I came out to my family as bi four years ago. However, I didn’t date for a long part of those four years, and then was in a relationship with a guy. It was a fraught situation, and I think I fell for him but there were a lot of complicating factors. I considered myself bi at that point.
Since then I’ve started online dating, and have dated girls (and some guys) for the past half year. My experience with guys from online dating has been underwhelming – they develop feelings for me and I just feel muddled, not even a crush. In this past half year of dating there was one girl I really fell for, but she ghosted.
I am confused if I should keep dating guys online. I don’t want to waste their time and energy (or mine), or hurt them, especially if I am almost exclusively into girls and just haven’t fully realized/processed that yet. However, if it’s just that the guys I’ve met online so far are not what I’m into, I don’t want to close myself off. What should I do?
Hello reader, and thank you for writing in! Sexuality is super complicated, and when you add actual dating into the picture (instead of just theoretical variables), it gets even more complicated. I actually had a somewhat similar experience as yours… Well, I came out as a lesbian when I was 16, and then when I was 18, I started questioning whether that was an accurate identity for me.
When I decided to start dating guys (which, in your situation, would be the decision to continue dating guys), I had a scripted explanation of how I perceived myself. I considered myself “bi-curious in reverse”, and I made sure the guys I dated knew that I wasn’t inherently attracted to men, but I was open to the possibility and to seeing where things went.
In my situation, there were even a few guys I was interested in for more than just a day or two. In the year I was “backwards bi-curious”, I went on probably thirty “first dates”. These were pretty evenly split between men and women, as I was trying to embody the “open to the idea” that my profile stated. In that time, I had three second dates – one of which actually turned into a (short-lived) “relationship”. That relationship was actually with a man.
I was never physically attracted to him, but there was an undeniable emotional connection formed, and it was really hard on me when we broke up – even though I was the one who called it off. I just couldn’t bring myself to keep “lying” about who I was. I didn’t think it was fair to him that I stay in a relationship when I couldn’t get myself in the mood to have sex with him. (Looking back now, I know that sex isn’t a necessary part of a healthy relationship, but a relationship without sex – when one partner wants sex – is going to be a frustrating position.)
Something that less people know about me is the fact that I’m actually still open to the idea of being attracted to a man – even though I consider myself a lesbian. In my experience, I’m not attracted to men, but there are exceptions. I wouldn’t personally seek out a relationship with someone who didn’t identify as female, but I won’t limit the people I’m attracted to, in order to fit a relatively arbitrary label.
In your case, I would recommend a similar approach – of course, tailored to your personal situation. It sounds to me that you still identify as bisexual, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It also sounds like you might not be pursuing dates with people you’re already attracted to – which gives you a lower chance of success. Remember, attraction isn’t based solely on physical appearances, so if your initial impression is to ask someone out based on a brief introduction and a profile picture, your actual face-to-face meeting is most likely going to be disappointing, no matter who you go out with.
I see no reason why you can’t be honest and upfront with the guys you date, without limiting your options. My specific disclaimer might not have been the best approach – after all, I was very hurt, and still very young when I came up with it. But you can find a wording that suits your specific situation. Then, make sure you’re already interested in someone, based on something other than their profile picture and text, before you agree to meet up.
In the grand scheme of things, though, you’re not going to fall for everyone you date. You’re not supposed to. Sure, there are some people who seem to be magnetically attracted to everyone they date, and every relationship is a long-term relationship by default. There’s nothing wrong with this, but there’s also nothing wrong with not being like this. These “instant connection” women simply have a different perspective from those of us who are more interested in finding the person who works best with us.
This is going to be true, even with the women you date. Just liking women won’t automatically make you like every woman you meet, or even every woman you want to like. If you’re interested, but there’s no “spark”, don’t worry – that spark can be forged later on in the relationship. (We like to compare falling in love to fireworks, but really, the best loves are more like a campfire – slowly building, and then require work to prevent the fire from going out. With fireworks, they’re designed to fizzle out.)
In my personal opinion – and feel free to take this with a grain of salt – I think the biggest problem here is that you’re trying to read too far into things. Enjoy yourself! Resolve to start with a foundation of friendship, and in time it’ll blossom – or not. If you focus on the minor details too much, you might end up passing over your soulmate.