Y’All Need Help #13: You’re Gonna Make It Count

Q:

My sister and I attend the same college (yay!) and are both super gay (extra yay!), unfortunately, this has resulted in both of us having a possible crush on the same (also queer) person on our rugby team. My sister definitely has a crush on them, but I’m not sure if I have a crush or I just really want to be friends with them. When we talked about it, I told my sister that I’m pretty sure I don’t have a crush on them, but we just went to a concert together (explicitly not as a date), and now I think it might be a real crush. I’m really close with my sister and I don’t want to have some weird sibling rivalry thing happen with this poor person stuck in the middle. When I talked to them, they said they don’t really have a crush on anyone, and they know about my sister’s crush but not mine. How do I keep this from becoming a Thing, especially since we all have to play rugby together and would like to remain friends?

A:

Ok, right out of the gate I have to tell you that I wasn’t convinced you hadn’t just emailed me the synopsis of a Disney Channel Original Movie, so I had to consult with the rest of the staff to make sure I wasn’t being bamboozled. What follows is the Slack conversation dedicated entirely to you and your question. In it, I believe, you will find the advice that you seek.

Vanessa: this is a non-issue cause you should never date a fellow teammate
problem solved xo
Stef: this is definitely the plot to a movie
Sarah: wait is this the plot to that amanda bynes movie
Audrey: I think it’s actually the plot of pretty in pink except replace rugby with teen class warfare
Mey: Why don’t both sisters date the same girl?
Just be poly
Alaina: Mey that is incest
right????
Mey: No???
If I sleep with Demi Lovato and my sister sleeps w Demi Lovato my sister and I aren’t sleeping together
Riese:oh wow
Mey: Did I read the situation wrong?
Alaina: maybe it just gets a little too close to incest for my comfort then.
Riese: i think this was a storyline on pretty little liars
Mey: My life is s storyline on pretty little liars
Stef: wait what if they’re identical twins
the sweet valley high twins did this all the time i feel
Riese: didn’t that happen on jane the virgin
Stef: or am i thinking of some other lovable scamps
Alaina: i honestly thought they were identical twins at first
Stef: maybe they’re parasitic twins and her sister is just a couple of organs and some teeth, with a crush on their fellow rugby player
Sarah: for some reason i also thought they were identical twins!
Stef: consider all the facts, people
Vanessa: wait why did everyone think the question asker has an identical twin
what is going on!
Mey: I assume all siblings are twins
Stef: who was it who would like secretly go on dates with the other one’s boyfriend? was it tia and tamera?
Mey: Phil and lil did that in an episode of rugrats all grown up
Stef: i think the only way to settle this
is for the sisters to play rugby against each other
i don’t know how rugby works except that you get hurt all the time
but the winner gets to take the other girl on a date
Sarah: i love this idea
Stef: it’s the law of the land, sarah
i don’t make the rules
do you need other people to play rugby?
i thought it was just jumping on top of each other and smashing people into the ground, i think two people could do that
Alaina: why are they in college at the same time on the same rugby team??? that’s why i thought they were twins
Vanessa: maybe one is like a year older
or two years older
Sarah: also queer twins : tegan and sara
Stef: do you know how many times tegan and sara had to settle scores this way
except they’re canadian so it’s hockey
Alaina: i would only go to the same school as a sibling if we were twins
i feel like twins like each other?
Mey: WOULDNT IT BE AMAZING IF TEGAN AND SARA MARRIED THE SAME WOMAN
Alaina: NO
Vanessa: MEY NO
Alaina: NO IT WOULD NOT
Stef: that’s not how it works
Mey: that’s my gay agenda
Alaina: i feel like only twins like each other enough to continue to live with each other/see each other every day after 18 forced years of it you know?
Vanessa: why can’t they just be siblings
Tiara: If it’s college then one of them could have entered late or something, like after a gap year
Stef: is one of them on a rugby scholarship?
Tiara: rugby legacy
they come from a long line of rugby players
(is that even a thing, i know not much of american college life)
Stef: wait here’s a novel idea
what if the person they’re into decides who they feel like dating
which might not be either of them
Mey: That sounds risky
Stef: OR
ALTERNATIVELY
does that person have a twin?


Q:

I am in a relationship/in love with a woman who is incredibly kind and with whom I am very compatible. The only issue is that her religion is very important to her and I come from a secular background and do not claim any religion. I respect her and her commitment to her religion so much, and I also know that she wants to raise her future children in the faith, have a religious wedding, and be around people who understand and can talk about her faith tradition. She is someone I want to spend the rest of my life with and I want to be a part of this very important part of her life. How can I approach this issue respectfully and share in this part of her life in any way she wishes for me to share in it?

A:

This is great! She has a thing she values immensely and you want to be part of it! I can’t even tell you how great it is! I think this is one of those times when the only thing you can do is talk to her about it! I imagine she’ll be receptive and happy and more than willing to share. One of the top activities of having a religion is sharing it, right? Be your whole self and say, “BABE, YOU HAVE THIS PRACTICE AND FAITH THAT INFORMS SO MUCH OF YOUR LIFE AND WHO YOU ARE, AND I REALLY LIKE WHO YOU ARE AND I’D SURE LIKE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS IMPORTANT PART OF YOU.” Or I mean, say it the way you’d normally say a thing.

Natalie, a staff writer here at AS, suggested there might be a class for new members that you could attend, possibly at a neighboring place of worship instead of her usual spot, if you wanted to be lowkey about it at first. Maybe some readers will have even more advice about easing yourself into a new religion!

Good luck!


Q:

I’m getting divorced from my wife, and I feel like I don’t know how to date, or even reconnect with the wider LGBT community. We’ve lived a very suburban life, and we have a kid together. I’m in my mid-thirties, I know there’s a lot I can and should be doing to get back out there, but where do I even start? And how do I even handle explaining that I have a kid, and all that? Help!

(As anxious as I am to get back out there, I know I need to take it slow. Not only am I still working through the whole divorce, we’re still cohabitating while selling the house, and I somehow think “Hey, I sleep on an air mattress in the attic of a house I share with my ex-wife…wanna hang out?” is not going to attract anyone who isn’t going to axe murder me.)

Please help!

A:

You start by starting! Get yourself some new clothes — this is just a great idea when you’re entering a new life phase, so don’t argue with me here. New clothes! Ok now you just get out of your house and do things that genuinely interest you. What are those things? Cool, now find ways to connect with other people who also have an interest in them. No matter what you’re into, there’s a chill socially acceptable way to do it with other people. Look for things to do in the nearby big cities. Go see some art and volunteer at places that are a making a positive change in the world. It’ll probably be intimidating at first — most new things are — but LISTEN. You didn’t live to your mid-thirties to let a little nervousness stop you from being HAPPY and LEARNING NEW THINGS and MEETING NEW PEOPLE. Hell NO. You have a kid and the rest of your life ahead of you and you’re gonna make it all count.

Regarding that kid and how you explain it to people: wear your parenthood on your sleeve. In whatever casual and relevant way you can, let everyone know from the jump that you have a kid. If they don’t like it they can SCRAM. You get to decide who has the honor of knowing your small weirdo and who doesn’t, so take that job very seriously. For the right people, dating or even just hanging with someone who has a child is a privilege and not a burden. It’s a big deal to be involved in a kid’s life and they’d be lucky to have even the smallest shot at it.


Y’All Need Help is a biweekly advice column in which I pluck out a couple of questions from the You Need Help inbox and answer them right here, round-up style, quick and dirty! (Except sometimes it’s not quick, but that’s my prerogative, OK?) You can chime in with your own advice in the comments and submit your own quick and dirty questions any time.


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Laneia is the Executive Editor and founding member of Autostraddle, and you're the reason she's here. She's 37, has two kids, two dogs, one cat, one Megan, and some personal essays.

Laneia has written 814 articles for us.

17 Comments

  1. For LW 1, I think the only way to keep it from becoming A Thing is to absolutely stop talking about the situation with your sister and your semi-crush. It’s soooo tempting to think that this is a situation that can be solved by doing something or saying something. But I know from hard won experience that talking and processing a situation like this usually just feeds the fire and makes it worse.

    You’ve talked, you know that your rugby teammate doesn’t return either of your feelings and that’s it. Nothing more to do. Neither you or your sister should pursue them. All of you should focus on being normal teammates. It may be awkward. You may need to pull back from hanging out with one or both of them. You may need to develop other friendships.

    Don’t cultivate your crush – don’t talk about it with your sister or your friends, don’t doodle their name in your notes, don’t daydream about your future together (and if you catch yourself daydreaming about you and your semi-crush gently think about something else). Give yourself time. Be gentle with yourself. But also do not indulge yourself in obsessing about your drama.

    This is awkward and this stuff happens and you’ll all live through it.

    Quick personal story that I’ve told here before: My brother and I had a crush on the same girl at summer camp – this was the 80s and 16 year old me didn’t realize that I had a crush on her – and I was devastated when they started dating. When she and I both came out as bi, independently, a few years later, we attempted to get together but it was too weird, and we just endlessly talked about our feelings and the situation until it ruined our friendship. (But we’re friends now through the magic of Facebook).

    Good luck!!

  2. I went to the same college as my twin. But I do really love and like her. She’s not gay so no problems with same crushes. Obviously, Stef is right about letting the young woman decide whom she’s going to date. But the conversation was enjoyable to read and ruminate about.

  3. If I knew two sisters both had a crush on me I would stay away from both of them, even if I liked one. It just seems like more drama than it’s worth, and I’d hate to contribute to anyone’s sibling tensions.

  4. The slack conversation had me cry-laughing and rolling over on my couch.

    For the religion one, it was unclear to me from the question whether the asker wants to adopt/convert to partner’s religion or just be as involved and supportive as possible while remaining secular themselves. The latter seems a little more complicated, but still the start-talking-about it advice holds.

    • More on the religion one: what this “being as involved as possible but not converting” looks like and how complex it is might depend a little on the particular religious community. Like if they were super into converting people, or had a lot of rules, it would be more complicated BUT going on the fact they are supportive enough of this partner in a queer relationship for her to be super into her religious community, then it’s probably chill. At some point it would probably be helpful and reasonable to ask around about other couples where one of them is in the group and one of them is not, and have a chat with them. Assuming they are chill, when you go to events that have socializing it’s just like any other group of people that share an interest/habits/language you don’t but hopefully are welcoming! I have relatives that are many different religions I’m not in, and so I’ve been to catholic mass, reformed jewish services and sikh temple ceremonies where I don’t know what is being said or what to do and I just follow along with what everyone else is doing and its always been totally fine. Just ask ahead of the ceremony/service/etc if there’s something you should not do given you are a visitor/non-follower (like take Catholic communion). Also I have a super religious aunt who is happily married for decades to her super notreligious husband, and he just comes to services then the kids are doing something and it’s a family event.

      • oh and to be really concrete: The Seven Principles of Marriage is heteronormative, but if you can stand to read it it has some great questions for having good convos about long term partners’ (married or not) varying religious backgrounds and current beliefs and practices. I use this book a lot and just focus on the helpful questions. Or ask a friend to read it and tell you what the helpful questions are 😉

  5. May I humbly request an edition of Y’All Need Help in which ALL of the answers are crowd-sourced and the resulting Slack conversation posted for our enjoyment? That was…transcendently fucking funny.

    Mey and Stef, way to be the MVPs of this particular iteration, btw.

  6. Message for the parent, just be you and don’t rush things. You’ll find someone when the time is right! As for being a parent, you’re child comes first! If someone doesn’t respect that, then RUN! Anyone who is potentially worth having y’all in their life will respect that relationship and remember that child comes first to you. They will also understand that your ex is a part of y’all because you have a child together! They will know that there is NO competition and they will understand that whether you live in the same house as your ex or not, that ex is a part of your life for the rest of your life. Just keep it honest, and remember that nothing happens overnight. Also remember that with any transition, there are adjustments that happen with time and part of the adjustments are being made by your new significant other when that time comes.

  7. I love a reminder that rugby teams are the same the world over, with family members playing together, queers and interdating. I’m not saying I love the drama of teammates dating, but I do love that no one on a rugby team will raise an eyebrow about your drama being of the gay variety.

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