Growing attraction to women but married to a man
I'm in my late 30s and married to a lovely man, we've had our fair share of struggles. We've been together 13 years, the last 10 have been characterised by the stillbirth of our only child, miscarriages and infertility. We have no living children.
2 years ago after the last miscarriage something in me changed, I think the scales tipped - my desire to have a baby was no longer strong enough to warrant the pain and trauma of the loss I kept enduring. I started to focus more on my fitness and got into running. It felt great to do something rewarding and energising that made me feel good. I met a lot of women, a few gay women, one of whom I really connected with and eventually fell in love with. I still am, 18 months later. We are good friends and have long easy chats but she doesn't know how I feel.
My husband wants us to continue to try to have children. He struggles with the idea of us not having kids. I can't give him that anymore. He knows about my SSA and has had trouble coming to terms with it. I want to leave the marriage and start a new life, but it is so hard to leave and hurt someone I still love very much, but cannot imagine sleeping with ever again, and who now wants very different things to me.
Looking back on my adolescence, I was never attracted to men. I wanted them to like me and I just fell into that life because it was what everyone did. But it was women I idolised, thought about, stared at and yep, lusted after. I remember having a few panicked moments about my sexuality - I was raised conservative - but I ignored it and liked being with boys, or at least attention from boys, enough to meet one I liked and get married. It's only now I realise I have only ever done what's expected and not thought about what I wanted.
I have moments of clarity where I'm hopeful, I think of a future with a woman, maybe my friend, and feel happy and excited. But I also question my own feelings, and am scared I've made it all up as an easy way out of my marriage. Then there's the denial, I feel like I can't possibly be gay, even though at the same time it feels much more natural and normal than I ever have about men. The other day I was watching McLeods Daughters (I missed all the hype in the early 2000s) and now cannot stop thinking about Claire McLeod in that white singlet haha. It's hard to get all this straight in my head. I can't quite believe I'm gay, but at the same time can't believe I was ever straight.
Anyone else been here? It's so lonely 😞
Big virtual hugs. Please accept my deepest condolences for losing your baby.
After everything you've gone through, you sound exhausted with the whole thing including the grief.
I haven't 'been there' so I'm sorry I can't offer you that understanding but I care that you feel you're going through this alone, so wanted to offer some comfort, if that's possible.
I've supported young people confused about their sexuality, all have now told their parents and have been loved through this. It brings me so much joy to see them living their truth! Their happiness is tangible (ok except for the usual heartbreaks etc). I have a few friends who've left their husbands because they couldn't stay. They're all happy they left and sought same sex relationships, just saying this but I'm still not qualified!
I would really love to hear that you have found a counsellor to talk through your feelings. One that specialises in gender and sexuality would be best IMHO. There are also helplines and I hope you can access some support because LOTS of people go through this. You're not alone but I know you feel that way atm. Hugs.
I'm actually quite heartened that you're acknowledging things about yourself that you haven't wanted to before. You may not want to now, but I guess it could be like fighting the tides?
Have you watched or read much of Stephen Fry? I love him! He once described what hetero people maybe didn't know.... that some people are only a % gay. He described himself as in the 90s% gay, not bi. It would be non PC giving my own thoughts, I rely on people who are, to help me understand things.
I don't think you have to cause premature issues in your marriage by openly discussing things with H yet. I think you need the clarity of mind first, which may come with a counsellor's support, then to make a decision and then have the discussion, if you need to.
Once your decision is made, no amount of talking could change your mind. Ofcourse your H will go through things about it all, and I hate to say this, but he is not your responsibility really. I will go so far to say that if your feelings increase so much for the other sex, then releasing him to find someone would be the best thing for his happiness in the long term.
It's not like you haven't tried.
Thank you Ecomama for your reply and sorry it took me a while to reply.
I have an excellent counsellor, she doesn't specialise in gender or sexuality but her practice only counsels women. She's very good and has been a key support for me this last two years.
I've already started discussions with my husband, probably about a year ago now. I didn't want to keep it from him and my counsellor encouraged me to talk to him about it. We are still living together trying to forge a path for the future. He gets quite angry sometimes and says some pretty hurtful things. He has been struggling with his mental health, and last week had a panic attack and called the ambulance, and has been really paranoid accusing me of trying to harm him, or of sleeping with his 15 year old cousin. I understand he is hurting and in a really bad place and I want to support him but it's so hard. I don't know what else to do but to stick it out until he has come around to things a bit. I was hoping he would be a bit more understanding as I worked through some of this stuff, regardless of the outcome. That hasn't happened and I feel very alone.
On the one hand I just can't see myself continuing in my marriage and being happy without knowing what it is like to be with woman, when I think about it I feel good, and it's just about the only slice of happiness in my life right now. The price of leaving though is so so high. To lose my husband, his trust and companionship, the security of being in a relationship and all the privileges that come with that. The price of staying is also high. He still periodically calls me a "coward" for "giving up" on having a baby, and is "grossed out" by my attraction to women. While he has been a wonderful husband in a lot of ways, I'm not sure I can live with that.
I've found an online support group to join via facebook, for married women who work out they are attracted to other women. I would really like to join but need to change my name on fb to only my first and middle so I'm not recognised locally, just in case. I've asked my husband if he minds this and he isn't happy and sees it as a sign of me proceeding with my "new life". I guess I thought he would be coming with me on this new life in some capacity, but I have to appreciate what this experience is like for him too.
Thanks again for your reply xx
Great to hear that you're further along that I thought. I'm SO glad to hear you have a counsellor and you have that support.
It may be best talking with your counsellor about this …. have you considered that staying may be worse for your H? My mental health spiraled deeply downwards when I found out things exH was doing, not really anything like you at all!
Nefarious to be mild.
But when I made the decision to separate for good then it was so much better for my MH.
Afterwards, sure I went through hell in Courts etc and Family Law but I would have never had hopes of recovery if he stayed.
Maybe something to talk with your Counsellor about?
I think it's great you joined the FB group! You need to forge on with your life.
Firstly, you are very very brave. It is a difficult road you are navigating and a lot of what you are saying echoes my own story. I have a post called "wanting to push forward but partner in denial " This is where I came when I was trying to figure things out.
I made the decision to come out almost 2 years ago. I was 51 and married to a guy i met in high school ( such a cliche but it was the happy hetero fantasy ) have 2 adult kids. Never in my wildest dreams did i imagine the fallout. I had been in love with a friend ( an out Lesbian) for the past 15 years and one day the switch was flicked. I thought if I wait another 10 years it will be my biggest regret. I had always considered myself an ally of the LGBTQI community and had many friends who identified. I considered myself bi I guess, but now I know, 100% lesbian. After a lot of personal grief over losing many any loved ones in a short space of time I decided that life was short and decided to test the waters with my friend - I went there !!! We slept together and I decided to tell my husband that I was attracted to women. He said he could do the open thing if that meant I would stay but that was awful for all of us. ( he knew my friend which is an added layer of yuck) I would spend weekends with her and then go back to my hetero life ( no sex though ) we decided to separate which was extremely painful to watch his grief, and that of my kids. the guilt was excruciating. Despite this he has been very kind, a wonderful man who has met someone else now, a woman who is also a saint 😉 I do not envy you, especially as your husband is rubbing salt into your wounds, the hurt is understandable but still not ok how he is treating you. You are also in pain, this is a hard decision you are making. You must be kind to yourself.
I think you are right, the cost of staying is as great as the cost of leaving. If i could do things differently, I would have done it 10 years ago. You are still young which is great.
If it feels right, do it because it will show itself again, if its who you are, it wont go away. For me, I now know Its as natural as breathing and I am so relieved, proud and glad of who I am and i am doing it all with a wonderful woman beside me.
Good luck, there are lots of us in this position, many who were married and rediscover themselves. Its scary but lovely.
All the very best on your journey
I have just joined the forums and this is my first post. I have found myself in a very similar position to you, and to Esti67, who has replied to you. I was going to start my own thread, but honestly, it has been a bit of a relief to read that there are others in the same position. I am 51, have been with my husband for almost 30 years and we have 2 kids. I am in love with a very close female friend and am starting to feel like I am attracted to women more generally.
You are much further along in this than I am (I have not discussed this with my husband, or anyone but my close friend) and it is really helpful to see how others are managing in similar circumstances. You are brave, you have been through so much already and you seem to have some good support behind you. I am finding these some of the hardest days of my life. I guess I wanted to just say that I understand how hard it is to navigate this whole space and what a rough time it is, even though I am yet to start. Also, thank you for sharing because it really has given me some sense that there are others going through the same thing.
Hey SH-2600 and SaoirseJ,
There are a lot of us out there and its really helpful to hear others experience and share our stories. This helps us to normalise our situation and not feel so alone.
If it is right for you both it will come but you must be gentle with yourselves, these are tough waters to navigate.
SH, does your friend know you are in love with her and does she feel the same about you? You said shes the only one you have confided in?
I thought I was just scratching an itch so to speak when i started this whole thing but knew as soon as i crossed the line there was no going back. I am glad I didnt go back, despite the fallout.
Good luck to the both of you , I hope it works out
I ended up starting my own thread (I didn’t want to hijack SaoirseJ’s with my own desire to write it all down and get it out of my head!). Reading your responses to others and your initial thread has really helped me. Seeing your journey gives me hope that I can work this out.
My friend does know I am in love with her but whilst she loves me very deeply, it is purely a platonic love for her. Even if she was in love in with me, I don’t believe she would ever acknowledge it and leave her husband for me. Honestly, that is really hard and I am doing my best to deal with it. It makes it harder for me to know if it is just an itch, as you say, although I suspect not. I suspect I would be a much happier woman in a relationship with another woman, but I am still working out what I need to do about that.
Thank you for your encouragement. I hope I can get there at some point. I do know it will be hard, especially on my family and I am trying to make sure it will be gentle on them too.
Thank you again.
Hello I hope your day is going well.
Thinking of you, with everything that has happened.
I hope you’re okay.
I just saw your post and I just thought to say I recently joined a private group online for bi curious or gay women.
The group is through Facebook. The group can be found but you can’t see who’s in the group. Unless you’re joined.
My husband has known that I’m attracted to women, women from movies for example. Though I’ve recently said to him that it’s not just women in movies. There isn’t a particular woman, just that there’s something there for women. I’m not sure if I could do anything.
I have never acted on anything. Though there’s was some talking about certain things with two women I’ve known. This happened before my husband and I.
Nothing happened. I think the women, thought it was half joking. We all saw men.
I am not sure if it was half joking for me. For one of those women.
None of us have brought up the conversation since. It was more than 10 years ago.
Thank you for your post.
How are you going?