The Hook Up: Homophobic households, an unrequited plea, and dating someone you’re on the fence about

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I’ve been dating a girl for a bit over six months. Things are great. She is beautiful and sweet and I seriously would marry this girl today. Only problem is she lives at home. And this wouldn’t be such a big issue if her parents weren’t so homophobic. Her mom is controlling and borderline abusive, so I want her to move out. But she is afraid. And I get that. But I might be leaving the state soon for school and long distance is so hard. Not sure what to do.–Bi Girl In Love

Anna says: First, some housekeeping news! I got a real job, one with jobby hours, so The Hook Up will be happening less frequently (once a month, I think). That said, if your question needs to be answered in like the next 15 minutes, then please be aware that I probably won’t get to it in time. But otherwise, things will operate as usual, meaning I’ll tell you to please stop falling in love with straight girls and everyone in the comments will fight about bisexuality. Good? Good. Now on with the show.

Well BGIL, I’d say that last sentence is probably the bigger issue of the two, but since you asked about the first…

The simple, short-term solution is to not stay at her house. Spend time at your house, go out, and avoid the controlling and homophobic parents by not being around them. Unfortunately, we can’t force people to move out of their homes, even if those homes are really terrible, soul-sucking places. It has to be something she wants to do. But that said, just because she chooses to swim in the crap stew doesn’t mean you also have to. Tell her that spending time at her folks’ place makes you uncomfortable, and as much as you care for her, you don’t want to see her be abused or be mistreated yourself. And then don’t. If she wants to be around you, she’ll have to leave the wasp nest to do so, which is good for her anyway.

While you’re waiting for her to come around, feel free to read up on some long-distance relationship advice. Just in case.

I’ve been with this lady for over a year now. She does not want to label our relationship. She said if either of us find someone, we’ll end this amicably. I thought it was good that we were open about worst case scenarios in the future. I accepted this no label thing like the (500) Days of Summer cliché that it is.

Also she’s flaky, she confuses me, she doesn’t know what she wants, and probing further makes her mad. On my side, I take whatever she can give me. It hurts to think that there will be always someone in our relationship that loves the other more. And hurts further to realize that it’s me. How do I know? She tells me she loves me but that she isn’t in love with me. And can we do this no strings attached instead? I asked her if that was what she wanted. I was willing to give her what she wants. I just needed to be 100 percent sure of my position in her life, but instead of answering with a yes/no, she lashed out angrily at me. But said that she wanted me to stay. And I stayed.

I stayed because I love her so much, clinging to the hope that maybe some time she’ll come to terms and see/realize that she loves me too. I still hope.

There are so many things I hope for us. I still see her as my future but it’s obvious she’s not on board. It’s obvious that I’m all alone here, loving all by myself. She only sees me as a present thing.

These thoughts continue to depress me.

And I don’t know if I should continue this any longer or not. I really love her. I love her so much. But on the other side of the coin, it seems like I’m being selfish if I ask for more than what she can just give me. The intensity of it, as cringing as it sounds, is something that breaks me but still puts me together. Days ago, I told her that maybe we should just revert back to being friends. But she does not want to.

I don’t know where to go or what to do anymore. Maybe I’m just too blind to see that this is not all worth it. Maybe someone should hammer me in the head to wake me up. I don’t know how long should I wait and I don’t know if I should wait at all. What should I do? Thank you very much. I always read your advice column in AfterEllen and I like the enthusiasm and genuineness of your advice. And it’s witty and true to the heart at the same time.

Anna says: I don’t often implore people to end relationships that is an intensely personal decision and I don’t know all the details; I only know what people say to me in their emailsbut in your case, I am not just asking you, I am begging you: Please break up with this person immediately!

She is destroying your spirit. She is using you, and manipulating you, and you are taking all of her crap on the flimsy (and false) premise that one day she’ll wake up and not only love you, but love you AND suddenly not be an asshole! The odds of that happening are so incredibly slim that I can confidently write that they won’t happen.

I think, deep down, you know all this, Sugar Shoes. You know that this girl is wrong for you, that you shouldn’t put up with her strange promises to break up “amicably” once someone better comes along. I mean, hell, it’s been a year and she doesn’t even want to admit that you’re in a relationshipwhich you are, even if she’s too chicken-shit to say it.

You deserve to be with someone who wants to be with you in the same way that you want to be with her. None of this “I’ll just take what she gives” business. That is selling yourself short. And the more time you waste with this girl who has always had one foot out the door, the less time you’ll have to find someone who’s actually worthy of your time and devotion.

Stop taking care of her needs and start taking care of your own.

I’m a fan of your advice column on AfterEllen and I was hoping I could ask your advice about something I’ve been struggling with over the last couple of weeks.

I’ve been coming out in baby steps for the last couple of months. I’ve started meeting some queer guys and girls along the way, though my gay social circle remains fairly limited. One of the girls I’ve met has taken an interest in me. She started texting me a lot and wanted to hang out. I wasn’t really attracted to her initially, but she seemed like a really cool person and we became friends.

Recently I started getting a bit confused about my feelings for her as I started to look forward to her texts and missed her when I didn’t hear from her. We’ve started flirting over text messages and we’ve been doing that for a few weeks now. I have seen her a few times one on one and we always have a good time. I like talking to her and we have a lot in common.

But… I’m still not sure whether I’m really attracted to her, or if I’m just flattered by the attention she gives me. I’m really conflicted about my feelings. Now that I’ve come out, I want to meet as many new people I can, so I can find out what I like and dislike, before starting a serious relationship. On the other hand, I feel that if I don’t give this girl a shot, I might be missing out on something with great potential.

She seems like a really nice and caring person and I don’t want to hurt her feelings. It’s the first time a girl has shown interest in me, and it’s pretty exciting but also scary on some level. How can I figure out my feelings when I’m stressed out about this situation as much as I am, and what can I do to make sure I don’t lead her on and hurt her along the way?Conflicted Baby Gay

Anna says: There’s no way to ensure that you’ll never hurt someone you date, CBG, except, I suppose, to not date anyone at all, but if that happened, then lesbians would have to find something else to do besides protest the dating-industrial complex. And that will never happen.

That is to say, by all means, give this nice, caring girl that you enjoy talking to and have things in common with a shot. It’s not a marriage proposal; it doesn’t even have to be in the realm of “serious” at all. Just go on a few dates with her and see how it feels. You don’t have to pledge your undying devotion to this gal in order to go bowling with her or get to second base in the bathroom stall of your local queer bar and then get kicked out of it because “this is not a brothel!” (Hypothetically).

If you’re reeeeally on the fence about it, then feel free to give her a heads up that since you’re new to this, you’d like to keep things casual and that you’re still sorting out your feelings. If you do that, however, don’t proceed to spend every waking moment with her because that will indeed confuse her, and you, and the situation.

So take things slow, but don’t feel like you can’t ask her out for a frappuccino because somewhere down the line you might not have Forever Feelings for her. All dating is an experiment—you can’t know whether you have chemistry with someone or not until you try it out.

Dive in, my friend. And bring spelunking equipment (not just for the sex).

Hailing from the rough-and-tumble deserts of southern Arizona, where one doesn’t have to bother with such trivialities as “coats” or “daylight savings time,” Anna Pulley is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. Find her at annapulley.com and on Twitter @annapulley. Send her your The Hook Up questions at askthehookup@gmail.com. 

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