As a neuroscientist, I am fascinated by mental health, consciousness and perception, as well as the psychology behind human relationships.
1. The Expansive, Multi-Faceted Connection
The high level of emotional intelligence possessed by women renders them polyhedral beings. Despite having a unique essence that makes us who we are, our personalities encompass a range of contrasting personality traits that are all accented in different situations. It may take falling in love with another girl to reveal to you the inherent duality of your own psyche, as you see her switch from empathetic to sharp, from assertive to tearful.
In addition to their complexity, women also play a number of varied and demanding societal roles. Generic, archetypal descriptions like 'a sister' or 'a friend' in reality require the smooth delivery of much more nuanced narratives and performances. Within these relationships, most women are capable of switching dynamically between roles such as 'primary confidant', 'motivator', 'soother', 'comedian' and even 'drinking companion'.
This female capacity allows the bond between two queer girls to go far beyond romance, into a surreal and enchanting realm that tends towards infinity. Since the connection itself is the amalgamation of both of your distinct emotional capabilities (see: emergence), it will shift and change depending on your shared mood. Each date nights, spontaneous adventure or deep conversation will be inundated by a stimulating array of emotions that push the limits of human connection.
2. The Oxytocin Bubble
Manic 'new relationship energy' isn't analogous to 'love'; raised dopamine and noradrenaline levels are heavily implicated in this initial infatuation phase, but oxytocin is arguably the key player in the immensely strong bond possible between two women. Females are biologically-designed to produce more of the neurotransmitter than males. Giving rise to feelings of intense tenderness and affection, it allows the relationship and associated feelings to plunge far deeper than the realm of sexual attraction (Carter, 2017).
Serene and heavy-lidded, two women in love will float through the world in a heightened and blissed-out state. The nature of this oxytocin-based romantic high is conducive to a generalized increase in empathy and receptiveness; you may find yourself understanding other people's concerns better and being more patient. In contrast with the addictive, dizzying and unsustainable euphoria of limerence, mutual love is typically slow-burning and stable (albeit still exciting).
Feelings of having met one's soulmate, or twin flame, are common; since both girls in the relationship will be subject to a neurochemical concoction that is not only powerful but also incredibly emotionally-evocative, the emotions experienced can be very moving. In fact, many of the lesbian tropes are backed by reality: it is notoriously common for two women to confess their love for each other within a few weeks of dating. As long as both parties are communicating sincerely and healthily and no life-changing decisions are being made, this is harmless. Enjoy the ride!
3. Dynamic and Limitless Humour
If shared emotional intelligence, bliss and security wasn't enough, the quality of humor shared between two girls can climb to ineffable heights. Queer women often reach a point in their journey of self-acceptance where they actively relish joking frivolously about their own sexuality. When you feel a). healed from any past internalized homophobia and b). blessed to have found a suitable partner, you find yourself capable of seeing the world through a new, unjaded lens. The world takes on a playful quality, and narrow-minded comments from others seem more pitifully amusing than threatening.
Regardless of which recurring comical tropes become special to you and your partner, your relationship will benefit greatly from this dose of humor. Not that it is something difficult to achieve between two girls who are mentally in-sync; everyday moments, such as strangers asking if you're sisters, quickly become the basis of unique and elaborate jokes. You may find yourself inventing your own: try reeling off dead-pan, tongue-in-cheek narratives to your girlfriend about appreciating her 'platonic love', despite the connection being anything but a friendship.
4. Intense Appreciation of Each Other
Sadly, many LGBTQ+ individuals suffer an extended period of denial and self-hatred before finding the strength to live openly and sparkle as they are. The silver lining to having lived through such abject misery is, however, the sheer exuberance that you experience once you liberate yourself and/or enter your first same-sex relationship. No one experiences the dazzling heights of freedom quite like those who have spent time dwelling in self-imposed prisons.
Tangentially, lesbian relationships typically comprise an unyielding flame of mutual appreciation; each woman will consider herself wildly lucky to have a). overcome her own limiting beliefs in order to come out as queer and b). find an enriching and beautiful connection.
5. Learning To Prioritize and Cherish Health
Loving a woman and seeing her through a lens of unconditional acceptance sheds light on your own insecurities and neurotic tendencies. While you cannot rely on a gay relationship to cure your mental health issues, all psychological afflictions are on a spectrum; many of us do not suffer from clinically-diagnosable eating disorders, yet struggle to make peace with our appetite and natural body composition.
Since we are all inundated by images of models with what are, frankly, underweight BMIs, the pervasive myth that 'skinnier is better' influences us all on a subliminal level. However, being a woman who also possesses the capacity to admire the female form sexually and aesthetically is a wonderful blessing. By allowing you to objectively observe the limiting nature and pure redundancy of such illogical standards, it can facilitate your own journey along the self-love trajectory.
While in an ideal world we would consciously reject such influences, it is difficult to extinguish societal belief-systems that are constantly fed to us on a subliminal level. Seeing your healthy and glowing girlfriend desolate after gaining two pounds over Christmas may fill you with the sadness, rage and lucid revelations necessary to cajole yourself towards this revelation: albeit resilient and strong, many of us women still feel that we must be meek, sleek and compliant, like child-sized dolls.
I urge you all to commit to rejecting the toxic desire to be as slim as you were when you were seventeen years old. Metabolisms change, priorities change and a life focused on maintaining an extremely-low body composition isn't a rich one. Fuel your body with whole foods and healthy fats (I recommend the paleo diet), exercise to boost your cognition and embrace your healthy set-point weight.
Additionally, caring for someone romantically (irrespective of gender) can make the general importance of leading a healthy life resonate with you like never before. When deeply enamored and with plans for the future, the appeal of binge-drinking and smoking starts to wear thin. Don't be put off if this elicits snide remarks from others who rely on these addictions to plaster emotional voids.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Lucy
Lucy (author) from Leeds, UK on December 02, 2019:
Of course, a 'beautiful relationship' is objectively one that involves commitment, mental stimulation and compatibility post the infatuation stage. Gay relationships can be as toxic and full of issues as straight ones, as at the end of the day, any romantic connection is the emergent property of the two people's different mentalities and personalities.
Regarding straight vs gay relationships, neither is necessarily 'better' than the other, as (of course) this is subjective and down to your physical and emotional preferences; straight women would not enjoy (nor be enchanted by) any of the things that a queer woman loves about same-sex relationships.
However, as a bisexual woman who has had serious relationships with men and women, I can confirm that there are marked differences in the dynamics of queer and straight relationships. The empathy is undoubtedly heightened in lesbian relationships, as is the sense of connection and probability of intense pair-bonding; this is down to pure neurobiology.
Of course, there is duality to everything, and I don't deny that such an enmeshed connection comes with its own troubles, too! Lesbians are more prone to 'U-hauling' (moving in together very early in the relationship), confessing their love quickly while drugged on oxytocin and abandoning their friends to spend time with their partner (it's tempting to ditch everything for your best-friend-soulmate-lover). Perhaps my next article will tackle the issues that can arise in same-sex, female relationships..
dashingscorpio from Chicago on December 02, 2019:
Neither gender or sexuality determine happiness in relationships.
Lesbians have been known to marry and divorce as well as cheat and be cheated on just as all types of relationships.
The "beautiful thing" about any relationship is finding someone who already is the kind of person you want to be with and they feel the same way about you. Compatibility trumps compromise.
When it comes to love and relationships most of us (fail our way) to success. Very few people hit a homerun their first, second, third, or fourth time up at bat. If this was not the case we would all be married to our high school sweethearts!
Heartaches/betrayals help us refine our mate selection process.
There's a "learning tax" we all must pay regardless of sexuality.