Hey girl. I see you, crushing on your lesbian friend. She’s cute, smart, loyal, witty, and sexy, so I totally get it. I’d probably have a crush on her, too. Crushing on a woman can be amazing, and sexuality is fluid, so it's pretty common for anyone — no matter where they fall on the sexuality spectrum — to feel attraction toward someone of the same gender. As a lesbian myself, I know how hard it can be for another lesbian to tell if a straight girl is falling for you. But if you realize you have a crush on a girl even though you've always identified as straight, these feelings are worth exploring.
“Coming out as bisexual or even lesbian later in life is a common thing these days!” Ruth Schwartz, Ph.D., director of Conscious Girlfriend, tells Elite Daily. “It's not uncommon for previously straight-identified women to ‘change teams.’ So, absolutely these feelings can be worth exploring, if you feel drawn to explore them, and your lesbian friend is open to the idea.”
If you start seeing signs you have a crush on another woman, embrace it! But before you run up to her and confess your feelings, take a peek at the following eight things to better understand your feelings and the impact they could have on your relationship. Otherwise, you might risk ruining your friendship, or worse, really hurting your friend.
Lesbians Aren’t Attracted To All Women
A few years ago, a friend pushed me up against a wall while she was blackout drunk and stuck her tongue down my throat. I pushed her away and said, "Girl, what are you doing?" "I have a crush on you," she slurred. "That's sweet, but what makes you think I want to make out with you?" I asked. "You're a lesbian," she purred. This is when I had a huge realization: Some (not all) straight girls think all lesbians are most definitely attracted to them.
PSA: Just because someone’s a lesbian, doesn't mean they're attracted to every single person of the same gender. You just might not be her type. And with any crush on any gender, you might have to accept they just don't have the hots for you.
Some Lesbians Don’t Want To Be Your First Woman
Some lesbians don't mind being another woman's first swim in the lady pond, but for others, it’s a dealbreaker. Knowing they might just be a phase for you can be painful, so naturally, it’s hard to want to dive right in. Getting your heart crushed by a straight girl is a brutal sting that leaves scars.
“Some lesbians do have an extra emotional charge around the idea of getting involved with a woman who might then choose a male partner, and it's natural to want to protect yourself from pain,” says Dr. Schwartz. On the other hand, she says, “Some lesbians actually get turned on by ‘bringing women out’ and being a straight woman's first experience. Others are neutral about it, and still others will run.”
Whatever the case may be, understand she might not want to put her heart on the line. And if so, respect her decision and try your best to move on.
Explore Your Attraction To Women
One time, even I (the gayest gay on the block) had a crush on a boy. The moment I realized it was nothing more than deep admiration for his personality was when I tried to sexually fantasize about him.
Before telling your crush you like her, try to understand your own attraction to her. The line between admiration and lust is pretty thin. Dr. Schwartz recommends paying attention to how your body physically reacts when you’re around her. “Maybe your heart beats faster, maybe you get a little breathless or giggly,” she says. “You find yourself thinking about them a lot. You feel an inexplicable desire to touch them, or maybe even fantasize about kissing them. That's attraction.”
Take Time To Reflect On Your Sexuality
In a similar vein, it’s important not only to take the time to understand your own attraction in this one instance, but to examine your sexuality more broadly. Take time to get to know your body, what turns you on, what your ultimate fantasies or kinks may be. Maybe women play a larger role in your overall sexuality than you initially realized, and it took developing feelings for this one woman to finally appreciate that. And maybe they don’t. Whatever you discover about yourself will only serve you down the line, whether you’re exploring straight or queer relationships.
Labels Are An Option — Not A Requirement
If these budding feelings have you drowning in the alphabet soup of self-identification, don’t sweat it. As you explore your crush more deeply, you may find that this attraction is not a one-time thing, and that’s great. Maybe you’ll want to start identifying as queer, bisexual, pan, or lesbian. But if the idea of labeling yourself any one thing in particular is too daunting, there’s no need to force yourself into an identity that feels unnatural. Always do you, uninhibited by pressures or precedents.
Is Your Crush Taken? If So, Respect That
I can't tell you how many times straight girls have told me they have a crush on their lesbian co-worker. "Great. Does she have a girlfriend?" I'll ask them. "Oh, good question. I hadn't thought about that." Not only do lesbians date — we also fall in love and have committed relationships. Before you go any further, make sure she's single. If she has a girlfriend, respect that and move on. I know it sounds simple, but I've seen it happen too many times with my own two jaded, lesbian eyes! You don't want to jeopardize her relationship (unless you know she’s non-monogamous).
Be Honest About Your Feelings
As cliché as it might be, honesty is the best policy. There’s nothing to be ashamed of if you’re in the process of figuring out your sexuality. But whether you’re 100% certain about your crush on your lesbian friend, or you’re just starting to dip your toes in the water, make sure she knows where you stand and what to expect.
“I do think it's important to try to be rigorously honest with yourself and with your lesbian friend,” says Dr. Schwartz. “Are you truly interested in her, or are you more just intrigued by the idea of being with a woman? If you're just experimenting, make sure she knows that and is OK with that.”
Know What’s At Stake
If you've dutifully thought about all the things on this list, and you're still teeming with desire for your lesbian crush, ask yourself this: Are you prepared to lose the friendship? When you confess having feelings for a friend, things can get weird — no matter their gender or sexuality. And while I don't advocate for holding feelings in, you do have to know what you could possibly lose by being honest. They might feel awkward around you and choose not to be your friend anymore. Ultimately, that’s on them.
Crushes of any nature can be complicated, so if you’re feeling anxious and confused about these newfound feelings, know that you’re not alone. Be as honest with yourself as you can, and try not to put too much pressure on yourself. When all is said and done, you could have the best love of your life, really great sex, or you could open up a part of yourself you never knew existed.
Ruth Schwartz, Ph.D., director of Conscious Girlfriend, the leading dating and relationship resource for lesbians and women who love women
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