gay endings

I remember reading a break-up book for lesbians in a taxicab. It was my book, not something I found near the rubber floor matting.  It was raining.  I pulled my knees to my chest as we drove down fifth avenue.  We was me, alone in the back seat, a cab driver taking me to work.  We were stopped at a red light in front of The MET.  It was too early for lines, just staff sweeping in yellow ponchos, a man pushing a pretzel cart opening his red umbrella.  Pigeons hiding under benches.  I was so numb, I could feel everything. I wanted to ditch work and sit at The Stanhope to drink tea and half-sleep it, upright.  Maybe I’d meet a foreigner who’d offer me a tissue or a tea sandwich.  Maybe I’d meet a mother who’d offer me her son.  I wanted to heal; if a new prospect was in the picture, I was certain I’d heal faster.  I know better now.  Now, I just stick to the tea.

I bought the book because surviving a break-up as a lesbian is the same as enduring the ending of any serious relationship.  Despite the years we’d been together, as man and woman, because we weren’t married, it somehow counted less to everyone else.  It shouldn’t have. When it’s divorce, people pay attention and know it’s a big deal.  But when you’re gay, too many people diminish the severity of what you’re dealing with.  They don’t understand your partnership was as profound as any marriage.  Even without the burden of children to consider, it’s still an ending.  The book understood how hard this was for me, how acute my pain was. 

"It’s a break-up; they happen all the time."  With a trivial flip of the hand, your reality is fanned aside as you’re told, "you’ll be back at it in no time," as if that’s the good, healthy thing to do.  It made me feel like a lesbian and anything but gay. 



  1. Hitting chords again here Stephanie.

    (As a lesbian) I too, went through the pain of a break up with my ex-girlfriend. It took me two years to recover fully from it all. I actually was so upset, I had heart palpitations and was sent to the emergency room, because of my anxiety and break down. There was absolutely nothing wrong with me, EKG was fine, echocardiogram showed nothing, and I even wore a heart moniter overnight. Nada. Ziltch. Just anxiety.

    During the time of my break up, I wrote a book called, "A Prayer Away From Healing." It deals with the issues of gays and lesbians (as well as straight people) going through this turmoil from a Christian's perspective.

    I mention how a break up can feel much like a death. The only difference is, your ex is still out there "choosing" not to be with you. It's more of a 'zinger' per se.

    My book is coming out in two weeks, so funny you should mention this 'break up book for lesbians.' The base of my book also deals with turning to God for help. How God loves all of us equally. I couldn't have made it out of my depression with out Him. So I am thankful.

    A lot of people don't realize that the gay & lesbian community suffers just as much as the straight community, and I was very happy to read this post.

    A great scripture from the bible that I refer to in my book is:

    He heals the brokenhearted, binding up their wounds. ~Psalm 147:3

    Very comforting words, even if you are of another religion or an atheist.

    Thanks Stephanie…

  2. I'm not sure I've ever gotten over any break-up in my life. I mean breakups that weren't my choice. Going back to elementary school crushes, there's a conga line of pretty pain that I tend to in various ways ever day. I'm not even over the woman who refused to meet my eye on the subway this morning. I AM SENOR NUMBNUTS.

  3. You are absolutely right, Stephanie. Gay breakups are just like straight breakups…arguably more complicated and difficult since you are dealing with the emotions of TWO women. Imagine the depths of your emotions times two…it can get pretty hairy.

    Well, here's your chance to see how much of a lesbian readership you have…the comments section should be interesting.

    I've been following your blog since you appeared in the NYTimes Style Section. Your writing is great…enjoy your blog immensely…and i've even found that we know a few people in common.

  4. with love, it doesn't matter if you're straight, gay, married, or dating…breaking up with someone you love is the death of a bond that's been built over months or years, one that cuts you as it falls into a heap on the ground.

  5. Love your blog. As a lesbian, I must say I think you'd make an excellent lesbian! You get it exactly right, as usual.

  6. Very insightful, I live in a dorm with lots of gays, and I hear their stories all the time. Really, there should be no gender issue in subjects of romance

  7. In the live version of Sinatra's "Send In The Clowns" he begins with spoken word. He says,

    "…whether it was the man or the woman is unimportant, it was a breakup."

    Pain is pain, hurt is hurt.

    But joy is also joy. Pure, unadulterated joy.

    It's out there for all of us: gay or breeders…

    Give your Linus a 'cratch for me.

  8. Very insightful. I like what you wrote about gays and lesbians, I too think there's no difference and that no one should think that there is any.
    Good post, thank you for helping my day to get right!

  9. When my gay sister broke up with the girlfriend she'd had since she came out, it was the absolute lowest I'd ever seen anyone; and SHE was the one who had initiated the split. These things are hard on everybody.

  10. This post really hit home with me, Stephanie. I'm gay and thought I was finally over the worst heartbreak of my life. Then Tuesday night, I saw two of his friends and the conversation turned to him. They didn't know how much hearing news about him kills me. Of course, I didn't allow them to see that their words had an impact. I've been blue for two days. Four years and two days. Sometimes the hurt can echo for–well, a long damn time. And just when you think you're safe, some icky "past love residue" splashes onto your nice new shirt and reminds you how once, he seemed like the answer to destiny; and now, he's the trigger for memories and hurt.

  11. I think about photography and how I am humbled by people who have the ability to see the beauty in parts of things while I might see the whole. How they not only are acutely aware of the details not readily seen and have the gift of being able to show others.

    This post does just that for me. Thank you.

  12. I don't think you ever really get over a break-up, if you do you were never really in love. I think the pain lessens and the memories fade and you learn to move on…but there's no timetable. Whether your gay or straight, love is love and heartaches don't discriminate.

  13. fresh after a serious break-up, life does not consist of days and weeks, it consists of minutes and hours. you sit and try to talk yourself into getting through the next half hour. trying to distract yourself, wondering how to make that pain give you a break for just half hour – how to forget about the humiliation, pain, emptiness, everything you've given and everything you don't have now.

    i don't think that the break-up pain makes a difference in gender or age or time or a place or anything else.

    a friend is the best cure. someone who knows, understands and lets you cry without feeling uncomfortable with your tears. everyone needs to have a friend like that.

  14. It's hard to put into words how comforting this post is. Thanks Stephanie, thanks everyone.

  15. my dear! visiting your blog I discover that you have been in Liguria, Cinque Terre…I saw the photos. Did you like the place? isn't it wonderful? I live in Genoa, 50 km far from Cinque terre. In my blog you can find photos from this beautiful place. Bye! Edith

  16. One positive, breakups make the best diet! I have to agree, I don't think you ever completely get over a relationship with someone you gave your whole heart to. I felt like I was living in a horrible nightmare. Shortly after I found out he was having a baby. I wasn't the pregnant one.

  17. Stephanie, I'm fairly new to your blog so sorry if you have answered this question before, but have you ever been with a woman?

  18. Hi Stephanie,

    do you need help? I just stumbled unto this site. You sound just like me before I hit my absolute worst bottom. Luckily, from that point, things got really good. But first I made a stop in hell, and in that destination I realized that I needed to make some major changes in my life. I was living in New York, living a very 'successful" life in everyone's eyes. I was the Golden Girl who "had it all". Just like you, I was gregarious and pretty. I had a great apartment, was making tons of money, traveled all over the world, had tons of friends, worked as a Director of Marketing for a very large publishing office and everyone loved me… but I was miserable, lonley and depressed. All I wanted was to be loved. I drank to sedate myself. I said that I was drinking to be sociable — but the correct word is SEDATION. I never let anyone see this ugly side of me. I only showed my best side in public, but inside I was dying. I was so sad then. Maybe I was actually dead? It was such a long time ago. I don't know what to make of this blog at all. Are you okay? I don't know why I'm writing this to you. I don't even know you but your journal entries seem like a gigantic call for help. I just hope you are okay. If you need help, ask. Blessings, lisa

  19. I find myself mulling over my past break-ups this time every year. This is also the time of year that most people who live in this part of the world "put their flowers to bed" by raking all of the leaves in the yard and dumping them on the flower beds, making a nice insulated home.

    I tend to find myself insulating myself with the fact that every break-up was necessary. But sometimes I cannot help but think that my roots are bare to the winds of winter, simply for the reason that I am still alone,and I still ache like the desert for water.

    Great post Stephanie.

  20. You have a tremendous inner voice. You are saying things that we are all feeling. Your thoughts and feelings are so comtempory and yet so eternal. One sometimes does not get over a relationship. After years one can just get on with things. After twenty years after a break up I just this year have found some satisfaction with a man again who I can BE with in every way. That is a long time between "soul mates". But that is life. Keep writing!

  21. Spot on, sister. You really do have a lovely way of capturing a moment, making even the sadder ones beautiful. It's funny how in an age where marriages are disposable, they still hold weight with societal sympathies. Sorry to hear about your loss, and am glad you've got a Linus to comfort you and good friends with great laughs. I'm not sure if dog spit and laughter are exactly panaceas, but they certainly go a long way in the healing process. Again, I'll say, spot on.

  22. A Millay sonnet…. although written with masculine pronouns, it is really not gender specific…the last lines are especially powerful…

    Time does not bring relief; you all have lied
    Who told me time would ease me of my pain!
    I miss him in the weeping of the rain;
    I want him at the shrinking of the tide;
    The old snows melt from every mountain-side,
    And last year's leaves are smoke in every lane;
    But last year's bitter loving must remain
    Heaped on my heart, and my old thoughts abide!
    There are a hundred places where I fear
    To go,–so with his memory they brim!
    And entering with relief some quiet place
    Where never fell his foot or shone his face
    I say, "There is no memory of him here!"
    And so stand stricken, so remembering him!

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