5 Unofficial Lesbian Relationship Milestones

As we have established in our previous discussions of situationships, gay relationships don’t necessarily follow the same timeline as the straight relationship model we’re most culturally familiar with; nor do they necessarily have the same major turning points. Whereas we are conditioned to expect a First Date, followed by landmarks like Carefully Crafted First Instagram Post as a Couple and Attending Family Event in Neutral-Toned Sweater, a gay relationship may look more like Be Codependent Best Friends for Three Years Before Realizing You’re In Love Without Ever Going on a Date, followed by Emotionally Turbulent Road Trip to Visit Your Ex’s Rural Co-Op Together. It just looks different! Here are a few big moments along the lifespan of lesbian relationships that are maybe more honest to our contemporary collective love life.

Following each other on Co-Star

Anyone can exchange sun, moon and rising on a first date (or in a tinder bio!), but to get into the juicy stuff like whether your mars and venus are :) compatible or :( incompatible, or whether your “shared spirit of inquiry” is “in harmony” or “in flux,” you need the Co-Star follow. It’s a vulnerable moment! You have gained the ability to screenshot their full charts (including houses!) to show to your group chat, but are also allowing them the same liberty and accepting that your extremely chaotic sun/moon dynamic is being roasted right now. Big step!

Meaningful tattoo

Speaking very loosely, tattoo-prone gays fall into two categories: people who painstakingly plan out their ink for eight months and can perform a full monologue about its personal significance on command, OR people who get the “anytizers” section of the bar menu tattooed on them while still inside the bar because someone thought it would be funny. Especially for the latter group, the incidence of date-related tattoos can be HIGH. Matching tattoos? Tattoos based on an inside joke? Tattoos of their favorite tarot card, for some reason?

Telling your therapist about them

It can be tough to prioritize your messy life that you hadn’t realized until this exact moment needed SO much backstory until right now, when you have to decide what merits inclusion in the 50 minutes you’re paying for this week. What if you spend too much time on your dad issues and don’t even get to touch your increasingly paralyzing anxiety about climate change! In this strict emotional economy, introducing someone you’re interested in as a character in your life to a therapist, along with the attendant details, summary of your baggage and potentially screenshots, is a gesture of commitment! Also lets you to lay the groundwork for the stage in a serious relationship where you try to score points in an argument by citing what your therapist has said about them, and about how right you are, meaning that this could be a sign of really seeing a future with someone.

Shared streaming accounts

If you compiled everyone in all your group chats combined with the people whose streaming accounts you either use the logins to or have offered your logins to, would it not form a pretty accurate picture of your closest intimates? It’s like your oldest work friend, your real-world bff, your younger sibling, and one internet friend you’ve known since you were 17 but never met in real life. Those are all people it would be, you know, not nothing to introduce someone you’re seeing to in real life; in a way, you are inducting them into that circle when you make them a Hulu profile. You’re also accepting that when you two probably (I mean maybe not! Maybe love is real, idk) break it off at some point, you will have to either kick them off your login or deal with seeing the grisly true crime docs they like watching on your account forever, which is kind of a commitment.

Meeting each other’s exes

Everyone deals with their exes after a breakup differently, but if you’re both queer women the chances that neither of you have ANY continued relationships with ANY of your exes — including vague situationships that never got labeled but which, you know, you’ll be upset farther down the line when you find out you’ve been to brunch like eight times with this person without knowing your girlfriend hooked up with them for six months — are slim. At some point you have to meet! Likely no one involved will enjoy this introduction, really, but it’s a necessary step in getting to that other uniquely queer liminal relational space — friendquaintanceship with your girlfriend’s ex marked by the intimacy once removed of both having intimate knowledge of the same person and also her dog.

What Deeply Gay relationship milestones are missing from this list? Go ahead and tell me in the comments!

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Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

Rachel has written 1142 articles for us.


  1. Learning each other’s food allergies, likes, and dislikes and finding the 1 restaurant in town that you can both eat at

    • I definitely included my food allergies in my OKC profile. My partner and I have several matching allergies so that helps.

  2. Sharing your coming out stories.

    Some version of this usually occurs on or before the first date, for some reason.

    • Oh wow, that’s so true. It didn’t occur to me as a milestone but that’s such a Thing early in a relationship.

  3. buying a two pack of coconut oil to make vegan gingerbread for her, then never hanging out again so you’re left with 1.8 containers of coconut oil that you will likely never use because butter

    • Caitlin this is the saddest most relatable love story I have ever heard. You are such a giver.

    • thank u all for ur commiseration

      to be clear i did make the vegan gingerbread folks! it was a huge pain in the ass and super crumbly but it tasted pretty ok!

    • This whole thread is excellence. I have chem sensitivities, so I and my partners have to use fragrance-free products. I bought some frag-free shaving gel for a potential partner to use on our first hang out and then they “dumped” me in November before we ever met in person, so it is now living in my closet seemingly for the foreseeable future.

  4. I am entering a vulnerable place here, but: the first time you accidentally tuck her hair behind your ear.

    I can’t explain the logistics, I just know it’s real.

  5. Doing tarot readings together
    Emptying an overflowing canal boat chemical toilet together
    Crying during sex–because you love each other so much, and then, later, because you hurt each other so much

  6. That first shower together that doesn’t involve sex where one of you makes some huge statement like, “I want to be pregnant within five years” or “Married gays are only buying into the patriarchal hetero-normative paradigm,” and there’s really no escaping it and suddenly being wet and sudsy and naked doesn’t feel sexy anymore.

  7. My token straight friend and I once dated out way through every single woman in one house without realising each new girlfriend lived there until it was too late (I met the ones I dated on OK Cupid). I say too late but they’re honestly lovely girls, still friends now. Because of course we are. Its the queer way.

  8. “a gay relationship may look more like Be Codependent Best Friends for Three Years Before Realizing You’re In Love Without Ever Going on a Date”

    I feel so seen.

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