*I’m so going to rock that dress up there, probably with a nice lightweight sweater and a pair of Doc Martens.*

Let’s get to the nitty-gritty, shall we?

Relationships can be hard. Scary, even. They are an adventure.

So when coming out as non-binary, that’s perhaps the most frightening conversation of all. How do I talk about these things? How will I be seen? Will I be accepted?

I’ve spoken to four current and former partners about how I see myself now. Here’s how it went. First, a caveat: again, every single woman I’ve dated has been bisexual. At this point I think it’s more than a coincidence. I described in an earlier post that I think of myself as a lesbian in a man’s body. There seems to be a kind of natural attraction there.

Anyhow, here’s how it went.

First, my current partner, my girlfriend. So open, so adventurous, more than anything she wanted to know what this meant. An explanation. As we met while both working in higher ed (I still do, I wouldn’t be surprised if she does again), we’ve both been through a fair amount of training regarding sexuality and gender identity. Plus a billion other things. Honestly, there’s a ton of training in higher ed.

She’s been massively supportive. Before leaving to go overseas, in fact, she laid out a pile of her dresses—I was free to take any I liked. A shame only one of them fit me. But it’s been that kind of open. That support has meant everything.

My long-time partner—we’re transitioning into being good friends at this point as we just don’t want the same things in life anymore—is, I think, a bit less comfortable with it. We haven’t really talked about it too much, but I just get the sense that there’s some doubt if it’s a real feeling or not. Not exactly a conversation I want to get into at the moment.

My long-time flame, an on-and-off relationship that somehow has kept us close over the years, seems to rather enjoy it. She even lent me some nail polish and asked me to wear one of my dresses over. I’ve got a nice sweater dress that matches with jeans somewhat brilliantly. Very supportive.

Finally, there’s a woman I dated a few years back. We’re friends now. And I loved her reaction: she didn’t flinch one bit. “Yeah, I see that.” Not a surprise.

The lesson I’ve learned there? It’s not so bad, so long as people already know you and are willing to hear you out. I wish I could say this made me more comfortable considering talking about it with my family, but I’m not. Nor am I comfortable being too feminine in public in my current home. It’s a manly place. I get giggled at a bit for being a vegetarian, if that tells you anything.

Baby steps. One at a time.