Ask Dave-She thinks I’ll go straight
A woman in her first gay relationship asks: How can I convince my sweetie I won’t fall for a guy?
I started my first lesbian relationship about three months ago. We were friends before we started dating, but were mutually attracted to one another and decided to give dating a try. We’re both in our twenties, but she has a few lesbian relationships in her past. While we’re not in a committed relationship, we’ve indicated that we’re only seeing each other. Over the past three months, our relationship progressed pretty well. We talk at least once a day, see each other about three to four
days a week, and keep some things at each other’s homes. The only problem is that she says she’s scared of fully committing to me because I’ve never dated a girl before. She thinks that one day I’ll wake up and want to be with men again. I told her that I feel something for her that I’ve never felt for any man, and I know I won’t go back. No amount of reassurance has helped her to feel more comfortable. I told myself I’d only wait one more month for her to be ready to be my girlfriend, but the situation is driving me crazy. Should I wait for her to be ready or just move on? Her not wanting to be my girlfriend is starting to make me feel insecure and I hate feeling that way.
|On the road to a relationship, there are always roadblocks.|
– Lesbian in Limbo
On the road to a relationship, there are always roadblocks. Your primary one seems to be insecurity. At this stage, you could argue that it’s still early enough to feel insecure about the future. But you are smart to throw out a small red flag now and come up with a plan to address the issue.
First, let me point out a few key details from your letter before you say anything to your girlfriend.
But while I understand her concern, I am not sure which is more of a red flag: your status as newbie or her unwillingness to give you the benefit of the doubt and credit for your behavior. Before you make any decisions about waiting vs. moving on, I think it’s time to express your feelings to your girlfriend in as easygoing and introductory manner as you can. Remember that it’s time for the first talk, not the ultimatum. Be careful about creating arbitrary deadlines (i.e., one month) since relationships, even the good ones, often take time to develop.
- You claim to be uncommitted, but your actions indicate the opposite. You spend three to four days a week together, talk on the phone daily, and indicate that you see each other exclusively. That sounds fairly committed, even if you aren’t ready yet for the ring and U-haul to seal the deal for real.
- From her point of view, your newbie status is a red flag for her. Since it’s your first same-sex relationship, she’s worried that you aren’t ready for commitment. For many gay people, their first relationships are filled with passionate feelings that are sometimes at odds with shame and anxiety, and a shifting uncertainty over sexual identity in general.
Find a time when the two of you are relaxed (don’t do this over the phone or in a letter), and tell her that you care about her and want your relationship to progress. Acknowledge that you might be coming to the
table with different levels of lesbian dating experience. But that doesn’t mean you can’t create a happy, successful, and balanced relationship over time.
|Find out if she wants to pursue a healthy, secure relationship.|
Find out if she wants to pursue a healthy, secure relationship. Define how you see that (i.e., you are out in your personal and professional lives, you support and love each other exclusively, one day you make a public commitment and live together).
Make a point of communicating to her that actions speak louder than words. If she wants to be with you, then she needs to trust in your actions. So far, it sounds like you’re a steady-as-she-goes type. Your words and actions match up. Ask her if she’s willing to agree that your actions have been consistently and increasingly committed to her.
Remind her that not only are you committed to being with women in general, but also you’re willing to commit to her specifically. No one can predict the future. She could leave you for another woman just as easily as you could leave her for another woman or man. None of that matters. What matters is your focus on each other now and willingness to plan for the future.
At this point, actions are what both of you need to trust. If hers aren’t telling you that she’s willing to work at letting go of her insecurity, then it might be that you’re focusing on the wrong issue. It’s worth exploring her relationship history. Does she have a pattern of commitment fear, or a history of difficult, traumatic relationships that have left her gun-shy? I bet her trust issues didn’t start the day you walked in the door.
If she’s willing to work with you on building a more trusting foundation, start talking about what’s essential to each of you. In addition to your consistent actions now, focusing on the future is a sign that you’re in this for the long haul. Agree to periodically evaluate how things are working. Think in terms of realistic progress. What does a good relationship look like at the one-year mark? What are some concrete actions might make her feel more secure?
The bottom line: It isn’t cynical to acknowledge red flags in a new relationship. You are seeking the commitment of a romantic relationship, something built on solid ground rather than the shifting sands of a partner’s insecurity. That’s a good thing. But you can only do so much to prove that you’re committed. She has to step up and agree to move forward, too.
Dave Singleton, an award-winning writer and columnist for Match.com since 2003, is the author of two books on dating and relationships. Visit Dave’s website and send your dating questions and comments to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.