There was a steep learning curve when I got into my first relationship with a woman. Even though I had had sex with women before, I only started going on dates with women a few years ago — and very quickly got into my first relationship with a woman. And in a lot of ways, it's not as different as you might think, in comparison to heterosexual relationships. We hang out, we go out, we have tifs, we get over them, and we're building a life together. The biggest change about being with a woman isn't the relationship itself — it's how other people responded to us.
That's not to say that same-sex relationships are the same or are treated the same — they're all as different as the people involved in them. And some same-sex relationships will have challenges that I've never experienced. But more often than not, femme couples are faced with a particular type of judgment, simply because we don't fit the stereotypical idea of what lesbians "should" be like. And it can lead to its own set of stressors that are necessary to address as a couple.
As mental health professional, activist, and leading LGBT expert Kryss Shane, MS, MSW, LSW, LMSW says, it can be helpful to decide before the situation occurs how and if you'll respond. "This is the creation of a boundary within the relationship," she says. No one is owed a response or access to personal information, but by "prioritizing a shared boundary with your partner over the curiosities of others," you'll be setting yourselves up for lowered anxiety and stress. And less rage.
As a couple who both read as femme, we've gotten some real zingers coming our way. Here are the things I wish people would stop staying to me and my partner.