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LoveFAQ is a weekly advice column for geeks, by geeks about love, life and maxing out your romance meter. Got questions for LoveFAQs? Send them to advice@escapistmag.com.

Dear Love FAQ,

I have a nice and complicated situation for you. I am a bi girl, although I’m mostly into girls. I’m also trans (most of the way through my transition). I’m also a pretty big geek.

Now I have a life outside my geekyness. I study, I work hard, I play music. But I often find it hard to talk to people I don’t know without resorting to geeky things. Generally, this doesn’t really work too well when talking to girls I like. There’s already a barrier there, with me being trans and all; but add on the geek awkwardness, and it just gets to the point where I don’t even bother.

Any advice you could give?

Thanks,
The Trans Geek

Dear Trans Geek,

You know what toasts my heart-cockles about your letter? It’s that the most complicating factor in your love life isn’t the fact you’re bi, or even trans. It’s that you talk too much about Star Wars.

It gets better, indeed.

These days, being a geek isn’t that much of a dating impediment. Geek is chic: Just look at the popularity of comic book movies or The Lord of the Rings. Or, hell, the phenomenon that is Nathan Fillion.

But what does make dating difficult is isolation. So surround yourself with the right people, those who get where you’re coming from. Look for LGBT campus or community groups; seek out queer-friendly WoW guilds and gaming forums. (And add the fantastic Gay Gamer to your bookmarks. Right now.)

Suss out MTFs, bi ladies, and other queer folk who you can relate to, who understand what you’re going through. You need that support network of likeminded people to rely on and to connect you to others; after all, you never know who will know someone who knows someone who ends up being the love of your life.

Meanwhile, if you’re not having any success in face-to-face random encounters, give online dating a whirl. The advantage there is that you can cut through some of the mating dance BS and immediately zero in on gals interested in dating a trans girl.

The drawback, of course, is that you also have a higher chance of attracting tranny-chasing creepers who can’t see past their fetish. But hey, if dating were easy, I’d be out of a job.

Finally, remember: If you chat up a girl and it doesn’t go anywhere, then it just wasn’t meant to be. Don’t get bent out of shape over it. You (and your scale-model of the Millennium Falcon) are still fab. Just keep trying.

Dear Love FAQ,

My wife died in October of 2009. I’m still emotionally crushed, but I’m getting a lot of pressure to start dating again, both from my parents and my in-laws. I’m only 27, and they don’t want me spending all my time alone.

When it comes to dating, however, I don’t know if I’m emotionally ready yet. Anytime I get close to going on a date, I bail and cancel or I just don’t show up. I’m afraid of going out and realizing I shouldn’t be out yet, but of course, I won’t know if I’m ready or not until I get on the date.

My friends say I shouldn’t tell a girl that I was married before or that my wife died, because it would freak her out. But I’m wondering if I shouldn’t just tell prospective dates where I’m coming from. That way, she knows that if I do bail or cancel, it’s not because she did anything wrong; it’s just that I’m not able to think about anyone else yet besides my wife.

So, I guess my question is if you met a guy and he mentioned to you that his wife died and he’s not sure if he’s ready to date, would you get weirded out?

Thanks,
Not Ready for Player 2

Dear Not Ready,

I wouldn’t get weirded out, no. But I probably wouldn’t ask for a second date, either.

You’re clearly not ready to start dating again, and that’s okay. Don’t let anyone tell you when it’s time to move on. Ever. You’ve been through a loss that few people your age ever experience, much less understand. So don’t let anyone rush you, even if they are family.

When you are ready to test those waters again, take it slow. Don’t expect to fall in love again on your first date. Hell, don’t even expect to have fun. It’ll probably be awkward, and weird, and feel a lot like belly-flopping into a pool of Jell-O. With sharks.

It takes time to relearn how to do these things properly. But with practice, you will. And it’s worth it, I promise.
Don’t, however, hide the fact you were married. It’s a part of who you are, and it says a lot of positive things about you and your capacity for love and commitment. You don’t need to launch into the entire sad saga on every first date, of course, but it’s worth mentioning because you are worth understanding.

Besides, especially as you get older, a guy with one marriage under his belt isn’t all that uncommon. And from the prospective lady’s point-of-view, while you do have baggage, the fact you’re a widower and not a divorc√© means you offer all the experience of a first marriage, but without the stepchildren, alimony payments, custody battles or power struggles that ex-wives usually entail.

All in all, keep in mind that dating is not about replacing your wife. You could never do that. But across our lives we love many people, and loving someone new doesn’t mean the ones who came before meant any less.

PS: Are you talking to a grief counselor? It’s never too late, especially if you still struggle with the loss.

Dear Love FAQ,

When does it go from harmless to cheating? What defines the line?

– Is A Kiss is Just a Kiss?

Dear IAKIJAK,

Cheating is a nebulous thing. Some people consider flirting cheating. Others are perfectly okay with full-on fuckbuddies.

A good rule of thumb is this: Whether you’re breaking out the fuzzy handcuffs or just a flirtatious smile, if you’re doing something you wouldn’t be comfortable with your significant other knowing about, then you probably shouldn’t do it in the first place.

Disclaimer: LoveFAQ is written by Lara Crigger, who is by no means a trained psychiatrist or therapist or even a middle school guidance counselor – just a smart gal who wants to help out her fellow geek. LoveFAQ is meant for entertainment purposes only, so don’t take it as a substitute for professional advice. If you have real problems, consult your physician.

Got a burning question (or a question about burning) for LoveFAQ? Send your emails to advice@escapistmag.com. All submissions are confidential and anonymous.

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