Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgendered Department

Please remember, this column is designed to help the consumer seeking behavioral-health information, and not intended to be any form of psychotherapy or a replacement for professional, individualized services. Opinions expressed in the column are those of the columnist and do not represent the position of other staff.


I have a lesbian friend I find attractive and she says she feels the same. However, she won't date me because she doesn't want to hurt the woman she lives with. I don't understand because they haven't been lovers in several years. Whenever I ask her if she is going to tell her old lover that they're not in a relationship anymore, she won't hear of it. What should I do?


This sounds like a pretty frustrating situation for you. Women of all sexual orientations (and some men) often fail to be direct because they worry it will hurt someone's feelings. Even though your friend has not said anything to her lover, my guess is that at some level they both know it's not going well. However, sometimes staying in that sort of situation is a way of avoiding the risks of trying new relationships.

No matter what the reasons your friend is staying where she is, you are in an unfortunate position. You have few options: you can tell her it seems she's not available and you will go looking for other women to date, you can hang around indefinitely hoping she will change, or you can try for a while longer before you look elsewhere.

I suggest you talk with others who have been in similar situations so that you have support in figuring out what you want. A local lesbian group or gay/lesbian/bisexual center is a good place to look, or try one of the many good sites on line: The Resources Department is good starting place.

Do take care and thanks for writing.


Author and psychologist Gail S. Bernstein, Ph.D. has a psychotherapy practice in Denver, Colorado. Dr. Bernstein speaks and writes about gay, lesbian and bisexual people for both general and professional audiences, and is the author of the new audiotape, NOT HETEROSEXUAL: An Educational Program About Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual People.


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