Although things are starting to progress in a more positive way, it would be fair to say that everything you learn about love, romance and relationships as you are growing up is very much centred around talk of a woman falling in love with a man and living happily ever after. It can be a real shock to the system, then, when you reach a certain age and start to realise that perhaps you don’t share that sentiment. What those old-school teachings don’t tell you is that sexuality is a wide and wonderful spectrum where any kind of attraction and pairing is possible! Here are a few helpful ways to cope when you are questioning your sexuality.
1. Be Open with Yourself
If you can sense that your feelings don’t necessarily match up with what the ‘norm’ is, the last thing you should do it push those thoughts deep within yourself because they are only going to force themselves to the front later on. Be open with yourself and allow your mind to embrace all of the different possibilities that your feelings are suggesting. Be open to having your life change.
2. No Label Obligation
Just because you have identified feelings that aren’t 100% straight, it doesn’t mean that you have to label yourself right away. If you don’t feel immediately part of one letter in the LGBTQ+ spectrum, then leave it open for now. There’s no rush. That is why the recent reclaiming of the word queer is so great. It’s umbrella.
3. Educate Yourself
The more you learn about different sexual orientations and labels, the more comfortable you will start to be with your feelings. The unknown is always daunting and scary, so the more familiar you can make yourself with other people and other information that aligns with your feelings, the better.
4. Connect with Others
You should try to get out there and find your tribe. I don’t necessarily mean looking for people to hook up and experiment with, but more a platonic sense of finding a community that is full of people like yourself. It can be a massive weight lifted when you find you aren’t the only one anymore.
5. No Judgment
They say that practise makes perfect, so it is up to you to explore the possibilities of non-hetero lifestyles without judging yourself or judging those that you come in to contact with. We're all just trying to figure it out, no matter what age you come to your realisation, so try not to do too much over analysing and don’t beat yourself up.
6. No Regrets
There is no doubt that you are going to make poor decisions and make some mistakes on the way to truly discovering yourself, but the trick is to not regret what you do so as long as you aren’t hurting anyone in the process. Be safe, be consensual, and be smart, if you are sticking to those rules, nothing else that you do in your experimentation should be regrettable!
7. Join Groups
No matter what age you are, there are always going to be local or online LGBTQ+ groups that you can join to connect with people going through the same things as you. A shared experience is always more comforting than trying to navigate this alone. Thanks to the internet, there is always going to be someone to talk to if you look in the right places.
8. Stay Strong
Believe me when I say that this confusion doesn’t last forever. When you can finally learn about yourself and be comfortable with your findings, the stress goes away and you are left with what feels like a million new opportunities to get out there and grab.