Dear Warrior Princess: How to Hello
dear worrier princess is a queer advice column based off the ex-girlfriend of my ex-girlfriend is my girlfriend, an advice zine by maddy court (a.k.a @xenaworrierprincess on instagram).
Queery#1: I dated my ex-girlfriend for around a year and 10 months. We were in an open relationship for the 2nd half of that because it went from very short to long-distance. I was seriously thinking about breaking up with her – I knew I would, it was just a matter of when – and then I slept with my straight male coworker. I didn’t have a crush on him and barely spoke to him at work; it was very spontaneous, but nice enough that I did it two more times, which my girlfriend knew about, and developed a big crush on him, which she did not know about. I broke up with my girlfriend for reasons that had nothing to do with the boy, but I did end up dating the boy and now he’s my boyfriend. After I broke up with my girlfriend, she cut me off in every way and I told her, “I’m going to wait for you to reach out to me, cause I understand that you are super duper hurt.” I was her first real girlfriend and she had never been dumped before and I also did it poorly – right before she was about to get on the Megabus – so I reeeeally get her anger at me. But now it’s been 8 months and I would really like to talk to her again. Plus, she has a new girlfriend who she also started dating just a few weeks after our break-up, and based on social media and the intel of our few mutual friends they seem super happy together, so hopefully that part of her has healed? My question is: should I reach out to her? I don’t really know what I want emotionally, other than I miss her, but part of it is pragmatic; her workplace is literally next door to my parents’ house and my sister has run into her on the street, and I would like to be prepared to run into her. Also worth noting that we were not friends/didn’t really know each other before we dated, so I have no idea how to be her non-romantic friend, but maybe I don’t even need to be her friend, just her friendly acquaintance. And I feel super guilty about the boy. TLDR: my ex won’t talk to me, should I talk to her?
I read this letter aloud to my dogs because there’s so much happening and I wanted to make sure I was getting it all. The dogs showed no discernable reaction, but I was worried by the following statements: “I don’t know what I want emotionally” and “I have no idea how to be her non-romantic friend.” You gotta figure it out, or else you run the risk of re-opening old wounds and treating your ex-girlfriend like she’s your girlfriend again.
Are you sure you’re ready for a 100% platonic friendship? Are you really prepared to establish healthy boundaries and maintain them? Right now, your reasons for contacting her feel, uh, selfish. Your ex is just going to work—she’s not chainsmoking outside your parents’ house or blaring music from her monster truck. Running into her for 3 seconds is not going to kill you. Your sister can also deal—I have three older brothers and I can’t throw a rock in my hometown without hitting one of their ex-girlfriends.
You feel guilty about your boyfriend. It’s not your fault that you developed feelings for him, or that your relationship was no longer working. Still, you should not have dumped your girlfriend as she was boarding a Megabus. I imagine that this is something you’ve already apologized for quite a few times. Sometimes after hurting someone, the only course of action is to grow and do better in future relationships. It’s not your ex-girlfriend’s job to absolve your lingering feelings guilt.
Finally, I’m not sure what “cut me off in every way means” but when someone blocks you on their phone and/or social media, they’re establishing a firm boundary. As shut down and frustrated as you may feel, it’s not okay to disregard her wishes. If you’re not blocked, consider writing her a letter or email. Without conflating forgiveness with friendship, you can let her know that you’re sorry and hoping for a thaw.
Queery #2: Triple air sign that came out last year and have dated more people since than ever before in my life, but never in the terms I want! I seem to get caught in either brief awkward hookups or weird asexual romances that never go anywhere. I live in a small queer town and plenty of gals think I’m swell, they’ll chase me for a while but no one ever wants a relationship with me. I’ve just been rejected by someone who I allowed myself to see a tender future with and I’m so distraught. I know it’s not #edgy but I really want a girlfriend! I want companionship and intimacy and nice sex. Why does this keep happening? How can I believe I will ever find love? Am I a big gay phony? I just feel so gross, unloveable and undesirable all the time. With this last person, I was terrified of touching her because I could SEE the rejection happening preemptively AND THEN IT DID. Side note: in the middle of all this mess I’ve never gone down on a girl or really done much sexy stuff with one and am terribly insecure about it happening. Because OBVIOUSLY it never will and if it does she’ll forget about me afterwards.
Be patient with yourself, Recent Dyke. A year is a blip. I went through a painful break-up a while ago and it was a year before I could even develop a crush on someone new. And then I was like, “I’m not sure I’m ready for a new relationship, I only broke up with [REDACTED] a year ago.” In the words of Smash Mouth: the years start coming and they don’t stop coming. For most people, the year after coming out is defined by turmoil and confusion. Some common experiences include: watching your mom cry, taking unhelpful internet quizzes, paying $10 to enter a gay bar populated entirely by bachelorette parties, learning new words like “futch” and “vers” and trying to figure out which ones apply to you, agonizing over whether or not anyone at work knows you’re gay, buying new clothes, slogging through The L Word, soul-crushingly awkward internet dates, etc. The worst part, perhaps, is feeling like you should be having fun and mind-blowing sex. Instead, it’s constant isolation and doubt and feeling like a phony.
It sounds like you only want to have sex in the context of a relationship. Congratulations! You learned something important about yourself. Now that you know, you can communicate it to potential partners. It can be as casual as, “I’m not into one-and-we’re-done type deals” or “in my past relationships, having sex right away ruined things. I’d like to be more intentional and spend more time with you before we hook up.” If you use dating apps, put it in the bio.
Also, going down on a woman for the first time can be scary! It’s something that feels intimidating in the abstract, like surgery or a complicated dance routine. But in the moment, you’ll be with someone who [hopefully] makes you feel safe. She’ll tell you what feels good and it’ll feel like a collaboration, not a test to prove your gayness. Also, check out the “How to Have Lesbian Sex” series on Autostraddle. There’s an entire installment about eating out for the first time. Autostraddle is full of approachable and comprehensive sex ed resources for queer women. Spend some time clicking around and you’ll be amazed by how many others share your anxieties and questions. I’m rooting for you!!
Right now, you’re frustrated because it seems like nothing is falling into place. You’re actually doing exhausting and necessary work. You’re learning what you want from relationships, sex, and community. You’re not going to figure it out overnight, or possibly ever. All you can do is trust that you’re becoming the gayest and most self-actualized version of yourself.
are you in a pickle regarding your love life? do you have a crush you can't figure out how to talk to, an ex you'd like to reconnect with but don't know if it's appropriate or the right time?
dear worrier princess answers your qs about love and strife in relationships in this complex and modern queer world.
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All illustrations for this column are done by Sid Champagne. Sid is a freelance illustrator based in Baltimore by way of the Gulf Coast. You can find them on Twitter @sid_champagne, or Instagram (more cat pics) @sidchampagne