The Dating Scene – The Most Important Consideration: You

“Dating is about finding out who you are and who others are. If you show up in a masquerade outfit, neither is going to happen.” – Henry Cloud

My dear queer children,

As you most likely know, trying to date another queer person is difficult. This is not because our relationships are more likely to fall apart or because our people are not committed, as some homophobic people would like to say, but because we can have a tough time finding someone in the first place.

I mean, let’s be honest: society assumes that everyone is straight unless you’re at some sort of gay bar or similar setting. LGBTQ+ people can’t just walk up to someone and ask them out because more likely than not they’re straight. Also, it could be dangerous if you ended up the wrong person out. They could be extremely queerphobic and harass you. So, dating for our people is difficult because we can hardly find anyone and because there is potential harm.

Now that you’re in college, you may find that the dating scene has become slightly easier. You may be away from a homophobic setting and now feel safe enough to date someone who you’re truly attracted to. Also, if you’re involved on campus, especially with LGBTQ+ friendly organizations, you are more likely to meet someone who you could date. Your friends may introduce you to other LGBTQ+ people who may be interested in you. There may also be LGBTQ+ friendly parts of town where you can explore and find other LGBTQ+ people to date.

However, before you do any of this, you must reflect on the most important consideration: yourself. It’s important to make sure that you are in a healthy state before going out and finding a date. This is because you should be mindful that there are nasty people out there, both in and out of our queer community. There are people who want to use you sexually, who want to take advantage of your emotional labor, who are not interested in you, but in what you can do for them. In order to minimize this, you should be in a state in which you love yourself, you know your immense worth and dignity, and you can recognize manipulative people when you meet one. This step does not necessarily mean that you will not be put in a situation such as some of those that I outlined above, but it will give you many resources to draw upon so that you can leave that relationship as soon as you can. But most importantly, I hope that you will never have to experience a relationship such as that, and that if you ever find yourself in that situation, please feel free to contact me.

You should also be aware of whether or not you are ready for a relationship. While it may be exciting to tap into the new queer community that is around you, you may be needing some time to figure your identity out or to discover your passions and interests. Jumping into a relationship could be harmful in that it sucks all the time and energy out of you. Even though the relationship may be nice and indeed may help you understand yourself a little more, it also may consume you.

My relationship with my first boyfriend was kind of like that. It was my second month of college, and I had started talking to a guy on a dating app one day. Before I knew it, I was going on dates with him every weekend, seeing him at least once a day, and dedicating my whole life to him. I lost my touch with my friend group, I didn’t focus on school, and I didn’t get involved on campus. It wasn’t until we broke up two months later that I realized that I had not been ready for a relationship and that I had lost a lot of time, energy, and personal and interpersonal fulfillment in the span of those two months. Luckily, I had an understanding friend group and support system that helped me recover from that relationship.

There was a lot that I had learned from my relationship, such as what to do and not to do (although the list for the “not to do” is a hell of a lot longer than the “to do” list). That’s why I’m imploring you to know, treasure, and love yourself before you start dating, so that you do not feel the pain and loss like I did when I jumped into a relationship without thinking at all about it. You deserve only the best, especially because of your struggles as an LGBTQ+ person. Making sure that you’re in a good spot before dating someone is a important step in that process of achieving what is best for yourself.

In short, you deserve what’s best for you and what you want. If that comes in the form of a relationship, then I only hope that you find someone who cares about you, respects you, and treats you well. Know that I am always here if you need any help sorting through that process.

As always, please let me know if you would like my to write on a specific topic. I am always a resource for you.

Until next time,

Love, Your Gay Godparent,

Joe

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