Lesbianing with AE! Should you ask out someone who is polyamorous?

Dear Lindsey,

I’m a baby queer and I have a huge crush on a more experienced girl in a poly relationship. I’ve been *trying* to flirt with her and she already knows I’m queer, but I feel I’m getting mixed signals and I’m not sure what to do…We’ve known each other for about a year from mutual friend hangouts, but this past month we’ve started to get a little bit closer. We’ve gone out alone only twice and I asked her out both times, though not really *out* as a date, more like a hangout… She’s responded pretty positively and quickly though (as in “yes I’m free let’s go out tonight”), and I’ve kept feeling like there’s this slight vibe between us and maybe a lingering eye contact thing at times…The second time we went out we had one drink, she insisted on paying and we ended up talking for hours, and it seemed like neither of us wanted to say we had to leave even though it was getting pretty late. The thing is that I also found out when we were chatting with friends another time that she’s in a poly relationship with another girl. She’s only seeing this one girl (who has another partner) and she said she wasn’t interested in casual hookups, but it sounded like she’d be open to date other people in a more “meaningful” way, which is what I’d want anyways. But now I’m confused about where to go from here. I feel it’s mostly been me making the moves, but she’s also been pretty receptive. I’ve kept wondering if our last hangout was just that, or maybe a little bit more, but I don’t know how to read the situation given that she’s already involved with someone else…I haven’t dated or been with anyone since I broke up with my ex quite a long time ago (also my first girl/relationship/love..pretty intense), so it’s also challenging for me to be much more forward than I feel I’ve already been when I’m only just starting to feel comfortable putting myself out there in the queer dating world, and also since I know she is way more experienced than I am. I’m super attracted to her and my gut says I shouldn’t let it go just yet, but if figuring out how to date girls was not confusing enough (are we just friends?! are we more?! pls halp), I’m also clueless about what the “protocol” is when it comes to someone who’s poly. Am I supposed to wait for her to make a move, since she’s already involved with someone? should I just go about it as if she was single? I’ve been trying to work up the courage to tell her I like her already but I don’t think I’m quite there yet…And casually asking her about her current relationship doesn’t seem like the best way to flirt and stay out of the friend zone either…what is a young queer girl to do? 


Getty Images

Hey Polyconfused,

Sounds like you’re overthinking this. Maybe it’s cause this woman is poly and she LOVES to talk about what poly means to her and how she “does” poly and all that jazz. I used to hang out at this cafe in Boston where a poly meetup group would come, and they would go on and on and on about that sort of thing. Any poly person will probably be eager to tell you all about what poly means to them, so you can super easily get answers to that information in casual conversation with your crush.

Any poly person will probably be eager to tell you all about what poly means to them, so you can super easily get answers to that information in casual conversation with your crush.

But from your question, I’m not sure if this woman is actually polyamorous or if she is just dating someone else who is poly — i.e. if she’s simply in an open relationship with someone, and she herself doesn’t identify as poly or want other girlfriends. All you know for sure is that she’s dating someone and she isn’t interested in random hookups.

You need to find out more information to tell whether she is interested in dating in general, then interested in you specifically. This will mean going outside your comfort zone as a baby queer. You’ve tried to flirt and ask her out and you can’t tell if she’s picking up on these signals. You’ve got a few options, such as:

Keep doing what you’re doing and hope she gets the message or makes the first move
Ask her what being in an open relationship/being poly/being queer means to her to find out more about her identity and potential interests

Straight-up ask her whether she’s interested in dating other women, so you have a clear answer to part of your question

Straight-up ask her on a date using your words, like, “Do you wanna go see a movie together? Like, as a date?” Just tell her your feelings then deal with what comes next.

But before you do all that, I’d recommend you get your head clear. You’ve got a crush on her and there’s some chemistry, but do you want to date someone who is poly or are you simply excited to have a crush after getting out of your first lesbian relationship? Or a little of both?

Would you also like to date other ladies, or would you be content to be with this woman knowing she has other partners? What do you want? You call yourself a baby queer so I’m guessing you’ve had this one girlfriend and maybe a few dates/hookups/flings. Are you ready to dive into a relationship with someone who is poly? Is this a good next step for you?

If you want this and you feel ready to navigate the complexities of open relationships, then find the courage to tell her how you feel — and be prepared for her to politely decline, cause she could. I don’t think there’s anything different you would need to do to ask out a poly chick than to ask out a single lady… so once you get clarity on the other stuff, you need to just find the courage to ask her out in a manner that feels natural to you.

You’re young! You’ve got a while to figure out your preferred ways of making moves of women! There are lots of ways you can do this, so have fun figuring it out.