Life

The Straight Relationship That Made Me Realise I Am Gay

There was no need for debate or justification. He didn’t get angry or make comments about leading him on. He just said simply, “We both know you’re gay.”

This Valentine’s Day, Uni Junkee is sharing stories about our love lives – all the triumphs, realisations, heartbreaks and really cringey stuff that we all experience in our early 20s. It sure is a jungle out there, but hopefully these stories make you feel a little less alone in it. 

We met while working at a tech store. He played in a band. I had just finished a long-term relationship with a man and was casually “testing the waters” with a woman. I was still unsure of where my sexuality sat in the bubble of sexual desire but I knew this cool, sweet and interesting creature was someone worth getting to know, someone I could see myself with.

Months flew by and I grew fonder of him every day. We watched Seinfeld, spent time with his mum and I would follow him around at gigs, watching with pride as he played his music on stage for the hundreds of fans. The lifestyle was everything a 20-year-old could have asked for: late nights, new experiences and a partner I adored.

One night, past the time we should have both been asleep, he messaged me asking if he could come over. Without a mention of why, I knew the reason behind his late night visit. I knew the conversation we were about to have. I knew why it needed to be there and then. He was nice about the whole thing. There was no need for debate or justification. He didn’t get angry or make comments about leading him on. He just said simply and without angst, “We both know you’re gay.”

The Person I Thought I Should Be

The Straight Relationship That Made Me Realise I Am Gay

Image: Please Like Me/ABC

When I think about my relationship with my sexuality and what I would consider my “coming out” story, this defining moment was where all the confusing thoughts I’d had for years, my misunderstood needs and social conditioning made sense. Almost instantaneously, I realised how society had a role in how I saw myself. As if, by just being handed a key by someone who saw the real me, I transcended the heteronormative social standards of who I thought I should be, and accepted who I am.

After expressing their sadness about the split, I would say to my friends, “If I was going to be with a man, he was the one I’d choose. He is everything I want in a partner but unfortunately, he is not the right gender.” I knew, no matter how hard I forced myself to enjoy this relationship or lie to myself about my sexuality, who I love and who I’m attracted to is not something I can control. It’s not a switch I can flick.

No Dramatic TV Moment, Just A Slow Realisation

When I get asked about my relationship with him now, people wonder how this experience make me realise I am gay. Did something happen? All I can say is we both just knew. It wasn’t anything dramatic where he caught me looking at women or I found our sexual encounters repulsive. I adored him but I knew we were temporary. Even though I told myself we could be together forever, and how lovely our lives could be, hoping and wishing for the life I thought I should have was only going to cause pain for both of us.

I always look back on this experience as a confirmation I had been true to my desires and myself.

As much as I wanted to, and as easy as it would have been, not forcing myself into a straight relationship, no matter how perfect or beneficial, was a satisfying and self-affirming experience. I had been lying to myself about my most fundamental parts. And even though I needed a push, I always look back on this experience as a confirmation I had been true to my desires and myself. I accepted myself that day. Thank you, Elliott.

(Lead image: Blue Is The Warmest Colour/RTBF)