[MAKE SURE TO READ THIS LINK FIRST IF THIS IS YOUR FIRST TIME VISITING ENGLISH MANIF.]
Women are politely asked not to read this post.
So now, in Part 4, we have to go over what an ex-gay man might do during the period of "dating," which is basically an intense hunting period where he is looking for the one woman he is going to have as a lifelong companion. This period is full of uncertainty, since it might last only a few months, years, or more than a decade, depending on luck and the ex-gay man's own patience and perseverance.
What follows below the break is the full extent of everything I know about dating. I am just one guy and much of what I say should be taken as possible ideas, but taken with a grain of salt. Please watch the two-minute video below before clicking to continue. Thanks!
The point is not to become good at dating. The ex-gay man does not want to be in this stage forever. (If he wants to be perpetually dating, he can go back to being gay.) This action list is something specific to a temporary moment.
Nevertheless the only way to move forward on the ex-gay's journey to straight happiness is to make it through this hard, sometimes lonely, and nerve-racking time of courtship. The obstacles are far more numerous for the ex-gay man than they are for other men, since he must overcome the scoffing from gays who think he is crazy, the disapproval from straights who find his past disgusting, and the women who will likely view him with anxiety and suspicion.
It can be done. You can make it through this. Here are ten suggestions based on my experience and that of other successful ex-gays who have gone on to marry and have children with women.
1. Schedule your life like you are "on the make." You are not a sleazebag. As I mentioned in Part 3, as an ex-gay man you have to avoid promiscuity carefully because you are much more vulnerable to a broken heart or bad sexual experiences. But if you are going to become straight, you have to find that one woman for you, and you need to face it: You are on the prowl. Act like it.
Figure out what times of the week you are going to go out looking for girls, and stick to those times. Make sure you have a daily planner and get good at making all your appointments. For this post we will avoid the issue of dating websites or getting set up by family and friends--future posts will deal with that. Here I comment on what I know, which is when you are going to have to approach women and strike up conversations with them, then ask them if they would like to see you again. Most attempts will end at rejection but you will have to set aside time to keep trying anyway.
I know of no general rule about what times of day are best for going out and scouting, since it depends on what type of gathering you are going to use to look for girls. If you sign up for fitness classes in the hope that you can get to know women that way, this might be in the morning or evening. You may join a reading club or political association, in which case the meeting times vary. Whatever you do, you want to make sure that you have regular times in your schedule available to go to the place where girls are, with the express intention of seeing if there is a girl you can ask out on dates.
Be aware of the politics of dating. If you join the political group of your county and introduce yourself to Annie, a single thirty-year-old interested in pro-life causes, you may want to go to a few more of these meetings to get to know her and find out more about her, before you ask her if you can take her to a play. That gathering place is "blocked off " and on hold until the situation with Annie develops. Do not work on meeting another girl at that event until you find out how things are going with Annie, since you risk being caught with too many prospectives in the same place.
But Annie might not be interested in you at all, so you should not refrain from seeing whether Susan, the thirty-two-year old jogger who is part of your running club, is available. Again, you may want to go on several Saturday runs with Susan's group before you step up and ask her out. While you are working on Annie and Susan, it is completely legitimate to be talking to both of them--you are not having sex with either, right?--but you should not be pursuing more than one woman in the same location.
Enrolling in community college classes is actually a fantastic way to pursue this, since the classes end after one semester. Think of the Annie and Susan situations. If Annie decides she is not interested and you find out Susan is not a good match, then your best bet is to quit the Republican club and the Saturday running group, because it will get awkward if you start running up a tab of failed girl situations in the same place. With "classes," the whole thing ends after a certain number of weeks and there is no awkwardness in leaving.
[I remain somewhat cautious about picking up a girlfriend in church. I know this is the best place to find a believer and likely a good girl. BUT the problem with church is that if things don't work out with one or more females, you've now made your church, a crucial part of your life, extremely awkward. Future guest posts will come from people who know about the church dating scene.]
Once you are taking girls out make sure you do not go to the same place with different girls for your official dates. For instance, if you take Annie to eat at the Cajun Lounge one week, do not take Susan there the next week. The worst case scenario is if the servers or someone there recognizes you and confuses Annie for Susan, or might start gossiping that you are being loose and sleazy. Have a very wide range of places to take girls.
When choosing "hunting grounds" or places to take girls on dates, avoid the gays at all costs. Don't take girls to places that are in or close to gayborhoods and do not take them to events that will attract a lot of homosexuals or liberal people who buy into homosexual ideology.
Once you decide you are going on the dating market, avoid getting committed to a lot of long-term social stuff that is unrelated to meeting girls. So let's imagine that your best friend John is starting some soup kitchen program at a local church, and it will be a group of men working two nights a week doing charity. You didn't commit to this while in Phases 2 or 3, so it is something new. Sadly, you cannot do that if you do not have the time in your schedule for it. You do not want to commit to being there and you end up constantly canceling on John because of dating. Don't let your dating ruin your socializing with others.
2. Keep a little black book and start keeping track of details about women.
The references to a "little black book" pop up sometimes in old sitcoms of the 1980s like Cheers. Unfortunately this stereotype became associated with promiscuous men, but actually in your case it might be a good idea to have a secret book where you keep track of all the stuff you are doing on the dating front. If you saw Annie on February 6 and had a great conversation with her, and she told you about the research she did on Navajo Indian artwork, then did not see her again until April 3 when she came back from Seattle, and you took her out to see The Death of Stalin on April 10, and now it is May 7, you are not a bad guy if you have taken other girls out on dates during that time or are at least scouting other girls to see if there are possibilities elsewhere. But when you text Annie and ask if she wants to go hiking with you next Saturday, it will help if you wrote down the details from past dates just so you do not confuse her stories with the stories you heard from Jane, Elena, and Mingmi.
If you have a little black book it is very helpful to jot down little things you notice girls said, because this allows you to go gradually in getting to know them without forgetting stuff and thereby losing progress each time you wait until the next chance to see them. Confusing two different women's stories is a deal-breaker. If you tell the same story to the same girl twice and do not even realize you are repeating yourself, she will rightfully conclude you are a player and phoning it in.
As you start taking girls on dates and getting serious, the little black book will help you start tailoring little details for the times you meet. If you know Annie likes Georgia O'Keefe paintings, you can find Southwest-style flowers for a bouquet when you mark three months since you met. Women love details in a way that gay men do not at all, so the little black book can help you stand out.
Remember that as an ex-gay man looking for the right girl you are aiming very high. You want a virtuous woman who is desirable yet willing to look past your dirty past and still pursue something with you. Do not be stupid and think you are her only option. By default any girl who meets the high bar you have set is getting noticed by a dozen other guys. And in recent years, the dating scene has shifted as so many young women are increasingly less traditional, so the competition is vicious. You have to stand out from the other guys she is talking to and getting pursued by, and these small details from your little black book are one of the best ways to outshine your rivals.
Once you start keeping a little black book it is important that nobody but you knows of its existence. Keep it hidden, especially from a roommate or male friends. The dating world is particularly cutthroat these days and even the nicest buddy might poach. Female friends must absolutely not know of the book's existence. Once you get married make sure it is destroyed and never refer to it again.
3. Only go on dates with women whom you asked out, and always say no to women who pursue you.
As an ex-gay man you have to avoid liberal sex culture. This is absolutely crucial since you live with a sword hanging over your head--the possibility that at some point you will fail at being ex-gay and go back to homosexuality. There are certain women who may find your sexual history fascinating or titillating. Some are perhaps bisexual or in relationships with bisexual men and like the possibility of drawing from your past experience. Some might be generally desperate or sexually loose women who assume that you are an easy target because of what you did in the past.
One reason that I advised in past posts that you not date before building up confidence relates to the question of being pursued by women. If you are still in the stage of looking at yourself as less valuable for being ex-gay, you may get flattered when women pursue you. But you have to avoid loose women and especially women who have a lot of gay friends or who are fascinated by gay culture.
You are looking for the woman for you and she has to be perfectly suited to who you are. You need a woman with basic traditional morals, who will respect your identity as a male and therefore the leader and dominant person in the relationship. At this point you have made a lot of progress in building up your masculinity to recover from homosexuality, and the last thing you need is feminism or general promiscuity to take you several steps back.
You should not go on any date with a woman who was aggressively seeking you out. I know this sounds old-fashioned and maybe even barbaric. But you want a good girl and usually good girls are too good to be desperately trying to get noticed. So ideally as you follow suggestion #1 and schedule your life on the dating scene, you are going to places where women are engaging in things they care about--fitness, learning, crafts, charity--and you can observe them doing the things they love. You will jump into their life almost as a surprise. Ideally even if she and you both know that you were looking for a girl, it will feel as though she bumped into you and it was a magical coincidence that you got together.
If a woman asks you out, she is asking out guys in general, which means she is probably more trouble than she is worth.
4. In conversation with women, choose your words carefully and do not talk too much.
If your experience with gay culture was like mine, your discourse may have been heavily corrupted. The gay world inculcates people with a great deal of sarcasm and vulgarity, in addition to a lot of oversharing and boasting, all of which will spell disaster on dates with women.
When you go out with women, you want each sentence you speak to count, but you do not want to be long-winded. Choose your words thoughtfully and do not be afraid to take a few seconds of silence to think about what you are going to say. Use no foul language at all and do not make crude references to sex. Even if such talk felt natural and common to you among gays, it is not what makes women feel comfortable.
When you are talking about other people avoid sounding like a gossip or backstabber. You want her to view you as manly, and gossip is commonly associated with women and gay men.
5. Never allow her to pay.
It should be clear on all dates with women that it is a date and you invited her. These days many women insist on paying or splitting the bill to show that they are under no obligation for having gone out with you. But you are a gentleman and know you will not assume that buying her dinner means you get to have sex with her. Women who protest too much at your paying for dinner should go onto your "do not date again" list. You want her to see that you are stable and financially sound. You also want any relationship down the road to be fairly traditional and non-threatening to your sense of manhood. You are ex-gay, you have enough assaults on your masculinity from your own demons. The comfort of not having to question your male role in the relationship is worth whatever she might chip in to cover dinner or a show. If she bristles at the issue of your paying for things, be polite and tell her you invited her and you don't want to quibble about money. Do not say a lot about it. But do not let her pay for anything.
6. Be honest about your intentions.
Your situation is quite specific and there is no reason to be coy about your interest in a long-term relationship. When you strike up conversations with new women they will usually bring up their boyfriend or husband, somehow working it into the story, so you know they are not available. Make clear, if this is the case (which I hope it is), that you hold as an important goal not to have sexual intercourse before marriage, but make sure she understands this does not mean you are going to be icy-cold and against any kind of affection. Remember (see below) if you are a good kisser or caresser, you have a good chance at showing her that waiting until the honeymoon will bring great rewards to her. But be sensitive to her if she pushes for intercourse during your dating period. Don't assume she is loose. She may have a legitimate anxiety about whether or not you are really still gay. Be understanding of where she is coming from and do not get judgmental. But also don't jump into sex if it is ahead of the schedule you set for yourself.
Before you ask her out you want to find a smooth way of asking her if she is available. Tell her that you find her interesting and would like to know her better. Either at the point of asking her out or on the first date, at some point mention that you really feel ready to settle down with the right woman and you want to find someone with values similar to yours, who wants to make a home and start a family. This gives her the opportunity to bow out of seeing you again. You should not dwell on this point for more than a minute or so but you should not go several dates without explaining this. If you are talking to other women, you should not hide that if she asks you about that (which she may very likely do). When things get serious with one woman and you are starting to get affectionate, or even talking about a future commitment, it is important that you call the other women that you have been talking to, and thank them for the good times but let them know you have met someone and you really want to date her exclusively.
7. Disclose your gay past in good faith but keep it vague.
You are going to live with a huge amount of rejection. Brace yourself for it and have a sense of humor. I would estimate that about 80% of eligible females do not want to go out with you because you are ex-gay. That is fine. By this stage of your journey you should have made peace with such difficult realities and not feel completely bothered by them. Without being too abrupt or creepy, you do want to disclose that in the past you thought you were gay and tried it out, at an early stage in dating a woman. You have to give her the chance to bow out and move on to someone without that baggage. It should be a graceful explanation as you are telling her about yourself. But you should keep the details vague, and definitely do not get into gritty details. If she says she cannot go out with you because of this, be gracious and do not get defensive or mean. She has a right to feel that way, since you yourself are rejecting the gay world too.
8. Be careful but discreet about finding out more about girls you date but be firm with yourself about undatable women.
As an ex-gay man you are probably aware that gossip is deadly and often not fair. You would not want to go digging into a girl's life just as you would hope she would not digging into yours. I suggest that you not do a Google search on a girl if you have only gone on a few dates with her, so you can learn about her by seeing what she shows you.
But as things get serious you need to be realistic that women are not always forthcoming about things and sometimes they engage in deceit. It is okay to find out if people know about her and to ask their frank opinions of her, just as long as you take most things with a grain of salt. There are some points of information, though, that you should see as troubling to the point of deal-breakers, if you get a lot of information that seems to be true. Much of this has to do with your own status as an ex-gay man, since as I have indicated in other posts, you are more emotionally vulnerable than most people. Here are "no-go" categories of girls, if you find out some very distressing information about them:
i. No women with a very long history of casual sex. It is unfair that life has a double standard for men and women, especially since you as an ex-gay have a past. But you are not dating to cure the world of bad politics. A woman who has been with a lot of guys will have too much sexual experience for her to see you as someone who can teach and lead her sexually, which you need to do in order to feel completely like a man. Also, women who have been with many men are often embroiled in a lot of conflicts, and the men who date them get dragged into such conflicts. A woman who has been with a lot of men simply is not going to find sex with you as special as you are going to find sex with her. And that is a deal-breaker, because you will never feel secure in your relationship with her, and the chances will remain high that she will move on to another man at the slightest hint of boredom or discomfort.
ii. No women with a long history of lying. This should speak for itself.
iii. No women who are LGBT "allies" or "faghags." You cannot risk being dragged back into the gay community or forced to listen to pro-gay politics. It will make you miserable for no reason and she will most likely not believe you are ex-gay. It is inevitable that she will force you to attend events with her gay friends, which will be excruciating for you.
iv. No women with a long history of "drama." As a male, even an ex-gay man, you are likely to suffer from naivete about females, thinking that sweet-looking and kind-looking women could never be cruel, mischievous, quarrelsome, or divisive. But if you start hearing a lot of stories about a woman you are dating, you want to take a pause. If she seems to have a lot of stories about conflict at work, friends who stopped talking to her, or many ex-boyfriends who are stalking her, etc., this in combination with the stories you have heard ought to be the cue for you to get out of the relationship. Having survived the gay world you paid your dues with drama. I remember one woman who used to ask me and others to hang out with her. Whatever guy she was dating at the time, she would intentionally brush against other men in the nightclub and try to start a fight between them. Eventually we just stopped hanging out with her. A woman who thrives on complicated intrigues or soap opera stories around her is simply never going to make a good wife. You do not want to have sex with her and then find yourself entangled with someone who will use the power she has over you for cruelty or heartless amusement.
v. No women who have made a career of early superficial dating. You are on the dating market but your goal is not to be on the dating market because you want to get out of dating, have sex, confirm your straight maleness, and go and live life with a wife. A woman who has gone on too many first dates, to the point that you can tell she is a pro at all the ins and outs of dating, is a no-go. If you hear from a lot of people you know, "oh, we went on a few dates," and this combines with your own observation that she just seems too comfortable, scripted, and natural in the fake and superficial setting of early dating, you need to move on. Many women like the attention and gentlemanly pampering of the first three or four dates but are simply never going to open up over the long term. Do not waste your time.
vi. With a few possible exceptions, avoid lesbians or bisexual women. As an ex-gay man you should be kind and charitable to women who share your history. But you should not necessarily date them. You want to be with a woman who really enjoys all of you, including your male body parts. Once you are together for good, you want her to relish lovemaking and the pleasure that your masculine prowess can give her. You do not want to be with a woman who seeks to take away the masculine role from you, or who really wants a sex partner to play a feminine role. If you hear that she has been with women in the past, find a polite way to ask her about it. If she explains that she experimented a few times and is not interested in girls anymore, then be gentle and non-judgmental about it and give the relationship a chance. Leave it at that. But if it is clear that she has been with women and she has no remorse or disavowal over it, then she is still open to all the destructive allure of homosexuality. You cannot have that. A common incident now is lesbian couples trying to get sperm donors in the form of boyfriends to join as threesomes. Do not get involved in anything of that nature.
vii. No women who are radical feminists or vocally pro-choice. Feminism and pro-LGBT ideology are so thoroughly intertwined at this point that they cannot be separated. Everything feminists stand for affirms the destructive ideology that you found so harmful, you decided you wanted to get out of the gay community. Feminists are the minions of your oppressors. You have done so much work to build your masculinity and reconstruct your manhood, the last person in the world you want in bed with you is a woman who hates men. Any woman who advocates forcefully for abortion is full of hate. Her willingness to advocate openly for this means she is unapologetic about seeing you, a man, as a disposable means to an end. If she thinks a woman can choose unilaterally to kill a man's child inside her, she will never be a good wife or worth making love to. She will never accept your leadership.
9. Have a good but fierce spirit regarding your male competitors.
Male competition is God's way of making you atone for the lustful way you looked at men when you were in the gay scene. Now those muscular, handsome, and masculine men you ogled at, long in the past, are your competitors for women. And trust me, they will annoy you. Get ready for it, because in the straight world you play in the big leagues. You will compete against the most eligible men now, and they are just as eager as you to find a beautiful and decent wife.
The reality of today is that good women have many options. No venue worth hunting for girls will not have come to the attention of other men hunting for the same thing. You should find tactful ways to discover whether the women you are dating are also seeing other men, just so you know where you stand and you can decide whether to ask her about going exclusive so you do not have to worry about rivals.
The chances are overwhelming that the other men they are dating are not ex-gays, which means you must accept that you have one strike against you. But do not worry, you have qualities that outshine them on other fronts. If you find out who your rivals are, I suggest you make an effort not to be resentful or jealous, because it will make you look weak to the lady involved. Do not speak badly about men who are competing for the same girl as you. Try to cut him out through careful planning and seamless confidence, taking her out for day trips out of town or places where she will be far removed from her usual haunts and not inclined to think about the other man. Until you have gotten a girl to commit to see only you, you are effectively barred from asking her frank questions about where things stand with the other boys, who they are, and what your chances are relative to theirs.
The worst scenario is if you are at an event such as a dance and both you and the other man are at the same place. If this happens, you have to stay cool and not lose your temper. But be courageous and strong (pace Joshua). Try to get her to some other place and leave the event before he has a chance to talk to her. This may be the scariest moment that you had nightmares about, but face it and do not let yourself get discouraged. You may have to fight physically for the woman you want to be with. Be prepared to shove him back or strike him if he gets aggressive but do not start a fight with him. And if all else fails, let her know that you don't want to be strung along and she should choose between you and the other guy. Be prepared to hear that you're runner up but not her number one choice. It happens to the best.
One agonizing ritual is to "talk about the relationship." You may have to do this if the situation with other guys does not clear up on its own. Set aside a time. If you want her to stop seeing other guys, be prepared to stop seeing other women. Talk about your relationship and say you would like to be exclusive or you don't want to continue. Again, be prepared to hear that she values her freedom more than she values you. It happens to the best.
When you run into men who have dated the same girls as you, you have to engage in a somewhat detached and unworried exchange of small talk, and then get out of the exchange as quickly as possible. It is not like the gay world where you can have a good laugh and share all the gory details. Male rivals serve an important purpose in the dating scene where you are now. They do some of the vetting for you, since you know a girl is likely of high quality and probably good virtue, if many men are pursuing her simultaneously. They also force you to get better and up your game, which is good for you in the end. Do not develop hate for them in your heart, even if a guy stole from you the woman you really wanted in the end. Pay him the respect that is due him, since he won, and you can learn from him. Whatever you do, don't blame a girl for being pursued by more than one man at the same time.
10. Do everything you can to connect with her physically while still remaining chaste.
The rules from English Manif remain simple: you should not have intercourse before marriage.
This does not mean you are not going to seduce her with physical affections at all. The two rules above provide many loopholes. Consider these forms of bonding and intimacy:
Kissing. The art of making out is perhaps lost to young generations but its power is timeless. From the first date on, English Manif encourages you to kiss. The most awesome part about kissing is that you can feel as though you had an intense sexual experience without removing a single article of clothing or breaking any of the most basic rules. But always get better at kissing. You will find that kissing a woman is generally a whole lot better than kissing a man because she does not have stubble, she is more likely to have good breath, and she usually will let you lead. Everyone has their favorite style, of course. The goal with kissing is it should be increasing in intensity and time the more you go out with her, building her arousal so she becomes slowly addicted to you and will be ready for you to pop the question.
Footsie. There is nothing technically perverted about the kinky habit of rubbing feet and ankles together under the table when you are in public. Be playful with this one and do it whenever it seems she is open to it. See how much you can play footsie with her until she loses her concentration and starts getting nervous about people at other tables watching you. Remember that women have many more parts of the body that respond to contact than men do, and sometimes a spot along the foot, ankle, or calf, might be to a woman just as exciting a spot as one of the classic "private parts" we refer to. As a man, footsie is therefore a classic power move, because you will be more in control of the pleasure than she will. The sensual fun this involves helps to bond you with her and inspire curiosity in her about how you will be when the big moment comes and you actually make love.
Caressing. Do not underestimate the power of touching a woman even when all your clothes are on. Women's bodies differ markedly from each other, but most are minefields of sensual stimulation because they can experience incredible jolts of pleasure in places that man find unremarkable. Perhaps, for instance, there is a tiny place on a woman's right shoulder, and if you strum the back shoulder blade with your thumb, she shudders and you can see she feels a burst of pleasure. Take note. Don't sit there all day strumming the same place on her body, because that will get boring. But from time to time, wherever you are, make a point to strum that little place with your thumb. She will figure out what you are doing but pretend like you are only doing it by chance. This is the art of caressing, and it's perfectly Biblical and okay if it is part of courtship. As an ex-gay man, you ought to savor all these little moments and make the most of them. Not only do they give her pleasure, but you are enjoying one of the things that you cannot get in the gay world where there are no female bodies.
Dancing. Everybody can dance to slow music. It is basically a way of simulating many of the motions of intercourse, except standing up, with all your clothes on. I am aware that Baptists are not supposed to dance, but probably most ex-gays reading this are not Baptist. Whenever you dance and the music gets slow, take the opportunity to let your bodies press against each other. Twirl her around so your chest presses against her back. Hold her so your arms interlace in front of her, perhaps around the belly, and she can feel your chin in the crevice between her neck and chin. The good thing about dancing is that slow songs end, giving you the reason to stop and go sit down, therefore leaving the sexual tension high and her willing to wait to resume what was happening.
Cuddling. Once you have been dating and things are getting serious, you should take time with her just to sit or lie next to each other and feel each other's bodies. Really avail yourself of these opportunities to feel her body and let your body develop a familiar arousal reaction to hers. If you are comfortable with your physique, I think it is okay for you to remove your shirt and leave her shirt on, then cuddle so you can feel her movements on your skin. It is the first prelude to full intercourse that may come later. Just accept that she likes you, and she likes you as a man, and you are a man now who can give manly pleasures to a woman. Let her feel your back, stomach, chest, and arms, and just allow the pleasurable sensations to take over you. I think it is important for her to keep her shirt on simply as a brake to keep this getting dangerously ahead of you, but remember that women's bodies are usually more sensitive so she can feel the pleasure from your touch under her blouse even as she is touching your bare skin.
Consent, consent, consent
I am obliged to remind you that we live in a highly litigious age. Even if we didn't, you should be a gentleman. No means no. Yes means she probably wants to, but you should keep making sure she's still consenting. Not only do you not want to hurt her--you also do not want to leave yourself open to an accusation of assault or abuse. Always make sure she wants to do things and is enjoying herself. If in doubt, ask her.
Dating should be fun, but it has an expiration date
You will have more success as an ex-gay man if you give the "dating" phase of your journey the time and space it requires. You cannot move to being a woman's sexual partner overnight, and you simply are not ready to pleasure her naked body at the moment immediately after your exit from the gay world. As you date, you will use all these suggestions to feel more and more straight. These playful and exploratory interactions with women serve an important purpose of helping you figure out which girl is really the one for you, and also incrementally increasing your confidence.
You are manly, even if you do not feel it sometimes. And the pleasures and enjoyable tensions you feel are real; the way a girl makes you feel as you are pursuing her, getting to know her, testing out your affections with her--all of that is real. You are not a gay man, you are an ex-gay man, soon to be straight. Flow with the changes inside you and around you as you move closer and closer to the culmination of this journey, your marriage to a woman and your first time having real sex.