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Queer Dating Hotlines: How to Get the Relationship Advice You Deserve

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Jan 23, 2024

Queer Dating Hotlines: How to Get the Relationship Advice You Deserve

If the opening lyrics from “Hotline Bling” were the first thing to pop into your head while reading this, I want you to know that you are not alone. But something you might not know is that dating hotlines have been around a lot longer than Drake’s fourth studio album Views. 

Have you ever found yourself reeling from a recent heartbreak or unsure about a relationship and wondering who you can turn to for dating advice? It can be hard to work out whether or not you are in a toxic relationship, and what you can do to cultivate healthy dating habits in your life. Dating hotlines might be a great resource for you.

There are loads of modern dating hotlines out there to help people of all genders and sexualities learn how to build healthy relationship dynamics. Here is everything you need to know about getting the right kind of dating advice including whom you can talk to, how to identify toxic patterns, and tips for healthy communication in LGBTQIA+ relationships.

Let me help you get the free, confidential relationship advice that you deserve!

5 toxic relationship dynamics to look out for

With the long list of queer dating rules only growing longer, it can be hard to know exactly which dating advice to listen to. Trust me, these 5 toxic relationship patterns are something you shouldn’t overlook or write off in your dating life.

You feel constantly unhappy or unsatisfied

The most obvious sign of a toxic relationship is chronic unhappiness and dissatisfaction. If your relationship makes you feel constantly stressed out, anxious, or sad, this might be a sign that you need help. While all relationships may be challenging at times, conflict shouldn’t be the baseline of your connection. You might find yourself wishing that things were easier or feeling jealous of other, happier couples. 

Unhappiness in a relationship isn’t always a result of one or both of the people in the relationship being innately toxic. “Instead, some toxic relationships are simply the result of an imperfect pairing,” says Dr Lillian Glass, a communication and psychology expert. For example, you and your partner may be incompatible because you both are indecisive, or one person is sarcastic or domineering while the other is more sensitive. “It’s just the combination that is wrong,” suggests Glass. 

You are afraid to communicate or bring things up

Another, more subtle toxic dynamic to take note of in your relationships is whether or not you feel like you can communicate openly and honestly with your partner. Healthy relationships are built on trust, safety, and security that go both ways. If you find yourself keeping your feelings to yourself and not communicating how you feel out of fear of how your partner will react, this might be a sign that things have become unhealthy between you.

It’s important to approach conflict thoughtfully with a lot of kindness toward yourself and your partner. “If you see the stress beginning to escalate during a conversation about a conflict, one or both of you can call a break,” says Allison Cohen, LMFT, a licensed marriage and family therapist in California. The key to this is specifying when you will revisit the conversation—15 minutes, tomorrow, or next week in couple’s counseling—so that you can both feel safe to let it go for now and trust that it will be addressed later. 

You have limited space for other relationships in your life

You should be wary of romantic relationships that feel like they consume your life and leave little time for the other relationships you have. Keep note of the ways that you spend time when you aren’t with your partner and whether or not you are still able to maintain close relationships with friends or family. You might be a codependent relationship if you notice your other relationships taking a back seat to your love life.

If you feel bad for spending time with other people or your partner becomes controlling, jealous, or angry when you don’t spend all your time together, this might be another warning sign that things are imbalanced. This is especially true if your friends or family have expressed concern for your well-being or with the dynamics they are witnessing in your relationship.

They refuse to go to therapy or explore other self-help tools 

Another sign to look out for is an unwillingness from your partner to work on themselves or the relationship. If your partner is refusing to go to personal therapy or couples counseling, this might be a sign that they are not ready to be in a healthy relationship. While therapy isn’t the right tool for everyone, it’s a red flag if your partner is resisting getting help or finding other ways that work for them to address the root of their problematic behavior.

Relationships at their best should be about teamwork, collaboration, and a mutual desire to figure things out together. If your partner is keeping things to themselves or shutting down, it can be difficult to work together to find solutions to your relationship problems. At the end of the day, you deserve to be with someone who wants to put in the work to be with you. 

They make you feel bad about yourself 

You should be able to be yourself with your partner. If your partner constantly makes you feel bad about yourself, even through subtle ways of suggesting that you should act or be different, this can be a sign that things have become toxic between you. We are all imperfect and should be wanting to improve for ourselves and our loved ones, but you shouldn’t feel as if you need a change a fundamental part of yourself to be loved.

A healthy relationship culture makes both people in a couple feel respected, admired, and appreciated for what they have to offer. You shouldn’t feel ashamed in your relationship for being yourself, or like you are walking on eggshells, always afraid of doing something wrong. 

If any of these red flags are present in your dating life, you might want to address them with your partner or find a mediator to help you change these patterns in your relationship.

Tips for creating healthy relationships with your partner(s)

If you think you might have identified some toxic patterns in your relationship, it’s never too late to address them. There are many strategies and tools that you can use to set boundaries, respectfully communicate, and build the type of relationship that you want to be in. Here is a list of tips for how to create a healthy relationship.

-Practice open and honest communication 

-Use “I” statements instead of “you” statements. For example, “I felt disregarded when you forgot to text me” instead of “You made me feel like shit when you ghosted me.”

-Try to actively listen and understand your partner’s perspective, instead of fighting to be right 

-Spend time together doing things that you both enjoy 

-Use humor, curiosity, and lightness in your disagreements 

-Tell your partner what you want, don’t expect them to read your mind 

Cohen suggests that couples looking to build a healthy relationship create a weekly ritual check-in with each other. “It can be short or long, but it begins with asking each other what worked and didn’t work about the previous week and what can be done to improve things this coming week,” Cohen says. Rituals like this can help you plan date nights, get on the same page with your schedules, and voice your needs in the relationship

What is a dating hotline?

A dating hotline is a 24-hour confidential hotline that provides emotional support, resources, relationship advice, referrals, crisis intervention, and information about healthy relationships. Dating hotlines can be a useful resource for LGBTQIA+ people looking for relationship help, especially if there isn’t anyone else in your life who understands your gender or sexuality.

Contrary to popular belief, dating hotlines are not just a relic from the 90s! Believe it or not, some people actually still like talking on the phone. Dating hotlines are typically different from telephone chatlines (think: 1-800-CALL-FOR-A-GOOD-TIME) which are more like dating apps but for people who like to talk on the phone! 

While chatlines are meant for hookups and matchmaking, dating hotlines are designed as resource hubs for people looking for relationship advice and support. Most dating hotlines are free and can help people get access to sexual health education and information that they might not receive otherwise.

Who can you talk to when having relationship issues?

It can be challenging to know exactly who to talk to for dating advice. If you need relationship help, it can be helpful to confide in a trusted friend, family member, or a mental health professional such as a therapist or a counselor. It can be hard to open up about our personal relationships to the people we are close to. We might worry that these people will judge, reject, or lecture us. 

This is where talk therapy can be an especially helpful tool. The right therapist won’t judge you or try to offer unsolicited advice. They are a confidential and unbiased person in your life who you can turn to in times of distress. Therapists are simply there to listen, affirm your experience, and help you develop the tools you need to build resilience and succeed in your life.

If you don’t know anyone in your personal life who you can talk to, and you don’t have the money to access therapy, dating hotlines can be a great resource to get the help you need. This is especially true if you are a member of the LGBTQIA+ community. Queer people may not have access to the same resources or people in their life who they can safely lean on for emotional support regarding their relationship problems. 

There are LGBTQIA+ dating hotlines that exist out there to help you navigate the ups and downs of your relationship.

What are some LGBTQIA+ dating hotlines?

Here are some dating hotlines where you can talk to about your relationship problems for free and get the support that you need.

The Network/La Red

The Network/La Red offers free services for lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer and/or transgender (LGBTQ+) folks, as well as folks in kink and polyamorous communities. They have both a local and a toll-free number for their dating hotline. They also offer support to friends, families, or co-workers on the issue of intimate-partner violence in the LGBTQIA+ community. 

When you are having relationship issues, this is a great resource to have in your back pocket. All of their hotline staff are trained on peer counseling, crisis intervention, and safety planning for queer and transgender people. It’s also important to note that you don’t have to leave or even want to leave your relationship to get support!

The Trevor Project

If you are struggling with depression or anxiety due to your relationship, the stress of coming out, or any other aspect of the LGBTQIA+ experience, The Trevor Project is here for you. The Trevor Project provides free counseling and other resources for young queer people who are struggling. 

If you don’t know whether or not this service is for you, consider reaching out anyway. You have nothing to lose by asking for help. You can take advantage of their messaging service (text “START” to 678-678), a live chatline (1-866-488-7386), or a web chat where you can talk to a crisis counselor for free. 

Trans Lifeline

While Trans Lifeline isn’t necessarily a dating hotline, they do specialize is providing radical community care to the transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming community. They offer grassroots hotlines and microgrants to connect trans people to the community support and resources that we need to survive and thrive.

They offer a peer-support phone service and hotline run by and for trans people. You can call if you need someone safe to talk to, even if you’re not in a crisis or even if you’re not sure you’re trans. They offer full anonymity and confidentiality to talk about any of your problems, including issues in your intimate or romantic relationships.

Love is Respect

Love is Respect is a dating hotline that offers support to teens, young adults, and their loved ones who are seeking help related to healthy dating and abuse. One in three young people experience some form of dating abuse. 

Love is Respect offers resources and information related to various cultural contexts, including LGBTQIA+ identities and relationships. You can text (text “LOVEIS” to 22522), call (1-866-331-9474), or live chat online. They also have a super helpful dating quiz that you can take to figure out whether or not you are in a health relationship.

The bottom line

At the end of the day, you deserve access to safe and affirming services that can help you figure out how to have healthy and long-lasting relationships. It’s common for LGBTQIA+ people, especially in their first relationship, to isolate themselves and seek refuge in their partners. 

Whether you are facing physical violence, emotional abuse, or psychological distress in your relationship, just know that there are people out there who can help give you dating advice and emotional support if you are in an unsafe or unhappy situation. You aren’t alone. 

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Dusty Brandt Howard is a writer & a fighter. He is a trans masculine cultural narrator who builds worlds with words. You can follow his thirst traps on Instagram, his writing on Substack, or find him at your local queer bar in northeast LA.

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