Dr Frankie Bashir

Dr Frankie Bashan is a renowned relationship coach and dating expert.

With over a decade of experience working with couples and individuals and specialized training in the field of trauma, Dr Bashan possesses a unique combination of formal training, innate emotional intelligence, and communication skills that allow her to help couples struggling with relationship issues of all kinds.

Dear Dr Frankie,

Am I too cynical of relationships? When I meet new people I sometimes find someone I am attracted to, but most just become friends. The charming ones become more inviting which is then followed by the “hit it off” stage. I’m not sure if I get scared or I’m just more interested in cultivating a large group of friends right now? The moment we get close to getting close—I start to put on my running shoes—and I gain a new friend. Maybe it’s me—maybe it’s them, but I think it’s more me than them…What do you think is wrong with me—without knowing who or how I am?

Dear Forrest,
Honestly, without knowing more of your history it’s difficult for me to get into specifics. What I can say is that if you feel it’s more you than then, then you’re probably right. It sounds like there’s a recurring pattern where you meet someone charming and “hit it off,” but then somehow the person becomes yet another friend. Be aware of the nonverbal and verbal cues that you are sending. These cues, particularly nonverbal, are important to express when you’re interested in pursuing more than just friendship. If these forms of communication don’t happen one assumes there is a lack of interest and/or chemistry.  My guess is that when you feel emotions that become overwhelming and scary, you quickly resort to communicating in a friendly and controlled way that conveys friendship rather than chemistry and romance.

Next time you find yourself attracted to someone where there are a connection, slow things down and pay attention to the cues you’re giving her. If you’re interested touch her subtly in an appropriate but non-platonic way, hug her longer than you would hug a friend, communicate that you enjoy spending time with her and getting to know her. Use future statements such as “on our next date it would be fun to…” or “next time, if you decide to see me again, (jokingly) we should…”  If you ask her out again make sure it’s clear it’s a date by going out on a Friday evening for a cocktail or romantic evening walk. If you enjoyed the date and want to see her again, text her and let her know you really enjoyed your time together.  Tell her that you would like to get together again soon.

Follow-up with an email or call and ask if she’s interested in getting together again and suggest a date. If as you’re reading this you’re becoming increasingly anxious it’s probably because you’re fearful of being vulnerable and possibly experiencing rejection. Keep in mind that life should be lived and lived fully.  Feel all that life has to offer.  Yes, there will be a pain but there will also be love; as long as you take risks! And here’s your chance to start practising. Good Luck!

Dear Dr Frankie,
I was in a long-term marriage and had two awesome kids. I fell in love with a woman with whom my children and I have been living for about 10 years. I came out to my family and friends but not to my children. It hurts me so badly because I want to be honest about my relationship, especially with my children. I feel I have lied to them.

When I first met my partner the sex was amazing and I felt so in love. But for the last nine years, we have had sex about once a year. I have tried to talk to her about our lack of intimacy and have even asked her to go to therapy. I have never been fully secure in this relationship and I now find myself looking at another woman. I have asked her to go to lesbian bars and vacations but she refuses. 

I am so affectionate and want a real partner and I have told her that. She often tells me she loves me but I feel like I have wasted the last 10 years of my life. I am tired of being alone sexually but I just can’t leave her because I love her. I know things won’t change and will only get worse. I cannot live like this anymore. I feel like a flower without water.

It hurts that I have talked with her about this year after year. But what hurts the most is that you cannot make someone have sex with you, they have to want to come to you. Any suggestions?


Dear Wilted Flower
It sounds like you have reached your tipping point and change is on the horizon.

Let’s tackle Dilemma #1. Your children deserve to know the truth about your relationship. I’m no mathlete but I believe your youngest child is at least 10 or 11? If you think your children are both old enough and mature enough to understand and accept that you are a lesbian and your “roommate” of this past decade is actually your girlfriend, it’s probably time for The Talk. Most if not all children ultimately want their mother to be happy whether it’s with a man or a woman. Also, since everyone else around them is privy to the “secret”, it’s only a matter of time until they hear the truth from a third party. This is a hurtful, confusing and potentially devastating way for them to find out. And if it is any consolation, in all honesty, your children are quite possibly humouring you by going along with the program to alleviate your anxiety and not make any waves.

Dilemma #2. You deserve to be happy. After nine years of repeated and unsuccessful attempts to communicate your need to feel closer and more intimate, it is now time to consider other options. A meeting with a couple’s therapist should have happened yesterday. Your partner’s refusal to participate is curious. Is she stonewalling? Does she not believe therapy works? Is she fearful of what she might learn?  Regardless, she should want to participate in the therapeutic process because it is important to you and you are asking for her help. With so much on your plate, you could also benefit from the support of individual counselling. This will provide you with a safe space where you will hopefully gain clarity into your current situation.

If and when you attend therapy it is important to find a therapist through a referral and not randomly choose someone out of a book or online. A good couple’s therapist will help you communicate your needs and identify what is getting in the way of your ability to be intimate emotionally and physically.

If you discover there is potential for playfulness in the relationship, consider attending a sex workshop or purchasing a book that focuses on techniques and re-igniting the spark that once existed.

Dear Dr Frankie,
I am a single Bisexual woman. I have been equally attracted to both genders all my life, however recently I have felt a stronger pull towards women. This might have to do with my recent break up with my ex of nine years.

I have gone to a local gay bar and also created an OkCupid account, but I have had little luck being contacted by anyone other than men (despite my preferences being stated very clearly). I can understand this; the bisexual title seems to be a warning sign to lesbians (and even myself) that one day a man is going to be ‘needed’. I have never had sexual relations with a woman, but I am not the type of person to break the monogamy. I do not believe at this time that I will ever want to be with a man again. However, I can’t bring myself to list my sexuality as gay because I want to have an honest relationship with another woman.

At the bar, I go to there are very few women who strike my interest.  When there is someone I am attracted too I become very shy and socially inept. I don’t drink so I find myself hiding behind my friends instead of getting “out there.” I am also extremely nervous about bar culture. I am not looking for a one night stand or a superficial, short term relationship. I want something committed and long term.

I know it’s only been a few months since my past relationship but I am becoming worried that since I don’t fit into a nice little lesbian niche, and because I identify as bisexual, that no woman would ever want to be with me.  And if such a woman actually exists, I have no clue how, when and where to meet her. Obviously, the internet and the local bar are not the answer. Please help.

Dear Niche-less
It sounds like it may be helpful to figure out what dating site is most popular for lesbians in your area. You don’t have to necessarily identify yourself as lesbian especially when you don’t feel comfortable doing so. Try to find a way to speak to the fact that you’ve become clearer in recent years that you prefer women. Be specific about your reasons in your profile. Your profile should be short and to the point. Your explanation will help reduce a reader’s anxiety around the issue of bisexuality.

There are many different ways to meet new women in your community and there is no right way. Therefore I suggest casting a wide net and leaving all of your options open. Keep a profile up on a national site as well as a local dating site. Regularly view meetup.com groups that may be of interest. There may be a bisexual meetup.com group in your area which would be an excellent option to consider. Depending on where you live and how popular Craigslist is consider posting a hike or a social outing for bisexual women and look at what events/groups may be posted. Like with anything in life, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. It’s more difficult for bisexual women to meet lesbians who aren’t threatened or fearful of bisexuality, but it’s not impossible. There are absolutely lesbians who are comfortable with dating someone who identifies as bisexual. It takes someone comfortable in their own skin, mature, open and educated about bisexuality.

If all else fails, consider hiring a professional matchmaker. Like with any investment it is imperative you do your homework. Find a reputable matchmaking service that will focus on finding you quality, grounded, attractive women who meet your dating criteria. You will hopefully enjoy meeting these new women and the dating process will fuel your self-esteem. Through dating, you will inevitably experience a period of self-discovery and become more acquainted and comfortable with yourself!