This issue effects quite a few of us, and it’s something I haven’t really written a great deal about. For this reason (and the fact that it’s been raised on Kindred Spirits recently), I thought it’s something I should weigh in on.
There are two main reasons why a consang may be single, the first is that they once had a consang relationship and it has ended, and the second is that there is nobody in the family who is both interested and available.
In both cases, some people attempt to plug the gap by dating regulars, something I did myself for a time. While this approach may seem sensible at first glance, it often is a pretty bad coping strategy for people who are exclusively consang. It’s like attempting to get rid of hunger by eating a cookie, it works only momentarily and then you feel emptier than ever. That said, it can and does work for some bisang people who are equally happy to date regulars.
So, what DOES work?
Sometimes, one of the best strategies is to communicate with others who understand, who are in the same boat as yourself. There is always something to be said about communication and mutual understanding because it leaves people feeling less isolated than they would otherwise be.
Others may cope by throwing themselves into their work or hobbies and leaving themselves no time to contemplate their desires. This could work for some, at least for a time, depending on how strong the desire is (and it is usually pretty strong for most people in my observation).
My personal way of coping is through my blogging and my activities on KS. At least if I can’t have what I want, I can help other people.
Ultimately though, there must be some acceptance that we don’t always get what we want, even when we once had it. It is difficult, because nothing can be substituted in it’s place, and the longing never disappears. This means that accepting it is about all we can do, and while we may not be able to change our orientation (and nor should we want to), we can work on feeling worthy and self-acceptance if those have been issues.
I have found that, at least for myself, having a complete acceptance of my sexuality has allowed me to be no just fully comfortable with it, but also in itself made it easier to cope with the fact that my dad is no longer my partner. Understanding consanguinamory and how it works as an orientation has enabled this necessary shift in perspective. It has given me the insight I needed not just to understand how and why we got involved in the first place, but also to understand all the extra pressures on consangs which caused the breakup. In many ways this has made me a far more empathetic person, and has fascilitated the work I now do in the community.
What doesn’t work?
Escapism through drink or drugs certainly doesn’t work, and in the long term can only be destructive to ones physical and mental health. Any relief those bring only last as long as the effects of whatever substance has been taken. Anyone suffering from substance abuse should really be seeking medical attention to combat the addiction before they can work on the reasons why they did it in the first place.
Trying to convince yourself that you’re regular also will not work, you may be able to convince everyone around you, but ultimately you can’t hide it from yourself, at least not in the long term. In these cases the suppressed desire will ALWAYS return, especially when you’re around the person you’re attracted to.
Trying to be something that you’re not, EVEN IF YOU ADMIT TO YOURSELF THAT YOU’RE LYING can cause you misery. Trust me, I know because I did it, I knew in my own mind what I was, but I dated because it was expected of me. It didn’t pan out too well to say the least. Now, even with a small amount of pressure to put myself back on the market, I still won’t. If I can’t have my dad any more then I must accept that even though it hurts, but I am no longer open to being an actor for the sake of pleasing others. Rather, I now just tell people (if they ask why I’m STILL single) that I’m just ‘not interested’ in dating and that ‘there are other thing in life’, and leave it at that. People get the impression that I’ve just had a run of bad luck with men, and since I have no plans to out myself, I’d rather it stays that way.
What are your thoughts on being single?
Many people work on the underlying assumption that being single is in itself somehow bad or some sign that you’ve failed at life or something dramatic like that. Nothing could be further from the truth! Far better to be by yourself than be in a substitute relationship with somebody you can only connect to on the most superficial of levels. If you genuinely CANNOT date regulars, as I’ve discovered I can’t, and no consang relationship is available to you, then being single may be your only viable option. This does NOT make you in any way a failure as a person, it just means that there is nobody available.
Having a relationship is a wonderful and positive thing, provided that both people are happy and coping well with the stress of all the secrecy. However, if one of you is seriously struggling, with secrecy stress, or guilt and this remains unresolved, then it can cause problems and may even lead to breaking up, as happened with me and dad. If this has also happened to you, you’re not alone, and it doesn’t mean either of you failed, it meant that you run into a problem that you were unable to resolve.
Remember, when we enter consang relationships, we’re basically on our own unless we found the community before even entering a relationship. Not knowing information you were never taught is not a deficiency of you or your partner, it’s a deficiency of information that was not provided to you at the time. You’d hardly berate yourself for not knowing other unknowns, so don’t beat yourself up for not knowing what type of problems you were likely to encounter as a consang.
Now, on the other hand, if you’re a consang whose love was never requited, again if you cannot for whatever reason date the relative that you’re interested in (maybe they’re in a committed monogamous relationship with somebody else, maybe they’ve already told you they’re regular… etc), then again, you have not failed at life. This is just one of those things that happens.
In truth, most people at one point or another have an interest in somebody else who is for whatever reason unavailable to them. We see that all the time, person A wants to date person B, but person B is already with person C. In the case of regulars, this often passes after a while and then they move on and find person D, who is available. For consangs it is very different, there usually is no person D. This is because there is only a small sphere of people in our families, and we wouldn’t necessarily want to date all of those, in many cases we would view a few of them as incompatible, and only one or two of those that we would be open to would likely have the same orientation as ourselves. So please don’t feel like you’re a failure if you’ve been unable to date, the circumstances are damn hard!
The take home message today, is that it’s absolutely okay to be consang and single, it doesn’t make you a failure and it doesn’t mean anything is wrong with you. Work on your self acceptance and be happy with who you are.