbian!
So all relationships have an equal chance of being bad for one, of causing one pain, and while I am attracted to men, some of the things I need most from a relationship seem to be, somewhat, shall we say elusive in men's country. My sister for example who is very out about being Bi decided that in terms of social issues, relationship issues, and over all acceptance that it was just easier to be heteroish.
But the very drama she was expounding on when it comes to relationships with women, I've also seen in equal mesures with men, and it doesn't seem to be doing her any good.
So if there is going to be relationship drama regardless of who you're dating, what difference does the gender of that person make? Relationship drama is drama, regardless of the type, and so in the spirit of Carrie Bradshaw I ask you. Does orientation really matter?
In my case, I wonder if the things I most need and want in a relationship are even possible with a guy. Now admittedly I'm not going to base everything on one toxic psychopath. I mean I have two sisters that are happily married, so I know it's possible. I've even met some amazing men (some of whom read this, you know who you are) so I know they exist, but so far, they're all married or taken. Plus I'm not really in a rush to start dating. But still. The question remains:
Does gender in a relationship make that big a difference? Or is it like Spock said, "A difference that makes no difference, is no difference." Is the potential for drama a reson not to date someone? Especially when there are good reasons to date someone? I no longer buy into the concept of what society thinks about who I love or don't. So then it becomes a question of are there any real reasons not to date half the population if or when I ever get back to "dating?"
Right now I'm still working on getting over the need to throw up when I even think about someone getting too close to me. I'll get there. I mean I've made huge amounts of progress in the years since Earl, and I have hope that one day I'll be healed enough to consider a serious relationship. Sometimes, hope has to be enough cause it's all I have.