By C.K. Larsen
You should know that I am terrible at dating. I’m in my thirties
now and haven’t entered the dating scene for at least ten years.
Thankfully, I’ve been married to a wonderful, supportive husband, who loves me for who I am. I suffer from depression and
anxiety, so large crowds and socializing with new people are not
exactly fun for me. This has only increased over the last several
years. So, if forced to utilize the current tools in the dating
world, then I definitely would’ve ended up alone with a bunch
of cats and been completely okay with it. There is no doubt in
my mind about this.
Years after my mother’s divorce, when she felt comfortable
reentering the dating scene, I would glance at her inbox with
her and be absolutely horrified. As stated, I’m not the greatest
in the dating world or a smooth talker by any stretch of the
imagination, but some of the messages had the worst pick-up
lines I’ve ever heard. They should’ve remained far down in the
depths of terrible Hollywood satire that can only be spoken in
movies and a mere exaggeration of the truth, but apparently,
they’re real. My mother is straight, so I’m unsure if women flirt
this way too. Either way, I doubt I would’ve used a dating app
for more than a day.
However, searching for a woman to date would’ve been equal
parts exciting and nerve-wracking as my experience in this area is
lacking. My denial lasted until adulthood, despite the numerous
instances that left no doubt that I am in fact bi+.
My first kiss was with my best friend. We told ourselves that
we were just practicing for when we got boyfriends. And more
days than not we were together, even going so far as to visit
each other after I moved away. Yet, after a few years of living so
far apart, the distance took its toll, and eventually we stopped speaking to each other, which was likely due to my bottomless levels of denial.
I had boyfriends throughout most of high school, but when I
had a second boyfriend tell me he was gay, I blamed myself. So
many nights I would fall asleep crying because I just wished to be
“normal” and not wonder about kissing the girls in my school. I
worried that maybe I was just too weird for my past boyfriends.
In my irrational state, I panicked, thinking that maybe those boys
told me that just to end our relationship. Or perhaps somehow I
had changed them, as though my attraction to girls had infected
them somehow. Don’t ask me why I thought that. I’m not sure
I could’ve explained it even back then.
I developed depression and social anxiety in my teen years and
again stuck to dating only guys. It was a weird point in my life
where, while I enjoyed intimacy with my boyfriend, I also had
to push away any urges toward women. I remember dreaming
one night that I slept with a girl and enjoyed the feelings and
connection. However, when I woke up and realized what had
happened, I was immediately flooded with shame. I swore never
to speak of it again.
This embarrassment lasted with me for some time. It wasn’t until
a few years ago that I finally had the courage to speak about it
to my husband. I was somewhat worried due to his Mormon
upbringing, but he is more practical than most and seemed surprised that I’d had reservations about discussing it with him. His
acceptance slowly chiseled away the years of fear and self-loathing
until I no longer worried about who knew anymore. If part of
my family or friends couldn’t accept it, then that was that. I was
tired of playing a role and never feeling like myself.
In some ways, I wish my younger self could’ve been braver. I
sometimes wonder what my life would’ve been like if I had
dated women. But if things had been different and it meant
that I could not be with my husband, then I’d do the same
thing all over again. And while it has been a bit of a wild ride
in my marriage at times, I love how he supports me no matter
what. I wish I could’ve reassured my younger self that despite
all the pain and heartache, it turns out so much better than I
ever expected. Because, in the end, the only person that had to
accept me was me.
C.K. Larsen is a bi+ fantasy writer with a debut novel, Theme Song
Panic, available on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited. They’ve won
awards in the On My Own Time Awards with the DFW Business
Council of Arts and with the SFF category of the Writers’ League
of Texas Manuscript Contest. Check out more at: ck-larsen.com.