19 April 2020

What if I stay in this relationship for the rest of my life, and never have any experiences with other people, or with people of other genders?

I’ve been in a relationship with a queer female person for a year now. I’ve never been in any other relationship. We’re in a very happy and healthy relationship together. But, I’m worried about the future. What if I stay in this relationship for the rest of my life, and never have any experiences with other people, or with people of other genders? I feel badly for thinking this way, but the both of us starting CEGEP has me thinking of my future. My partner and I talk about everything, but I don’t want her to feel like I don’t want to be with her by telling her this. Though they’re very supportive of my queerness, my parents might like the idea of me “trying a relationship with a boy too”, so I feel like they aren’t the best people to ask. And I have no queer adults in my life to look up to who. I don’t know what I should do or who I should talk to.

Matthew Scott
Hi Mia
Thank you for trusting AlterHeros with your questions.
You mentioned that you are in a happy and healthy relationship and I’m thrilled to hear that. Your concern is that if you stay in your current relationship that you will miss out on some experiences. This is a valid concern that comes up in many long term relationships, but can feel especially concerning when you’re in your first relationship. There’s also another layer here for you as a queer person.
As queer people, our early relationships often coincide with the development of our queer identity. We are in the process of navigating our queerness, both on our own and with our partner(s), and that can lead to a more nuanced relationship. Going through this journey of self discovery with a partner has a tendency to bond us to that person in a meaningful way. It’s wonderful to have a happy, healthy relationship and you’re fortunate to have someone to go through this stage of your life with as a young queer person. That said, a good relationship can bring up feelings of guilt when we begin to wonder what our life could be outside of that relationship.
These early queer relationships, whether they last forever or not, can be fundamental to our identity and the ways that we approach relationships going forward. The fact that your first relationship is fulfilling makes it sound to me like it’s a wonderful foundation for your future regardless of how long the relationship lasts. I want to be clear that early relationships can have an impact on anyone, queer or not, but that being queer can add some nuance to the situation.
You’re at a time where the future is on your mind, and there are a lot of changes that are happening for you right now. It’s completely normal to be wondering how your current relationship will fit into your changing reality as you grow and get to know yourself. Although it’s tempting to cling to the idea that you’re going to be with your partner for life, it’s sometimes helpful to take a step back and recognize that a relationship can be impactful and meaningful even if it doesn’t last forever. Just because you’re unsure if you want this relationship to last forever, doesn’t diminish how important it is to you.
As for who you should talk to about this, I do think that you should consider having a conversation with your partner about these feelings. I understand the fear that comes along with a difficult conversation like that, but the most effective way to figure out how these feelings are going to affect your relationship is by having an honest discussion about them with your partner. It’s important to recognize that the questions you have (and the answers that you’re in the process of finding) will have an effect on your partner as well as you. For a relationship to be successful, both partners should be working to solve issues that arise together.
Although these feelings are yours and you’re not obligated to share them, I think you’ll find working through them together much more effective. My hope is that your partner will understand where you’re coming from and recognize that the way you feel isn’t because she has done anything wrong. These are natural and normal thoughts that a lot of young people in situations like yours are having and even if your partner doesn’t feel the same way, she might be able to relate to the concerns you have. With that said, if you do discuss this with her, make sure that you are patient with her and give her time to process what you are sharing with her. Allow her to feel sad or upset, but reassure her that you’re sharing this with her in order to be transparent and that it’s not necessarily that you don’t want to be with her, but rather that you’re just wondering about what your future holds.  I would also advise you to take some time to think about the things that you get out of your relationship. It’s totally valid to be wondering what you might be missing out on, but it can also be important to reflect on what you do have.
I want to conclude by asking that you be patient with yourself, and with your partner. Your feelings are normal, and not something you need to feel guilty about. At the same time, if you choose to share them with your partner, it’s important to give her time to process the situation and also to be open to a number of possible reactions.
Good luck with everything, and please feel free to write us again in the future.
All the best,
Matt at AlterHeros