Most of the straight women we know don’t expect their men to be able to communicate well. And that’s a good thing — because in general, largely because of socialization, most men don’t communicate about their feelings very well. That means there are limits to how close their wives and girlfriends can really get.
Many straight women take for granted that they’ll do most of their heart-to-heart sharing with their women friends. They’re willing to divide their lives up that way: they share a home, sex and kids with a man, and get their major emotional closeness elsewhere.
And many straight men are fine with that too! They’re not jealous of their wives’ “girlfriends” (in the way that straight women use that word.) It doesn’t usually bother men that their partners share more emotionally with other women, than they do with them. Often, they’re actually relieved! They get to watch sports and hang out with their guy friends, while their wives do “girly stuff.”
Of course, we’re speaking in generalities here. There are certainly many exceptions to the rule. Some men are better at emotional closeness than some women! But the picture we’ve painted above is pretty common.
In lesbian relationships, so much is different…
For one thing, two women together are much more likely to “merge” than a man and a woman. This means that when things are going well, we can feel the deepest, most blissful sense of connection… like we’re one person instead of two. But when things aren’t going well, it feels devastating – even more so than in straight relationships. Lesbians generally want and expect a much higher degree of emotional connection, and much better communication, with their partners, than straight women do.
The good news is, we can have what we want! Lesbian relationships can be the closest, most loving, deepest relationships on the planet…
… but only if you both know how to communicate in ways that help your partner hear you, and also help you hear her.
The bad news is, if you don’t have those communication skills, lesbian relationships can be among the worst on the planet. Drama, push-pull, lies, huge fights, affairs, betrayal, heartbreak, endlessly breaking up and then “trying again,” over and over and over – well, all of this can happen between people of all orientations, for sure. But we see an awful lot of it between lesbians. Because more closeness is possible between us – and because we want and expect more from each other – two women can also break each others’ hearts much more deeply.
Now, it doesn’t have to go that way. Heartbreak is preventable. Lesbian relationships can be healthy, happy, stable, sane, nourishing and life-long. But only when you’ve got the right skills! This is why Michelle and I are so passionate about helping members of our community become “conscious girlfriends”. Find out more by looking at our live and online classes and coaching.