Two Crucial Lesbian Dating Secrets I’ve Learned from Matchmaking

The real secrets to lesbian dating aren’t secrets at all.

As a therapist and lesbian matchmaker, I talk to a lot of lesbians. No matter how funny, successful, talented, or hot these women are, they want one more thing: a partner. Maybe their work has been too demanding to let them spend time getting to know others in a really meaningful way. Maybe they’ve been single for a while and are now ready to connect. Maybe they want to simply broaden their social network and see what happens. Whatever the circumstances, what these women share reveals the secrets to lesbian dating.

Secret 1: Everyone wants the same things in a partner.

Most of us are looking for the same qualities in a partner. Emotional intelligence. A sense of humor and fun. Confidence. Passion, whether for work or art or creating positive change in the world or family or a special interest. Financial stability. Mental stability. Interest in both going out and staying in to read or watch a movie. Shared values and dreams.

Nearly all of the women I talk to describe their ideal partner as this person. This person exists, and she wants to meet you just as much as you want to meet her. So why does it feel so hard to find her?

Secret 2: Finding a partner is a numbers game.

Being open and ready for love, but sitting back and waiting for it to find you? That doesn’t work.

We’re taught that it’s not romantic or attractive to seek love and committed partnership – that it’s embarrassing, that it will happen when it happens. But that’s crap. What’s embarrassing about knowing what you want? What’s hotter than going after it? By pretending you don’t want what you want, you don’t serve your search for your future partner(s), and you definitely don’t serve yourself.

The real secret to finding a partner is that it’s a numbers game.

You have to go on a lot of dates, you have to own what you want, and you have to not settle for less.

I’m not talking about the small stuff. She’s a vegetarian, but you’re a vegan? She likes jazz, and you listen exclusively to classical covers of popular music? You always thought you’d meet your future wife through friends or work or a mutual hobby or interest, and instead, you met through an app or, well, me?

None of that stuff matters. Go on the date. Go on lots of dates, with lots of different people, including people to whom you might not initially be attracted or with whom you don’t share a lot in common. Discover the beauty in getting to know strangers just to get to know them. Listen to what they tell you and take them as they are.

The hard part isn’t finding someone attractive, funny, and interesting. The hard part is finding someone compatible with you. To find that person, you have to know who you are and what you want, and you have to go on a ton of dates with people who know who they are and what they want until you meet someone and discover you share both what you’re looking for and how you live your lives.

If you’re a serious homebody, someone with wanderlust might not be a good match. But if you both like to be independent and do your own thing, and respect how the other person spends her time, she might also be the perfect match. If you know in your heart of hearts that you want a traditional butch-femme dynamic, then you have to try to pick up people who also want a traditional butch-femme dynamic – which might mean making the first move with a shy and handsome woman, or might mean recognizing that femme erasure is real and broadening your sights. If you know that you value emotional and sexual compatibility above all else, stop trying to date only people who share your hobbies. If you know you want (or already have) kids, stop dating people who dislike them.

Finding your match is as much about saying “yes” to possibilities as it is saying “no” to people who show you they don’t want what you want. But to do either, you need to go on dates with more people. A lot more people. Relax your expectations of an instant connection, your idea of having a type, or any usual parameters you have the limit who you date. What is it like to show up and spend an hour or two with someone without expectation?

We all want to love and be loved. And we all have an infinite capacity to do so. Finding someone who wants to listen to the same music or watch the same shows as you is easy. Finding someone with whom you connect regardless of your music or shows is harder – and the only way to do it is to date more people.

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