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Is She Interested in Me or Am I Reading This Wrong?

Does she want to be BFFs or something more? Help!
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Q: Is She Interested in Me or Am I Reading This Wrong?

Dear KitschMix,

Long-time reader, first time responder. I saw a post from this site regarding helping one with problems of the heart. I should introduce myself, my name is Alison and I’m a Transwoman/lesbian.

I label myself that because even though I have gone from MTF, I still prefer women over men (they’re softer and sweeter). However, I have met this one woman, an extraordinary woman, who I think I may be in love with but I know I can’t be with because she has a boyfriend. For the most part he’s out if the picture due to them having separate careers and could not be collocated so we spend a lot of time together. She’s admitted to having a dream of me (doing her dishes oddly enough) and I once complimented her on a jumper so she wore it when I was invited to dinner with her neighbours.

We’ve been shopping and do all the usual girly stuff together and like the same things. We just get on like a house on fire. She is just so sweet. But I’m not sure if I’m reading into it too much or I’m paranoid. What do I do?

Hello Alison! I would love to try and help with your issue. Your situation is a complicated one, indeed, although not exactly because of how you identify. (I only mention it because you felt the need to clarify your identity – in regards to who is included in the lesbian community, you are definitely “one of us”, and I would like to extend a formal “welcome!” just in case no one else has.)

Now, in regards to your friend – this is definitely the tough part. In this day and age, it can be incredibly difficult to determine who is interested in other women – which is both good and bad. In your case, there is an extra layer of difficulty because of your transition. As much as I wish I could tell you that everyone will open their arms to you, unfortunately that’s not always the case.

It is apparent to me that this woman is not transphobic (I’m assuming she knows you are a transwoman?), which is of course a positive. But you have not included enough information for me to tell if she is interested in women, or if she would properly consider you a woman as it pertains to a relationship – the latter half being essential to your own happiness. After all, you don’t want to be with someone who identifies you as a “feminine man”; that wouldn’t be fair to you as that is not how you identify.

I like to consider that, in addition to homophobic/transphobic and homo-/trans-accepting, there is also a third classification: The homo-/trans-naïve. (I have never heard anyone else use this particular label, but I think it’s an important thing to consider.) The good news is, even if she does fall under one of these particular labels, they are usually not coming from a place of hostility such as homophobia and transphobia, and it is possible to educate in these situations.

The easiest way for you to determine her thoughts on these subjects specifically would be to ask. I know, that can be nerve-wracking sometimes, but it shouldn’t be considered more difficult than the process of coming out. She has proven that she is accepting of you, and even that she likes you to a certain extent. The particular extent will dictate your actions moving forward.

Here are a few things I would like you to think about:

  • If you have not come out to her as a transwoman, you will of course need to decide whether you do this before you proceed or after. Sadly, I have very limited experience in this area, so I’m not sure what the specific considerations will be. I have heard opinions in support of both options (getting it over with vs. waiting). There is no “wrong” choice.
  • If you are not sure if she is interested in women (bi/pansexual), you might consider the act of coming out to her as a lesbian (if you haven’t already). In my experience, this type of “confession” may influence others to come out in response – this can work to your favour! It’s not guaranteed, though, as not everyone is comfortable with the idea of being out.
  • Many people are now embracing the idea of open relationships, particularly when they do not live together (or only live together part-time). This is a tough one to bring up, as it can be a touchy subject if she’s not in an open relationship – but if you’re willing to accept the idea, there is a chance that the boyfriend doesn’t impact your own relationship with her.
  • It might not be much for subtlety, but there is always the option of confessing your feelings for her – which, in many cases, can help to answer all of your questions. This is risky, of course, as it might put her off if she doesn’t feel the same way. But from what you’ve told me so far, I think that (at worst) it might make things a little awkward – but you will still be able to keep her as a friend.
  • If you absolutely cannot bear the thought of a potential rejection, I would advise you to hint at your own feelings, without revealing them entirely. For example, let her know that you are a lesbian, and that you find her beautiful, but leaving out the part where you think you’re in love with her. If she feels the same way, she might even make the first move!

I wish there was more I could do to help, but the situation is not something I’ve had direct experience with. I do wish you the best and I would love to hear how it goes for you – please don’t hesitate to contact us again if you have any further questions! Take care, Alison.

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Barbara is a 26-year-old lesbian living in California with her partner (and their “fur babies” – an adorably chubby puppy named Porkchop and a ball python named Ru). In the spare time she pretends to have, she enjoys horror movies, music of all varieties, reading, and complaining about the weather.

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