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For more info on sending in questions, see the bottom of this post. Now let’s get down to bossing people around on the internet! Today Gaby’s gonna respond to a reader inquiry we’re gonna talk about girls who are gay until they are straight, or confusing, or something.
Issue: This girl likes you. She’s let it be known to her friends and you. Hooking up may already be happening. Every time you get to the “almost point” – sex, love, feelings, relationship – suddenly she either has a boyfriend or brings up men/boys in some way. She drops you, then comes back, then runs away again. You need help.
A: If she’s new to dating in general (perhaps because she’s young) and/or has never ever been with a same sex partner before, then here is one set of guidelines:
First, breathe. Her feelings in no way reflect anything you’ve done wrong nor should they make you feel inadequate. Shit is complicated. That’s one of the things about love and relationships with humans that will never change. This person is probably super scared about the level of attraction felt and the rush of feelings that flood their body when you enter the room. Mostly this is because you are unlike anyone they have ever met before. Who knows what Linds and SamRo went through before their love thang got going.
Fear is totally 100% okay especially when navigating new attractions and/or feelings, all of the feelings. We all know that women in this fucked up world (that I am still learning to navigate) are trained to want some knight in shining armor. We’re socialized into fantasizing about walking down a glittery aisle with the most perfect of cis male life partners waiting for us at the end of it. Maybe you never wanted anything to do with that fantasy but she probably has. It’s frightening to shift one solid heteronormative image of your life/future for even the most magical person, let alone for yourself. Her throwing up the “I still like boys” signs could be the way that she holds on to the part of herself she knows best and with which she feels most comfortable.
Now if she actually has a boyfriend and is messing around with you then she is unfortunately both a liar and a cheater. These two qualities are way more important than whether or not she’s committed to liking women. Judging liars and cheaters is not my bag, specifically because I’ve been both and shit happens. However, I know for a fact that it’s best not to engage in any kind of relationship with someone who is either of those things. They’re in some world of shit and you don’t want to be the one left to clean it up. Also, her boyfriend is probably clueless and/or awesome; the best thing you can do is step away. Step away without ultimatums. Step away with dignity and respect. Do not make it something dramatic or hateful. Tell her or write to her (totally sober) your reasons for stepping away. Express how important honesty is to you through example. Don’t allow the situation to become a back and forth “be with me” bit of plea-bargaining. When you step away, mean it. Backpedaling is for Philistines and politicians. You are better than both of those things. Also, don’t hold it against her because carrying around that energy is a waste of your awesomeness.
If the boyfriend is fake and she is constantly running back and forth to you, hug the girl tight and know that you still might have to let her go, maybe. Remember that not all relationships happen in an overnight explosion of unicorn glitter and Tegan & Sara sing-a-longs. Connections should be allowed to marinate and develop on their own; it’s ok if she needs time to figure out her feelings. You should be taking that time too. If she fesses up to not having a boyfriend and just being scared, then know that she’s a good girl and is trying her best. Don’t constantly ask if she’s figured out her whole lifelong sexuality. Don’t throw the fake boyfriend thing in her face when you argue. Be a gentleperson at all times. It’s not your job to coerce, coax or convince anyone to be a full-time lady-lover. Not ever. Not even a little bit. Also, her process is hers, and you have to find a balance between that and the way you feel. Understand her feelings without absorbing them. You have your own life stuff to deal with too. But if you both have the sweet butterflies for each other, then taking time to adjust is the most solid plan of action. If you see that she’s running away less and less, then some kind of love thing might be brewing. If the running happens for longer periods of time every time, then see above for information on the art of Stepping Away.
(I’ve respectfully stepped away from chicas in similar situations. You gotta let chicks breathe and process without being all up in their bizzness. 7 times out of 10, the ladies have come and found me and magic has been made. )
Now if she’s been in the dating world for a while and has been with women before and still throws the “I need to date/fuck/be with men” thing at you in a way that is solely to dodge you and not in a way that expresses any honest alternative sexual expression like individuals who are in open polyamorous relationships or sister-wife relationships or any other relationship in which all parties are down for all of the things, then drop that her like a bad habit. Splzat. Feel free to not leave any explanation.
After a certain point in life and level of relationship experience, a woman should ideally know what she wants and who she is or at least know better than to put her issues on you while she’s figuring it out.
She shouldn’t disrespect you by projecting the opposite of what you are in your face to express something she decides she is lacking. Also, don’t assume it’s because she’s bisexual that she’s treating you this way. Assume that she kinda sucks. From my understanding, bisexual women are honest about their needs and are with a person based on who they are not what they’ve got in their pants. (S/N – here’s a little Anna Paquin on her bisexuality.) Lesbians should never be afraid to date badass bisexual ladies, polyamorous ones and women who are involved in relationships outside of your comfort zone or expertise. Be afraid to pursue a woman who uses aspects of her sexuality to manipulate your emotions. Your affection, feelings and self should be valued and appreciated at all times by everyone in your life. If some chick can’t give you at least that, then she just isn’t worth it.
Remember, when the girl you like keeps bringing up other people or genders, she’s putting up a barrier. Your focus shouldn’t be ‘Is she straight or gay?’. Wondering about that leads to madness, drunk phone calls and other forms of hot messery. Ask yourself, is she worth getting behind the barrier and figuring out what’s really going on in her head and heart? It’s ok to stop along the way and decide it’s not emotionally safe or valuable for you to continue the relationship. It’s also ok to trudge carefully onward and find love in a very human place.
I got you and want you to feel so loved that love is the only experience you share/give/behold at all times.
PS- Note that this article has been altered to reflect more inclusive language because I did not have the wherewithal to check my cisgender privilege. I would like to thank Kayla for her 100% right on comment that took this piece head on with the very spirit that I believe Autostraddle encourages in all its readers.
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