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Looking for help to understand how I can come to terms with realising I am not straight.

Discussion in 'LGBT Later in Life' started by Jo Hannah, Jun 8, 2021.

  1. Jo Hannah

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    I am really struggling to understand myself, if you read my last post you will have the gist, straight woman for 45 years and my Best Friend ( female) and soul mate also supposedly straight revealed her feelings over a series of drunken occasions back in Feb 2020, which was a shock 1st time, but because I loved her I went with it and we did things I never ever considered, but at the same time albeit drunk I never felt so alive, it is a much longer story but to shorten it is the basically classic don’t drunk sleep with a friend (especially same sex when you both live straight lives) all went wrong in a few short months and we haven’t spoken since, she’s still with her abusive boyfriend and unfortunately we live on the same street in a small village, so I have avoided gong out so we don’t meet, which wasn’t so hard with Covid, as we re emerge its inevitable that I will see her.

    I am left hurt and questioning everything I ever knew right back to my childhood and very much doubting my whole life all my past relationships teenage, marriage, friends all are under the microscope and my thinking about my sexuality. I still don’t understand how or why it happened, I tell myself it was just because I loved her and went with what she wanted me to do. But I don’t think I can carry on believing that charade, the few intimate moments we had have really awoken something that has probably always been there dormant but repressed so much that I didn’t even realise it, now its been awoken I can’t ignore it and its causing me so many issues about what I do now.

    Reading everyone else’s post recently I resonate so much I can’t keep on being angry with her or blaming her for starting this, and here is the thing, what do I actually do now, part of me wants to get back in touch with her and try and understand it, but its been over a year and so much pain that I can’t see how its even possible to have a honest conversation, and why too much pain to go back.

    So taking her out of the equation and accepting that I did actually participate and enjoy it, I must accept that I am probably bisexual and really identify with pansexual ( given my past relationships have always been on personality rather than physical attraction) I didn’t see that coming in my longer life plan, and now I can’t even begin to imagine how I date or even try and explain myself to anyone else. I am someone who needs to be honest in relationships, I don’t want to actively seek out a woman or a man actually, I just don't want the pain of rejection again, but I also don’t want to be stuck in this not knowing place failing to understand myself and lonely.

    I feel desperately that I need to leave where I live, bt that means leaving my community, just so I can’t be in the same street anymore, but I know thats silly and its just a extreme mental state that I will get past, my anxiety and general depression is very bad, somedays I just don’t want to keep going. My therapist says I have PTSD from what happened in February, even made inference that it was non consensual because it really wasn’t on my agenda and I was drunk, she had it in her agenda, but I did participate, so I can’t fully get onboard with that thinking. I do accept that there a PTSD element in how my anxiety and triggers happen and the physical symptoms I am going through with panic and anxiety.

    I am reading all the forums, realising I can’t be straight, but I don’t know what I do next, I am quite a emotional mess and I am looking to you all to try and find some reassurance and support.

    Thanks for taking the time to read x
     
  2. QuietPeace

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    The only way to totally protect yourself from rejection is to avoid any sort of relationship and that means even friends. Endings also feel traumatic to me but when things do work out it does make it worthwhile.

    I have done this more than once and I think that it is a good idea but admittedly it is not easy. You can use moving as the first step in reinventing yourself and you can start to experiment. Meet new people and even date eventually.

    Your therapist is right. The fact that you now have PTSD with all of the symptoms that you list indicates that the situation was problematic and that you need to work through it.
    https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/relationships/sexual-consent
    You should get therapy and you should work through these issues before you go out and experiment.
     
    #2 QuietPeace, Jun 8, 2021
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2021
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  3. Jo Hannah

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    Thanks, Quiet Peace, I have been seeing me Therapist for over a year, no plans to stop getting that help. But I am feeling that I need to start making some progress, find a way to let go of her in my mind and cope with the physical symptoms of the memories, I know i’m
    unlikely to trust again in a hurry.

    It’s really hard coming to terms with the change in my life and also realising it was probably always there, some days I want to just tell my family what happened. They really don’t understand why I can’t cope, or why I see a therapist, they assume it’s mostly living alone and Covid.

    Therapy and on here are the only safe places for me to express myself so sorry if I ramble.

    I know that drunk is non consensual, but I still did it on more that 1 occasion. Granted the 1st time I was in absolute shock and drink so just went with it and that was her taking advantage of me. The next 4 times were also drunk but I can’t deny I put myself in that situation and wanted it to happen.
     
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  4. MistyMorn

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    I'm not good with advice, but I can say I understand fully what you are saying here. I too have been so depressed at times I can't get out of bed to care of my kids, they are older but still kids. Just know you are not alone on this journey. Many have walked this same path. I have also completely uprooted to get away, but for me went back down the road of "normalcy" to try to shut it off...

    I can also relate to my relationships being person based with no sexual attraction, where with me and women I almost feel I could die if I had to live without that feeling of emotional and physical attraction.

    Personally I feel labels at this point don't necessarily help at this point in the journey. At least for me it didn't. It was more an exploration of who I am and where my heart was leading me versus confining myself to a definition. I hope that makes sense.

    My heart goes out to you! I have found EC as such a supportive place in my few short weeks here. I hope you find that as well!!
     
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  5. Love2sleep

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    I felt like checking in with you and finding out how you’re doing? I do hope you’re doing well! I want to write my advice but today I just feel so low that I’m not sure how to articulate myself
     
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  6. Jo Hannah

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    Thanks for checking in … I’m still a bit of a mess, heart broken I guess .. and in amongst that trying to figure out my sexuality.. it does help reading other people’s experiences, makes me realise I’m not the only person struggling later in life.

    My last therapy session my therapist suggested that i’m struggling with disenfranchised grief, and she’s probably right. I’m going to see a hypnotherapist to try and control the anxiety around the PTSD .. (therapist suggestion).

    I don’t really want to leave where I live but I do need to find a way to calm the anxiety around being outdoors in case I see her.

    Sorry love2sleep that your feeling low, hope that eases up for you.

    Take care and thanks for asking about me
     
  7. Love2sleep

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    It is my pleasure checking in on you. It’s important not to feel alone.
    Heartbreak is awful but there is light at the end of tunnel,
    You’re doing amazing and don’t forget that even when you feel lost in the dark. Following the darkness comes the light.
     
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  8. Jo Hannah

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    Thank you Love2sleep, It's a difficult day, I've had an accidental text from her in an old group message, a year later thats just really thrown me and I feel so sick, unfortunately I reacted with a reply which basically said im having a hard time because of what happened between us. I am now in a hugely anxious state waiting to see if there's a reply, it would probably have been better for me to just ignore it. It really is best that we don't speak she messes with my head so much and im still in love with her so I can't be rational and protect myself. I am so tired of being in my own head with this.
     
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  9. Mirko

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    I think seeing a therapist and trying to also see other specialists is good and hopefully over time you will be able to leave what happened behind you and lead a live that you are comfortable with.

    You have responded and while in hindsight you feel it wasn't the best decision, it's okay. If possible, try not to dwell on it. Should she respond, ignore the message. If there is a response, and as tempting as it will be, don't open it, don't read it.

    If you can, do the things you do to climb down from the anxious state. Is there something you can do to feel a bit more at ease and not worry about what happened?
     
  10. Love2sleep

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    You can feel safe here knowing that you do not need to be stuck in your own head. I do understand how you’re feeling. There’s a woman who has the same influence on me. She knows that I crumble as soon as I receive a message from her, yet she then vanishes as if I mean nothing. Comes and goes as when it suits her, sometimes for months upon months without any contact. It messes with my head and my emotions. I’m currently trying to detox from her and it’s tough, but I know I’m my heart this is something I have to do. It’s toxic the contact in a way…
    Do you meditate? Sometimes I sit in the dark and perform a breathing meditation when I feel super anxious. Or take a warm bath to try and relax my mind and body.
    I do happen to agree you probably should have ignored the message as you’ve now started another cycle of anxiety and you’ll relive the memory and feeling of heartbreak once again.
    I’m here if you need to vent, get out your frustration or simply just to chat about everything and nothing. Be kind to yourself and in time you’ll realise that this was and is a learning curve that will ultimately make you stronger, even if right now it does not feel that way. :slight_smile:
     
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  11. Jo Hannah

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    Thanks.. I do meditate, the difficulty for me with meditation is I'm quite spiritual and I so It's not always relaxing. I do find that watching something on netflix is a good way to distract myself and have been doing that this evening. Any time my brian is not occupied it slips back into thoughts of what happened, keeping myself busy all the time is a real effort and very tiring, and even then it gets me in my sleep, which is why I want to try hypnosis.


    I understand what you say about detoxing, it is so tough. Thank you for sharing your story too, makes me feel less alone in this. Much love to you all.
     
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  12. Jo Hannah

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    Thank you Mriko, really good advice and what I needed to be reminded of.
     
  13. Jo Hannah

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    So quick update .. she did reply, basically accusing me of being angry and tragic ..saying I could have been kinder, I’m ignoring it.

    She’s clearly incapable of seeing just how much pain she’s caused, and the silly thing is I feel like at least i’m accepting that there were deep emotions involved.

    In a weird way her blunt uncaring reply has helped me to see I really have to let this go.

    Thank you all, I am now more determined to get over her, try and stop with the past regrets and discover myself whatever that may be and I am in no rush.
     
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  14. MistyMorn

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    If it's any consolation I'm always the one to write the text or the email and then turn around and wish I didn't, lol

    However I'm glad you did. Sometimes it brings around this sense of closure to see things outside of all the questions and scenarios bouncing around in your head. In totally get it!!

    After all this time for there to still need so much anger. I'm sorry she responded like this but it's good too. You'll move past this, not that it will ever really go away completely, because the lessons we learn from most are the ones that stay with us at some level and for good reason! Now to can focus on you. Heal and find yourself anew!!

    Another wonderful step on your journey!!
     
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  15. Mirko

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    Sometimes things have to happen or events have to transpire for us to see that moving on and asking deeper questions are needed or perhaps even required.

    Having the determination to continue exploring and moving on, is a good outcome. Glad you have made a decision that you feel is the best one for you at this point.
     
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  16. Jo Hannah

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    It felt like of all my posts this was the one to update .. I had 6 hypnotherapy sessions over a 6 weeks, they have been amazing at dealing with the anxiety and facing the fear of meeting her again.

    Also helped me to see a future without her in it and I joined a online dating site, although feeling a fraud as i’m still unsure of any label, I have been in conversation with a lady and it’s very early days but It does make my heart skip when I hear from her and I’m being completely honest about where I’m at, how I got here, my former friend and the stage of my journey. She’s been great and is totally understanding, seems a warm and kind person, isn’t pressuring me into anything and I do feel safe with her. She’s lesbian and out and has had her own journey too which included previous marriages and a older daughter.

    Then a week ago, my worst fear happened and my former friend was in desperate need of safe house and came to my door in the early hours in quite a state, I was amazed at my ability to cope with the highly charged emotional situation.

    I helped her escape that night and we did talk for hours about what happened between us. So I feel I had my closure and whilst we didn’t agree on all the facts of the past I’ve said what I needed to say including telling her i’m not straight and plan to tell my family.

    It’s been a head and heart battle to step away and not message her since to check she’s ok, She did try and maintain contact the next day but my answers were short and to the point. I haven’t had any further contact since.

    Without my therapies I couldn’t have resisted jumping straight back in and trying to rescue the woman I loved and my resistance is strong, hypnotherapy has done so much to help me break the cycle. Her situation is toxic and her treatment of me was damaging, in my head I know it just brings me pain I have to ignore what my heart says and I am surprised by how able I am to keep control of it and myself.

    She’s also gone back to her abusing boyfriend so I don’t doubt that a similar situation won’t happen again, I will need to maintain my strength to resist getting sucked back in next time.

    I now have this new lady coming into my life, who seems just what I need, We have messaged a lot and are arranging to meet on Monday, I am excited but also I’m frightened that I’ve got this whole sexuality wrong and actually maybe some of my early posts about it being “just because it was her” might be true?

    What if I have done all this work on acceptance of being not straight and likely lesbian ( as i just can’t imagine intimacy with a man). then faced with a chance to be happy I can’t actually feel any attraction or worse I only have desire for my former friend.

    Is it possible that because of the relationship I had with my former friend I have convinced myself i’m not straight and am now on a path which isn’t me. Or am I at one of this classic stages of coming out where faced with a opportunity I Bargain with myself to go backwards because i’m scared of what it means for me.

    Sorry for the long update just needed to air what’s on my mind.
     
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  17. silverhalo

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    Hey congratulations on the amazing work you have done in therapy it sounds so successful.
    I totally understand your concerns about what if you have got it wrong, my story is not exactly the same as your but when I first took a step towards coming out being wrong was one of my biggest concerns. I cannot promise that it wont happen because i think mathematically there is probably a chance but I can say I think it is highly highly unlikely and I would be very surprised if you found it was just your friend. Even if this lady you are speaking to turns out not to be one that you are interested in (not that I am saying it wont) then it is still a massive step forward. Also lets say you come out to some people as not straight and the worst case scenario happens so what you still had feelings for your friends so if you want to label yourself not straight that is entirely up to you. Plus progressing on your journey and doing the therapy you have done has helped you look at the toxic situation you were in with your friend and so it will still have all been worth it I believe.

    That being said, if you want my honest opinion I think you will look back on this current moment in a few months or a year and wonder what on earth you were worried about :slight_smile:
     
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  18. GrumpyOldLady

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    Wow that's really great news! I'm so happy that you've managed to let go of the toxic situation with your friend and move on :heart:
    I can imagine how hard that must have been, sounds like you're on the right path. I've been seeing some progress in my situation as well.
     
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  19. Jo Hannah

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    Thanks I needed a bit of grounding .. when I look back to how I was when I joined the EC community I am so much better now, just needed a little reminder.

    Fingers crossed it all works out ok, and i’m posting in a few weeks to say so x
     
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  20. Jo Hannah

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    Hi.. Thank you and well done .. I have read your own thread and I’m really pleased for you. it’s great you have been able to talk and start to plan x
     
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