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A "Duh" epiphany

Discussion in 'LGBT Later in Life' started by Perplexed1979, Oct 17, 2014.

  1. Perplexed1979

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    I've just had a very profound realisation, although it may sound ridiculously obvious to you.
    I have been in great distress recently about my orientation. Agonising over whether I was gay, bisexual or straight. I had pretty much ruled out being completely straight. This has caused me great distress. Analysing my attractions to anybody I met, obsessing, testing myself with straight and gay porn, forcing myself to fantasise. All pretty much terribly unhealthy behaviour, not helpful at all.I have come to the realisation that i'm not completely straight and that I am attracted to men.

    This afternoon it struck me that all of the distress will be alleviated by my fully accepting that I am attracted to men. And all that this means and only what this means.
    So all of the questions I am agonising about over whether I'm Gay, bisexual or mostly straight aren't that important. I'm attracted to men. I may have sex, relationships etc with a man in the future and be happy. I just need to focus on accepting this part of me. The rest of it will fall into place.

    For the last 22 years nearly every single day has been clouded over by worrying about this. It has been present at every single social occasion i went to, every time i watched a movie, every time I met a new person, every time i went to the shop to buy milk. It has taken up so much of my energy, thinking and time. It has taken up so much of my life. It has very nearly broken me. It has made me consider killing myself.

    I'm attracted to men. Thats it. Thats all it is.
    Everything else will look after itself.
     
  2. piano71

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    People get hung up on the labels sometimes.

    After all, there are a lot of "bi" guys who are more into guys than girls. And some "gay" guys who have had sexual experiences / relationships with women.

    I kind of like the phrase "same-gender loving" used among some in the African-American community. It indicates an openness to being with other guys, but not a commitment to an identity, gender role, sexual role, etc.

    Both "gay" and "bi" have cultural and gender-related baggage surrounding them, which, as you've experienced, can make it difficult to understand or accept your own attractions. Some people like the word "queer" (despite its past derogatory connotations) as it can serve as a catch-all to describe all "not 100% straight" orientations.

    So coming out as a "man attracted to men" is really all that you need to do.
     
  3. OnTheHighway

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    That's quite a realisation, and what a weight it will no doubt lift off your shoulders. Good for you!
     
  4. Perplexed1979

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    It's not really the label that is the problem. My issue is that i've never accepted that I am attracted to men. My realisation today is that this is the issue that I have. I don't have a problem with being attracted to women(if i am), so I don't need to accept this part of myself. By accepting that I am attracted to men it will give me the space to fully explore my sexuality. Then I may label myself if i feel the need to. I don't want to take on a label and then have to relabel myself at a later stage.

    As I said it's not really that much of a realisation, but it's an important one to me.
     
  5. greatwhale

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    This is actually quite huge! Congratulations!

    So much of acceptance is just letting go; just dropping the weight of expectations and erroneous beliefs, letting go of the "oughts" and the "shoulds", and writing your own script as the play unfolds.
     
  6. nerdbrain

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    Perplexed, I am right there with you. I've come to a similar realization myself recently.

    My situation is complicated by the fact that I am married to a woman. If not for that, I would simply take this news in stride and explore at my own pace. But that's not so easy when there is someone else involved whose life plan now includes me. And truth be told, the marriage is a safe harbor for me; I'm finding it incredibly hard to let go.

    Anyway, didn't mean to go on about my own shit. I'm glad you've reached this point -- I think it is a perfectly reasonable and, more importantly, actionable frame of mind. In other words you can stop wasting your time wondering "what am I?" which sucks up your energy. And just go live your life. Good luck man!
     
  7. aboutface

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    Don't bother downplaying it. It's huge. There is nothing wrong with that. It's just a part of who you are. I hope you find peace with yourself over it.
     
  8. CyclingFan

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    Fantastic! This is exactly a point that I reached and since then it's become so, so much easier to accept myself!

    "It has made me consider killing myself."

    Aren't you glad you didn't? I'm glad you didn't. I'm glad that when I was in that same spot that I didn't. (*hug*)
     
  9. waterfall

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    I went through hell when I realized that I wasn't straight. Now that I have accepted it and met other gay friends- I'm actually happy that I'm gay. I know it's hard to believe it but I think a lot of people actually feel this way. After it all settles into place, it feels right, it feels "normal" and you begin to understand the world and everything suddenly makes sense.
    Crazy? Probably! but at peace with myself, finally. I truly believe you will find that inner peace also. Accepting is the first step. Life is so precious and our sexuality is really such a small part of it, even though when you are going through this, it feels like it's everything!
    Your journey begins and we'll all be here at EC if you need support along the way (&&&)
    And you are right…" That's it. That's all it is and everything else will look after itself"
     
  10. Perplexed1979

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    Thanks for all your replies.

    Nerdbrain, I know how you feel. I was in a longterm relationship for many years. I know what comfort and support that it brings. I also know how the anxiety and guilt overtakes you and chokes the life out of you. Be as open as you can and keep talking. Maybe both of you need to make the decision together. It's such a hard situation to be in.
     
  11. ClosetNixie

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    That's such a fantastic way of looking at things :slight_smile: Good for you in accepting yourself and releasing all that stress!
     
  12. Lindsey23

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    It does cloud everything doesn't it? I can relate to everything you've said here. Whenever I would meet someone new it was always in the back of my mind that they wouldn't like me if they knew my "secret." But really, if they don't like me someone else will. I'm starting to let it go too. Time to move on and not over analyze it...
     
  13. nerdbrain

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    Yes, that is good advice. I really want to bring her into it rather than trying to categorically say "It's over." But I also don't want to lead her on and drag things out.

    Until I definitively tell her "I'm gay," she will continue to hold out hope. But I am truly not in a position to say that even to myself. I feel pressured into making that leap of faith, and I really, really, really, don't want to do that.

    Intellectually, I realize that all the odds point to me being gay -- not too many straight guys find themselves posting regularly on EC. But until I actually feel that to be true in my own heart, until I can relax enough to enjoy being with a man sexually, how can I take such a dramatic, life-altering leap?
     
  14. Eric Dave

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    Nerdbrain what does Philipson make of your discovery? Have you talked to him about it?

    Do you ever get groinals?
     
  15. nerdbrain

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    Hey man, I was wondering if you were still lurking around here :slight_smile:

    Philipson basically told me "you're on your own." He also pointed out (correctly) that I am in a state of desperation, and that the oscillation is killing me.

    So I guess it's possible that this is all a really bad OCD trip. But I don't think so.

    I don't really get "groinals," if you mean a tingling in my dick when I see something or someone. Or maybe it's more accurate to say that I get them all the time (as I imagine most people do) but they don't really bother me.

    For me, there is a big emotional component regarding how I relate to both men and women. I also find myself drawn to certain gay men (usually mentor types or "wise men") and I have a lot of identification with gay culture in general. I also have full-on homosexual fantasies but these are harder for me to access as they often seem buried or just beneath the surface. Usually they only come out at night, when I'm in bed and some of my conscious defenses are down. Also, I tend to toggle between submissive gay fantasies and dominant straight ones. Yes, it's complicated.

    Not sure if this helps, but hope you get something out of it.
     
    #15 nerdbrain, Oct 19, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2014
  16. Eric Dave

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    Not to add to your confusion but I know how it feels to be desperate and driven to the point where you keep telling yourself youre gay so this torture can stop. I've pissed off so many people on ocd boards that they think I'm so deep in ocd I cant see it (poor insight) etc..

    Its possible but I too feel like I have to be gay yet its never something I wanted or dreamed of. I want to cuddle girls and feel their love.

    I have been worrying everyday for 7.5 yrs about this. I'm tortured by groinals (strong tightening/ adrealine rush sensations when I see guys every day.

    I honestly dont know if you are gay or not or if I am for that matter. But I know how you feel.

    Either way I hope you can find happiness. I'm surprised Phillipson cut you adrift like that
     
  17. nerdbrain

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    I wouldn't say he cut me adrift. I am still going to the weekly group, and I can schedule sessions with him if I choose. But he's not going to get involved in helping me "figure it out." That's completely contrary to his whole philosophy. I'm seeing a different (gay) therapist now to help me with that.

    From Philipson's perspective, it would be as if a contamination spiker was asking his help in determining whether or not they are actually infected with some killer disease. He's just not going to go there. To his point, I must choose whether I want to treat this as a spike or a real issue that needs resolution. That is the same choice all OCD sufferers must make. For now, I am choosing resolution.

    Ultimately, I refuse to see my homosexual thoughts and feelings as a mental glitch -- I believe they have a meaning. Perhaps that meaning is simple: I am gay. But perhaps it is more complicated, a way that my mind is expressing some deep early childhood wound or conflict. This takes me into the realm of psychoanalysis, which is again way out of Philipson's ballpark.
     
  18. Eric Dave

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    Did you ever have any other potential ocd related problems? I have always been a bit of a hypochondriac, if I hear about a disease I start tto then fear I have it. It used to be very bad but he gay theme has replaced it for the most part. I still occasionally start worrying I have caught a disease. Right now I am slightly worried I have Ebola because I've got a cold. If I developed a fever too I would start to panic that I really do have Ebola.

    I also am slightly superstitious. I wont wear clothes that I associate with bad times of my life. I dont like certain numbered years because I think they will bring bad luck.

    Anything like that?
     
  19. nerdbrain

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    That stuff does sound like typical OCD. I haven't really had any disease or contamination issues, except when I was misdiagnosed with herpes.

    When I was a teenager I had a compulsive behavior where I would obsessively examine the skin on my face and body looking for blackheads/pimples. When I found any, I would squeeze them out, often to the point of creating bloody wounds. I would stand in front of the mirror doing this for pretty long periods, in a kind of trance-like state. I knew it was bizarre but I couldn't stop myself.

    Not sure if that was OCD or just some kind of control thing. It's faded away over the years.

    I also tend to be rather rigid and rule-bound in my thinking. Philipson has a name for this too: OCPD (obsessive-compulsive personality disorder). Basically a "know-it-all" or someone whose attitude is "my way or the highway." Rigid truth-owning, he likes to say.

    OCPD is more of a personality style, not an anxiety disorder like OCD (despite the similar names) but they can go hand in hand.
     
  20. quietman702

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    CONGRATS!! I wish you peace and love as you've accepted yourself. What you have realized is massively important and gives hope for all.