I'm a 25 year old guy and I've done e-dating in the past with friends I made online, usually other artists who are a part of bigger artist circles. My last relationship was 3 years ago with my ex-girlfriend who lived a few states away. She developed cancer, which rocked the boat. Don't freak out - she survived! However, I'm a FTM (female-to-male) transitioner and she identified as a lesbian. So, ultimately, it didn't work.
About a year after that time, I discovered I was bi-polar (as I was struggling heavily with depression) and sought therapy and medication for 2 years. I worked on myself as both a person and a budding young man for 3 years. I've been medicated for 5. I never quite felt I was ready for anything after my last relationship between then and now, as I was in a very rocky phase of transitioning. (Voice dropping, 2nd puberty... you know, the boring stuff.)
Now, around summer time last year, I started interacting with an old high-school friend who was using a gaming platform to chat with friends. I joined her gaming-group and started meeting everyone. I met another artist, 18, and we really hit it off. We had so much in common it was almost baffling. I didn't really think much about it because of the age gap at first, and we both categorized each other as a friend. However, I don't know how to explain it... it slowly started feeling different? I started noticing peculiar things about her more, and I would get more excited to talk to her each day. I wanted to know more about her. I genuinely liked her a lot, and some point I started to wonder in which way. (Now, for clarity, my high school friend travels a lot had already met her in person, so it wasn't like talking to a total stranger. We also have a texting group since the whole group is so close.)
Eventually, I told her I had a crush on her. She was shocked. Did NOT expect it at all. It was kind of hilarious, actually. This is the first time I started flirting with her, and she took it exceedingly well. From there, we started talking more and having longer, more in-depth calls. Nothing too out of the ordinary - we usually discuss deeper topics late at night - and open up to each other about obscure things we don't usually discuss with other people. But, we started talking about the topic of dating, stuff like that, her previous online art crush who was also FTM (but she had a falling out with). After about 6 months of talking and 3-4 weeks of discussing the possibility of a relationship, I flew out to see her. I know it was very soon but, in my defense, she told me in a call that it was the only open slot she might have for the rest of the year. So I took it. It wound up being a heck of a lot of fun since I was in Destin beforehand, so it was a huge travel adventure for me.
The night I arrived in 'Cago, we went on a date, held hands - no kissing - it didn't feel like we were at that level yet. Her friend was being silly and playing humorous romance music on the side while we were all walking to a romantic spot near the lake. Goofy, light, fun, adventurous, exciting, and eventful all around. SO freakin' cold, though. Eventually, her friend left us alone and I just listened to her talk. She has an amazing sense of humor and she showed me silly Snapchat videos. Then we compared hand sizes, and just kind of... explored hands? Squishing them, poking them, looking at them... or, in my case, noticing how wrinkly hers are! Hahaha. It got cold, so I wrapped her in my flannel and she went brain dead for a second. It was very cute. I felt so enamored! She's very inexperienced, and I didn't want to make her uncomfortable, so we just parted with hug. It went well, and we hung around her other female friends for the rest of the trip. Later on, we talked about how we wished we had had more time alone together.
When I flew back home, we didn't talk for about 2 days and there was a lot of tension in the group. She sent me a rejection and told me she felt like things were moving too fast, and that she needed more time. We did a call later on talking about how we felt in different instances throughout the trip. It was an emotional roller coaster.
I brought up how, when I was holding her hand, it felt like how I felt with my first love. (I know, I know - that's a lot to lay out - but it didn't feel forced or overwhelming or weird. Just natural.) There were sparks going off in my hand when I held hers, like my skin was glowing... and, (I had to look this up on Reddit because I was so confused about the experience,) but I would get multiple... "affection erections"? It was so bizarre. In all my years of dating, I never felt so giddy and excited just to hold hands with someone. I felt like a kid again. The first time we locked eyes it was so... magnetic. There's really not enough words to explain how it felt to see her. Just pure magnetism on both ends. I really liked her in person. I felt like there were so many green flags. The communication was and has always been spectacular. The respect for boundaries? Extraordinary. The vulnerability? Superb. Doesn't mind me being FTM? Check. She really hit all of the right notes and I felt so much chemistry between us. We're both artists, and we connected on that level, as well.
So when she turned me down, I told her exactly what I really thought in the moment - that that's the stupidest thing ever! I couldn't believe it. By the end of the call, and after telling her how ridiculous I thought it was (not angrily, for clarification! Just shocked), and she was suddenly re-thinking everything. I wasn't trying to make her feel bad or make her backtrack at all. I was just expressing myself honestly - like - "WHAAAAT"!? We have so much chemistry, it's insane! I didn't understand. But like... whaaaaat!? She still said she needed more time and I'm respecting it. I dropped the topic all together afterwards, and I'm following her pace! After a couple of more phone calls, we really found out how differently we think about things, and how we approach relationships all-together. I'm naturally more of an affectionate smother-er while she is more the avoidant type. She knew the guy she liked before for over a year before she confessed to him, which is actually how my past relationships with friends played out, too.
Since then, we've been having all-night calls where she and I just talk for hours on end, but it's different than it was before. She even brought up my first love one night, and talked about how she felt the same, bizarre, magnetic phenomenon, sparky-electric thing I did while we were holding hands which REALLY caught me off guard. Because, in my head I'm thinking - well, if this is the truth and she's not saying it out of some act of pity and really means it - is there still some kind of chance with her? Is the opportunity for a relationship still on the table? Does she really just need more time or is she just saying what she thinks I want to hear? I genuinely can't tell. I haven't had any semi-romantic relationship with a girl since 2016, so I'm totally lost on this kind of stuff. This is my first time ever having feelings for a girl and actively pursuing them as a man as well. She even brought up more recently how the things we did in person, like holding hands, going on a date, and the online stuff we talk about as well - aren't usually things she does or talks about with friends. We talk about embarrassing and vulnerable stuff a lot now. It's very intimate which, as you can imagine, gets confusing.
Now we (as a group) are discussing the possibility of all meeting up this summer. This ties in the possibility of seeing her again. I guess I just worry about getting my hopes up after a rejection like that? I think we could definitely be friends even if it never works out. But, I guess what I'm wondering the most is if I still have a chance. I really like her. I know it's dumb because, HELLO, age-gap. But we have so much of a spark, lots of healthy communication, and a natural chemistry. It's uncanny.