I feel like a kid in high school. I’m not, of course; I am 42 years old. The reason I feel like a high school kid is that I want to ask this woman out, but I’m scared to death to do it.
Let me tell you a little something about myself so you can get my gist. I was married for 18 years and have two kids. I got a divorce three years ago and since then have come to realize that I’m lesbian. There’s a lot more about that time of my life, but it’s not really important to my question. The important part of it is that I’ve lived a heterosexual lifestyle, and in that lifestyle, men ask women out. I have not had that kind of practice, nor courage. Now that I’m wanting to be with women, I don’t know who asks who out, and how to go about it.
For the last two years, I’ve been hanging out trying to decide if I’m gay or not. Well, I’ve definitely come to the understanding that I am lesbian. I’ve wanted to be sure about it and not rush into something unless I was really certain, for my sake and the sake of my kids.
OK, so now I’m sure and feel that I have healed from my past relationship with my ex-husband. So, I want to get on with my life. And, I’m excited about it, but scared as well.
On to the problem: I met this woman “Cathy” at a women’s potluck (for lesbian women). She actually came up to me, introduced herself and carried on a conversation, which pretty much lasted all during the evening, and even though she did speak to a few other women there that she knew, she always came back and talked to me. It seemed to me that she was as interested in me as I was with her. But she didn’t go any further than that, like ask me out.
Then, I saw “Cathy” again at another event two weeks later. She seemed eager to talk to me again and we sort of hung out together at that event. I certainly have some feelings – or maybe I should say chemistry with her. But I don’t know how she feels; maybe she just likes me as a friend. Maybe she doesn’t feel the chemistry. In my old world of heterosexuality, I was used to girls being friends, and opposite sex people being “lovers,” so I don’t know how this all works. I’m eager to go, but don’t know the ropes.
Can you help me sort this out?
Neophyte in her Forties
A: It is a bit more confusing in the lesbian world; however, it’s doable or we’d never get together, would we? It’s harder for women because, like you say, we grow up with the idea that we’ll be the ones asked out, not the ones having to do the asking. All that we see in life, like on TV, in the movies or watching our older brother or sister’s dating scene, shows the woman being asked, not doing the asking. So, we have to start by thinking outside the heterosexual box. In others words, if you want to date this woman, you might have to make the first move. Your problem here may be that she’s waiting for you to do the asking, while you are waiting for her to ask you out. You can get the ball rolling; it doesn’t have to be a big deal. You can start things by just asking her if she’d like to grab a cup of coffee with you. From there, you will get a better idea where she’s at and what the next move is. If the relationship doesn’t become clearer, I would recommend being more up front and tell her that you are interested in her not only as a friend, but as possibly more than that, and would like to date her.
I know this feels strange and difficult for you, and for many women, but you know life requires new behaviors, and not to adjust could keep you from a special relationship. Good luck!