As a Relationship Architect™ who has been an advocate of the LGBT Community over the past 15 years, it's important that I reach out to those that are not yet 100% experienced in the "LGBT Dating Arena."
If you have never been in an LGBT relationship and you do not have anyone who can help you navigate the waters, it can be a scary place. In my experience, a lot of "first-timers" tend to spend years learning how to exist in a relationship only to have gone through years of damaging emotional experiences. Where are their Big Brothers and Big Sisters? Where do they learn about the topics of LGBT relationships, safe sex, responsible dating, how to deal with family acceptance and rejection?
Whether you're coming out for the first time or going public for the first time, here are 5 tips for you to consider while dating and in search for your First Gay Relationship. While these will in no way help you to fully navigate the waters ahead, they will at least give you a road map to a few ways to begin your dating experience from a place of authenticity.
1. The Grass Is NOT Always Greener On The Same Side
I'd like to begin by dispelling the myth that all women know what another woman wants and all men know what another man wants. Lumping everyone into the same category is not the way the world works. Everyone is different. I am a firm believer that we personally do not do the choosing of who we love, but in fact, our spirit does. Making the choice to date the same sex because you think the grass is greener on the same side will only lead to heartache. It doesn't matter what side you're on, there are broken, misled, confused…even uncaring and abusive individuals that are present. LGBT relationships suffer some of the same issues, ailments and pain that heterosexual relationships do. Being of the same sex doesn't guarantee you the relationship of a lifetime.
2 You Do Not Have to Sacrifice Who You Are Just To Be Accepted
Many people that are new to the LGBT lifestyle often make the mistake of trying to do everything to please everybody. They say yes to things they wouldn't ordinarily say yes to and they stop doing the things that really feed their spirit because of being afraid of what others may think.
The best way to attract the relationship that will be perfectly imperfect for you is to be yourself. Being honest about being new in the community can have different reactions to different people but that shouldn't stop you from learning who you are and learning how to articulate that in your new relationship.
One thing that is very important for you to understand is that every dating situation is not a potential relationship NOR is every committed relationship a potential marriage. If you're just starting out, it may FEEL like the best thing you've ever experienced but do yourself a favor and take your time. Navigate the waters with caution. This isn't an easy lifestyle to embark upon by any means however, the more time you take to really understand who YOU are by doing your internal groundwork the better. Learn how to love you just as you are today…and tomorrow if you decide to wake up and be someone different, love yourself enough for that to be ok as well.
3. Sharing Your Sexual Preference Is YOUR Choice And Not A Requirement
Never allow anyone to pressure you into coming out or going public if you're not ready to. A lot of people that have been living the LGBT lifestyle for a while and are comfortable in their skin sometimes shy away from newbies. The idea is that newbies are not yet sure where they want to be and can be quite emotionally risky. Sometimes, in an effort to protect their hearts, images, etc. they will require you to come out before your time to someone that you are not yet ready to come out to. Don't be bullied.
4. Know What You Bring To The Table (Or At Least Have Something To Bring To The Table)
You do not have to be 100% accomplished in your career or life to start dating, you should however know what you bring to the table or at least HAVE something to bring to the table. What do you have to offer? Great personality, compassion, great back rubs, education, spiritual community: whatever it is, you should KNOW what makes you YOU. What are your strong points? What value can you add? Do you need to have the answer to these questions just to go on a date — well, not immediately but you do need to know the answer to these questions for other reasons.
5. Date Responsibly: Both Emotionally and Sexually
As my mother use to say "Don't let your mouth write a check that your a$$ can't cash!" What does that have to do with dating? Everything! Don't play with peoples emotions and get yourself into a situation that you will have a hard time getting yourself out of. Physically, don't allow the passion of the moment to cause you a lifetime of pain. Practice safe sex. I'm not stating that you have to sleep with everyone that you're dating, however, should you choose to do so, do it responsibly.
Remember, dating is suppose to be fun! This is your time to try on as many pairs of shoes as you like (responsibly) before buying a pair. Have fun with it. While you're dating, get clear on the type of person that would allow you to have the quality of life and love that you want and what that would FEEL like.
Take your time and you will do fine. And if you ever need any additional advice, someone to talk to, a coach that understands you...I'm right here.
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