Thanks for writing in. Yes, youve got a lot to deal with. You ask several questions and I want to address them one at a time.
The first thing you wonder about is whether or not you are in love with your friend, or if you are just so intrigued that she is totally in love with you. Having someone be in love with us can be very seductive. It can be intoxicating to have someone pay so much attention to you and tell you how wonderful you are. Theres nothing wrong with that. But is it true love?
Thats a really good question. I dont know if youll be able to find anyone who can define what true love is for you. That is something you have to figure out for yourself. Most people will say it is just something they intuitively know. At your age, I wouldnt worry too much about if this is true love or not. As long as the two of you are having fun together and it feels like things are mutual, then I say its all good.
The Issue of SexualityThe other issue you bring up is that of sexuality. You hint that the two of you have gone further than you had planned, and while it felt good, it was also confusing to you. Maybe you felt a bit violated because you agreed to talk about things and then she moved ahead before you did that. Controlling our desires can be hard at any age. There you were alone and in each others arms in the dark. Hormones can take over, no matter what your sexual preference. That is why it is good to have an understanding with both yourself and your partner how far you are willing and want to go. If you set a boundary for yourself, you should not cross it in the heat of the moment. Ask her to respect that and not push you.
If you think you are willing to expand your sexual boundaries, make the decision alone and away from the person who makes your hormones race. Then you dont risk doing more than planned on and wont feel bad about yourself for not sticking to your plan.
Keeping Your Relationship in the ClosetYour other question is about whether you can keep your relationship hidden for two years. Youre 16 and you should be dating and having fun. Unfortunately this is not usually how it is for gay and lesbian or questioning youth. You are forced to keep things hidden and instead of dating being light and fun, it becomes too serious, too fast. Are any of your heterosexual friends worried about whether or not the person theyre with is the one? Probably not. At age 16 we should be learning about what love and relationships are, not finding the perfect match for ourselves.
Coming Out of the ClosetBut with possible discrimination from parents and peers, coming out is a tough decision. Ultimately one that you will have to make for yourself. There are pros and cons to a life lived openly and pros and cons to a life in the closet. If you were 21 and living on your own, I would have no problem advising you to come out and be who you are. But at age 16, when you are dependent on your parents and forced to interact with the same peers everyday, coming out can be devastating. Your parents can make life miserable for you at home, enforce curfews and not allow you to see certain friends. Your peers can exclude you from activities, say mean things about you and spread rumors.
Coming Out Can Also be Freeing
Other people find coming out the most freeing thing that they have ever done. No longer having to hide and tell lies can outweigh any of the negative responses that you may experience. You can also find out who your true friends are. Ultimately, the choice is yours, but one that should not be taken lightly. Hopefully your girlfriend and you have a good enough relationship that you can discuss the pros and cons and each of you can make your best decision. And you both need to understand that whatever you choose, the other will be effected.
My answer is also long-winded, but I hope it has helped you some. Good luck and know that you are not alone. Gay and lesbian teenagers deal with this kind of thing everyday. You can meet some of them and get support in the Lesbian Life Forum. Hang in there!