Many lesbians experience the same online dating issues as anyone else though there are several unique situations pop up a more than average amount in the lesbian community.
But despite these issues outlined below, dating apps are still the best way for many lesbians and queer people to find the types of relationships they’re looking for.
In this article, we’ll go through common issues lesbians face in online dating as well as another common issue we face when entering into lesbian relationships. We’ll talk about the pros of a lesbian relationship and lastly about why it’s hard to name the stages of a lesbian dating cycle.
Problem: Too Far, Too Fast
Something that happens often when two women start dating, whether online or in person is that it goes from 0 to 100 at dizzying speed. We’re not going to say it’s really a problem… it can be incredible to get swept away in a romance where you feel like you are in a movie.
But on on the flip side of things, it can reaaaaally mess up your routines and instead of your lives naturally growing together, it can feel more of a high speed collision where if it doesn’t work out, you can be left scrambling to pick up the pieces.
Solution: As tempting as it may be, don’t make any life changing decisions before you really know if you’re compatible and interested in a long-term relationship. For example, do not give up your apartment (And yes, we really do use the term “U-Haul”).
Problem: Small Dating Pool
Even in the biggest cities like New York and Los Angeles, the lesbian dating scene can feel cramped. So small towns and rural areas can be especially frustrating when your dating apps only give you a few suggestions that may not interest you.
Solution: Expand your search area in your dating apps. And also try to put yourself out there in the community where you live to meet some new people. It can be hard to find the lesbians around you but here’s a great article that can help.
Problem: Being Someone’s Fetish
It’s not uncommon for a lesbian woman to be approached online by people in heterosexual relationships seeking to add a little spice to their sex life. Most queer women who are on dating apps don’t want this type of attention, but we get it anyway.
Solution: If you aren’t interested in threesomes, put that on your profile.
Problem: Close-mindedness about Bisexual Women
Bisexual people get a bad rap of being “indecisive and unfaithful.” I completely disagree and that’s a topic for a whole other article, but suffice it to say, if a bisexual person ends a relationship with you, it’s because you aren’t right for each other not because they are bisexual.
Solution: If you have a negative preconception toward bisexual women, perhaps it’s time to explore why. There are so many AMAZING bisexual people that other folks in the LGBTQ community miss out on because of outdated and incorrect ideas about the bi community.
Problem: Being at Different Stages in the Coming Out Process
A very real issue for some in the lesbian community is dating someone who is at a different stage of coming out than you are. I have friends who aren’t willing to guide a potential lover through the coming out process anymore since it’s emotionally taxing.
Solution: Some women love the extra excitement that comes with showing someone new to the LGBT community the ropes as they explore their sexual identity.
On the flip side, feeling like you have to go back into the closet just so you can be with someone is hard on your mental health. It’s ok if you, as an out and proud lez, aren’t up for it and so decide not to pursue these types of first time or closeted relationships.
Another Common Issue in Lesbian Relationships – Problem: Trust
Just like any relationship, lesbians aren’t immune to trust issues. Whether we’ve been hurt in the past, or have reasons to suspect our current partner is being unfaithful, trust can be a big hill to climb for any couple.
There are a few things unique with gay and lesbian relationships, though.
- Theoretically our friend groups are full of potential love interests.
- On top of that, it’s pretty much a guarantee that we will be continuously bumping into our exes when we go out to clubs, gay bars, and events.
- It seems like it it’s more common for us lesbians to stay in contact with our exes than our straight people counterparts.
All of these are potential added trust factors that can manifest in not so nice ways.
Solution: You can’t have a successful relationship without a solid basis of trust. That comes with great communication and proof over time that you are each worthy of trust. It also means working through past trauma (we recommend a therapist over a friend or your girlfriend).
Why Lesbian Relationships are Better
I don’t have much experience dating men, so I turned to my resident bisexual (aka my wife) to get her inside scoop on why lesbian relationships are better. She looked at me and said, “What do you mean? A good relationship is good and a bad relationship is bad, right?” I love her.
I had to rephrase the question to, “What are the potentially positive differences in a lesbian relationship vs a straight relationship?” Then she told me this mix of somewhat deep, somewhat superficial, but all valid points.
1. Good lesbian sex is life changing.
2. Emotional connection and depth comes much easier with a woman.
3. Common understanding of things like periods. But seriously though… understanding of life experiences.
4. Silly but awesome is that you get to enjoy gender separated places (like spas) together.
5. You can share clothes (We don’t do this, but we know a lot of couples who do).
6. Women are fascinating and beautiful and you’ve probably read this far because you agree.
Why it’s Hard to Name the Stages of Lesbian Dating
When we talk about the stages of lesbian dating, it’s really all over the map in terms of “typical” progression and here’s why:
If we simplify it down to the barest of ideas, there are two groups of women out there who are on their way into relationship with another woman.
1. The one who are looking for a relationship with another woman.
2. The ones who are not.
Out and proud lesbians and bisexuals fall into this first category as well as women who have decided that their sexual orientation may not be as straight as they once thought and are open to where that might lead them.
Group one generally follows the 7 Stages of Dating, albeit at a heightened speed and intensity level.
However, group 2 is a wild card that is really difficult to generalise. These are women who have unexpectedly felt intense attraction to another woman and need to go through the monumental process of exploring their sexual orientation as they try to process their societally taboo feelings.
That process can look different for everyone, but generally involves a lot of questioning, self discovery, doubt, anxiety, relief, fear, confusion, excitement, passion, sadness, and ecstasy.
Someone in this phase of personal identity awareness can take awhile before they accept the physical and/or emotional connection that they are feeling between the other woman. Some jump in right away and sadly, some never do.
Let’s go through what this could look like in a coming out/dating scenario. I’ll use my own personal story as an example, but remember, every coming out and first lesbian dating experience story looks different.
1. Denial – Lesbians always assumed I was gay. I assumed they were crazy.
2. More Denial – Over time (in college), I became best friends with an out lesbian… I just thought she was really nice and fun to hang out with. LOL
3. Flirting with Denial – I could tell my best friend had a little crush on me and surprisingly, it didn’t freak me out. I thought it was fun to push her buttons and flirt with her a bit to get her flustered (ugh I was kind of a jerk).
4. Facing the Music – After some months, our friends forced her to tell me how she felt (apparently our whole circle knew). She told me that she didn’t want our friendship to change but she had to get it off her chest. I told her it was fine and that we could still be besties. Yeah!
5. Wheels Start Turning – As time passed, I realised that I liked her… a lot more than as a best friend, but I didn’t understand it. Curiosity got the better of me and we started to get physical. But being a lesbian felt like too much. I wanted a physical relationship without emotions (again, jerk).
6. Realisation – When she came to me and said having just a physical relationship was too difficult for her and that she’d have to take some steps back, it made me realise I wasn’t ok with that. We started dating and it was amazing and exhilarating and also confusing and shameful.
7. Hiding – I was dating an incredible person but felt scared for anyone to know. There was a lot of long convos and trying to understand who I actually was as a person and also how she was dealing with my process as well.
8. Coming Out – At the point where I decided to come out to the people around me, we started to call each other girlfriend. Even through this, there was a lot of confusion and self questioning that I went through.
9. “Normal” Relationship Starts – After I came out and our relationship was not a secret, it started to follow a predictable path (though it took me years to truly accept myself and proud of who I was)
That relationship ended a long time ago, but I will always look back at that time with fond memories and gratitude for her patience as I figured out who I was.
Advice for a Successful Dating Experience
If I’m to leave you with some some parting advice as you look for the woman of your dreams, it would be this:
Put yourself out there and be yourself. Whether it’s dating apps, the local gay bar, your school, or something else like a sport or club, there are women around that are looking to meet people like you. So get out there and let them!
Look for someone that you are truly compatible with, not just someone you think is hot. When you do start dating, clear communication and honesty are great presidents to set.
And lastly, try to enjoy the process.
Lauren has written articles for Autostraddle, This Colorful World, Them., and more. She has given talks or made appearances at the ELLA Festival in Mallorca, Velvet Ibiza in Ibiza, and Propel in Graz.She started working with LGBTQ+ visibility as a “baby gay” in Los Angeles, filming and editing YouTube shows like “The Real Enough L-Word” and “Unicorn Plan-It” for Autostraddle. Other notable shows and videos include Calling in Drunk, Hacker Girlfriend, and Lesbian Answers.
She created Button and Bly’s Queer Travel Show, which was the first high quality LGBTQ+ travel show on YouTube. The show’s aim was not to educate LGBTQ+ people about specific destinations, it was to show LGBTQ+ people (especially women and non-binary people) that they could travel safely.
On her travels, Lauren met Lisa through a friend in Stockholm. She essentially Uhauled herself to Sweden a few months later to be with Lisa. They ended up getting married and having a beautiful life, so ya know, it was all worth it.
In 2015, Lauren and her wife Lisa started This Colorful World, a Youtube channel that celebrates their life and travels. This is where Lauren got more into writing and discussing the finer points of queer dating and relationships. She wrote vlogs with topics such as, “Do soulmates exist?” “What is Love?” “Tips for Communication in a Healthy Relationship” and “How to Fight Fair,” among others.
Publishing videos through This Colorful World fostered a loving and thoughtful community which inspired Lauren and Lisa to create an online course about how to be your true self. It’s called the Permission Experience.
Through her saga of mixed media content creation, Lauren has been funny and lighthearted as well as deep and insightful. It’s a perfect mix for her when she can use both voices in her writing and create something meaningful while putting a smile on someones face.
So while Lauren can definitely bring a tongue and cheek tone to her articles, she will also always come from a place of kindness and helpfulness.
She is currently living with her wife and son in on their farm in Sweden. She’s also got a dog and some chickens. In her free time (which is very little) Lauren likes to go fishing, hang out in the woods, cook up tasty meals, and do farm renovation projects.
Lauren is gender non-conforming and doesn’t really care which pronouns you use.