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Coming out after marriage

Discussion in 'LGBT Later in Life' started by JayEll, Jan 9, 2021.

  1. JayEll

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    Hi everyone!
    I am 32, female and married to a man with 2 beautiful children. I told my husband around 18 months ago that I am bisexual. I had known for a while that I was attracted to women but have never been able to explore that side of me for various reasons. Since coming out to him I have been on an enormous journey and I am finally allowing myself to think about things I have never allowed myself to think about before.
    I've described it as being unable to put the lid back on Pandora box. Now I'm not sure who I am or what I am. I don't know if I'm bi or if I'm gay. I'm confused and scared and feeling pretty rubbish.
    I would love to speak with other women who have come out after marriage and children. How have you dealt with it? I don't think I'm the only one out there yet I can't help feel incredibly isolated xx
     
  2. DecentOne

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    Welcome to EC JayEll,

    I’m not female, but you are not alone here. I came out to myself and my wife almost 3 years ago, as bisexual.
     
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  3. JayEll

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    Hello,
    Thank you so much for responding. I'm interested in how others have managed it. My husband is incredibly supportive and if anything he has gone on his own journey of self discovery as a result of me coming out.
    We agreed terms to an open relationship a few months back but I am not at the point of doing anything about it yet. I'm worried it will complicate things in my mind even more and I worry about the potential of realisation that I'm gay.
    If I'm gay, I'm gay, that's not the biggest issue. But the impact of that on everyone's lives around me is huge. We have 2 small children and the thought of me being central to tearing their little worlds apart is suffocating at times.
     
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  4. dirtyshirt84

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    Hey

    Welcome to EC! You’ve definitely come to the right place.

    I’m Bi and also have a male partner and a young kid. My partner has always known though and I had a relationship with a woman when I was younger.

    Agreeing to an open relationship is a big step. You sound like you have taken your time to think about it though.

    For me, one thing that has helped is making friends with other gay women and also posting on here. Plus I think watching gay films/reading gay books also helps when you are still questioning. See what resonates with you :slight_smile:
     
  5. JayEll

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    Thank you :slight_smile:
    I've started reading married women who love women by Carren Strock. It's hit me like a tonne of bricks.

    It is a huge step. We have talked it through over a few months, set boundaries etc and it does seem to be the right thing for us so far. We are very honest and open communicators so I think as long as that continues we will be OK.

    I haven't had a relationship with a woman before because of the immense pressure I have felt to hide who I am. This is suffocating me at the minute but I'm scared to start something with another woman in fear of what it might mean for me.
    I think if I didn't have kids it would be easier, but the thought of potentially tearing their worlds apart is awful x
     
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  6. dirtyshirt84

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    Do you think you are still happy in your relationship? Honest and open communication definitely helps.

    Why did you feel so much pressure to hide who you are?

    I think it helps to take one step at a time but I think coming out to yourself and then your husband are already huge steps! Kids are very resilient and adapt to change more then we give them credit for I think.
     
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  7. JayEll

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    Hi! Yes, I am happy with my husband, I love him very much. I just feel like there's something missing. I don't know if we are more like best friends and I love him but not in love if that makes any sense? I can't ever see my life without him in it, I'm just not sure in what context. He knows I am having these thoughts and I am worried about the potential realisation that Im not actually bi. Like I say, we're very open and honest.

    I grew up in a very close family where I was told if I was anything other than straight I would be disowned. Its easy to hide bisexuality to a degree. I just never did anything secretly with women in fear of being found out. I didn't want to lose my younger siblings. On the plus side, my brother and sister now know I'm bi and 100% have my back. My mam knows too and although her initial reaction wasn't the best, she did come around eventually. Half of my husbands family have stopped talking to me altogether (he has just told me he is also bi so I'm interested to see their reaction when they find out about his sexuality ). So can you imagine if I was to tell them I'm actually a lesbian?!
    My children are being raised to be themselves and embrace difference. It would more be their parents not being together than my sexuality that would bother them, but then they are too young to understand at the minute anyway.

    How do you manage your feelings for women whilst being married if you don't mind me asking? Or is it maybe a bit less of an issue having been in a relationship with a woman previously? I often wonder if my thoughts are racing the way they are because it's an unknown to me. I don't think I'll know until I start talking to people x
     
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  8. BiGemini87

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    Hi, JayEll! Welcome to EC; you're definitely not alone. :slight_smile:

    I was 31, going on 32 when I finally came out myself. Been with my husband for just over 16 years now (8 of those married), and I experienced some of the same highs and lows you've described. Now that you've acknowledged this part of yourself, it can sometimes become all-encompassing. So much so that you might find yourself drawn to women nearly to the exclusion of men. From my own experiences and from some others I've seen here on the forums, this is fairly common. I think it's kind of an emotional/psychological backlog from all that time spent repressing those thoughts and feelings, and it will eventually even itself out.

    In some cases, however, it does come about that a man or woman in your situation is fully gay, but it's difficult to say if that's the case with you or if it's what I mentioned before. The important thing is to remember this: You're still you. Your perception of yourself has merely changed because you've embraced the fact that you aren't straight. Your sexual orientation is a part of who you are, but it isn't the whole of you, y'know? You're still the same person you were before you came out, only a more complete version.

    I know it's hard, but try not to feel guilty, ashamed, or anything like that. Or rather, when you do feel any of those feelings, remind yourself that you aren't at fault; sometimes life doesn't give us time to work through who we are when we're younger. Sometimes we have to focus on more immediate concerns until we're on safer ground.

    I think the key to all of this is to be patient with yourself, and open and honest with your husband whenever you're struggling. Give yourself time to fully come to terms with who and what you are, and the rest will follow.
     
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  9. dirtyshirt84

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    I agree it’s easy, too easy maybe, to hide bisexuality. I grew up in a small, conservative town and I wasn’t aware that being bi/gay was even something you could be. Things have changed so much in the last 20 years.

    That’s great your brother and sister have been supportive. I’d say it’s more uncommon to have a negative reaction these days. I think your husbands family’s reaction is absolutely their problem and not yours. I used to think if people had a negative reaction it was my problem and I would want to almost apologise for being who
    I am. Now I feel that it is their prejudice and their problem.

    It hasn’t been easy at times dealing with feelings for women and everyone has their own approach. I was pretty happy in my relationship and hadn’t thought about my sexuality too much until a few years ago when I had a massive crush on a lesbian colleague. It kind of hit me like a ton of bricks to honest. I don’t think I had ever accepted my sexuality properly, despite having had a relationship with a woman when I was younger. I was only 18, so really just a kid. Nothing happened with my crush but it led me here and made me question everything basically - a bit like you are now.

    Since then I have made some gay friends which I think has helped massively and become a bit more open about my sexuality- I’d still like to be more open though.

    I can imagine it being an unknown is harder but trust your instinct and take one step at a time. It gets easier and I think you have already done some of the hardest parts.
     
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  10. JayEll

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    Thank you so much. Its funny how it can just hit you isn't it. I've always known Ive liked women but I didn't accept I was bi until I was 30. It's been since that point I've been hit, mostly since opening our relationship and feeling like I've been given permission to think these things for the first time in my life. That's when it's really hit me, a bit like you and your colleague-there's been a prompt.

    So. Eone else in this thread has mentioned it being all consuming and it is easy to question being bi/lesbian because of that. I completely agree with that and have wondered if I have questioned if I am actually a lesbian because everything I have spent years repressing is finally surfacing. I don't think I'm going to know for sure until I build the confidence and start talking to people.

    I have a few gay friends. One of my best friends is gay, she helped me come out to my husband and has helped me ever since. She's been out since she was a kid though so although she gets the feelings towards women I describe, she can't relate to being married to a man and questioning who I am later on.

    How frustrating is it that we are a product of society's dictation of what is right and wrong!? I'm in this situation because society has taught me and generations before me that I must marry a man, have kids, go to uni, buy a house etc etc etc. When actually there are alternative options out there that are absolutely OK. I'm just absolutely adamant that my own children don't grow up with such strict expectations of them to live a certain way xx
     
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  11. JayEll

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    Hi!
    Thank you so much for such a thorough response. It means a lot to me that you have taken the time to reply.

    It is also great to read what you have said because I have thought the exact same thing along this journey. Is it just that I am thinking through years and years worth of repressed thoughts and they are all surfacing together so it is overwhelming. Why would I want to think about men when I have always been able to think about them?! But then what if I am a lesbian as I think it is a very possible outcome. Its good having what I've thought validated though and reading it through someone else's words makes me feel like I'm might not be completely losing my mind haha.

    It's sounds like we were a very similar age when this came to light for us. I was 30 when I accepted it myself. Days before my 31st I told my husband. I'm 32 now. I think I've always thought sexuality is something you know from the get go. I'm beginning to learn that's not always the case :slight_smile: xx
     
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  12. dirtyshirt84

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    I have read on here that who you fantasise about can be a big indicator. I know what you mean about all the feelings surfacing and how it can be all consuming.

    That’s awesome you have a friend who is gay who has been able to help you. Did she ever suspect? Just curious.

    How to you feel about your husband being Bi?

    Definitely keep posting and reading threads on here. A lot of people have been in similar situations.
     
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  13. JayEll

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    That's interesting. I hadn't really thought about it. I have always fantasised about women to be honest. Not always specific women, but women.

    My friend didn't really see it coming to be honest. My brother sister and husband weren't shocked though I've never ever said "I'm straight" because there has never been a need to. You're not expected to come out as straight so I've never had to lie. I've always been open about being attracted to female celebrities etc but just down played it a bit. So on the back of this people who know me the best weren't hugely shocked. My friend has been awesome though and is adamant that once Boris cuts our apron strings she's taking me out with her friends haha.

    I didn't see my husband coming out to me (literally a few nights ago) coming to be honest. He has always been super relaxed about difference to himself so I'm not surprised he is interested to test the waters, but I didn't expect it when he told me. I'm cool with it though. Our marriage is open and it's allowed him to go on his own journey that neither of us anticipated him going on. He's always been so sure of who he is so I just thought he's straight and that's that ‍♀️ I'm a bit excited for him to be honest. It's a bit of an adventure finding out about who you really are because you aren't restrained by expectation. I just wish I could get to the point where I can think that way about myself. I'm sure i will get there though. This forum has already been super helpful.

    How have you managed it? You mention understanding the feeling of being overcome by it all at points having kept it under wraps for so long. How did you deal with that? Xx
     
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  14. dirtyshirt84

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    Did you ever have any crushes on women?

    It’s great your husband is open minded and has learned things about himself too. I sometimes wonder if more people would experiment if it was more socially acceptable.

    I think you need to give yourself time to work through all the feelings, I remember there being so many at once. I think if you keep talking to people about it too. It must be hard during the pandemic as there is so little you can do atm.

    Maybe look at some of @Nickw’s posts. He is married to woman but also has a male fwb. Just something to think about I guess!
     
  15. JayEll

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    Thanks, yes I will definitely have a look. This forum has already been a huge help as clearly I'm not just going crazy. There are lots of others in this situation.

    Yea, I knew from about 16 that I had an interest in women. It would rear its head and I would push it away into the box I created in my head. Exploring that side of myself has never been an option until this past few months. I accepted that I was bi at 29-30 and told my husband a year or so after that. Mainly so I could be honest with my kids when I tell them to be themselves, I never thought all of this would surface as a result.

    I do think if people were free to explore themselves there would be a lot more happier marriages out there. There's still so much pressure to conform though isn't there!?!

    Yes, the pandemic is rubbish. We are both working from home. Thankfully the kids are in school/nursery because I'm a keyworker. Work is a good distraction from all of this to be honest. My husband is on dating apps and is talking to about 3 women. He is constantly on his phone now which is irritating but I can see he has that 'early relationship glow' about him. He is in the exciting stage. He can't meet the girls (and potentially their male partners) because of lockdown but he is getting a sense of what the poly life is like and he loves it.

    You sound like you are UK based? Are you North or South? I hope lockdown is treating youas well as can be expected x
     
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  16. dirtyshirt84

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    Hey JayEll

    I just replied on your profile wall x
     
  17. Iluvagirl

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    Hi - You are SO not alone. I realized when I was 40 that I was either lesbian or bi because I suddenly fell in love with my best friend. I tried to make it go away for years. Therapy, stuffing it down--gee, that just doesn't work!! I didn't tell anyone except my therapist and one trusted friend for years. I was miserable and felt I was living so inauthentically, but I was married to a great guy and had three kids! And a really nice life. I spun pretty out of control when a totally different friend came on to me and we had a little playful affair, but it honestly was the best thing ever because I NEEDED to know if this was in my head, or did I was I just obsessed with my best friend (who lived far away, so it was a long distance obsession) or did I like girl sex. Um, yep - I do. And I suddenly could remember all those times before that I had girl crushes and had just ignored it as some weird flukey thing to pretend didn't happen. I finally confided in my best friend - we wound up having sex, she freaked, we stopped talking to each other. A year later she apologized and then said she was in love with me. But then she freaked again and we haven't spoken in two years. But, it caused me to finally tell my husband and most of my close friends. I'd kept this in for twelve years, and my husband was AMAZINGLY supportive. He felt bad for me, still loved me and didn't want us to break up. We tried an open marriage for a while, where we told each other everything. It actually juiced up our sex life together. So, now, I've settled on bisexual, although if I'm super honest, I prefer girl sex to hetero. But I prefer being married to my great guy to not -- so there's that. There is always a little part of me that wishes I could have a more realized sex life, but I try to read erotica and wat
     
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  18. Old Dog

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    It is lonely up here.
     
  19. dirtyshirt84

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    Wow, this all sounds like a rollercoaster of emotions! It’s so interesting to hear everyone’s stories. I’m kind of the same as you, I have a pretty nice life, but I do miss being with a woman.

    Do you think your friend is LGBT? It must have been hard when she stopped talking to you altogether. I can’t imagine what that all must have felt like. You sound like you are in a better place now though?
     
  20. Iluvagirl

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    Yes, she identifies as straight, but it only took her a minute before she wound up in bed with me. And, she def. liked it!! I'll never know why she freaked out - internal homophobia? past trauma? intimacy issues? And I go from being super angry at her to missing her like crazy to feeling sorry for her. It's best we don't speak. I'm glad in the end we didn't wind up together because I would have totally up-ended my life for her, in a heartbeat, which would have meant not spending the pandemic with my grown kids and great husband and I wouldn't change that experience for the world. She'll always be the path not taken, and I'll always wonder if I might have been deliriously happy--but I'm so much happier living honestly with those who love me and now know my "secret". It was brutal keeping it quiet for so long. Thanks for asking!
     
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