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On a scale from 1 to 5, my life is a 4. Here's why.

In 2015, after years of bad dates, no relationships, anger at the world and deep self-esteem issues, I finally came to terms with my reality; I’m not straight. At 26 years old, without ever having mentioned to anyone that I had been having (and denying) romantic feelings for women my entire life, I fell in love with someone who changed my life. Her name was Nina*, and she was captivating.

We started working together in late 2014 and became fast friends. She was from out of town and had a boyfriend who lived overseas, so she spent all her free time with me, and it quickly became apparent to me that I had feelings for her. And while this wasn’t the first time I had accepted to myself that I was having feelings for a woman, it was the first time that I thought those feelings were being reciprocated, as Nina was always loving, flirty and seductive with me. One night, drunk on happiness, love and maybe some wine, I told her I was thinking of dating women. After that, she turned the seduction game up, and while we never acted on anything and things just simply didn’t work out (mostly because I would never get involved with someone in a relationship), knowing that I was so capable of loving a woman was enough for me to come out to my family and friends.

Coming out made me truly understand who I am and why I was so angry at the world and had so much self-loathing. I’m much more honest with myself and others about my feelings nowadays, and I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. However, now more than ever, I have this nagging feeling that I’m going to be single for the rest of my life. But shouldn’t that feeling be the opposite now that I am finding my true place in the world?

When I was a teen, I dreamt of being married by 25 but when my 20s hit, it became apparent that no guys wanted to date me, and I only wanted to date guys in theory. I wanted a relationship, a marriage, kids, a family, but the thought of sex with a guy, and the act itself, was less than appealing. Around 23-years old, it became very clear to me that I would just never find anyone to spend my life with. When I came out, suddenly a new world of possibilities opened up again, and for a while I became optimistic about my romantic future.

It’s been 2 years, and not much has happened on that front. Sure, it took me about a year to get over Nina, but since then, I’ve started to feel like I’m more alone than ever now. Before, I would at least be able to find a guy to make out with if I was feeling extra lonely and though it was never truly satisfying or enjoyable, it was better than this current feeling of being completely shut off from the world. No one has touched me in almost 3 years. My therapist calls me a “theoretical lesbian” because I’ve never actually been with a woman romantically or sexually, but I know that I’m 100% not straight, and more than likely 100% gay. I don’t know any gay women in the area, I’ve tried tinder and hated it, and I have begun expanding my friend circle, but I can’t seem to meet any eligible gay women. So yes, life holds a lot more possibilities for me now, and a lot less as well.

To top it off, since my family and friends always thought I was straight, they don’t seem to believe that I’m not. They think that because I’ve had such a lackluster dating life with men, I’ve resorted to women. They also think that I’m claiming to like women so I don’t have to date at all. That this is how I’m protecting myself from rejection. Of course, none of that is true. But how do I make them understand if I’m always single and can’t picture a future, near or far, where dating a woman will be a possibility for me?

Some weeks ago, I was asked (by a Buzzfeed quiz – don’t judge) on a scale from 1 to 5, how together I thought my life was. I rated it a 4. If you had asked me this question in 2014, I would have said 2. Coming out has filled me in a lot of ways, and I would never want to go back to denying who I am to others or worse, to myself. But being single seems like my fate, and I need to find a way to come to terms with that, and be able to rate my life a 5 out of 5 even without a partner, or a family.

So now it’s time to find ways to fill that void. But how can I accept being single forever without giving up hope? Are these mutually exclusive? Ugh, society…

*Name was changed for anonymity.

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