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I can't stop thinking that I'm ruining everyone's lives

Discussion in 'LGBT Later in Life' started by nbd, Oct 28, 2016.

  1. nbd

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    I feel heartbroken.

    When I began dating my husband, I was a college freshman, young, strong and brilliant. Our lives twined around each other and I absorbed his interests with wonder. College was difficult for me, for the first time ever I struggled with my studies. I knew he was so much more clever than I was, and I was so proud of everything he knew. As he helped me learn, I began to shrink. I questioned everything I did. I asked him to check my homework, look over my emails to professors, do my taxes and financial aid. I hid my own interests as I took on his. Slowly but surely, his goals became my goals. Instead of seeing myself as a trailblazer, I shifted into the role of helpmate and cheerleader. He had so much more potential than me, so it was only natural. I saw value in that position, and I still do. He's got an amazing career, no small part because of my support.

    He was the only friend I made in four years of college, and we were married mere weeks after graduation.

    I was physically attracted to him, early on. I liked how he made me feel. Wanted, beautiful, for the first time in my life. He was cute, tall and thin, sensitive, kind. So unlike any other boy I had ever met, and I admired him deeply. When the physical attraction faded, I attributed it to my growing anxiety and depression, my lack of direction for my future career. How can you love someone else if you don't love and respect yourself, I thought. I need to keep working on me and then finally I will feel that draw, that physical love, that attraction again.

    New relationship energy fades for everyone, the books say, the blogs said. Just because you don't feel passion anymore doesn't mean that you don't still love each other. What does in love mean anyway? Isn't what you have with him now so much deeper than that?

    So I threw myself into church, into parenting. My depression and isolation grew. When I started to have recurring suicidal thoughts, I started taking medication and that helped my depression for a long time. I was able to work through the struggles of parenting young kids and I fell in love with being a mom. I'm still very thankful for the therapy and medication that helped me get over that hump. Being a mom isn't my challenge anymore, it's my passion and life.

    Then a year ago, I started learning about the growing field of queer theory. Compulsory heterosexuality, heteronormativity, toxic masculinity, ingrained misogyny. The concept that sexuality is fluid. And I started to feel, something...a realization that the years of therapy and struggle, trying to make myself feel something physical for my husband, that perhaps there was a more basic reason for that difficulty.

    Maybe, just maybe, after all this time, the years of having complicated relationships with my girlfriends, obligatory crushes on boys, masculine preference of dress & appearance, obsession with female celebrities, inability to create arousal from the thought of being with a good man... Maybe I am a lesbian. Maybe I've always been one to some degree, maybe it's fluid and I've turned into one...but maybe that's what I'm very strongly feeling now.

    I cut my hair. I started dressing the way I want to dress, listening to the music I like. And I'm noticing women all the time. The way they look, the confidence they exude in their lives, the struggles that we all face together in this world controlled by men. And I'm so very drawn to the idea of being with a woman, emotionally & physically, feeling that bond that I think I can only feel with another woman.

    My husband is a good man. I can't help but feel how selfish I'm being, unable to just tuck this all back in for his sake. For our kids sake. I feel like I did this to myself, that if I'm a woman who has more fluidity, I should just re-immerse myself into hetero- life and then I'll stop having these feelings about women, and I'll go back to having okay sex with my husband instead of gut-wrenching, wrong, why can't I stand this, sex.

    He's depressed, I'm depressed, and it's all a mess that's completely my fault. I feel like I snared him in when I was young and didn't have the courage to break it off and be alone. That I knew I wasn't attracted, even if I didn't know I was gay. That I should have let him go and not hung on for dear life because I knew I'd never find a better guy for me. And that's true...there is no better guy for me. He thinks I'm the best woman for him, too, and well...I've been a damn good wife. He doesn't feel a need to be with a woman who is massively sexually into him, he was fine with our old life of okay sex. I guess I was, too. It's only now that it seems untenable.

    Can I go back to the way it was if I am a woman who is more fluid when it comes to sexuality?
     
  2. DAFriend

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    Going back isn't a good idea and, it never works anyway. Fluid or pan sexuality isn't easy, especially before you figure it out for sure.

    Sometimes we need to do what's right for ourselves, everyone else be damned, no matter how much it hurts. That pain is temporary, and, in the long run, you have to do what's best for you, not for anyone else.
     
  3. LostInDaydreams

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    Hi nbd,

    I've often wondered whether or not there is a way back to my pre-questioning mindset. To be honest, I don't really think there is, other than possibly thinking about it less over the course of time. I hope others will have more insight here.

    I can relate to a lot of what you've written in your post. My partner was my first boyfriend, and at the time we got together I was in my early twenties, so didn't think it was ever going to happen. I can relate to this a lot:

    Not for the same reasons you give. I don't really know why I aligned myself with him so much. I guess I didn't want to risk losing him, once I had him. Similarly, I never spoke up about any issues I had with out relationship.

    In a way, I can relate to this too. I had other friends, but ones I saw regularly and had long conversations with, and think that was definitely part of the attraction. Before I met him, I'd spent so much of my time working on my degree, alone in my bedroom.

    I don't think I was truly attracted to my partner physically, but I was interested in sex because it was supposed to be amazing. When it wasn't amazing, I put that down to other things, like my own self confidence. However, I can definitely relate to this:

    I mentioned this in a thread of mine, but I was surprised that I found a man I could get on with so well. I knew I'd never find another one like him, so didn't want to risk losing him at all.

    There's a lot more in your post that I can relate too. I'm sorry to read about your struggles with depression. That must have been really difficult. I haven't actually told my partner about my questioning, so I haven't got any experience of that, but I can understand your concerns about your children and your feelings here:

    I can relate to this so much too:

    I think this is definitely true in my case, and I think I knew I wasn't really attracted to him.

    I don't what to say that might help you, but there's a lot of your post that I can relate to, so you're not alone.

    (*hug*)
     
  4. Stewie

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    I have way more to say but very little time.

    You are not being selfish at all, it's your life and if your unhappy you need to change it, you were not placed here to serve your husbands needs, you are not here for him. Your kids will love you no matter what. You only get one life! It's yours, so live it and be happy! (&&&)
     
  5. SiennaFire

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    You are bargaining and attempting to restore your old life by wishing it would be so. You are repeating the scripts that you learned growing up, hoping that somehow you can muster the courage to continue the deception. Try as you may, it's too late. The genie is already out of the bottle, and you're out of wishes.

    You speak of fault and blame yourself for this mess. It's not your fault. You are not to blame. You are the victim of a homophobic era which preached that homosexuality is evil and wrong through all availalbe avenues - family, friends, school, church, and society. The ones who preached this hate of all things gay are the ones at fault. You internalized their messages all your life starting as an innocent young child when you could not resist. Now as an adult you found the strength to confront these lessons and recognize them as the lies that they are.

    You need to forgive yourself for all sins imaginary and real. You were simply reacting to the conditioning of your upbringing, which taught you that gay is wrong and something that needs to be hidden. You've found the strength to cast this aside and move on. You are likely depressed because you are skirting around your true self. You are so close to the goal, why stop now? Push through. You need to give yourself permission to be selfish (even though you're not being selfish in a bad way) and do what you know in your heart you must - reclaim the life you were born to live that they wanted to take aware from you because they are scared of who we are.

    :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:ride:

    (&&&)
     
    #5 SiennaFire, Oct 28, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2016
  6. Bouldghirl

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    I read this with a certain level of sadness. You have discovered who you are, what you want but need to justify things. If you truly believe that you are now the person you want to be then that is it. Whatever or whoever you feel you are I hope that you are comfortable with it and that you will be a happy lady.
     
  7. mnmoty31

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    This. This is me. I just found this site today because of such similar reasons. I hope you're able to find the answers and support you need. And then share them with me!! :lol:
     
  8. nbd

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    I wish I could figure out what the hell is going on in my head. Again, we spent the weekend thinking about opening the marriage, even spoke to a therapist about it. So...we had pretty good intimacy. I don't want to discount it, it was good. Then I woke up this morning feeling sad and confused, and now I feel like I can't do this, I'm gay, again.

    This. Keeps. Happening.

    I have a couple days of good sex with my husband, then a couple weeks of despair, then it cycles again.

    It's giving us both so much hope and then dashing it away. It's so confusing, I don't know what is going on with me!?

    In the past our sex life has cycled between pretty good points and 'meh, whatever' points. We've had more moments of "good sex" since I started questioning than ever before, but the crash is so much worse. Instead of it being 'whatever' it's just major depression and hopelessness.

    Does anyone understand this? For most of you, something seems to switch and you're just done with heterosexual sex. What is up with the waffling? Help! :bang:
     
  9. WanderingMind

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    Hey nbd. The cycle you describe doesn't sound foreign to me. When you say "It's giving us both so much hope, then dashing it away"--- do you mean that intimacy between you feels right, but that you are dealing with an emptiness still that this intimacy doesn't seem to be able to fill?
     
  10. Mifora

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    Reading this really made me happy. I am going through something similar, and I am not yet ready to forgive myself for not confronting this before getting married and having a child. I have had trouble understanding why. I don't even have any homophobic parents to blame it on. But when everyone sort of tells you that you are not normal, it is hard not to internalize it. My parents have gay friends, but I remember some episodes where they have talked about them in a kind of disrespectful way. My mother's lesbian friend and her life partner split up, and my mother comforted her, but at home she also talked about the situation like it was somewhat amusing. I think she actually said "It is almost like a real divorce, but it just sounds so funny when she is talking about a woman and not a man."

    The thing that troubles me is that I know I am attracted to women, but I still really enjoy sex with me husband. I keep thinking: "Can I be gay and still have sex with him from time to time, because I don't think I can live without it."
     
  11. SiennaFire

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    The waffling is a normal part of the process. You are in the bargaining phase where you are hoping that good sex will bring you a happy marriage. You are attached to the idea of saving your marriage. You hope that having good sex with your husband will be enough to save it. There is another part of you, your true self, that is emerging and creates despair when she feels trapped in an inauthentic marriage.

    Things switch as you begin to accept your authentic self and can no longer accept this cycle. You go to the place that you don't want to go. You stop fighting yourself and embrace your inner lesbian.

    The following quote helped me come out.

    "The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek." ― Joseph Campbell

    I've overcome my fear and found my treasure.
     
    #11 SiennaFire, Oct 31, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2016
  12. nbd

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    wanderingmind - Yes, that's what I mean. We'll have sex and I'll feel bonded to him, I'll feel love toward him and such deep love in return. Then, some time passes and I begin to feel empty again. In the days where we are connected, I have this hope that the love I have for him is "enough" and that my attraction toward women is a side note that doesn't have to be explored in order to live a happy life. Certainly there are content monogamous bisexual people, after all, and perhaps I can be one of them.

    But, time passes, I get to thinking. I feel a longing to connect more deeply with women, to partner with one. It's like there's a whole side of my personality that I want to share with a community that understands, one that my husband just can't be a part of as a cis, straight, white, educated, privileged male. And then I feel guilty for faulting him for something he can't control.

    He's not an asshole. He knows about male privilege, he acknowledges that he has it, and that it colors his view of things. I guess he just thinks that if I let him in enough, if I invite him into the community where we educate one another and learn together, that he will be "enlightened" enough to connect with me in the same way that a feminist woman would, and that that can be enough for me.

    He's amazing. He wants to do all of this and grow with me. What's wrong with me that I'm pushing him away from it? That I want to explore this on my own with other women, that I feel that his involvement will put me off and sully my awakening. And my attraction toward him, the feeling that we've sparked again over the past two days, begins to fizzle. And I feel trapped. Lonely.

    Selfish.
     
    #12 nbd, Oct 31, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2016
  13. SiennaFire

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    I felt the same way and used it to rationalize my denial ("I can't be gay because I enjoy sex with my wife"). Once I had sex with a man, I discovered what I was missing. Heterosexual sex seems like a hookup in hindsight. Of course this puts you an awkward position. How will you know until you try? How can you try while married? The course of action with the most integrity is to come out to your husband and open the marriage.

    ---------- Post added 31st Oct 2016 at 11:20 AM ----------

    Why is it selfish to be who you were born to be?
     
  14. Mifora

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    I know. I will probably have to do that at some point. But sometimes I think about what different it would make. If I had sex with a woman and I was a bad experience, would I then be able to say "alright, I made a mistake, I was straight all along, sorry". And if it was a good experience, would that prove anything? It all depends on the person and the situation.
     
  15. nbd

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    Because I can't stop thinking that I've done this to myself. If sexuality is fluid, I've exposed myself to a triggering community that has awakened my attraction toward women. I seem to be unwilling to give that connection up to revert back to my initial orientation. I can't stop visiting that critique group of brilliant bisexual/lesbian feminist women. I can't stop going back to this site.

    If I was 100% a lesbian, I don't believe that I would experience these days where everything is good and the bond is strong and satisfying. If I'm just bi-curious, I need to stop wishing for something more when I already have an incredible partner.

    I feel that it is selfish to not even consider turning away from all of this. But of course, there's that still small voice inside that is just whispering "You know you can't deny who you are forever. You have to gather the courage to live your authentic life to be happy. While you deny this, you're only teaching your children that they should hide who they are to the world."
     
  16. Mifora

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    That is exactly how I feel. It is awful, I just keep going back and forth in my mind. I choose to believe that when I have found my way trough this I will be a better, stronger and more empathic person, and I can use my own experience to help others in one way or another. I have to believe that
     
  17. SiennaFire

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    Your sexuality was determined early in life and is not a choice, so I don't agree that you've done this to yourself. Now perhaps you are referring to the process of discovering who you really are, though that's not a bad thing in my book.

    Sexuality is a continuum. Are you familiar with the Kinsey scale? Perhaps if you were Kinsey 4 or 5 that would explain why you have a few good days with your husband before longing for a deep connection with another woman.

    As for the little voice inside your head, she knows who you are. Unfortunately your logical brain is resisting with every piece of contrary evidence that she can find. You will probably continue to fight and defend your faux self until something bad happens in your life that forces you to come to terms with your sexuality. In light of such pain, the costs of staying in the closet exceeds the benefit, and that's when you will find the strength to drops the lies.
     
  18. SkyWinter

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    Compare your situation to someone who isn't questioning their sexuality but feels a desire to be with other people. So a man in a relationship, but he wants to have sex with other women, or a woman in a relationship who wants to have sex with other men.

    First of all, your biology doesn't just shut off the part of your brain looking at people you are attracted to. That's just not a thing that happens. Even in a relationship. Even if you are straight/gay/whatever.

    The question is what is the difference between someone who is happy in their relationship and still looks, and someone who isn't happy and looks because they want out.

    Fundamentally your relationship might be broken and it might not be primarily because of your sexuality. You feeling attraction to women shouldn't be affecting a solid bond this much. It's completely possible that you and your husband just don't have a good relationship. You mentioned feeling a stronger bond after coming out. Maybe that's just because you were finally truthful and he didn't completely dump you right them and there. It appears he accepts you for you. The question is does he accept you or does he just not want you to leave?

    You mentioned feeling more of a bond after sex. That's what happens after sex. The brain releases chemicals that help you to form a bond to the person you had sex with. It's just part of biology working to create stable parents for children. That however doesn't mean you have a bond in any other way. Perhaps this is why you are on a roller coaster of emotions and thoughts? Perhaps after the glow of sex wears off you become more logical about what kind of relationship you have?

    If you're in therapy that's what you should be focusing on. How real is your relationship with him? How real is it outside of any sexuality confusion issues?
     
  19. mnmoty31

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    Thank you so much for posting this thread. I am experiencing so many things that are similar to what you're describing and the discussion has been really helpful, or at least given me even more things to think about. I'm out to just my husband. Like you, we have had some great sex and then some times where I literally can't stomach it. And it's gone up and down the entire time.
    Also, there are times when I really enjoy talking about being bisexual, but there are other times where I just find it so frustrating! Like, (and no offense to him but...) he's one of the main barriers to me being with a woman! Because I also happen to love him and be committed to him and have children with him. But I also adore the fact that he's the one who helped me open up about this, if only to him so far.
    I just feel like I'm in such a hopeless loop sometimes.
     
  20. WanderingMind

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    Hey nbd. A few more thoughts... a few more questions for you to explore.

    There's an overwhelming amount of evidence that you won't be able to go back to the way it was. Once denial fades, and we figure out a side of ourselves that's *always* existed, I don't think we can put it back in the box it seemed to fit in so perfectly before. But, the thing is, it didn't fit in that box so perfectly, did it? You mention a lifetime of not being yourself, and the ways it hurt you---even if you didn't consciously know why it hurt. Now that you know, efforts to repress that side of yourself hurt in a new and different way. At least, that's how I experienced it. So, if you can't go back to the way it was... what's the next step?

    I didn't experience the "done with heterosexual sex" part when my denial stopped doing it's thing. I still could (and can) enjoy sex with my husband, and I still could (and can) experience attraction to other men... but ohmygoodlord... my attraction to women was intense and mystifying. Not all women, and not any specific one, but the intensity of the attractions I did experience threatened to knock me over sometimes. I mean---women are *beautiful*. My attractions felt so new, so different, and they came at me from out of nowhere. It was such a disorienting time.

    A friend shared a few analogies that helped me understand how this cycle works. The first was a comparison to bright light. When we go from a dark room into sunshine, we have to shade our eyes until our pupils can adjust. This is a natural adjustment period; after a while, the light becomes natural and doesn't overwhelm us. For me, this has been true. I still find myself watching women in a different way than before realizing I was bi, but it's not as overwhelming as it was at first. The second was a comparison to thirst. When a basic need goes unmet for a long period of time (in my case, my entire life), our entire being longs to have it met. And, the thing that will quench it best is what we long for the most. So, if we're really really thirsty because we haven't had a thing to drink for way too long, water is what we crave. Likewise, if there's a part of us that will only be satisfied by love for a woman (or a man), and we have the love of only one of those partners, there's a part of us that becomes more and more empty. This was the source of my hurt. But, it's natural. It's not selfish. It's not wrong.

    I'm sure there *are* content monogamous bisexual people, but I'm not one of them. I'm a content bisexual person who loves and desires her husband more deeply now than I did before I recognized my true identity, and who also loves a beautiful woman who loves me. It has taken me a while to get here. When I first "woke up", I worried that the intensity of the intensity of my feelings for women negated the ones I had for my husband. Over time, I settled on a bisexual identity because it felt *Right* to me. But, everyone's journey is unique. Your posts sound like maybe you feel like you're leaning toward a lesbian identity. That's a very different path. In your deepest heart, what identity do you believe is the one that fits you best? Answering this question is an important step in determining the rest of your journey.
     
    #20 WanderingMind, Nov 1, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2016