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Married but think I'm gay(290 Posts)
Happily married for almost 10 years, I have 3 DC. Dh is my best friend and we get along great (most of the time! Same as any married couple)
A bit of history.. I lost my virginity to a female friend in college and we dated for a while. After we broke up I dated a (rather annoying) guy for 2 weeks and had my first sexual experience with a man..
A while later, just before turning 18 I got together with a female friend I had a major crush on and we dated for about 2.5 years, we lived together at uni too..
All this time I hid my lesbian relationships from my parents. They suspected at times and asked questions, I always adamantly denied it as I felt their disapproval and was terrified to tell the truth.
I had thought we would be 'life partners' and be together forever.. In the end I couldn't deal with the guilt of hiding it all and kind of sabotaged my relationship with my girlfriend by cheating with my ex gf. She forgave me but I still had the guilt so called it off anyway.
I went home and cried for a long time. I just couldn't do it.
After that I had a period of self destruction where I had lots of one night stands with men and short relationships.
I couldn't deal with the apparently gay side of me and even rang the Samaritans on one occasion, feeling suicidal.
It was around this time I think I consciously or maybe semi subconsciously made a decision I wasn't going to date women anymore. I was just going to be with men, a lot simpler and I didn't have to worry about what my parents thought of me.
Before dating anyone though, I decided to be by myself for a while to get to know me without any distractions.
About 6 months later I went out for a drink with friends and had a great time with one particular friend of a friend. He is now my husband, we got together that night, I have never felt so safe and at home in a mans arms before.
He was kind, funny, attentive, a lovely guy.
Fast forward to now. I struggle with our sex life, libido is infrequent.. Has been from the start really (apart from the first few months, honeymoon period and all that). I have bouts of depression and wondering whether I belong in this life.
I have barely thought about women at all up until very recently. I seem to have come to a sudden realisation that I do like/miss women and that I've been burying that deep inside and ignoring it all this time
Incidentally, I have no contact with my (toxic) parents these days.
Sometimes when I get a moment to myself (not very often!) I think of myself back then and have a little cry. I wonder what life would have been like if I had been brave enough to choose that path.
Now I feel as if I just have to carry on as I am. Too many people to get hurt. Helps to say it out loud to someone though.
Please excuse any typos, on my phone.
So, current situation is that we are living together as friends.
We are getting on really well like this for now.
I'm not sure where things go from here but life is so busy I hardly have time to think about that.
A small change, we were arguing about something else and I brought up the wedding ring.. He admitted I was right and he wasn't in denial, just wearing it cause he didn't want anyone to question him about our situation.
I felt a bit cruel but he's taken it off now. He seems fine about it.
Just plodding along really. Feels a bit like ignoring the issue, not rocking the boat iyswim.
H still wearing wedding ring which is grating on me.. Feels like he's waiting for me to change my mind. Like he won't let me not be his wife
All fine here, how are you Sudden?
How's everyone doing?
Ah thanks. That's really interesting..
I guess my children being quite young they might not fully understand.. They do know gay people exist though as we have talked about that
The way I dealt with it was to tell the children that we were getting divorced and help them cope and adjust to that change. There was then a period when we got more familar with the idea including going on a long time booked holiday to see family abroad fir over three weeks, but I did tell the children that Mummy and Daddy were not getting back together and that we were their parents always would be but it was a holiday to be enjoyed for that reason alone. I reinforced the fact that nothing that they did or would do would alter the fact that Mummy and Daddy are great parents, well mostly, but were dreadful as a couple. I stressed that there were happy times and would be happy times in the future just different from what they had experienced so far.
There was then a period of about 4 months before I told exH and then a furthur period of about 3 or so weeks before exH and I told the children together. I literally called them into the kitchen and said the reason Mummy and Daddy are getting divorced is because Mummy is gay. The children had questions which I answered honestly, age appropriatly and they still will randomly ask questions. I think a key element is being direct, factual and putting yourself outside your comfort zone in some respects. I worried and still do about other children teasing/bullying them that their Mum is gay especially oldest child who is at senior school. Key for us has been the fact that I don't 'look' obviously gay so you have to dig a bit furthur to find out, not far as my female partner lives with us so it is obvious if you are involved in our lives but I let oldest child mention it to their friends as and when the need arises. All of the children have friends over to play, have tea and hang out and I mention it to the parents if they don't by some small miracle know so that it is out there early on. I haven't mentioned it to oldest childs school yet as oldest child very able to respond with a good response but I do talk it through with oldest child from time to time to make sure nothing happening that needs sorting out. Oldest child in particular has a nice group of chums who couldn't be less bothered by it, children today generally have quire enlightened views of the world in my opinion.
Yes, this would be simpler ifi didn't have to think about the DC.. I don't want anyone to just mention it to them so have been careful who we have told.
Any tips on what to say when the time comes? I really don't know how to word it. I don't know whether I should tie it in with the fact we are separating (because I'm gay) as its confusing for them. We are acting as friends even though we still live together. So, in one way, they don't really need to know as not a lot has changed. But at the same time, if other people will eventually find out, the DC need to know for that reason alone, so they hear it from us and not them..
I did try to post a long message last week but it disappeared and then I ran out of time, so here goes. I am very impressed with the steps you have made so far, I do believe that you get to a point in your own life where you are more comfortable with your own self that you care less as to what other people think about you. Give yourself time with regards to telling other people; my method was how not to do it if I am honest - long story. Essentially I told a few select friends and asked them to spread the news as I wouldn't have had the time to have repeated conversation with people individually. I was the source of much gossip for a bit but somebody has to be, thankfully it is much calmer now. I also started following Stonewall, Equality House etc etc so people could piece it together for themselves. I do find the frequent assumption that my partner is male less annonying than I previously found it as essentially more people are straight than gay so it is a natural assumption. I am very at ease using 'my partner X' and even though we live in a very heterosexual part of the country I will hold my partners hand and give her a kiss on the lips when out and about. We occasionally get stared at and once had a chap walk up to us and say how nice to see two women holding hands. Essentially a lot of my friends have had little or no contact with 'the gay world' and I think it was Claire Balding who said that if she is the first lesbian a person meets she feels a responsibility to make it a positive experience, I understand that sentiment however will respond appropriately if somebody is rude or bigoted.
So in essence what I am trying to say to you is take every step at your pace, it will get better and you will have a new normal. When the time is right have the conversation with your children, they need to hear it from you not somebody else. That was a hard day, but the build up to it was worse than the actual talk.
I do feel a lot better inside, simply for accepting I'm gay and just letting that be.. Without fighting against it.
I recognise the pressure cooker feeling. As I have kept going in and out of denial, I have felt that pressure cooker feeling at least 3 times and it's just awful
That is why I know I just have to accept it this time. I can't live happily constantly going through an internal battle, it affects every other part of my life.
I do feel a bit worried I'll never find anyone else but at the same time I don't feel ready to find anyone else.
I have browsed dating back sites and chatted to a few people, but I feel I'm doing this just to reassure myself there are people out there, when I'm ready..
This is still a scary stage in the process for me as, in my head the next step is more people finding out. So far, people finding out hasn't been as hard as I thought it would be.. So I guess I'll have to remind myself of that and take it one person at a time.
My H told one of his close friends over the weekend and he was really nice and understanding about it.
I need to work on the general feeling of embarrassment I get when people find out. I guess I automatically think they'll be thinking about what I do in the bedroom. You know, like I'll say to them 'I'm gay' and their immediate thought will be 'you have sex with women?!!'.
It's a bit like when we told my pils I was pg, I felt embarrassed as it meant they would know I had (shock horror) had sex! I know it's ridiculous, it's maybe a hang up from my parents as they tried to keep us quite infantilised even when we were grown up. So I find it hard to view myself as a responsible adult sometimes iyswim.
That sounds good. Are you feeling any happier or more settled now that you've reached this pint? I've been through the long build-up inside myself of what I have been repressing, which got to pressure-cooker intensity before I actually came out last year. It was only when I started talking about my life and allowing myself to dwell on feelings and memories that I realised how big a part of me this really is, and it felt incredibly liberating to be able to put my story back together in a way that made sense. Then I hit a real low, thinking I'd never meet anyone, I couldn't upset the children's lives by having a female partner, and all sorts of other things. I slowly came out of that low and am now much more optimistic about the future. It's a funny old thing, coming to terms with yourself. All of my gay friends talk about how healing and life-affirming it has been to come out, whether fairly young or later on in
life. I hope that things go well for you!
Well, we kind of have chatted about seeing other people.. I expect we'd both feel a bit strange about it once actually happened but we'd get used to it over time.
I don't see us as together romantically. Just as friends and as a parenting team. I am aware he will always be in my life and I want it that way to be honest. I mean, after all, I haven't fallen out with him at all, just realised I'm gay. We have an obbligato on to get on well for the sake of the DC and I believe we can achieve this as are really good friends anyway
Oh you must watch orange is the new black!! I'm dying to see the new series out later this year..
Sounds like you've come some way already, Sudden. I wonder though how this all feels while you are still with your h. Do you think it'd be good to start to try and make some 'ground rules', or come to some understanding of what is acceptable for both of you - for example, how would you feel if he met someone else? Are you seeing yourselves as a couple still? I know it's not easy looking into the future but it might be better trying to establish how you both feel about the other having basically a separate life.
On the gay bar or group thing, I prefer to travel a bit anyway and to do my lesbian socialising a bit away from home. There might well be a regional group, so it depends whether you are able to travel or not. And online groups like the Gingerbeer boards cut across geography anyway. But talk to your h and work things out between you. Like your sexuality, your relationship with him is not going to go away - hd is the father of your children and always will be - so try and work things out with him the best you can. Sorry if that's too much like telling you what to do! But I know I'd feel this way if I were you.
I haven't watched Orange is the New Black yet. L Word is my guilty pleasure!
Oh and, this is a very small town and there's no 'scene' here and no gay clubs or bars. In fact, there's only 2 nightclubs and they're both crap lol..
I'm more of a pint at the pub girl anyway really..
I'm not aware of any LGBT groups here, it's a bit crap for anything like that
Thanks so much for taking the time to write Random
Yeah, I was seeing a counsellor weekly before xmas for several months. It was £30 a session.. I stopped as things were hectic before xmas and finances were tight, and I was also going through a period of denial.
I may go back to see her at some point.
My best friend has been very helpful lately, she is a straight talker and basically just told me a swan can't be a horse, no matter how much it wants to be.. She said I need to accept myself so I don't keep going through this emotional roller coaster of shit over and over. She pointed out that it's not going to go away and I will feel shit for the rest of my life if I don't come to terms with it.
I have started following Punk News a few weeks ago, was a big step, I was a bit scared to.. I saw a few of my friends who are straight followed it (or maybe they are bi or just like the page?) and I thought well, if they do its not like I will be instantly outing myself. But at the same time, maybe it's good that people wonder why I'm liking that page.. One tiny step closer to coming out?
I really want to buy Diva but can only find it in WH Smiths here and someone I know works there I could get it via past but am worried someone at my H's work will see it (he's a postman!) Will have to try get hold lf it somehow..
Have watched the whole of the L Word Also watched Orange is the new black and loved it!
Some things seem light years away and others don't.. Small steps I guess. Being out to my pile and having a girlfriend seems surreal and far away... But the little things I'm doing at the moment are belong me feel more 'me'
Sorry to keep posting! Just wanted to add that all of what I've posted might seem light years away, and if so, that's okay. I knew about the lesbian meet-ups four months before I actually went to one. It might just be good to know about some of this before you feel ready to jump into it. And of course a lot depends on how things go with your dh, whether you find a way to stay together - people do - or split at some point. Not easy at all. But do keep talking - it's the best way forward.
As I said, I think it depends a lot on your personality, circumstances and issues that are particular to you how you start to work towards a place of greater peace and self-acceptance (Sorry, that sounds really amateur-guru!) So take from this what is useful and leave the rest. But for me, the following things have been very helpful one way or another:
I've been in weekly counselling for over 2 years now with a psychotherapist. It's expensive (about £45 a week) but so worth it. It was my therapist's very gentle questions and helping me to see the significance in some of what I was saying that really prompted me to consider that what had been bubbling away under the surface in me always was quite a lot more important than I had been prepared to admit. It might not be possible financially, but if it is, I'd really recommend proper, depth therapy to get to the bottom of who you are to the best of your ability.
But then, my friends have been equally important. Talking, talking, talking is the thing to do! My gay friends have helped me a lot by sharing their coming out stories and helping me to realise how normal I am Also straight friends have been lovely too, and talking to my family has really helped a lot - no one was surprised or shocked. Work colleagues know, and are great and have helped me think through stuff (long story).
I've also joined a lovely friendly lesbian group - still early days but there are some people there who are potentially good friends. I tried one group that I found quite unfriendly, and know I won't go back to, but then I found this one and immediately bonded. Obviously it depends where you live but there might well be more around than you think - the local councils usually put out info sheets with LGBT info.
Also, I've embraced some aspects of LGBT culture - reading Pink News is good, and Diva mag is a good read. Gingerbeer is worth a look online too (loads of links to local groups and various LGBT resources on there). It might be a bit predictable but I am watching my way through The L Word at the moment and am finding it very refreshing to watch a series based on lesbian relationships (obviously I know that not all lesbians are beautiful, young, slim and live in West Hollywood!) It's a bit sexy too!
Other than that, I think it is about giving yourself time and space to work out where things might go from here. Don't rush into anything you don't feel ready for, listen to yourself and take notice of your own responses to things - give yourself to work out why you reacted in particular ways to particular situations and people. Take it as a time of getting to know yourself so much better, and of accepting yourself, even accepting your desire to conform or please others. Forgive yourself often and have a little laugh at yourself. A good friend of mine used the phrase 'join up the dots' - the various things that have happened to you, choices you've made, friendships, etc - to see what picture emerges. I'm very deeply religious, so doing all of this in a way that reflects my faith is really important to me.
Keep talking on here too. I think sometimes the anonymity of the internet can be very liberating. If you want to PM me, I'm more than happy to chat in more detail
That sounds familar! It's taking me a while, too, but I am much happier and more self-compassionate now than have ever been. I'm very happy to tell you things that I've done that have helped. I'm in the middle of things at the moment so I'll post later. Much depends on personality, circumstances and what your 'big issues' are; people have different things that they really need to find answers to, and it takes self-awareness to know what your issues are and what the best way forward might be. But for now, the depression and denial are really, really common so don't beat yourself up about that. Be very kind to yourself
Random, any tips on coming to peace with who I am gratefully revived. I feel my brain views being gay as something that happens to other people, not me.. You know, in the same way you think other people have car crashes or other people get incurable diseases.. You never think
It'll happen to you. I'm not saying it has 'happened' as such as I know it's always been part of me.. And I'm not comparing gayness to a disease. I just feel I am shocked by the realisation, in a sort of 'how can this be true' kind of way.
I wish I didn't care what others thought but I do..
Thanks both. I think it has been very traumatic for us both. Sometimes no matter how much you try and force things, time is needed to digest a new way of thinking.
I realised that I was going through a roller coaster of emotions over and over. I would start with realising I was actually gay, then I would feel calm as I accepted that, then I would start to feel depressed, then very depressed/suicidal as I realised what this meant, then I wouldn't be able to cope with feeling so low as I couldn't function properly so I would go back in to denial again and try to live as if I wasn't gay. After a while like that I would realise, no, I am gay.. And the whole cycle would start over again. This has happened several times.
I spoke to my bf about it and she broke it down for me, she asked why I kept going from acceptance to denial. I said I was worried about the affect on others and hurting people.
She told me to forget all the other baggage and hair concentrate on what I wanted. I realised I just want to be me, to be gay and to accept that.
So she said, look, you have to accept it or you're just gonna be stuck on this rollercoaster of shit for the rest of your life.
Of course she was right and now I have started to let myself accept it, without questioning myself, I feel a happiness inside (amongst fear and worry about others) that I haven't felt before. A calmness.
Hello Sudden, things seem to have moved on recently. Hard for you all but a definite step in the right direction, how are you feeling about things?
It's a massive thing to adjust to, and does take time. It sounds like you've got a really good friendship with your dh which will help a lot as you work things out. It also sounds like it's been pretty traumatic for you both. Life can be very complicated sometimes, can't it? If you want to chat about coming out or coming to peace with yourself or however you want to frame it, I'm here
He's just telling me what he thinks. We just have a mutual understanding that we're not together romantically anymore, even though we live together.
We've discussed the possibility of living separate in the future but agreed we can't afford that right now.
Sudden, is your dh telling you what he wants or thinks is right? Or is he looking for you to make a decision about staying together or splitting up?
Fear of people finding out is understandable, as is the fear of the impact on your dc. As I'm still single, I'm using this time to sort through my own thoughts and feelings, and my own past. Talking to people is important for me, but I'm choosing my friends wisely So far no-one has reacted badly or said anything hurtful. People have been kind and humane. I haven't yet felt the need to say anything to my dc, but they know that some of our family friends are gay, and I am taking opportunities to challenge stereotypes etc., and we talk about things like inclusiveness, prejudice eyc regularly. We had a good chat last night about LGBT homelessness, for example.
A wise friend said that I am 'laying
the foundations' to be able to
introduce the dc to a female partner and for it not to be a shock. These things can take time, and definitely are taking time for me! Although I'm
starting to get a bit impatient - I'd really love to meet someone!
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