BY RUTH L. SCHWARTZ, PH.D.
Help! I always end up with bisexual women who end up leaving me for men. This is the fourth time it’s happened! In the beginning they always gush on and on: “You’re so beautiful, you’re such a goddess” and I fall for it every time. Then later they’re like “Well, I’m sorry, I really like you, but…” My heart can’t take this any more! What is wrong, and how can I fix it??
Ouch. That does sound incredibly painful. I am so sorry you are going through this.
The issue really isn’t that your partners are bisexual, though. (Bisexual women are just as capable of committing to one partner as anyone else.) We hear from lots of women who have similar patterns that play out just a little differently. For instance, “I always fall for women that aren’t over their exes yet,” or “I always fall for women who are poly, even though I want a monogamous relationship,” or “I always fall for women who live far away.”
So, let’s look at what these scenarios have in common. They all involve someone who thinks, “I’m here, I’m available, my heart is open – why can’t I meet my match?”
What I’ve discovered time and time again, both in my personal experience and with my therapy clients, is this:
When you feel like you’re saying Yes and the universe is saying No, the truth is that somewhere inside of you, there is also a big loud No – and that’s what the universe is echoing.
Please know that I’m not saying you want or deserve this situation. Of course you don’t want it or deserve it. And it’s not your “fault.” Yet somewhere inside of you, there are beliefs, fears or needs that are leading you to re-create it, to get drawn into it, again and again.
Now, it can be very painful to face this truth – but ultimately it’s a joyful and empowering truth, because it means that since you have been (unconsciously) creating your own suffering, you have the power to change it! (Which is part of why we at Conscious Girlfriend love to say, “You have the power to transform your relationship destiny!”)
Here is an exercise I often do with clients to help them locate that inner “No.” If you’re brave enough, you can even do it by yourself. Here’s how.
Let yourself get into a calm, centered, meditative state. Relax, breathe deeply, feel the surfaces underneath you, remember your connection to the earth, and to yourself. Place a hand on your own heart. Come into your body as fully as you can.
Then try on a preview of what you believe you want. Say to yourself, “Okay, I’ve met my match. She is completely, 100 percent available. She’s single and unattached, she lives nearby, I’m just her type, she’s just my type, she’s perfect for me and she’s totally into me. All systems are GO.”
Now, closely observe what happens in your body. Is there a feeling of loosening, opening, a whole-body YES? Or is there any part of you that tightens up, shuts down, goes into disbelief, fear, numbness?
If it feels like 100 percent of you is saying “Yes,” just stick with the image. Let yourself really try on the scenario in technicolor. Let the movie keep running – in fact, see if you can invite it off the movie screen and into your body. Imagine as fully as you can, “She’s real. She’s here. She’s available. Nothing stands in the way of our having a full partnership.”
I would bet a large sum of money that as you continue to try this on, you will start to notice some part of you that balks, that closes up.
I remember when this really became clear to me in my own life. I was on my third relationship in a row with someone who wasn’t fully available. I’m a creative person, so at least I had varied the pattern a bit. The first time, my girlfriend led me to believe she was single, but somehow, her last live-in girlfriend believed they were still together. (Huh?!) Then she stayed out drinking with another ex till 5:00 a.m. Then she moved across the country. Then she ended up moving back in with the woman whom she had supposedly broken up with shortly before we met. I was madly in love with her, and totally shattered.
My next girlfriend appeared infinitely more available. Her unavailability was much more subtle. Over time, she stopped hugging me when we saw each other. She stopped wanting sex. She became withdrawn and mean.
And the girlfriend after that was officially unavailable. She had a primary partner with whom she was no longer sexual, from whom she’d obtained permission to have a lover on the side – and because I was trying to heal this pattern of mine (even though I didn’t know it at the time!), I signed on to be her once-a-week love muffin – although that wasn’t what I wanted at all.
So, what was at the bottom of this? I’ll cut to the chase, though it took a lot of self-exploration and some work with my healer to get there. My father was loving, but also invasive and sexually abusive; my mother was loving, but often fearful and unhappy – and she had poor boundaries, so her feelings oozed onto and into me. This set me up to want and expect love, but also to believe I had to protect myself from it. In essence, I created an energetic “electric fence” around myself to keep both my parents out. I felt safe that way, but also very, very lonely — which made me more and more desperate to connect with others. But since I didn’t really trust them not to invade or abuse me, I kept my fence up. This meant that the truly available women I longed for couldn’t get to me — because the fence kept me from being available. So I only attracted women who, like me, were ambivalent about connection.
Are you still with me here?
Once I really understood this pattern and took full responsibility for it, I could finally heal it. I had to do some inner child work to let my younger self know it could be safe to be close. That took a number of hypnotherapy sessions, and some intense emotion. But things shifted.
Then I played out the opposite side of the pattern with the next few women I (briefly) dated. They tried to glom onto me immediately, and I became the “unavailable” one for them! I learned a lot from that, and it helped me understand even better why it had felt safer to me to be always yearning than to feel swallowed, engulfed and invaded.
But to tell you the truth, both sides of the equation felt bad. So I did a smart thing: I stepped way back and took some time off from relationships. I spent a couple of years single, really working on being connected to myself.
And then I met Michelle, and we’ve lived happily ever after.
(Seriously, of course Michelle and I have growing, learning and healing to do together, too. But it’s fascinating to me to see that when this issue of “availability” does surface between us, it’s only the palest, faintest shadow of its former self. Michelle is deep, sweet warm and present, but when she gets overwhelmed, she has a tendency to kind of fade out, or pull back into herself like a turtle into its shell for a little while, and sometimes I notice just the tiniest little twang of a trigger in myself. But we can both recognize what’s going on, talk it through, take the space we need, and then joyfully, lovingly and consciously re-connect.)
I hope this personal story is helpful to you, S.D. Your own particulars are undoubtedly different, but I’d bet that when you look closely enough, you’ll find a part of yourself that says No to closeness (as well as the part you’re more aware of, that yearns for it.) That means you’ve got a split intention – which is kind of like having one foot on the gas, and another on the brake. The “vehicle” of your relationship life just can’t get very far that way. So the answer lies in doing more healing around whatever in you has led you to re-create this pattern – so that you can find the truly satisfying love you want and deserve.
I’m rooting for you!
Learn more about bisexual dating, including bisexual stigmas and how to connect with queer and open-minded folks