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New chapter

Discussion in 'LGBT Later in Life' started by baristajedi, May 8, 2020.

  1. baristajedi

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    Hi there friends :slight_smile:

    I am back for a bit of introspection. I think I have a lot to say, but at the moment I only have a short moment to write so I will likely add on to this a bit later.

    I don’t know how to explain the logic behind this and so I think maybe that’s one reason I want to write about, to get more understanding of my own process, but I feel now, finally, 5 years after coming out, I am at some kind of point of newness, a new life chapter, like a fresh start turn of the page kind of place.

    For context, my coming out was extremely complicated as many of yourselves on here also experience, I was married and have a daughter and we live far from home, originally I’m from the US and I’m in the U.K.

    Coming out and working through all of that really had a huge impact on many areas in my life, it reverberated into lots of things, but then on top of that there was a really wild domino effect and crisis after crisis spun out of all of the things that I had to do as a result of needing to rearrange so many things in my life.

    So, here’s where I am now. I again I can’t explain it, but I’m feeling like I’ve turned some kind of corner. The coming out phase if you want to put it that way, and the messiness and the shock of each huge impact, I feel like I’m sort of closing that chapter. And now I’m starting from a totally fresh page.

    It’s like a sort of settling of all the dust. I’m sure life has many surprises in store for me ahead, many good and bad and in between. But I feel like I am finally in a position where my anchor and view of my life is very centred and grounded.


    I think I’d like to work out why I’m feeling that way, because it will give me a clarity that I like to have. It helps :slight_smile:

    but additionally to that, it feels wonderful. I was walking yesterday around the city (on my once a day exercise we’re allowed, ha). And my soul and heart feel so free, and full. The world is so beautiful. And I feel grounded in understanding me and my place in where my life has brought me, our family is taking its own new shape, and I have a totally relaxed and fresh view on what I want in terms of a partner and in terms of my path for myself and for me and my daughter. I feel, just really good.


    I’ll be back, I have a lot of introspecting I want to do, I’d like to put my finger on this better, the feeling of this closing chapter.

    Any insight or thoughts in the meantime please share :slight_smile:
     
    #1 baristajedi, May 8, 2020
    Last edited: May 8, 2020
  2. CatWho

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    First off, I think it is awesome that you feel so good about where you are. While all of us have had different journeys to find ourselves (and for us "later in lifers", it can be a long one), it is not easy. We have external obstacles as well as our own internal struggles to deal with. I think that sometimes the harder it is to get through something, the stronger it makes us and the happier we are when we get to the other side.

    I'm not nearly as far along on my journey as you. I'm only out to a few close friends, but each step relieves some of the stress/anxiety. I look forward to reaching that place where I know exactly who I am and what I want. It is kind of crazy to know how many people go through so much of their lives not knowing or accepting themselves. I spend a lot of time thinking and analyzing things (maybe too much sometimes) and it sounds like you may too. It feels really good when things become clear.

    I'm glad to hear that you are coming out on the side of your struggles so strong and happy. :slight_smile:
     
  3. SiennaFire

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    Hey BarJedi,

    When one comes out later in life, they go through a period of whirlwind change - coming out, separating, divorcing, discovering sexuality and relationships with partners aligned with their sexual orientation. Eventually we reach a point where we've acclimated to the new normal of being LGBT (whether we are single or in a relationship), with the path getting here becoming more and more of a distant memory. This brings a new sense of clarity/closure. There's probably a few of these moments of clarity/closure along the way with each milestone (coming out, separating, divorcing, etc.).

    This has been my experience, and your mileage may vary.
     
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  4. OnTheHighway

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    The current pandemic may be helping you put your priorities into perspective. Given the broader risks brought on by the pandemic, your own person journey towards self actualization may seem to be coming to some form of intermediate conclusion. Even today, I continue to learn more about myself even as the journey has advanced well beyond my sexuality; while I do continue to reflect on how my sexuality has impacted my life every now and then. Rather than thinking about where you are on your journey at any given point in time as your thoughts do tend to ebb and flow (as all of ours do), settled in, embrace it and enjoy the ride (which include the ups with the downs)!
     
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  5. baristajedi

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    Thanks CatWho! I definitely do feel that this journey has really tested me, and coming through it, even while going through it, has given me greater appreciation of everything, my life, my path, things around me, people in my life, the birds, the sky, sunshine. Everything feels more rich and beautiful because I know I'm incredibly lucky - to get to be me, to get to be a parent, to get to have a good relationship with her dad, to have the beautiful world to live in, to have incredible loving people in my life. I think an interesting though, you said you look forward to the day when you know exactly who you are and what you want, you will definitely gain clarity and you're moving forward everyday! But actually, something I've gained at this point: I don't have a need anymore to know "exactly who I am and what I want/need", I'm still figuring it out. I'm still puzzling over questions about my gender and working through some barriers with my sexuality, and working through thoughts and processes related to my journey; but I've gotten to a point where not being totally sure about those things is really comfortable for me. I know I'm gay, I know I'm nonbinary, I know I came out at 36, I know that my life from the outside may look messy, that describing my family and my self in a few words may convey messy circumstances, but hey it's mine, that's my story, that's my life. I'm embracing the messy set of things and messy path that make up my life. The picture is clear to me and that's all that matters.
     
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  6. baristajedi

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    Hi SiennaFire! :slight_smile: Yes this really captures my experience well, a total whirlwind and I think that when new difficult effects have happened, each of them have made the settling in process feel a bit more further away each time, but now something has just clicked for me, and everything's starting to feel really settled and as you said, just my new normal. I don't necessarily have any new level of security (I'm still battling visa issues and have some money issues), but I feel like I know I get through shit, I figure it out, and I luckily have amazing support in my life. I also think the clarity and closure you mention has come from other doors closing and opening around me - like my daughter's dad has just had a baby with his new partner. I can't think of anything more beautiful to represent newness and moving forward. He has this amazing new shape to his family, and it has increased the things that bring me joy as well (seeing my ex happy and moving forward with wonderful things in his life, sharing in the joy of my daughter having a new brother, and my own opportunity to shower love on a new little person), and myself, i am in a really good place in terms of where my path is going with myself and my daughter. I like being on our own, but I am really loving the idea of a future with a partner who I can love and who loves me in the ways I need (and they need), and who i can grow and embrace life with. I do feel a lot of closure and clarity right now, it makes me feel like my life is getting fuller and fuller.
     
    #6 baristajedi, May 11, 2020
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  7. baristajedi

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    Hi OntheHighway :slight_smile: :slight_smile:
    Yes, this feels quite true for me, I feel like there are really particular things from our experience (mine and my daughter's and her dad) during the pandemic that have helped me gain lots of new perspectives. The decisions we made as a family made us stronger as a family, I think it may have even created a bit more openness between myself and his new partner, the way that I had to juggle things at home with my daughter has made me feel a lot more clarity and confidence in how i see myself as a parent, the global aspect of this whole thing has brought me closer to my family in the US and given us more opportunities to connect and it has also just given me fresh eyes on lots of things about my life. I do feel more like i can be in the present and embrace my journey a lot more.

    And i totally agree, that I'm always growing and learning and my journey is still going! But I feel so much more grounded in it at this point. I'm feeling really good to be at this place in my life and I think i'm feeling a bit more embracing of the messy life as a whole :grin: I think that the pandemic has helped with that too, as it just wasn't possible to have much structure or proper balance when we were in total isolation (36 days); now we're simply social distancing like everyone is and i'm again sharing parenting with her dad, so the balance and structure is a bit easier to put in place, but without the structure I learned to "embrace the chaos", and it has helped me a lot in a sense of presence and letting go of control and expectations. Lots of things have come out of this pandemic! Do you find that for yourself as well?
     
  8. OnTheHighway

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    For me the Pandemic has been a catalyst to start engaging with my prior business relationships. I also made a move from my condo to a house in the middle of all of this. Otherwise, been looking froward to see what New Normal means when we all get to the other side of the pandemic.
     
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  9. baristajedi

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    those sound like really significant and positive changes/decisions. How are you feeling about engaging with the prior business relationships? I hope things are going well with the new house!
     
  10. baristajedi

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    I just came back to this thread because I wrote a journal entry today that really outlined a lot of feelings about some things...I'll c/p it in here and remove actual names:


    I don’t know exactly how it has so drastically shifted, but today I found myself listening to Tilted, by Christine and the Queens and - none of the emotions and powerful connotations came with it. Funny enough, instead of the darkness and sadness it has carried for so long, because of what happened to my ex GF's ex-husband (his suicide), and the significance of that song, instead of that connection, it actually just made me happy. It will always be absolutely tragic what has happened to him, but I think that i am finally freeing myself of a sense of blame, which I always knew wasn’t really warranted, but now it has sort of really seemed to sink in. And I think that I’m letting go of a lot right now, other things too, that have been holding me back from moving forward.


    It is a happy song, and listening to it today just felt free and joyful. It seems like a theme of shifts that seem to be happening in my life right now. So many things are shifting, it feels like I am entering a new phase in my life. I have been building a really wonderful life for a while, and I have felt a lot of joy and experienced so many good things along the way, but still I have felt for a long time that I’ve been swimming against an impossible current, because so many difficult things seemed to keep trying to knock me down. But I seem to be at a point in my life now though that so many things seem to be turning a corner.


    And, what seems to be happening now is - I am feeling a sense of the dust settling, closing doors to some really difficult things, and a whole lot of catharsis and a positive sense of moving forward - in terms of this life that I’ve been forging for me and my daughter, in terms of my parenting, in terms of how strong and confident I feel in my sense of self, in terms of how much more positive and at ease I am becoming with some of the little things that I am still working through about my sexuality and gender, in terms of how I feel about all the hard things that have been happening over the past 5 years. It has been one hell of a 5 years!


    I think I understand why this turning point is happening now, although I’ve been moving forward towards this point for a while, it’s all coming together now…. It’s a combination of things - the isolation at the start of the coronavirus forced some new perspectives, mostly in that case in terms of parenting and my daughter’s wellbeing. That helped it really sink in for me that my daughter is doing well, and I’m doing well as a parent, and she has the things she needs, the security and stability that really counts to give her a good life. I have some little nagging concerns about things I want to be aware of for her, but I feel more secure and relaxed overall. Also, the baby being born, her new little brother, it feels like his birth marks something really beautiful in terms of how far we have all come, the new shape of our family, that my kid's dad is happy and building this lovely life, it makes me feel like we really are healing like I hoped we would now that some time has passed after splitting up; and my daughter has this beautiful new little brother in her life and I can watch her build this relationship, she has always really wanted a sibling (and I didn’t have to make the baby lol, and she gets to have a brother, ha). It feels like there’s a real sense of joy and well...rebirth, ha. And also, I think the fact that I had some time off from work, real time off (!) has allowed me to really absorb some of the things I’ve been trying to work out about myself, and the closure and catharsis I’ve been working through.


    I can’t believe how far I’ve come, and how hard it has been to get here, ha, really I mean the journey I’ve taken has been a weird and complicated one. And so much of it coming down to that one thing I couldn’t seem to work through for my whole life, my sexuality; and I don’t only mean that I am gay, I mean that there were barriers in me feeling in touch with my sexualness at all because of the trauma (sexual abuse) when I was younger. I mean, it’s funny I think the first time I tried to come out, I was 7 years old. And then 10, 18, 20, 23, lol. But here we are, and it has taken me until the age of 36 to do it. And the absolute wreckage that came with my coming out because of the life I’d already built by then! Can you imagine if I’d have just come out much earlier in my life? I mean, maybe not 7, or 10… maybe 20 or 23? I know that wasn’t my path, and that this is my path, and I appreciate the life I’ve had in its place, it’s hard to accept that I haven’t lived out that part of my needs for such a long part of my life, but I also love my life the way it actually played out. I love the things that are in my life. If I hadn’t followed this path, I wouldn’t have my daughter. I wouldn’t have met and connected with the guys I built relationships with…. I can see that this is something I’m still trying to reconcile.


    I do believe that I should have had different things in my life as well, but I don’t want to regret it anymore. It’s sad enough to have missed out on those things, I really want to let it go, I think that’s something I have to find in myself to do. I lost a huge chunk of opportunities to express and *feel* my feelings, be myself, be vulnerable and connect with intimacy with women in a way that I have always really needed, and I know I can’t really fix it that that time in my life had some bit of emptiness because of it. But I also know I wasn’t ready until I was ready. I wasn’t able to shake the trauma from early in my life; that trauma kept me from experiencing and embracing a big, core part of myself. I mean, I suppose I was afraid to open up to feeling and embracing my sexuality, because the trauma I felt at such a delicate age made that feel too risky, scary as hell honestly. I know it was all the other shit around me too, culture, and a lot of the messages around me…. it was a bad combination of things...


    Anyway, but I’m happy about where my life has gone, ok as I write this I can feel that I’m still working on feeling totally ok with my path before coming out, but I do feel closer to getting there, it might be hard for me to ever totally accept it; but these last 5 years I have gone through a huge journey of self-growth, and honestly I think I’m incredibly lucky to have pushed myself to take such enormous steps towards growth. Not everyone has the reason or motivation to take such a hard look at their needs and sense of self. I have found through loads of introspection, through some horrendous and some very nice experiences in dating these last 5 years too, and through lots of time on my own, thinking about my needs, that I really know myself, know what I want, know how to be happy in and with myself, but also know what I want in a partner, and what I want to give a partner. I feel so comfortable in my own skin, and so good about my sexuality and my identity. And that allows me to feel a more full balance of all the things that make up me, all the quirks and qualities I have. It is a really healthy and happy and wonderful place to be. It feels so much more rewarding than I could ever imagine, freeing, my life feels full and wonderful and happy.


    I have been feeling so happy lately, I am working on some things still, but I am feeling really good.


    And then… well, I can’t talk about feeling happy without mentioning another amazingly wonderful happy thing in my life right now. I’ve met someone who I’m *really* feeling stuff for, wonderful stuff. She is so lovely, beautiful inside and out, so full of life and positivity. I’m really enjoying getting to know her and being near her and…. sigh …. I’m just really feeling absolutely wonderful :slight_smile:


    I feel so good about my life. It feels amazingly wonderful. I’m not done working through everything I need to work through, but I’ve come really far. I am in a place where I feel very grounded, and where life feels very full, and I’m really happy that I’m in this place in my life.
     
    #10 baristajedi, May 14, 2020
    Last edited: May 14, 2020
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  11. chicodeoro

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    Just read this, Baristajedi - it makes me feel hopeful about my own situation, that at some point somewhere down the line I might feel a similar shaft of warm sunlight.

    Finding real happiness takes hard work and it sounds like you've really earned it. Thank you for sharing this.
     
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  12. baristajedi

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    it can feel really hard but you will get there!! ❤️
     
  13. baristajedi

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    I just realised something, well actually to be honest this last month has been a huge surge of learning for me. Today I realised that the uncertainty in early dating feels absolutely wretchedly painful for me because I’ve been connecting the uncertainty with experiences of being rejected for my sexuality. There is logic to how I got there but actually at the moment I’m drinking gin and lemonade and dancing and enjoying the uncertainty of dating! Lol I’m texting with this girl and I’ve decided that this is a step for me, embracing the flirtation, the banter, the just taking it one day at a time.... :slight_smile:
     
    #13 baristajedi, May 17, 2020
    Last edited: May 17, 2020
  14. baristajedi

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    I have some more thoughts I was hoping to share here... I have been working through some thoughts related to my last post ^^, I'll just copy/paste something I've written, hope it makes sense...

    ----

    My sexuality is beautiful, it’s powerful, it’s emotional, it’s pleasurable, it’s fun, it’s flirty, it’s shy, it’s naked, it’s brazen, it’s raw, it’s vulnerable, it’s loving, it’s aching, it’s strong, it’s delicate, it’s sweet, it’s bold….


    I’ve feared to express who I am for many years, to express what I feel, to let those parts of me out into the open, i knew it would be judged, shunned, ridiculed, repulsed. This is the source of the pain i feel sometimes. I know now, having been out for 5 years, having different kinds of experiences with women, dating, relationships, flirting, sex, that i can push myself to overcome at least half of this, I now *always* express my feelings, i lay them on the table, i don’t let an opportunity pass. I tell her she’s beautiful, i tell her how i feel, how she twists me up inside (her being not someone specific, but if I meet a woman and I feel something, I say it) I say it about women, openly, I talk about crushes, have a laugh about my one-track brain.


    But where I’ve struggled is - when i express it, i do feel vulnerable, and raw and exposed and sensitive. And then if it’s not reciprocated quickly and clearly, i get into a state. I start to question whether I’ve done something weird or strange or what she must think about me. I don’t care about being rejected, funny enough, just being judged, and I feel shame, one that really hits a core, a nerve.


    I’ve been working through a lot lately in terms of my internalised homophobia, in terms of how I approach dating, in terms of my needs, in terms of what I want from my path and from dating and relationships. And I realised through this experience with this new woman I’m dating, that actually we’re in a phase that’s supposed to be fun, where we share a bit of banter, we flirt, we sometimes brazenly express how we feel, or shyly, and sometimes don’t. We have gotten to the point of kissing, and it is amazing. Sitting next to her feeling her hand or leg or shoulder against my skin, it creates *feelings*, such amazing feelings…


    I think that when we started chatting and then decided to meet in person, I was already feeling so much better in how i approach dating. I have learned a lot about how i have, before now, been searching and focussing really obsessively on finding someone and finding something very particular. Not always the same thing - sometimes it’s sex, sometimes deep meaningful connection. I am actually pretty sure I needed to go through that phase, that obsessive phase, to push myself really hard to get through loads of barriers. And to gain some experience and to feel loads of things. But now… I’m not wanting to be in that headspace anymore. I was already working on this for a while and I feel good about how i started off with this new woman. Very relaxed and balanced in just taking it day by day, not pushing or trying to put anything particular on this relationship; instead just getting to know her and getting to know our dynamic, and deciding at each day how I like it, and what i want from it. I know what I want ultimately for myself, but with her, i want to have a lot of openness in discovering what is happening between us.



    After we kissed though, I think my heart went into a bit of overdrive, ha. And I’ve gone a few steps forward too quickly. I didn’t realise I’d done that until a couple of days ago though, because i was feeling super happy. But then a couple of days ago, I realised that it was starting to not feel happy, I was putting a lot of weight on our interactions and overanalysing little things.


    So I spent a lot of time thinking this weekend. And when I realised where my pain was coming from, that it’s actually an old remnant of internalised homophobia - basically that when I express myself I can’t deal well with not having immediate and clear reciprocation because it feels like my sexuality has been placed on a chopping block to be judged and shamed. It made me realise that the period where things are still new, and uncertain, and 2 people are just feeling eachother out, that period has always been uncomfortable for me, and that i could stand a bit of a change in perspective. I thought - what if I find this period fun? I mean, it’s supposed to be! Lol. The thing is that I think I need to give myself loads of self love in terms of my sexuality if I’m to feel comfortable with uncertainty. It will help in all the areas where I express myself. If I can remind myself that my sexuality is beautiful, incredible, all the positive things that it is, then I can feel stronger against that fear of judgment.



    I feel like this is a huge learning step for me. It feels really important that I’ve gotten to this point, and it will help me feel more healthy in my own sense of expression and in my own approaches to self and to sex and dating.



    Another thing - I realise as well that i do tend to put a lot on these experiences (dating, relationships, etc) because i am filling a hole in my life, a hole of not having had these experiences for so much of my life. But again, this doesn’t allow for healthy enjoyment of experiences, so I am trying to keep that in check as well.


    I need to remind myself - i have had a beautiful life, i am living a beautiful life, I am alive and living these experiences *now*, and isn’t this a wonderful place to be in my life? In this particular case, with this new woman, i want to enjoy that it’s new. That we don’t know yet how we feel about eachother, that we want to see where things might go, that we are little by little opening up to eachother. And that is all I know about where things are with her, and that is a lovely wonderful experience I want to embrace. There is no need to look ahead, because right now is a gorgeous experience, there’s nothing ahead of this that is somehow better.


    It’s hard for me to stay in this frame of mind, but I really do: like that i don’t know exactly how we feel about eachother, i don’t know exactly what we mean to eachother, i know that i like her, i know that i like being around her, i know that i want to see her again, i know that i really like what we’re doing right now.
     
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  15. chicodeoro

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    Thank you for sharing this Baristajedi. A new relationship is a beautiful thing but it's scary too; opening yourself up, allowing yourself to be vulnerable, and after a while skirting around, you know, that word: love.

    I hope so much that it works out the way you want and, as I said in a previous post, at a time when in my own situation I'm feeling vulnerable and fearful of what lies ahead your words give me hope!
     
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  16. baristajedi

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    I think I’ve messed things up today... I’m feeling super nervous and I think I should have waited things out to see her next time but instead I asked her really bluntly whether things were feeling off in some way. I realise now I should have just been more patient but instead, I’ve written her a message, considered removing it but didn’t and now she’s read it and I’m like ugh that was too much... I haven’t heard back from her yet...

    overall though I am growing, just making some stupid mistakes here and there Like this :grin:
     
  17. silverhalo

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    Hey I dont think you should jump to the conclusion that things are messed up. Just because she hasn't yet replied doesnt have to be a negative. Perhaps she is in the middle of doing something, or perhaps as it is a more serious message she is just having some thinking time on the reply because she wants to make sure she writes it properly.
    I am sure you thought about it before sending it so it doesnt mean it was altogether the wrong thing to do.

    How new is the relationship? I got the feeling it was quite new but then you mentioned meeting up and kissing so I am assuming that was all pre lockdown. The current circumstances are pretty difficult even for established relationships let alone new ones.
     
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  18. Landgirl

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    Hi Baristajedi,

    I'm so glad you have reached a good place to be. You and I came out round about the same time, and I can relate to so much of what you have and are experiencing. All the learning, and the experiences both good and bad, and the sense of profound satisfaction in those moments when we realise exactly how much we have accomplished. I am very happy for you.
     
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  19. baristajedi

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    So... to be honest, it's not really worth going into the details. Because i'm feeling massively stupid at the moment, just basically embarrassed at how the whole thing went. I am learning about myself though so that's a plus! I have learned from this for example, that I am super emotional and impulsive, and that i really need to like stop and relax. In so many ways. I think that's the case for parenting as well, i need to work on managing my really strong emotions. So... lessons, learning, blah blah blah. I am deeply embarrassed right now, lol. And meh, oh well, that's just how it is. I'll get over it, meet someone one day and be in a much better headspace then hopefully. Me and dating need to have a real heart to heart talk i think, lol.
     
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  20. baristajedi

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    Thank you! And it sounds like you also have reached a really good place, I'm so happy for you!!