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Lesbian Relationships: Different Lenses

06 Sep Posted by in Kim Baker | Comments Off on Lesbian Relationships: Different Lenses
Lesbian Relationships: Different Lenses

I am standing on the shoreline of a lovely beach in Maui, carefully reading the signs (hoping to avoid a repeat of what was almost was my last vacation in a surfing accident). I read aloud, “Polarized sunglasses may help you see rocks and other obstacles in the water before entering.” Turning to my partner, whose sunglasses are polarized I quip, “Can you use your magic spectacles and find the danger for us please?” We laugh. And then I spot a beautiful rainbow out over the mountains and point it out, “See that rainbow?” I ask. She turns her head, and then her whole body around, puzzled. “I see nuthin,” she shrugs. “It’s right there!” I insist, pointing. I can see her eyes squinting behind her glasses. She shrugs. “Nope.” “Here,” I hand her my sunglasses, “Try my non polarized lenses”. She smirks, giving me the skeptical eyebrow raise. Still, she puts them on and mutters quietly, “Oh there it is.”

Later, as I swim and snorkel along the shoreline, it occurs to me that the conflict in dating and relationships is very much like not being able to see the rainbow – sometimes we forget we’re not seeing it through someone else’s lenses. Something happens. You talk about it, you insisting it happened this particular way, while she insists it happened some other particular way. The truth is it happened both ways – we each are just having our own experiences. Brené Brown gives a stellar example of this in her new book, Rising Strong. She tells the story of how, in swimming with her husband in one of her favorite childhood spots, she’s struck with sentimentality and gratefulness for sharing it with him. She tells him so and his response is shockingly abrupt and he swims off. Later, when they talk about this moment, she is hurt and tells him that she was trying to share a sweet moment with him and feels like he blew her off. He is confused and confesses to having a panic attack mid-swim, worrying about speeding boats and recalling a terrifying nightmare he had about their children being hurt in the water. It was like she was wearing the glasses and he wasn’t and they didn’t even know they were seeing the experience from two different lenses. I can’t help but wonder how this plays out on a larger scale in dating and relationships. I think back to some of the darkest, ugliest conflicts I have had with my exes. A few were red flags or some sort of abuse. But the majority of all conflicts over a lifetime of love and dating seem to come down to one thing – different lenses.

How does this phenomenon play out in your dating and relationship life? How do you deal with differences in perspective? I’d love to hear from you. Share your thoughts in the comment box below or to read more about dating and relationships, check out Girls’ Guide to Healthy Dating. Kim Baker, author of Girls’ Guide to Healthy Dating: Between the Breakup and the Next U-Haul, is a dating columnist and writer whose writing examines healthier dating through the lens of mindfulness and self-care. Find her at or join her email list by texting gg2dating to 22828, message and date rates may apply.

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