Real Life Story

People Share Their First Same-Sex Relationship Experience

Topics: Same-Sex,Starting Out,Dating

Relationships can be tricky for anyone, but they can get particularly challenging for those dating the same sex for the first time.

In the Philippines and other parts of Asia, LGBTQ people often have to figure out their relationships while struggling against social and religious norms, and trying to meet traditional family expectations. This can make their first same-sex relationship every bit confusing and challenging as it is romantic and exciting.

Here, we ask people what their first same-sex relationships were like and what they learned from it.

Sam Herrera, 26. Photo: Courtesy of Sam Herrera

Sam Herrera, 26, Entrepreneur

Hey, Sam. What was your first same-sex relationship like?

Sam: I felt so sure, so immediately. I cared for her so deeply, so soon. It’s funny seeing memes about lesbians wanting to move in with each other after meeting each other the first time. Like, OK, yeah, you know what, I get it now. With almost all the guys I dated before her, I was always so hesitant. I didn’t want a relationship. I didn’t want to get serious. I’d get really annoyed and frustrated when anyone wanted something real with me. But I never felt any of that with her. I just wanted to spend all my time getting to know her, opening up to her, laughing with her, making her happy. I just wanted to be with her. Everything felt so natural. It felt so exciting, but it also felt like home.

How was this relationship different from your past relationships?

In my experience, relationships with men and women are pretty much the same. Sometimes, the world will treat you differently depending on whether you and your partner have the same body parts, but the love shared between you two is the same when it gets down to the important stuff. You want to do everything you can to make sure they’re safe, happy, and loved. You get scared, but you open up, you trust, and you guard the secrets they share with you. You laugh a lot, you kiss a lot, you share your dreams and anxieties.

What’s one thing about this relationship that you wish turned out differently?

I wish I was better at showing up for myself. I wanted everything to work so badly, I abandoned myself so often just to make sure she was comfortable. If I could change things, I would build and communicate my boundaries better.

Gabriel Garcia, 25. Photo: Courtesy of Gabriel Garcia

Gabriel Garcia, 25, Baker

Hey, Gabriel. What was your first same-sex relationship like?

Gabriel: My first queer relationship started the day I came out. Looking back now, everything happened quite fast. We got to his condo, started drinking, then he opened up pretty fast about how he just broke up with his toxic ex. Next thing I knew, we were holding hands, and it was the first time in my life my hand fit well in another’s—it was the first time I liked how another’s hand felt in mine. We talked about our dreams and interests, all while perched on top of laundry cages, listening to I Follow Rivers by Lykke Li. The next day, he bought me a matcha frappé, because I told him in passing how much I loved matcha. The funny thing about my first queer relationship was it was the easiest thing I dove into. There was no more hesitation because I faced my truth a couple of hours before it started.

What did you like about this relationship?

My first queer relationship made me discover who I was meant to be. I really am grateful that my first boyfriend made me feel safe and comfortable. It really did feel like two people connected in more ways than one. He made me feel comfortable in my own skin, and more in touch with exploring different sides of masculinity and femininity.

What lessons did you learn from this relationship that you still take with you today?

I learned to give myself a little more room to grow in a healthy manner. I learned how to be more of an authentic person. I am more unapologetic about things that make me who I am, simply because I am more secure about who I am and what I want. I also learned to appreciate myself a lot more. I got more and more comfortable with being by myself.

Anna Bongato, 26. Photo: Courtesy of Anna Bongato

Anna Bongato, 26, Industrial Engineer

Hey, Anna. What’s something about your first same-sex relationship that you’re thankful for?

Anna: My first same-sex relationship only lasted for about a year but, in spite of that short period, it taught me to become more comfortable with my sexuality. It taught me to stand up, not just for my partner but for myself, too. I was not proud of the times I had to lie to my parents, but eventually, when they found out I had a girlfriend, I told them that I won’t force myself to be someone I’m not. I stood up for myself by telling them that I am a good person, have a good relationship with God, get good grades, and perform well in college. I told them that, at the end of the day, they raised a good, smart, loving person, which is what matters the most.

What’s one thing about this relationship that you wish happened differently?

I would definitely change how my parents found out that I was gay. I wish I could go back in time and have control of the timing and decision to come out to them, instead of them discovering I was gay by finding a box of letters from my girlfriend at the time. My parents deserved more respect from me than finding out my sexuality from a box of letters. 

What lessons did you learn from this relationship that you still take with you today?

I learned how to be more open to my partner by communicating my feelings better. I think that is one of the most important things in any relationship. I also learned that first queer relationships are hard, despite your age, because people—and even you yourself—will question if you are sure about your sexuality. Others will judge you by saying “it’s just a phase.” The most important thing to remember is to be in a relationship with someone who makes you happy, treats you with respect, and loves you, regardless of their gender. Love is love, essentially.

Interviews have been edited for length and clarity.

Source: Romano Santos, VICE

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