LGBT & Queer Dating Tips — What I Wish I Had Known! | Tips from an LGBT Blogger
There’s a joke in the LGBTQ+ community, that dating after you come out is like going through junior high again.
Growing up in rural Utah, everyone else got their awkward dating jitters out in junior high and high school. Freak outs over texting, awkward crush confessionals, etc etc.
And when you start dating as an LGBTQ+ person, alllll those junior high feels enter stage right — and it is a FEELINGS PARTY.
And mine showed up with GUSTO when I came out. (That whole story is here.)
[Note: I’m using “coming out” in this context to denote a period of time where a person decides to date outside of the cis/hetero experience. I recognize that coming out is a continual process and construct that not everyone experiences.]
I’ve had some awkward run-ins and lessons, so I’m going to tell y’all my learning moments so you can (hopefully) make better decisions.
[This post was originally published on my blog, but I’ve put the more racey stuff here so Google doesn’t hate my blog!]
Lesson #1: Telling Someone You’re Interested in Them
Y’all, I am a coward. I can get up and speak in front of a crowd of 10,000+ people, no problem!
But ask that cutie for a drink? Or tell someone I’m interested in them?
I WOULD RATHER LIE IN THE ROAD AND DIE, DRAMATICALLY.
Strong Femme Personality FTW
i’ve gotten a lot better (or less worse?), but this is still something I struggle with. My real fear here is that I will overwhelm someone with my interest or accidentally steam roll people.
I have a LOT of personality, and I tend to want to date little cute introverts, and I don’t want to scare them off!!! Or make people feel uncomfortable. (Aside: I really fear making people uncomfortable, and I’m betting that comes from a space of internalized homophobia, so there’s that.)
How to Tell Someone You’re Interested in Them
So, I’ve devised a handy little script to use to communicate interest that gives the other person an “out.” Here it is:
“Hey! I think you’re pretty attractive, and I’d love to get coffee with you! AS a date, to be clear. No worries if you’re not interested, I’m trying a new thing where I state intentions clearly. No pressure either way!”
Let’s break down the formula of this message:
- For one, I’m clear that my intentions are romantic. This saves me from being at coffee with someone and one of us going, “Wait, is this a date?”
- Next, I give them an “out” and make a loooooot of space for consent. I make it clear they can be not-romantically-interested, and that’s okay!
- Finally, I usually text this. Whenever i’m asked out IRL, my mind goes totally blank — so I try to give folks some space to ~process.~
(One time a girl asked me out, and my response was, “Wait, you want to date me? Are you sure?” Face palm.)
Lesson #2: Fear of Being Unlovable
One of the challenges some folks get when beginning to date as an out LGBTQ+ person, is confronting beliefs about being wrong/unlovable/sinful.
Something that I struggled with was dating crappy people, because I was convinced I was unlovable (woo being raised in a religious homophobic community.)
I put up with a LOT of crap from my first partner, until I woke up and realized this wasn’t working.
It’s key when you start dating that you remember AND REMIND YOURSELF that you are lovable and deserving of a wonderful partner or partners.
Because it can be hard to advocate for oneself, I use this gut check:
“Would I be okay with my best friend being in a relationship like this? Would I want their partner(s) to treat my BFF like this?”
Lesson #3: Be Clear about Polyamory & Non-Monogamy
One of the biggest “whoopsies” moments I see in LGBTQ+ Dating Land is folks failing to communicate their dating style.
I’ve shared some loose definitions below, but you’ll want your potential cutie pie to define how they’re using terms. Being LGBTQ+ is great because we love making up words that everyone defines differently! Such freedom!!
And space for miscommunication!
Monogamy: The habit of having only one mate at a time.
Non-Monogamy: An umbrella term for every practice or philosophy of non-dyadic intimate relationship that does not strictly hew to the standards of monogamy, particularly that of having only one person with whom to exchange sex, love, and affection.
Polyamory: he practice of, or desire for, intimate relationships with more than one partner, with the consent of all partners involved
That’s a lot of words, so let’s talk examples:
- A couple could be romantically monogamous, but sexually non-monogamous.
- A group of people could be polyamorous, with their own relationship structure and communication.
It’s overwhelming. I know.
I recommend getting this book to learn more vocab and relationship styles!
The KEY TAKE AWAY here is to have upfront conversations about what you’re looking for and your relationship style. I have had a number of, um, miscommunications about this — so I put it in the profile on my dating apps.
I have (through poor communication) found myself dating multiple people casually, with one or more people thinking we were in a committed relationship. So now I have explicit and clear conversations about alllll of this.
How I Roll
I identify as ethically non-monogamous and polyamorous, but I have been in monogamous relationships. Honestly, it depends on how much time in my life I have to dedicate to relationships. monogamy and polyamory require much more communication, because you have more people involved!
Lesson #4: The Multiplicity of “Shane”
In the highly problematic, but still beloved show, The L Word, there’s a character who is really really attractive and finds themselves in terrible relationships, usually causing huge explosions.
I’m pretty sure people have written entire theses on this character, but it is worth watching the how to analyze how the expectations of other women create a lot of these issues — and how Shane’s baggage creates them as well.
Also, in my experience, everyone dates a Shane. It’s the best, it’s the worst, and it’s just part of this big old gaymo world we’re in.
Lesson #5: Talking about STD Testing
You may have tuned out during “The Talk” in your school (or maybe you were raised in abstinence-only red states), but it is very CRITICAL to talk with partners about when they were last tested.
Get tested between every partner. Be clear on if you’re having fun times with more than one person.
Go to Planned Parenthood, get tested — and if you’re on your parents insurance, consider paying out of pocket or asking for assistance!
One time, I asked a partner when they had last been tested — and they freaked out. They thought I was accusing them of being “dirty,” and TLDR they were actually embarrassed because they hadn’t been tested but should have been.
I left about 3 minutes into that freak out. We don’t hang with folks who don’t take our health and well-being seriously!!! GOODBYE!!!