I’m not very good at cutting to the chase, but I’ll make my best effort. I’m sailing some weird waters, making a connection with someone I met through a dating website. She’s trans. That’s not really the problem, but it complicates the problem.
I live with my parents. I dated a disaster a couple years ago, lost my virginity and a good deal of my sanity to what I now understand was a manipulative, abusive person. I met him online.
Since then, my mom has insisted I reach out through my microscopic circle of friends, or even various groups I belong to, to find someone to date. I have reached, and dredged, and come up with nothing but dashed hopes and some now awkward friendships. So, about a week and a half ago, I decided I’d mess with my profile again, sparked by a picture I took of myself that looked half decent, and the fact that two of my friends are getting married, so what the hell, who wants to be lonely forever.
The strangest, most suspicious thing happened. The first person I got a message from was not only decent, but pretty awesome (hot to boot), and we hit it off. I think the big red flag, though, is that the relationship has seemed to progress at ludicrous speed – akin to my last one. I honestly don’t know if that’s normal. I’ve dated two friends in my life, had sex with someone I met online on our third date, and don’t know what the heck normal is. I have no experience to work with, and if I keep waiting for someone to come into my life, I will continue to have no experience.
I’m wondering if I’m naive enough at 26 that my parents should be making my decisions for me, or if it’s okay to dive whole body into a relationship less than a week old. I’m sure the very fact that I’m wondering that really helps my case for me being mature.
I want to tell my parents I met someone, but I don’t know how to assert my maturity, or if I even should considering my behavior. To complicate things further, I don’t know how to come out as a lesbian who’s dating a trans girl.
So, I guess there’s a lot of talking that needs to happen somewhere. And probably some self-examination. But I don’t know where to start, and there’s only so long I can keep a part of this on pause before it blows up in my face.
There is no “normal”.
There isn’t any “one” way for relationships to go; you may date someone casually for a long time before getting serious and moving in together. You may find someone with whom you connect so quickly your head will spin. You may wait the cliche three dates to sleep with someone only to have them pull The Fade on you immediately afterwards. You may have a one-night stand that turns into a life-long, loving relationship that you usually only find in Nora Ephron films. Every relationship is going to be different and that’s ok. This has nothing to do with maturity.
That having been said, you don’t want to make the mistake of making a serious commitment early on. No matter how twitterpated you may feel over your new girlfriend, you barely know a person at six months, never mind six days. You’re not even in the honeymoon period; you’re still in the “So, do you like Siracha on your pad-thai?” stage. It’s good that you’re deliriously happy – from the sounds of it you definitely deserve some happiness in your life – but relationships take more than just that initial rush of chemistry and euphoria at the beginning. The red flag isn’t how quickly you connect, it’s how much you our your potential partner pushes for a commitment; pushing for an immediate commitment – especially exclusivity – is a danger sign. It frequently means that the person pushing for commitment is trying to lock you down before you realize that there’s something not right.
Now, as for telling your parents: there’s going to be a lot to drop on them at once, and honestly, there’s a certain amount they simply don’t need to know. The priority should be – assuming that you’re in a position where you can do so safely – coming out to your parents and letting them get adjust to the idea of who you really are. All they need to know right now is that you’re dating a woman and you’re head over heels for her. That’s really all you need to tell them for now. You’ve known her for a week and change – that’s not exactly “meet the parents” time. Hell, speaking strictly for myself and my relationship with my family, at a week in they were usually lucky to get the fact that I’d gone on a date with someone at all. If and when she’s a more established part of your life, then it may or may not be something they should be aware of, but for now: you’re seeing somebody and she’s awesome.
So here’s my advice: embrace the euphoria. Enjoy it! Acknowledge it, say “Isn’t it crazy how much we seem to click?” But don’t make any major decisions over it. You can feel the crazy compatibility without having to lock yourself to this person either in a lease or an exclusive relationship. If she’s as awesome as you think, she’ll be fine taking things slowly and just enjoying the newness of it all. If she pushes for commitment, then you’ll need to consider taking a step back and examining her other behavior for potential red flags.
Hi Dr. Nerdlove,
First of all, thanks for having this website! It had helped me understand the differences between getting the attentions of “normal” people and nerds.
Though, I do have to admit that it was difficult at first because I was not used to flirting in a REALLY obvious way, nor was I able to join in the conversations he had with his friends as easily I had with others. He tends to like to talk about video games, while I like to talk about social issues and justices; but when the timing is right, we both like and have talked about science and technology! After some time I was able to joke around with them. Both luckily and unluckily for me, this man of interest is a very close and long time friend of my brother.
You probably can predict what already happened here: he friendzoned me right off the bat. According to his logic (as well as my brother, who is also a self proclaimed nerd), he said that when he met me, he automatically saw me as a mutual friend because he had been friends with my brother for a long time. He also further commented that he likes to take things slow and that he didn’t know much about me to form an opinion–(this is where I differ from his opinion, because in my perspective, this is what I thought was dates are for: two people getting to know the other party in a more private and intimate setting.)
His response came as shock to me because I didn’t encounter such a reason before. Don’t get me wrong here, I have been rejected in the past but only after having some dates. The shock mainly came from my inability to understand why he chose to make such a difficult decision so quickly without hearing my side. I also do understand that not everyone thinks alike nor is able to handle certain situations as well as others do, which is why I take their reasons into consideration to make a decision. As for my case, I knew what the risks were for dating a close friend of my brother’s and I knew that it was worth it to try to take that risk with him. I know that I am not one to be uncivilized when things don’t go too well. All my past relationships have ended nicely where we communicated our troubles and still ended up being friends. Albeit we are not as in much contact as before, but we are still able to see and act normal around each other without any bitter or awkward feelings. However, my brother’s friend could have known all of that if he could given me that chance to show/explain that side of me.
Sorry if it took a long round-about way of asking my question but here they are: Knowing that he does not want to take a risk with his buddy’s sister (me), would he ever want to do so in the future?(my brother invites me to hang out with his friends every other week)
Or should I see this as a dead-end forever? I am always able to move on once I know that there is no option. I guess for this particular situation, I can’t quite understand the rejection because it felt that both of us were not able to see each other’s side outside of the friend circle to truly discover whether we are truly attracted to that person or not.
One last thing, he does know that I am not a bad looking person because his parents and friends told him that I am cute after seeing my photos. He also smiled and thought it was a compliment. Knowing this also further confused me as to why he didn’t want to try for a date.
Thank you for reading all of that and all of your help!
People tend to progress at their own speeds when it comes to attraction; some folks feel that spark immediately, and others take time to warm up to people. There are plenty of relationships where the attraction builds over time before it turns from mutual platonic affection to romantic or sexual interest. You’ve got your speed when it comes to relationships – act on the attraction, check for compatibility along the way – while he has his. His happens to be a little more phlegmatic than yours, and that’s fine… different strokes for different folks and all that.
But to be perfectly honest, it sounds like he’s not attracted to you, and really, that’s all there is to it. Whether or not he knows about your dating style or being able to be cool with your exes is really beside the point. Hearing your side of things isn’t going to change his mind if he’s just not into you in the first place and frankly, nobody is really obligated to hear the other person’s case if they just aren’t interested in dating them. You can’t debate somebody into liking you, after all.
He may well change his mind over time and realize that maybe there is something about you that turns his crank, but sticking around with the hope of changing his mind is a bad idea. It’s a Nice Guy move and tends to lead to Oneitis, making things awkward all around. If you’re genuinely interested in being friends with this guy – regardless of whether or not he decides he wants to date you – then I’d say go ahead and hang out with him and your brother on occasion… but on the whole, you’ll be better off to write him off as a crush that didn’t work out and move on.