“Ugh…. dating is hard.” I feel like that’s something my queer Christian friends and I use all the damn time. This isn’t meant to be a blog post complaining about being single the day after Valentine’s Day. It’s just a general observation of our situation. And I’m here to tell you, it is so real y’all. Especially if you grew up in a context or culture that wasn’t okay with the gays, let alone the rest of the spectrum.
Why is so hard? I’ve got a few ideas on why dating is so hard for LGBTQ Christians
We’re going through second adolescence.
What’s second adolescence? It’s the period after finally coming out and becoming okay with one’s self, one’s sexuality and/or gender identity, and all those repressed feelings just run freaking wild. It’s like we notice every guy or girl who walks by, and instead of the quick glance, we end up staring at a very cute stranger in the Target checkout line for a touch too long sometimes. This is also the time where we literally say yes to every date possible, this desire to want to go out dancing every weekend, and falling love with a few nice guys or gals every few weeks. (Not that I’m speaking from experience.)
How many of us had this phase? And how many of us are still kind of in it? (Yes, my hand is still raised.) And ya know what? It is okay! You can’t give yourself a hard time for not being good at something the first few times you tried it, namely dating. You can’t beat yourself up every time you get friend-zoned. And you most certainly can’t blame yourself for just not knowing what you’re doing.
But it’s not a matter of knowing what you’re doing. It’s a matter of knowing who you are.It's not a matter of knowing what you're doing. It's a matter of knowing who you are. Click To Tweet
You’ve got to take your time and be gracious with yourself. Avoid the lie that says you’re not good enough or that you’re gonna die alone. Avoid self-depreciation or over analyzing every text or every small comment. Just BREATHE.
We’re at a point in our lives where we’re getting to know who we are, and that also means who we are in relationship to other people. Try not to take dating as seriously, and don’t look to whoever you’re dating to complete you. And that brings me to my next point.
A lot of us are thinking about marriage from the get go.
This might not be characteristic of you, but for many queer Christians who come from conservative evangelical world, marriage has been held up as the pinnacle of what it means to be good Christian, as something we should all aspire to. Now, mind you, this isn’t to knock marriage or anyone who wants to get married. Hell, I wanna get married ASAP if I’m honest (slide into my DM’s if you’re interested). But I wonder if because we are looking at every relationship we get into as a potential life-long partnership that we unintentionally putting pressure ourselves and the people we’re dating to perform in some way. I wonder if we are putting the person we’re dating on a pedestal and maybe even making marriage a bit of an idol.
And honestly, been there done that. I dated an amazing guy for a few months. Things were going pretty well and because I was thinking too far down the road to quickly, I didn’t actually get to know him for who he was in the moment. I fell in love with a far-off version of what he may become. And that’s not fair to him or me.
My advice? Maybe we should just try to relax a little bit as we enter the dating world, and ya know, maybe don’t start imagining colors for your wedding after the first date? (Again, this is totally not based on experience.)
We need to see ourselves as we are: whole, complete, and unbroken. If Jesus was the full embodiment of God’s will for humanity as a single person, we’ve got all we need, too. And that happens now, in this moment, way before we say, “I do.”
Just like… let’s all agree to not take dating so seriously, and, honestly, trying to be friends with someone first is not a bad idea. This takes us to the last reason why dating is so hard for LGBTQ Christians.
Our dating pool is even smaller than it was before.
Having shared religious beliefs and worldviews obviously helps tremendously when dating someone, regardless of sexuality. So if the gay population is only like… what, 7%ish of the earth? And then the queer Christian population is certainly smaller than that, you can imagine how dire the situation is.
And on top of that, our potential mates are also our closest community and friends. The queer Christian world is tiny, and it becomes both the home and the place where we want to find love. It’s an unwanted but very real situation that we experience. Because we need our community, for sure, and at the same time we have this need and desire to romantically connected to someone. So, what do you do with that?
And what if you date and break up?
But what if it’s perfect?
But what if you lose some friends when you and whoever breaks up?
And what about people that you’ve dated before and they’ve dated before that you both know? Is that gonna be weird?
What is this? DramaticAF. Is it avoidable? …sort of, but not really.Dating can be dramaticAF. And is that drama avoidable?... sort of. Click To Tweet
That’s always the catch-22 of choosing to date someone within your faith tradition is also choosing to walk those tricky lines. And it’s possible to stay friends, and other times not so much. And things shift, and friendship dynamic shifts, and again, it’s all okay. You just need to step into it, hands open and eyes clear, acknowledging this all exists without being afraid of it.
If I can tell you anything it’s this:
You’re not alone in this.
Yes, it’s hard. Yes, it’s annoying. Yes, it can be devastatingly heartbreaking at times. But we’re all doing this. We’re all suffering through the suck that is dating. I dunno if anyone is good at dating. I feel like people just get good at being themselves in front of others. And then some people jive with you and some people don’t. So, be you. Even if you are a total weirdo.
Honestly, you can listen to all the advice in the world, but no two scenarios will be the same. At the end of the day, you have to navigate these waters for yourself.
So yeah… happy belated Valentine’s day I suppose. Now, go swipe right a bunch of times and get you a date for this weekend. Go have some fun. And try not to take this stuff so seriously, mmkay?