8 Things You Have To Do Before You Start Dating Girls

If you’re someone who has only had boyfriends or dude hookup partners before, and you’ve just figured out you like girls, then I have something to tell you: dating girls is going to be different, and maybe even a little overwhelming. Our culture comes stocked with fill-in-the-blank scripts for what’s supposed to happen when it comes to girls dating guys, but what about girls dating girls? There’s not much out there, and there are some things you should definitely do before you jump off the deep end. Yes, it’s intuitive and not rocket science, but neither is riding a bike, and we all fell a bunch of times when we were learning, right? Regardless of how you identify, whether it be as a lesbian, bisexual, or just curious, consider this a heads up.

Dating should be fun, whether you’re a chick dating another chick or a girl dating a guy. And it probably will be, eventually, but you won’t truly feel comfortable until you have a better idea of what you’re supposed to be doing. There are a lot of questions left unanswered. If you go on a date with another girl, who is supposed to pay? Is one of you supposed to identify as the “pants” in the relationship? Who makes the first move? What if people think you’re just friends? AHH! If you’re having a little anxiety about the idea of dating girls, but you also want to do it, then this little checklist will help you out. Here are a few things you have to do before you start dating girls:

Figure Out What You Want

You don't have to jump off the deep end and get involved in a serious relationship right out the gate. However, you should be upfront if you're just into exploring because you're curious vs if you're looking for a serious realtionship. Nobody likes feeling used and they might be looking for something more serious. You have to let people know what they're getting into, so figure out what you want before you actually go for it. Like anything else, be open, clear with your communication, and always honest.

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Start Flirting With Girls

Before you get yourself into a relationship, get your energy going in the right direction. If you haven't done it before, try flirting with girls. I know there's the anxiety of "how do I know if this person's also into girls?" but you know what? Turn off your gaydar, that thing is unreliable anyway. Instead, like with any other situation involving flirting, just feel it out if this person's into you. If someone flirts with you, flirt back. Or initiate see how it goes, then go from there. Consider this the warmup for the main event. You don't jump from strangers to boyfriend/girlfriend with dudes, so why should dating girls be any different? Get your flirt on.

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Come Out (To Some Degree)

You don't have to come out to your parents or do some formal announcement on social media, but dating girls does require some level of outness. How else are other girls who like girls are going to know that you'd be into dating them? They're not going to make a move if they think you're straight. So, whatever that looks like for you, you're going to need to put it out there at least a little bit if you want to start dating girls.

If you're already dating a girl, but you've somehow managed to keep her from meeting your friends because you aren't out yet though, that's 100 percent unfair to the person you're with. No one likes being kept a secret. Maybe either consider being out in your (assumedly) serious relationship if it's preventing you from being in a real one or break up with that person until you're actually ready because like I said, being kept secret is really, really unfair and unkind.

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Find Out What Kind Of Girls You Like

Girls are all so different and cool, you guys! Figure out what and who you're into. Here's a hint: you don't have to be into people who are traditionally attractive in a feminine way. Maybe that's not your type. Who knows? Knowing you're attracted to girls is different than knowing what kinds of girls you're attracted to. Chances are, if you're already into men, you've developed somewhat of a "type" and the same goes for girls... except you might be a little bit behind and haven't really found it out yet. Just take your time and enjoy yourself.

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Get Familiar With New Safe Sex Practices

Yeah, I'm about to be a total buzzkill, so buckle up. Part of the fun of having sex with women is knowing that you can't get pregnant, so let's all breathe a collective sigh of relief. Now that that's over, you still can get STIs from unprotected sexual contact, but you can't use a condom if there isn't a penis involved, so now what are you supposed to do? We did a little research for you already, but you're the one who's responsible for practicing it. It's tempting to think that everyone's inherently clean because you can't get pregnant, so unless you've both been tested, it's better to be safe.

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Remember To Take It Slow

Even if you're really experienced in dating guys, don't expect your first relationship with a girl to pace along in the same timeline as you're used to. I know girls who date girls have the stereotype of moving along really fast (ever hear the joke about the lesbians and the U-Haul?) but that doesn't always have to be the case. Yes, girls might be more willing to be emotionally open and vulnerable with each other, but please remember to take it slow the first time you start dating a girl. If this is a new experience for you, it's important you take things at your own pace so you don't overwhelm yourself.

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Reach Outside Of Your Immediate Circle

Unless there's an abundance of out queer girls at your school, you might need to get involved in an activity outside school or meet friends of friends who live in a different town. Is there an LGBT drop-in center near you? A gay/straight alliance at your school? If you know you want to date girls, it's a hard thing to act on when there's no girls around you to date. If you're serious about it, start reaching out. Let people you know and trust that you'd be into them setting you up. Get a little outside your comfort zone and the people you normally hang out with, it's time to get to know some strangers.

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Be Prepared For Some Hate

Ugh, I wish I didn't even have to mention this. I wish I didn't have to tell you to be equipped with a defensive strategy for dating while queer, but we live in a world where our rights may or may not disappear within a few months, so welcome to the fray, you're strong and you can do this.

That being said, dating another girl weirdly does not exempt you from the male gaze, people dog whistling you kissing your girlfriend, people saying you just haven't met the right guy yet, that you're just doing it for attention or you don't *look* gay, whatever that means. Maybe you live in a very accepting environment, and bless you if you do, but this is bound to come up sooner or later. You may have to defend yourself in a way that you're not used to and it's best to be prepared.

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Have you dated a girl? Do you think you want to? Let us know in the comments!

You can follow the author, Aliee Chan, on Twitter.

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