Dating Advice From a Lesbian: Finding “The One”
With all the positive feedback about this adoption in regards to our relationship, it got me to thinking: how, exactly, did I find Erin? How did I get so “lucky?”
And the truth of the matter is: it wasn’t just luck. There are a lot of things a person can do that will help them find “The One.” I’ve given this advice to quite a few people, and I’ve seen a lot of really amazing relationships come out of it, so I figured it’s time to write something down. Are you struggling to find “The One?” Then keep reading and maybe this will help:
1) Make a Conscious Decision
One thing a lot of people don’t realize, whether it’s from lack of experience, Hollywood, or a general absence of positive gay everyday role models in successful relationships, but being with someone for “the long haul” requires some form of a choice. It’s not a choice that you’re going to be with that one person for the rest of your life if you start dating someone (because we have all started dating someone at some point and it has been really, really bad) and then it starts to not work out. By all means, if you are with someone and it’s really not working out, then it’s okay to leave that relationship.
This is a multi-faceted decision. This decision is the decision that you are going to actively seek out and find “The One.” It is the understanding that this decision means that when you think you have found “The One” that there will be times when things aren’t picture perfect and you are again making the decision to attempt to work through these times. We cannot, if we ever decide we’re ready to find that special someone, run at the first sign of trouble. (But just remember… if you’re having “signs of trouble” frequently, or you’re unable to work through this with the person you’re with, it is okay and recommended that you let it go.)
2) Know Who You Are
The way I see it, there are three types of “things” in everyone’s life. There are things that are important and permanent, important and not permanent, not important and permanent, not important and not permanent, and not important. In these categories, things that are not permanent are things in your life that in a year, two years, five years will probably not exist anymore. This could be things you are doing, hobbies that you have, beliefs that you hold. Things that are permanent are things that have been in your life for multitudes of years and haven’t gone anywhere. Their importance can change, but what I’ve found is that they usually become more important as we get older.
If we can think about all the things in our lives as being in one of these three categories, we can start to use them as a basis for how we view potential partners in our relationships. Things in each category can have different rankings as well, but we need to make sure that we know what our own personal views and rankings are before we start talking to someone who might have different views and rankings than us.
Things that are important and permanent are things in our lives that we care about a lot. These are the things (or people) in our lives that have been there for many, many years and their importance to us has only increased. It’s things in this category that usually become “deal breakers” in a relationship, and with good reason. If we’re not compatible with someone in the absolute most important areas in our lives, then how are we compatible at all? These are things that, regardless of what we would like to think, it is best if we match up with someone in these categories. There are ALWAYS exceptions to the rules, but as a general statement of experience: If you are a devout Pagan, you will probably not mesh well with someone who is a devout Christian. If you are pro-choice, you will probably not do well with a pro-lifer. As an example, things in this category for me are: my pagan faith, my desire for children, my family, my pets, my political views in regards to GLBT rights and women’s rights, my beliefs surrounding education and advancement of individuals. There’s others, but these are just to help.
Things that are important and not permanent are usually emotions surrounding recurring or temporary situations that a person we are with will need to be able to handle if and when these situations occur, but they can also be various life events that we sometimes to through that may last a few years (like school or boot camp). These are things that will disrupt your daily life for a short amount of time (short is relevant, it could be years). These are not deal breakers because these situations can be worked through. A person can be taught how to help or work with you while you are going through these times in your life. Communication is key with this category, and an understanding that you and your partner can and probably will be very different in this section. For me, things in this section currently (and I say currently because this section depends on your current situation) include: my anxiety/excitement surrounding this adoption, my three-day stint with depression each month (I like to think it’s my body being upset that I’m not pregnant.. again). Coming up soon, I’ll be adding back my need to have dedicated time to grading and school work. Other things from the past that have been in this category are things like my college and graduate school classes, my need to study for an important test, etc.
Things that are in the not important category can vary widely, and are often times hard to pinpoint, at least for me. This is what I would call the “everything else” category, and it’s the area of greatest compromise. These are things that you really don’t care one way or the other, you don’t really have an opinion on. Usually, because of that lack of opinion, we don’t ever think about them… which is probably why I can’t put anything into a list for you right now for this category.
3) Put Yourself Out There
This is probably the hardest part. Where do you meet people? It use to be that you’d go out to the local “gay event” or “gay bar,” but now that the LGBT community is becoming less “alternative lifestyle” and more “normal variance in human expressions of love,” these events and businesses are going under rather rapidly. Where I live, we had four “gay bars” in the area when I was in high school and college. Now we have one, and it’s 45 minutes away for me to drive there. Most people are going out to just regular old bars or events… places don’t have to be labeled as “gay” anymore for gay people to show up. So now what?
Well, you can go out to these places and see who you see, or you can do what I did to find Erin and try your hand at online dating. I know, I know. It sounds really silly, but if you take it seriously, you might be surprised at how well it works out. But it doesn’t happen overnight and it doesn’t happen easily. You actually have to work at it.
So here’s a bit of a run down on some places you can try (not all because I don’t have the time or the experience for all that):
Facebook: Now, before you get all “that’s not a dating website” on me, keep reading. Facebook has a thing called “groups” and there are groups for everything. The area where I live has SC Lez, SC LGBT, Upstate Lesbians, Takeover Upstate, etc. These aren’t groups for dating, but they are groups for meeting people, and that’s the first step to the whole finding someone bit: meeting them.
OkCupid: I have to plug this one next because this is the site that Erin and I found each other through. You create a profile and then you start answering questions. The website matches you with people based on how you answer those questions. I answered about 100 questions and then started looking at matches, going through and answering questions they’d answered and then going back and comparing again. I think I ended up with 300 – 400 questions by the end of the whole thing, and the entire time I was talking to people. I’d go through and find someone who looked like they fit my “deal breakers” and I found them attractive. I would message multiple people each day. Some I would hit it off with, some I wouldn’t. Erin and I hit it off and talked for months before deciding to meet. Best. Decision. Ever. By the way, this place is free.
Plenty of Fish: Another freebie site. On this site, you take tests and they match you based on your test results. I didn’t spend as much time here as I did on OkC; however, I have a friend who met her current girlfriend on there and they’ve been together for awhile. Even bought a house together recently.
Match.Com, Chemistry.Com, Compatible Partners: These are your three big websites that all cost some $$$. Compatible Partners is the LGBT version of eHarmony, in case you weren’t aware. They will usually give you some free days to play around, but it’s almost never enough time. Compatible Partners has, in the past, given two to three months of free time, but it’s a rare swing around when that happens. On these websites, if you decide to pay, you know you’ll be meeting other people who have decided to pay, which means they’re probably serious and less likely to be looking for just a hook up. Also, they’re more likely to have decent jobs and home life since they can afford to pay these places money each month. Not that people who don’t pay don’t have decent jobs, it’s just an observation.
4) Don’t Let Yourself Make Excuses
If you start talking to someone, and they make you laugh and you’re having a good time, but then they say or do something that sends you a little red flag… STOP IMMEDIATELY and double check yourself. Do not let yourself get bogged down in making compromises during the talking and getting to know a person stage. This isn’t a time to make excuses for people, it’s a time to legitimately get to know someone. If you want to be with someone who’s graduated from college or is in college, don’t make excuses for someone who’s not. It’s okay to be discriminatory during this stage because, let’s face it, if it’s important enough to be on your list and someone isn’t meeting that, then it probably won’t work out in the long run anyway. Better end it before it begins, which brings me to my last point:
5) Don’t Waste Your Time
There is nothing worse than being with someone for an extended period of time, having it not work out, and the beating yourself up for all the “lost time.” Don’t lie, everyone’s done it. We get swept up in the big romance or newness factor, we ignore a whole lot of stuff, and then finally we can’t ignore it anymore and bam! It’s all over. This is the one point I wish I had known and followed sooner rather than later: do not waste your time dating people when you know there might be issues.
If you talk to someone and you get to know them, and you want to start dating them, great! Go for it! But if you’re talking to that person and there’s something you aren’t sure about but you’re “willing to overlook it” for whatever reason, STOP. You will end up wasting your time. When you are in the “dating game” to win it, there isn’t time to fuss over anyone who doesn’t fit what you’re looking for. Do. Not. Settle. The beautiful thing about this is that if you decide to NOT waste your time, it gives you more time to actually find “The One” because you’ll realize early on who does and doesn’t make the cut. This might sound like a harsh way to treat people, but remember: this isn’t about them, it’s about you and finding someone you can be with for the long haul. And really, it’s better for the other people if it ends before it begins because it saves a lot of broken hearts. When you stop wasting your time, you stop wasting everyone else’s time as well.
Well, there you have it. That’s the not-so-short explanation as to how Erin and I managed to find each other and how you can use what we did to hopefully help yourselves if you want to. Happy dating!
Posted on July 29, 2014, in Dating Advice from a Lesbian, Love, Relationships and tagged Dating Advice from a Lesbian, GLBT, lesbian, Lesbian Dating, Lesbian Relationships, LGBT, Life, Love, Random Rants, Relationships. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.