How do you figure out what you are interested in, and use that to find your people? Who would be your ideal person to date? Who do you wanna be friends with? Hear it all on this episode of the Queer Joy Podcast; where two relationship therapists explore what it looks like to see joy in queer relationships.
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Melisa: I like what you named about interests. That's often where I start with clients and really the question I start asking first is, who are your people? Do you even know? Like, who are you trying to attract? Who would be your ideal person to date? Or even friends, like who do you wanna be friends with? That will really direct where you're looking and how you are looking for these connections.
Keely: Hey everyone. We are here with Queer Relationships, Queer Joy.
Melisa: Welcome back everyone, and welcome back, Keely. I'm excited to have you here today.
Keely: I know, I'm glad to be back. Oh, well, do you wanna do updates or do you want me to start?
Melisa: We'll do updates and we'll do intros and then we'll, we'll talk about dating.
Keely: Dating and meeting people. Yes.
Melisa: Yeah. Dating. Find a community. How, how do we meet people? I, yeah, we're, we're definitely in fall, which means I'm introverting once again. I know, I was trying to think about dating updates and like, do I have a lot to share? I don't know. And part of that is, I'm just careful about how much I talk about each relationship for various reasons.
Keely: Oh yeah.
Melisa: Mostly around consent from partners and metas about information shared. I, you know, I've, I suppose I can name that I've, I've had yet another sort of relationship transition. It's just something I've been thinking about my own mind for my partner in California who I really don't have a lot of contact with, and I know I've named that throughout the time that we've recorded the podcast.
We had had a date that got canceled. And again, there's like real reasons. This isn't just, you know, a flaky situation. There's a lot of stuff going on. And when it got canceled though, the feedback was essentially like, I'm not gonna have time this month. And that's a long time for me with long distance partners to not talk to somebody. My feelings just haven't, they're different. They've changed. If I don't have any contact with someone, my feelings evolve, and I love this person very much, and I'm, you know, it's just, it's a different situation now. So yeah, that's a relationship transition. I don't want to, for myself, continue naming my partner in California when this person really isn't my partner.
Melisa: So my wonderful friend slash ex slash whatever. Full figure out a title whenever I do talk to them. But yeah, so I guess I, I didn't expect to name that, but I just want to that's real for me. And yeah, I mean, other relationships are continuing to evolve. Long distance is always tricky, so figuring out a new rhythm with the person that I met over summer.
And then my local partner. Yeah. Again, kind of figuring out a new rhythm. We have a pretty set schedule for various reasons. But that's had, there's been more flexibility in spontaneity recently.
Melisa: And the thing that's been fun about that for me is because it is, you know, a poly situation, it is pretty much hierarchical. I, I don't know that he would use this language, but I am not the nesting partner. We've realized there's things like we never date during the day. Like I never get to see you like in daytime hour. You know, like,
Melisa: So there's things like that that we're starting to do. I'm like, Oh, it feels like we're a real couple. Like it's just, it's very sweet.
Melisa: And it's necessary, like we've been dating for a while now. We've known each other for a couple years now, so, that's been really fun to allow that to evolve and not be stuck in. No, this is the night we hang out and this is what it is every time, I don't wanna be in a routine, you know? So,
Melisa: Yeah. So those are my updates. I'm not interested right now in, in meeting new people. This is not a new thing for me to say. Feel satisfied.
Keely: Totally satisfied. Well, I just laughing thinking about our topic today and you're like, I'm not the per- we're talking about how to meet new people, you're like, but I'm good. I'm good.
Melisa: I'm gonna watch everyone else do it. No, I mean, you know how it goes for me when I'm not expecting too, often is when connections happen. So
Melisa: I'm not a, I'm not considering myself closed off, but I am not like seeking. Yeah.
Keely: I, when you said how, what you can talk about because of consent, I could very easily have a whiteboard right now, interconnect. I could be Alice of uh, a word because somehow all of these interconnections have happened that I had no idea was gonna happen.
Keely: So it's interesting, but it's also like, ooh, like what do I actually share? I will say that a lot of transitions and changing the relationship dynamics, and I think I talk about that when I think about how breakups happen, but it wasn't just, it's not like a breakup. It's more like a relationship transition.
And so it's interesting to think about one of the people I'm dating? Hanging out with and we were deciding to label, was like, what is it like to be starting a new thing but then grieving something that end it? And I was like, I, that is a good question, and I think we just thought of a topic for another episode because that is real and it's It's interesting these expectations when we- in therapy or the way that self-help books, relational books, talk about breakups and how you're supposed to have this like time in between, or there's all these ideas that are very cis hetero monogamous.
Keely: And that's not how we do it in the queer world often, and that's definitely not how we do it in non monogamy. And so I'm holding these, all these different emotions and feelings and simply put, I told the person, I was like, well, I'm, I'm really practicing being present in the moment, so like if I'm with you as the new person and we're doing new fun things and learning each other, and then I really, actually importantly create intentional space for the grief, and then I've had other losses too. So it's, it's been a whirlwind of all of these things, and I realize how easily I can get distracted from the drama, because as someone asked me a couple days ago actually the person who's in the Midwest who's coming back in a week. That'll be interesting too.
Keely: Who are dynamic be, but they were like, Maybe you just need to get out Portland. Like, you know, too many people, there's too many interconnections. Do you just need outta Portland? Like, well, I love it. I love it. And cringe at, at the same time. So.
Keely: The theme would be lots of different feelings and emotions per usual. So, yeah. And that really goes into our topic today. Oh, we'll do quick introductions. Oh my gosh. Yeah.
Melisa: I love that we start now, like, here's my life, here's what's happening in my relationships. Oh, by the way, my name's Melisa. Let me tell you-.
Keely: I'm Keely C. Helmick. I am the owner of Connective Therapy Collective. My pronouns are they/them. I'm queer, non-binary fem, who currently is still solo poly and I'm white uh, with a major bulging disc back injury that's acute currently. So really causing lots of changes in my life about what I can do and how I have coping skills. And yeah, that's me for now.
Melisa: And I'm Melisa DeSegiurant. I'm licensed as marriage and family therapist and professional counselor, and I work at Connective Therapy Collective. I'm white, I am bisexual. I'm able-bodied. I am polyamorous, currently polys saturated. Um, I am gender fluid. I use she and they pronouns.
Keely: Yeah, so exploration of. So, this has come up a lot in friend groups and I think there are definitely groups of people that are like, I want to date, or I wanna meet people and I don't wanna be in the dating apps.
Melisa: Yeah. Yep. That sounds like me. But then the next question is, so what do I do Right. How? Where do I meet people?
Keely: Yeah. So I think, well, one of the things that used to come up. I think another piece to this is there's people that are still really conscious. Like, I don't wanna even just just say COVID conscious, but just conscious in general about how big of groups they wanna be in and how they wanna meet outside. But it's getting cold. But you know, the other thing that's coming up. Subconsciously, some people are thinking about it. It is cuffing season.
Melisa: It is.
Keely: And we're thinking about having someone to snuggle with on the couch or keep the bed warm. So, well, the first thing that came to my mind was like online meetup groups.
Melisa: Yeah. The meetup groups, and actually, I, this isn't this isn't my way of meeting people because, whatever. I'm not a gamer. I literally can't physically, like it's, it makes me ill, but I do know that there are a lot of people who can make connections through online gaming.
Keely: Yes. Online. And I've been hearing about groups around town too that are, are meetups for gamers. Like physical meetups in-person meetups.
Melisa: Yeah. Yeah.
Keely: I think about how to explore interests and how do people, like meet other people through interest. I think what it is, it takes a little more time to meet people when you're doing it outside of the apps. I think that's what it is.
Melisa: Yeah, and I like what you named about interests. That's often where I start with clients and really the question I start asking first is, who are your people? Do you even know? Like, who are you trying to attract? Who would be your ideal person to date? Or even friends, like who do you wanna be friends with? That will really direct where you're looking and how you are looking for these connections.
Keely: Well, how did you figure out what you're interested in? I think that that question might have changed in the past couple years.
Melisa: Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. And I've said this before, but I think it's trial and error. Like, go try things. You know, I mean, Foster talk last week about like book people are my people.
So readings and things like that. Go to a reading, find out if you like it, find out if you enjoy that. It does. A little bit of creativity and being spontaneous and doing something that maybe you have not done before.
Keely: Yeah. I will say with my back injury, I have really had to readjust what I do and I, I realize on my dating app right now, I talk about bike riding and I'm like, wait a minute, I haven't been able to ride a bike in like four months.
Keely: So for me, where my physical abilities are at, like I would normally. Go out dancing and meet people. I've actually met one of my former girlfriends, like a three-year relationship. I met them at a dance club. Out dancing organized stuff, but I can't do that right now. Can't go bike riding, I can't even go on nature walks. Like my meditation is like a two block walk. And I will say just, I know, I just have to share how adorable this person I just started dating. Like they're so conscious of my back and they're like one of the dates they had like a pillow and blanket for a picnic so that I could lay down, cuz I can only position myself on that side.
It was, yeah, adorable. So flexibility. In saying that is that when we're thinking about our interests is being flexible with our idea of what, or changing our activities or idea of interest because situations happen that changed.
Melisa: Yeah. Yeah. And sometimes too, like if you try something new and you find you hate it, there might be somebody else there who's having the same experience and then you can bond over how much you hate it. Like that's, I, I feel like so many people's stories start that way. Like, we're at this event where like, it's really weird. I don't know, I'm not feeling it. And then they connect, you know?
Keely: Yeah. And I, I think another thing that comes up a lot, and Foster actually mentioned something that started on MLK, but folks that don't wanna drink
Keely: Don't wanna drink alcohol. And historically, the queer community were so centered around alcohol and so finding places. There seems to be, more places opening up and or more places offering like kombucha, you know, depending on the person. Some people who are sober still go to bars and just don't drink, but some people just don't want that atmosphere.
Keely: So finding things. I think also another piece is like age wise, going to certain events. People will be like, oh, maybe this is like a crowd that isn't my age.
Melisa: Yeah. There's so much variety though. I mean, when we were even just brainstorming, some of the things we came up with were, there's a queer soccer league. You know, if you're a sporty person, join that. There's a queer choir, you know? Go see gay movies. I saw a lot of queer people at Bros just saying, I could tell which theater they were walking into.
Keely: Though Bros has gotten so much shit on the internet, but yes,
Melisa: But I will tell you, the Laurel Horse Theater on opening night, it was, it was a fun game. I was playing, I'm like, Ooh, let's see if I can guess. All the people going into Bros. Right? And it felt great to be in a room of like a lot of queer people, you know. I wasn't chatting with people during the movie, but people lingered before and after, you know, could've met somebody if I wanted to.
Keely: Yeah, totally.
Melisa: Again, even if you hated the movie, I'm sure someone else did too.
Cardinal: Hey, it's Cardinal. You're behind the scenes buddy. Do you know where to find sexy. Cool. Open-minded and often queer people. Because I do. Um, talking to one right now. I'm in your ears and you're in my heart.
Connect over shared interests with other listeners of this podcast on our Instagram. Brand new account just for us. We're at queer queer_relationships_queer_joy. On Instagram. I hope to see you over there All right. back to the show
Keely: Well, I feel like even as we're talking about this thing, like backtracking a little bit of wanting, you know, getting into space of wanting to meet people and wanting to make connections, whether it's through dating or friendships is coming into ourself of like what is coming up and being connected to ourselves. Like as we're talking about exploring other folks, like what does it mean to even, I mean, you know, one of your favorite things, Melisa, is to go take yourself out on a date.
Keely: That is definitely. Though, that doesn't necessarily mean you'll meet people, but it's just even being out in the world in a way that feels comfortable and practicing that.
Keely: And sometimes that step before, if you haven't been doing many things, taking the time, you know, go see your therapist in person instead of online if you can.
Keely: Or do steps to you know, go have a meal, but have it outside doing things that bring you around people, even if it's not a situation where you can, the intention is to meet somebody, but just to be out in the world more.
Melisa: Absolutely. Yeah. And I, I hear clients talking about fear of doing that alone. Like, Okay, I could do that if a friend will go with me, but what if no one wants to go? And I'm gonna encourage people to take baby steps and challenge that fear. And a baby step might mean you go to a cafe, you sit outside, you put on AirPods, and you have a book in front of you so you feel like you've got enough distractions and things to do that you don't appear. You know? Cuz usually what it is, is we're afraid of how other people are gonna perceive us if we're just sitting alone. Which is hilarious because I don't know, do listeners, you can chime in about this and let us know, but do you just sit there and judge people sitting alone? Like I've never, That's never occurred to me to do when I'm-
Keely: No, no. And I, and I wonder, cause you know, when you say that, like wanting to have someone around, I get that and it seems like if we're intentionally trying to meet people, then it's actually better not to be with a friend.
Melisa: Absolutely. Yeah. I can tell you that as somebody who regularly goes out alone and doesn't actually want to meet people. If you're alone, like you're available for saying hello to, you know. Yeah. Again, like it's, it's, we gotta get outta our own way with this assumption about what other people may be thinking about us. You know what other people are thinking is probably none of your business, just go about your life. Do your thing. Like I said, bring props. If you need a safety blanket, bring a book. You know? A journal.
Keely: A journal. And I will say, I wanna really be clear when we're saying this, that there are folks in situations where if the feeling of being alone or, or actually being alone may not feel safe for a variety of reasons. Like, I don't wanna discount people who actually don't feel safe being alone.
Melisa: Yeah. Well and true. And I think that's a good point too. Especially you've got, you've gotta know where you are, your venue, you know, there. There are a lot of things that can happen as well if we're not being conscious. And, and people can get targeted and, and have had clients experience that too, so yeah.
Know, know your surroundings. I think what I'm encouraging is that there are safe ways to be able to just be in public and be available to people. Yeah.
Keely: Well, like you said, what would it, I mean, I'm thinking of like a counseling session, but what if part of that practice is meeting up with someone, but maybe being there like 20 minutes early. So being by yourself for just a little bit of time.
Keely: Before someone comes and meets you. There's ways to practice this and again, you know, really understanding that, that's not gonna work for everyone. But there are ways to build up to that and I'm, and I will speak. I think it's helpful sometimes Melisa, cuz you'll be like, I'm always by myself and I definitely am the person that used to be and still oftentimes does want another person around. But I also am a very talkative person. So if I have someone around, I will still talk to other people.
Melisa: Yeah. Yeah.
Keely: But I do recognize that something that happens to me as a, depending on what I'm wearing as a mostly fem presenting person, the thing about being alone, sometimes it's then like, random dudes come and talk to me, and they're not dudes that I wanna talk to. So I still get, I don't know if you get this Melisa, but I still get the, like if I'm there with like more uh, gender, like different gender looking, you know, definitely like mask of center looking folks hanging with me. I don't get that as much. So that's the negative piece when I'm trying to meet people. And that doesn't happen as much as it used to because I think, my style has definitely queered up in the, in the years, but it still happens sometimes and it's really fucking annoying.
Keely: So own that.
Melisa: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And it can happen and you know, I think I said it earlier, but like, I'm often the person who's like, Oh, I don't want people to come up and talk to me. Then again, that's how I met the person who I'm dating who doesn't live here. So like, I'm glad that he came up and talked to me. So I think it, gosh, it goes back to the practice too, of how do we say no? How do we set boundaries? I'm not gonna pretend like I'm great at that at all. I mean, I've literally like just left the bar cuz I didn't know how to get out of the situation other than to not be there. So I hear that. It's not a perfect science , you know, as to how we can date more people. But I do think there is something to being able to show up, especially to queer spaces, just as ourselves and, and, and show to people like, Hey, I'm available. I'm receptive. I would like to meet people.
Keely: Sorry, Cat
Melisa: If you have an animal, I've heard dog parks, for example, are a way to meet other people.
Keely: Oh yeah.
Melisa: Most of them we haven't thought of or talked about.
Keely: For sure. For sure. Oh my gosh. They, I don't know if anyone listening also listens to Dyking Out, but they had a whole like conversation about the dog park and how gay it is and very good way. Yeah. So dog Parks is a great place. Yes. So in summary, what are some of the things that we've listed so that people listening can be like, oh, okay, I wanna meet with people, I wanna meet new people, I wanna be dating. I'm like, screw the dating apps. So we ended with dog parks cafes, queer meetups. I mean, if you're totally not technology, I wanna respect that. I will say like Facebook events there are so many queer events going on every weekend.
Melisa: Yeah. I, I'm no longer buying this, like, it has to be summertime for people in Portland to connect. I am seeing other options, especially now, especially this year, I feel like Portland just come back to life.
Keely: Um, Supporting queer places like we like to support the unicorn shop that does like cupcakes and going to places that are queer owned. Bookstores. We have a bookstores gay skate happens once a month. There is, what was that other place we were talking about? Oh, the, the dyke soccer. There's gay choir. Lesbian choir. There's a queer choir. I think there in Eugene though. There's like tons of different choirs.
Melisa: A karaoke parties.
Keely: Yeah. There's a monthly queer karaoke.
Melisa: Yeah. It's about knowing your interests. Or at least being curious to try some things out and see how you like them.
Keely: Yeah, So try it out. Have a buddy either have a buddy that's single as well, a human that you like to go with or test out what it's like to go out by yourself if that works for you. And. Yeah. Please. If people, people that are listening to this, if you try this out, please share your stories with us. We wanna hear how it went and-
Melisa: The good stories and the, and the not so good ones too. Like we learn from like, okay, that didn't work. Let's try something different.
Keely: Yes, yes, yes, yes. So we wanna hear all those stories and see if this was helpful. So onward to Queer Joy.
Melisa: Queer joy. Yay. Do you wanna start, Keely? Do you want me to go?