Description: I survived unrequited love, and you can too

A while back, I developed a crush on a female friend who was completely, avowedly straight.* It happened so slowly I didn’t even notice it happening until she said she loved me, and I was suddenly overcome with rage and then despair.

I think it was the casual way she said it, like “oh haha I did it cause I love you,” not really thinking about what she was saying. I wanted to say, “how dare you say that to me, how dare you, you have no idea what that means to me.”

My anger surprised me. I didn’t say anything, just laughed, remembered something I needed to be doing far away from her, and left. I didn’t speak to her for days while I sorted myself out.

Nothing can make you hate yourself quicker than developing a crush on a straight woman. It doesn’t matter how close you get to her or how much she likes you. She’s not attracted to you. She has a boyfriend. She will always choose her boyfriend over you, every time, because he’s a man and you’re a woman and she likes men and not women. It’s as simple as that, and fuck, it’s painful.

You might hold out hope that she’s secretly gay or bisexual, but what’s the ideal outcome there? Even if she does like women, she might not like you, and even if she does, she might rather stay closeted. If she does like you and she doesn’t want to stay closeted, do you really want to be her first girlfriend? Remember what a wreck you were when you were coming out? If you had to hold her hand through that, would you still be in love with her a year later?

I thought about all the things I liked about my friend. I thought about the warm, rosy feeling I got in my chest when she walked into a room. I thought about all of the kind things she did for me, like bringing me extra tomatoes from her garden, covering for me at work when I needed to leave early, laughing at my jokes, not correcting my French when I tried to order wine.

In a way, she did love me. She loved me in the only way she could. She was giving me a gift, and even though it wasn’t exactly the gift I wanted, she was giving it to me freely, just because she wanted me to have it.

I was angry with her because the gift I wanted to offer her in return contained all of the best parts of me, and she had no use for the best parts of me. And that was okay, actually. Nobody owes you gratitude for offering her a gift she doesn’t even want. That’s not what gifts are for.

That day, I finally stopped hating myself for being a lesbian.

I saw my friend again recently. I still love her, fiercely, but in a slightly different way– like a real appreciation for who she is and a quiet determination to be on her side no matter what.

Lesbians can love women in a way nobody else can, without needing to possess them, often without the expectation of getting anything back. If you’re a lesbian who has survived a straight girl crush, be proud of yourself– you can graciously accept a woman’s “no,” something the rest of the world still hasn’t figured out how to do.

*Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is purely coincidental. If you are a straight woman and you are my friend, I promise I have never thought of you that way, and if I had, you would know because I would tell you, unless that freaks you out, in which case, I would definitely never ever tell you. If I did like you that way. Which I don’t. Back to the top.

– Bit Blair