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Queer Dating 101: Navigating The LGBTQIA+ Dating Scene

Queer Dating 101: Navigating The LGBTQIA+ Dating Scene

Exploring the LGBTQIA+ dating scene? Learn a thing or two about queer dating to ease you into this exciting journey

 

 

Growing up in a conservative, heteronormative culture, we might not really have had a concrete guide on how to navigate relationships that all within the queer spectrum. If you’re slowly gaining the courage to explore the LGBTQIA+ dating scene, you might be faced with the overwhelming pressure of steering these relationships toward a “success story.” Now, before you become consumed with anxiety, we’re here to remind you that you’re not alone! Even experts in the field of queer dating started their journey exactly where you are—scared and confused. 

 

As you take baby steps toward this new and exciting journey, we’ve got some tips to help you navigate the LGBTQIA+ dating scene in a fun, safe and toxic-free way!

 

RELATED: Sex on the First Date: Yay or Nay?

 

No relationship is alike

Defining relationships on your own terms with your partner ushers in a rather complex issue of first knowing how exactly you want to define it. Oftentimes, we look towards other relationships around us to serve as a template for how ours should look and build it up from there. Although this may be a good stepping stone, remember that no two relationships are alike. As you grow together with your partner, know that you’re allowed to break out of the initial mold you patterned at the onset. Conversely, it isn’t going to be healthy to continue comparing your relationship to someone else’s. As times change, so do people. So allow yours to flow on your shared terms.

 

Explore within your boundaries

It’s easy to get carried away when experiencing firsts with a partner. Oftentimes, it’s in these emotional highs that we find ourselves forgetting who we are. Be it the people-pleaser tendencies we’ve had all these years or the innate yearning to be loved and accepted, we get a little ahead of ourselves sometimes.

 

Keep in mind that you are allowed to define your boundaries and explore only what you are comfortable doing. You do not owe anyone an explanation for who you are or why these boundaries exist in the first place. Remember that if they do not respect you, they don’t deserve you!

 

 

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RELATED: A Beginner’s Guide to Sexual Consent 

 

Realign on shared values 

Of course, dating is a two-way street. As much as they should respect your boundaries, you should make an equal effort to understand theirs and how you can accommodate them in the relationship, too. Take this as an opportunity to talk about your shared values regarding several dating topics. Whether it be your values on monogamy and non-monogamy or certain kinks, it’s important that you and your partner are on the same page. 

 

But what if I don’t know my stance on something yet? That’s okay! As you’re exploring more about yourself and your partner in the relationship, trial and error is part of the journey. If you’re up for it, talk to your partner about trying a new experience together in a safe environment. You’re allowed to hate it just as much as you’re allowed to love it—but you’ll never know until you try! 

 

RELATED: Busting Poly Myths: What’s True and What Isn’t?

 

Communicate where you are on your coming out process

More on the topic of open communication, aside from realigning shared values, it’s essential to have a conversation on coming out. As your relationship slowly grows to involve other people, it’s important to respect your partner’s decision when it comes to staying in or out of the closet. Of course, it’s the number one rule to never out someone; everybody has their own timeline! So it’ll be in your best interest to make sure you’re clear on this—and how much you're willing to bend against your own situation—especially before posting on social media!

 

 

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Be transparent with your feelings

The only constant thing is change, and this applies to our feelings, too. Especially in the LGBTQIA+ community where many are still finding their footing and understanding the complexities of their emotions, change is inevitable. This is why it’s important that you stay sensitive to the changes you feel and find comfort in being transparent with your partner about it. Whether it be your feelings for them, your values or even your identity and how you label yourself and your relationship, embrace these changes and allow yourself time to process them. But always make an effort to keep an open line of communication with your partner to keep them in the loop.

 

 

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Be safe and have fun

Exploring new things is always exciting, so don’t hold back! But as a fair word of warning, there are a lot of people out there who won't have your best interest at heart and might just take advantage of you. Especially when it comes to sex, LGBTQIA+ individuals are sometimes baited into relationships with strangers who simply want to “experiment” or “try something new.” 

 

As you have the time of your life exploring, remember to approach new people and places with caution. Tell a friend where you’re going and send them your location; make up a code word if you must. It’s always better to take extra precautions!

 

RELATED: Bumble’s New Features Will Make You Want to Try Online Dating Again

 

With platforms like Bumble, safe dating spaces for queer individuals are possible. With an expanded selection of gender options and a strong stance against hate speech, exploring the online dating scene has never been safer! As they pledge to continuously support their LGBTQIA+ users with upgraded features to call out abuse on the app, Bumble serves as a great platform to take your first step into the world of queer dating! 

 

Queer dating doesn’t have to be complicated. Allow yourself the space to explore something new, and you’ll never know what (or who) you’ll discover.

 

 

Words Vanessa Tiong

Art Matthew Ian Fetalver

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