Getting Back in The Game After Only Dating One Gender

12/17/2018

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I would like to date women again, and I’m not sure where this urge is coming from. The only way I can describe it is like how I get a tuna sandwich from Subway nearly every time, but about once a year, I switch it up and get a meatball sub. Sometimes you just need a change, both in diet and dating. While I’ve been enjoying dating gay/bi men, I think we can all agree, that regardless of sexuality, men are the worst. (Kidding! But also not…)

As I’ve been delving back into the world of dating women, which differs vastly from the queer world of gay/bi men, it’s been somewhat of a struggle. Struggle, perhaps, isn’t the right word, maybe saying it requires adapting is more accurate. I’ve spent so much time among gay men, that I’ve seemingly forgot how to flirt with women. Whereas in a gay bar, it’s expected to be aggressively direct with sexual advances, that type of behavior would likely land a drink in my face at a straight bar. It’s not just about casual sex though; I act very effeminate, with loud “Yasss queeeens” and “Werkk bitch!” which is a turn off to many (although God knows not all!) women.

In my recent exploration of dating women, I’ve learned a few tips that have helped me feel more comfortable getting back into dating different genders, when I’ve been exclusively dating one gender, in this case, cisgender men. Since, I often receive the question of, “How do I get into dating [insert gender here] when all I’ve been dating is [one specific gender],” I figured now’s a good time to answer!

1. Utilize Dating Apps

While dating apps can be the absolute worst, being solicited by creeps, cat-fishers, ghosters, and flakes, apps are incredibly helpful for the queer community, more specifically, bi individuals. On apps, we can list our sexual orientation as the first thing, if we so choose. This helps to weed out those who wouldn’t be interested in us because we’re bi. Still, the majority of straight women and (many men) refuse to date bi folks. It’s helpful to filter those people out from the get-go. It also avoids a “coming out” moment, which can be nerve-wracking while dating someone new, because we can never anticipate exactly how they’re going to respond.

2. Attend Queer (Not Exclusively Gay or Straight) Spaces

Why am I attempting to go to straight bars to meet women? I feel uncomfortable there and I don’t like them. There are plenty of queer spaces that have queer women. (This differs from gay male-dominated bars.) That’s where I should be heading to if I want to date a woman. Besides, at least in my experience, it’s a lot easier to date someone else who’s also bi because you share similar experiences. That’s not to say it’s impossible to someone straight or gay, many folks do, but it poses additional challenges.

3. Don’t Try to Change Who You Are

I’m a queen — a fabulous, flouncing, out and proud cliche. When I get excited my voice raises 10 octaves. I love performing in drag, wearing slutty crop tops, and sucking d**k. That’s who I am. I want a woman (or in general, a person) who likes me for all aspects of who I am. I have no intention of “butching it up” to make my partner feel more comfortable. It’s crucial to find someone who likes you for your eccentricities, not in spite of them.

4. Remember, Rejection Is Part of the Experience

I’ve been getting rejected… a lot. Does it feel good? No, of course not. But is it the end of the world? Nope, it’s not that either. Don’t let rejection in anyway inhibit you. It’s part of dating regardless of sexual orientation, but I think, it may even be more prominent for bi folks. Often times, however, because we’ve been rejected for our sexual identity in the past (either by family members, friends, or potential romantic partners), we take rejection more to heart. Not to sound like you mom, but there are plenty of fish in the sea. (There’s also a lot of trash in the sea too. I mean there’s literally a garbage island. So you may have to sift the trash before finding a King Alaskan Salmon, but you eventually will!)

5. Have Patience

In a similar vein, have patience. We often feel like we need to find love, or if our expectations are lower, someone to simply date ASAP. Especially as we age and our friends start to get married (I already have three weddings next year I’m supposed to attend… kill me now), we think we should already have met the person we’re going to spend the rest of our lives with. Not true. Relax. Breathe. My uncle met his partner at 52, they moved in together at 54, and have now been married for three years. They’re the happiest they’ve ever been in their entire lives.

It takes time to find someone special, and for bi folks, it may take a little bit longer, because when everyone else was sure of their sexual identity, dating as early as 16, many of us were closeted, attempting to figure out own sexuality. And if you don’t come out until you’re in your 30s, you don’t skip the stage of dating like you did in your early 20s, moving from one person to the next. That’s an important stage we all need to go through regardless of age, so take your time!

As I always like to remind myself, there’s no time-limit on love.

Zachary Zane
Zachary Zane a Brooklyn-based freelance writer, speaker, YouTuber, and activist whose work focuses on (bi)sexuality, gender, identity politics, relationships, and culture. He's a contributing editor at The Advocate Magazine, a columnist at Bi.org, and currently writes for The Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, Out Magazine, and PRIDE.