Lesbian relationship and sex expert Dr. Glenda Corwin answers our questions!
Dear Dr. Glenda,
Last night I got an email from a woman I was crazy about last year. I don’t know how to respond. Last year she said I was too clingy, and then she just stopped calling me back. I’ve worked hard to accept this and move on–but now I get this email where she says she’s “making amends” because the way she disappeared wasn’t right, and she wanted to apologize. I accepted her apology, said I didn’t hold bad feelings toward her, and that was the end of the email exchange. But now I’m confused–does she want to start up again? Should I write and tell her I’d like to try a fresh start? I still have big feelings for her…Why would she write me if she doesn’t want to see me again?
First of all, I think you handled that very graciously. You accepted her apology, let her know you’re not holding a grudge, and closed kindly. That was perfect–and it was enough.
Sometimes confusion is a cover for feelings you don’t want to have, like rejection, loss, disappointment. It’s easy to start reading between the lines and inserting what you wish you were hearing. That usually doesn’t work out. It’s best to just take people at face value–like you did with your first response. But to go back and ask if there’s a possibility for more is setting yourself up to be accused of being too clingy, again. And here’s the thing: I don’t know if you’re too clingy, or not–but it does seem that this woman perceived you that way, so anything you do in an effort to draw closer is going to get interpreted as “There you go again.” It may make her feel good–”See how she wants me!”–but it’s basically demeaning to you and can’t possibly be good for your self esteem.
What is good for your self esteem is when you realize that you respect yourself enough to not chase someone who’s not meeting you halfway, and when you have the courage to walk away from an invitation to grovel. It may be sad, but it’s not toxic, and it opens the way for a relationship of mutual respect. So good for you for your first response, and stick to it!
Glenda Corwin, Ph.D is a clinical psychologist who specializes in lesbian sexual issues. She is the author of Sexual Intimacy for Women: A Guide for Same Sex Couples (Seal Press, 2010). Dr. Corwin writes for the Huffington Post: Gay Voices, Epochalips.com, as well as her own blog on www.DrGlendaCorwin.com. She presents frequently at professional conferences, and is a regular guest on Barb Elgin’s LesbianLoveTalk radio program.