For as long as I can remember my favorite love stories are the ones with my female friends. I feel excited when someone asks me how I met one of my favorite women to relive why I adore them so much. There's A. whom I met when I opened the door with my pants unbuttoned at a house party and said something dumb. Or S., I remember her smile as she walked towards me at an event and I knew the only reason I went was to meet her. I met L. at a Burning Man meeting and I just lit up inside when we spoke. Or the ones like with N. where we circled for a while before fully connecting and now I can't fathom not knowing her.
In a world that implies erotic and intimate moments should be most shared with a romantic partner, I naturally put this life force energy into my female friendships...and I get the most back. I come from a long line of women who valued groups of women and female friendships--it is my favorite inheritance. My mother and grandmother and aunts in sororities and Junior League...touting its value for building relationships outside of romantic partnerships as a way of making them last. I loved when my sister, Dad, and I needed to leave the house every few months for one of my mom's many women's book club meetings.
I suppose my February 13 Galentine's Day confession, is that I have loved more women than men, and I hope to keep it that way. In a world where women are often pitted against each other or taught that marriage is our saving grace and an antidote to loneliness, I feel proud that I invest more time and energy into my female friendships. Many of my friends are my greatest muses, soulmates, and love teachers.
I feel sad when other women talk about their difficulties connecting with other women, and I can certainly see why. We may we expect female relationships to be easy. But that isn't possible, as close relationships of any kind are riddled with our attachment issues, insecurities, and shadows. I often find we may have a higher tolerance for discomfort or unkindness in romantic relationships and therefore may dismiss or end friendships more quickly because they may be valued consciously or unconsciously as less than.
In addition, groups of women are notoriously accused of gossiping and creating cliques, though I’ve noticed them in every community I’ve ever been in. Both behaviors serve a purpose for bonding in relationships and large groups. While yes, it can be taken to unhealthy extremes, according to studies at the University of California at Berkeley, gossip also cultivates a sense of trust and relieves stress. As for cliques, creating intimacy with 100 women at once would be impossible, smaller groups often form as a way of being closer to those with more shared interests as well as help establishes aspects of identity and belonging. No group in the world will be without its shadow sides, no matter the gender, and these two aspects illustrate that even negative aspects have their positive side.
Sometimes I wonder if I've avoided romantic partnership or attempted to stay safe in some way, by emphasizing my friendships so much and not spending a lot of time dating. Truth be told, I have learned the most about healthy, secure attachment through my friendships. Now I can recognize availability in romantic partners more easily than before, and my connection well is so full that I can be more discerning and less desperate. Now with several close female friends I am much better partnership material than I was before. That and I am a late bloomer.;)
But also, I am afraid of the repeating the past. My last committed, romantic partnership ended almost 5 years ago and it was a love story of two lonely people who came together online to find connection. And yet I felt the most lonely I had ever felt because I wanting all of my needs met by one person. Now, that is my worst nightmare, I want a life where my friendships and romantic partner all nourish me in different ways and were my erotic, life-giving force moves through in many directions versus a flooding stream in romantic partnership.
To me Galentine's isn't just a day to celebrate female friendships, but a reminder that they aren't meant to replace romantic partnerships, but offer even more ways to fall in love.
*This post is dedicated to own birth sister for telling me she was bored with my astrology posts and missed when I was more personal and vulnerable.;) Love you sissy, for all the times we disagree, are snippy, fight, and come back into connection. You are my most important soulmate and female friend.
** I wrote this from my straightish perspective and would never speak to the relational dynamics among the GLBTQIA-identified community.