Dear Dr. Frankie, help me with the lesbian dating scene!
DR. FRANKIE BASHAN
SUSANNE M. SCHWARZER
Hi Dr. Frankie,
I'm currently single and putting myself out there in the dating scene. My problem is that I can't seem to find the type of women I'm interested in. I'm looking for someone professional and well rounded. Not sure if that makes sense but I think the best way I can describe it is I work as a financial analyst, I love to work out, I'm financially responsible, I have a graduate degree, strong values and I don't fancy any drugs (except for the occasional drink in a social setting). I find that the majority of the women I date aren't settled and really don't know what they want to do with their lives. This makes me think I need to find women with a professional career because chances are they know what they want. My friends have also told me I need someone with a good career. I agree but I can't seem to find them. Do you have any advice or general suggestions on what I should change about my approach towards dating so I can find this type of woman? Any advice or thoughts you can offer would be great.
I would encourage you to consider what type of places you are meeting women. Without making sweeping generalizations I have noticed that many career-oriented, professional women tend to be very physically active. You might find them at a cycling club, CrossFit, boot camps, Sierra hiking clubs etc. I know some incredible women who take sailing classes and play on recreational soccer teams. My partner played in a large San Francisco based women’s league and half her teammates graduated from Ivy League universities. There were lawyers, engineers, graduate students and doctors on her team. Who knew?! A sport or physical activity might be a good place to start your quest for higher caliber women while learning a new sport at the same time!
From my own experience I know that many driven, professional women are often politically minded and politically active. Many donate their time and or money to support gay rights. Also, many of these women attend events associated with the NCLR, HRC, and LGBT Community Center galas etc. Although the ticket can be pricey, make sure to attend these annual events. Aside from supporting a great cause the cost of the ticket tends to draw a more established and professional crowd.
I also suggest looking into the professional clubs and organizations in your area. What about book clubs or a gourmet cooking class? Are there any networking events that would draw like-minded women in your field or similar industries? Thinking ahead, if you meet an attractive woman at one of these events and can’t tell if she’s gay, give her your card anyway and see if there’s potential. You don’t have anything to lose, and at the very least you will gain another business contact.
Dear Dr. Frankie,
I'm 33 years old and somehow I've managed to completely avoid love and relationships. It was easy to avoid getting emotionally involved with men since I never felt any true connection. One of my biggest problems now is trusting someone enough to have a meaningful relationship. While I was trying to figure this out I fell in love with a professor. She broke my heart and I swore off dating once again (not that I had ever begun). Two years later I began trying to date, but somehow I always ended up meeting emotionally unstable women. I'm tired of playing the mother role. A woman recently contacted me. She seemed OK and I felt attracted to her. We e-mailed frequently and one day she wrote that she saw me as a potential girlfriend. I panicked. She even talked about us going away together and we hadn't even had coffee yet! I explained to her that I wasn't looking for a girlfriend and that I didn't have the time to commit to a long-term relationship because I have a very demanding job. My profile stated I was interested in "casual dating" and I wanted to move slowly to avoid heartaches. She said she understood and said she didn't want to have a girlfriend/wife situation with me. Everything seemed OK but then she stopped writing. I wrote to her but all I got was silence. I asked her to meet me a week earlier than we had originally planned, but nothing. I gave up and wrote her a goodbye e-mail. I told her how I felt and that I had tried my best to reach out to her, but she chose not to share her feeling with me. I blocked her. I can’t help but wonder what I could have done to change the outcome. I believe in honesty and I don't regret being honest about my feelings. I used a different dating website and she was my first match. I have the feeling we are meant to be together, but I'm afraid if I try to contact her again she'll reject me. Please, help.
From what you describe, it sounds like you are not just afraid, but fearful of intimacy. Getting close to someone and emotionally attached can be very scary-but it is incredibly rewarding when it’s with the right person.
So lets examine your recent online dating situation. This woman initiated contact and also expressed her interest in you. As you know this can be a very difficult thing to do, even if it is just via email. She opened up and made herself vulnerable to you, which was met with a firm boundary. You told her for a variety of reasons you are not emotionally available. It sounds like she considered accepting that condition, although it wasn’t exactly what she was looking for. It is possible that at this time she met someone else, or its possible that instead of communicating her disappointment, she just disappeared. Most people struggle when it comes to expressing their emotions, especially when it makes them feel vulnerable. It can also be very difficult for people when they are in a situation where they are rejecting someone. The fear hurting someone’s feelings can be overwhelming, so instead they take the path of least resistance and avoid that interaction all together. The unfortunate consequence is that it often causes the other person more pain.
In terms of how to avoid this outcome again, from what you described it sounded as if you two were communicating at length via email before you had ever met. I discourage this practice because no one can really get to know another person over email. I tell my clients to keep their preliminary phone calls and emails brief. Let your stories unfold naturally, face-to-face. Emails and text messages and phone calls often lend themselves to fantasies, which are generally not reflective of real life and real people. Keep it short, sweet and make a date to meet. Don’t beat yourself up over losing “the one”. You never met and didn’t know each other well enough to know if you could even date compatibly.
Let’s keep this in perspective. You are young and recently experienced a painful ending to what sounds like your first significant relationship. You have spent most of your adult years either trying to figure things out or protecting your heart from the very connection you wanted. Because you were either disconnected or guarding yourself from heartache, you did not give yourself the opportunity to practice the different dating phases. A relationship (hopefully) begins by feeling attracted to someone, flirting, pursuing and/or being pursued, dating, discussing commitment and developing a foundation based on respect and reciprocity. Take this as a learning experience not a setback. You live in one of the world’s greatest, most vibrant cities with a large lesbian community.
I recommend you seek a referral for a therapist or a dating/relationship coach who can guide you through your fears into a place of insight, understanding and confidence. I know you feel very alone right now, but be assured that as a dating/relationship coach I often work with individuals struggling with the very issues your facing. Best of luck to you!
Dear Dr. Frankie,
I am 52 yrs old and just coming off a 30-year relationship so I am unsure of the dating rules. I spoke with one of my younger friends (male because I don't have any close lesbian friends yet...I am new to the lesbian world!) and he said you NEVER call right away, you have to wait...it's like a game. Is there a dating "game"? I am not one for games and I stand for sincerity, courtesy and respect in a relationship. From what I hear, lesbians are a strange lot. My 30-year relationship was a heterosexual marriage. Unfortunately I didn't figure out what was lacking in my marriage until I met my first lesbian at 48 years of age! This leaves me without much knowledge of the lesbian world, but unfortunately I don't hear many positives about the lesbian-dating world. I know we cannot generalize an entire group of people, but do you know what I am talking about? Supposedly there is much drama to be found when dating in the lesbian community. I am not about drama and I don't understand as women. Why we don't have each other’s backs instead of looking to stick a knife in it? If you can share some insight with me on this new path I am traveling, I would greatly appreciate it! Thanks so much!
Dear Save Your Drama,
Regardless of whether you’re in the heterosexual or lesbian-dating scene there are always games being played...The determining factor is the person, not the community in which they are dating. I always recommend being straightforward and clear about one’s intention. That being said it is important not to move too fast, even if you are head over heals for someone! In the beginning of a relationship stay grounded and don’t rush in to anything. Don’t talk or text every waking minute of the day. Make lunch dates with your friends, meet them for happy hour and make time for your family. Do not merge into one person! This is a common pitfall I do see among our sisters in the lesbian community.
If you meet someone interesting and you score their digits, I absolutely suggest you call them the next day. Why not? It doesn’t mean your desperate, it means your interested and that is great! By doing this you communicate confidence and your ability to ask for what you want. On top of this, a very common problem I see is that by nature women want to be pursued. Even many of the more butch women expect and even like to be pursued. Well, when you’re trying to navigate a dating pool of all women, it simply won’t work if 95% of the pool is waiting for the other person to take the initiative. By getting her number and calling her you are already ahead of the pack.
At the end of your first date if you have a good feeling and know that you’d like to see her again, let her know. There is nothing wrong with making appropriate, forward statements like “I would love to get together again” or “we should go to that upcoming event I mentioned”. Sending her a text later that evening or the next morning communicating how pleased you were with the date etc., is absolutely fine. In fact it is actually something you should do following a good date. Manners matter and great manners will set you apart from the field. Right from the start of the relationship you are communicating your values. Game playing is juvenile and dishonest, and will give you a bad reputation in the community. Trust me when I say there is no grapevine like the lesbian dating grapevine. Be bold, confident and communicate in a way that conveys your intention.
Now because you displayed confidence in asking her out, impeccable manners on your date and since you appropriately conveyed your sincere interest, she of course wants a second date! Great job! Just remember that rushing into an exclusive relationship is the quickest way to burn it. Keep in mind that just because your first date was great, you don’t have to (and shouldn’t) have your second date the next day. Even if you can’t get her off your mind and all you want to do is see her again, hang tight and wait a few days or ideally a week. That’s not playing games, it’s maintaining healthy boundaries that communicates a sense of maturity. It will show her you are independent and responsible for the way in which you approach new relationships. You’re not communicating impulsivity, which is often a behavior that accompanies immaturity. Another example of taking it slow is being mindful about how much you share on a first, second or even third date. You should focus on learning about her interests, what makes her tick, how she sees herself in the world, do her core values and beliefs align with yours etc… Stay away from asking questions about her ex’s etc. These are all examples of healthy boundaries without game playing.
Single? Looking for your soul mate? Dr. Frankie invites you to share her Love Seat. Post your questions to lesbian matchmaker Dr. Frankie Bashan below or email her directly at littlegaybook.com and check back on here at Curvemag.com for her answers. If you choose to email her directly please be sure to indicate “Curve” in the subject line. To learn more about Dr. Frankie's matchmaking and dating/relationship coaching services please visit her website at littlegaybook.com.