Dating a woman for the first time was every bit of magical as it is to experience something new, and it feel so familiar and so right all at once. But the feelings of love and wanting were eventually forced to compete with my own insecurities and body image issues—ones that I was able to successfully combat while dating men.
So why, when everything else was so much easier with a woman than is was with a man, did I feel worse about my body in a same-sex relationship?
Now, I’ve always had problems with my body. I’ve looked in the mirror and yearned to see something different. I’ve looked at other women’s bodies and yearned to have something similar. But the beauty of a healthy relationship is that you learn to trust that your partner sees you often more positively than you’ve ever seen yourself. In past relationships, I let this trust feed my confidence.
But in my first relationship with another woman, it wasn’t enough.
Instead, I was constantly comparing myself to her. I envied her naturally lean frame, a metabolism lightyears faster than my own, and her ability to put on anything and look great. She didn’t feel the need to adhere to society’s expectations for women—something that I desperately tried to mirror but of which I often fell short.
She never had to work out. I had a gym membership I could barely afford. Her idea of three square meals a day was no breakfast, a Snickers bar midday and three pounds of crawfish for dinner. I often tracked my food in an app or guilted or restricted myself when I had too much to eat.
My body image issues were multiplying as I fought to hold on to my relationship. I feared that I would reveal my bitterness in frustration.
But she was already catching on.
Perhaps it was my not changing in front of her, or only wearing certain clothes when I came to visit. I knew what I was doing but refused to do anything to change it. I was perpetuating a double standard all because I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin. Had she been a man, I wouldn’t have compared myself to her so intensely. Had she been a man, I would have believed her when she said she loved what I looked like.
My worsening insecurities contributed to the demise of our relationship. It caused feelings of mistrust and miscommunication. Add long distance, and it was harder than ever for us to survive. When we were around each other, which was seldom, the time was wasted while I worried about what I looked like. When we were apart, I refused to be honest about what I was feeling. Her intuition made it worse. I was essentially lying.
While some people date those of the same sex (or anybody for that matter) and find comfort in their body, I did not. I let the competition that often pervades feminine relationships bleed into my romantic one. And, instead of it making me better, it made me worse.
I think back to when I was with this person and wonder what would have changed had I been upfront. I’ve come to think that it would have made us closer—perhaps so close that we would still be together today.
And it is for that reason that I know insecurity isn’t worth it. It’s not worth hiding from the person you love just to feel comfort.
I should have found comfort in the person I loved.