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No clue until later in adulthood?

Discussion in 'LGBT Later in Life' started by RedRover75, May 6, 2014.

  1. RedRover75

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    Hi all, somewhat new to the forum. First post here. I am thinking about coming out but had a question about sexuality.

    I am 39 and have known for a long time that I was attracted to men but for plenty of reasons it was simply repressed. I am coming to terms with all of this now.

    I have been seeing a counselor who has been very helpful in assisting me in working out my sexuality. She told me that some people have no idea they are bisexual or homosexual until their 30's or later (i.e. these people think they are exclusively heterosexual and the idea of homosexual behavior has never crossed their mind).

    Has anyone on here had similar experiences? Did it just take meeting the right person that changed your mind? Reading through different threads it subjectively seems like it may be more common in women than men but I have no evidence to support that.

    It just seems to me that sexuality is somewhat innate and deviations from the norm (exclusive heterosexual) would be apparent at an earlier age (as it was for me), but as I learn more about myself and others, I wonder if this is actually the case.

    Thanks to everybody in advance.
     
  2. SaleGayGuy

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    Hi RedRover75

    Welcome to EC, you have found the best place to find answers to your questions. I joined EC last year and was surprised how many other guys were discovering they were gay later in life and often like me after they had been married for a long time. After only a few months of support and friendship from others on the site I was able to come out to my wife, something I would have never imagined doing.

    You will find all sorts of combinations of self-discovery on this site; I have included a link to my blog detailing my own discovery in my mid-40s. http://emptyclosets.com/forum/blogs/salegayguy/6683-blog-entry-1-discovering-i-gay-my-mid-40s.html

    All the best

    Sale Gay Guy
     
  3. MfromA

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    What you're going through is pretty common based on what I've read here and elsewhere. Some of these people have had marriages and kids before fining out they are gay (a lot of men in that category). Some, like me, simply started re-evaluating things as they got into their 20s and 30s and had no strong attraction to the opposite sex.
     
  4. Choirboy

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    I think a lot of us recognized the attraction to men - I certainly did, from my teens on - but for assorted reasons, I was never really able to put it all together. "Gay", in my head, was always more a "lifestyle choice", based on every negative stereotype in existence, than a hard-wired orientation. It was a "lifestyle" that I could absolutely not see my self ever fitting into, a complete misrepresentation of every other part of my personality. Obviously, that was a terrible, crashing misconception, and it took decades to realize just how wrong I was.

    So for me, the fact that I liked guys was NOT a lightning bolt out of the blue. The lightning bolt was realizing that there was no "lifestyle" or "choice" involved (other than accepting it). I was the absolute same person I always was, being attracted to guys didn't change that one iota, and it didn't mean that I had to live my life in any manner other than the way I already did. (Except for the straight marriage, or course, which I'm still ironing out.) I didn't so much realize I was gay, as I realized what being gay really meant, and that it wasn't the devastating scrambling of my life that I thought it would be. If anything, it made an awful lot of things make far more sense than they ever did before.
     
  5. Linux Lenny

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    I think it is not uncomment for someone to realize that he is gay later in life , you can see here ,especially in the later in life section, that there are many people who find out about being gay in their 30's 40's .. etc .

    For me , I knew that I am different since early age but didn't know what did this mean . I became more aware of being gay in my 20's but refused to accept it or even to think about it . I regret being in closet for such a long time because I think the closet did a lot of damage to my life .I hope I figured it out earlier , I only admitted it to myself that I am gay last year which was some kind of trauma to me . But now I am wearing the new identity and I am loving it .

    You came to right place , EC is such a wonderful forum .
     
  6. jnr183

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    Probably not too helpful for you but like others I was attracted to men from a very young age. However, I never identified with common gay stereotypes so I always gravitated to straight friends. Like others, I yearned for acceptance from society and tried really hard to be a straight man (either consciously or subconsciously). This lasted for almost 32 years!

    It took a number of events to align- being unhappy in a deteriorating heterosexual relationship, encountering frustrations with my job, living in a location I geographically didn't want to live in, and silently falling in love with my presumably heterosexual male friend- to make me step back and reassess that being honest with my sexuality is a key to happiness.

    I have also wondered what triggers make people realize later in life that they would rather be with someone of their own gender when they hadn't sensed that attraction in adolescence or young adulthood.
     
  7. CyclingFan

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    "I have also wondered what triggers make people realize later in life that they would rather be with someone of their own gender when they hadn't sensed that attraction in adolescence or young adulthood."

    I've struggled with anxiety and depression on and off for at least 20 years. Well, the anxiety seems to go back further. I'd finally gotten enough therapy/work on myself etc to start asking myself questions that I hadn't answered before. I think I'd just panic or tell myself I didn't have time for that due to work etc.

    So maybe it was less a trigger for me than a lack of having my trigger pulled.
     
  8. biggayguy

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    In my case it was more like I knew I liked guys and it scared the HELL out of me. My parents took me to churches that taught that gays are going hell, no exceptions. Funny incident; When I was a teenager I had oral sex with a guy in the church parking lot. (!) It was during a church softball game. No one was paying attention to us so we went on the other side of the building. There were several encounters like that but I never admitted to being bi' or gay until I was thirty five.
    :bang:
     
  9. CyclingFan

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    Oh, I definitely had church stuff too.

    Using the idea of god to keep your kids scare your kids into obedience is abhorrent. Made it hard to come to terms with the stuff in there that I really like, that's really good.
     
  10. Melanie

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    I had clues but dismissed all of them.

    My first sexual experience (not actually having sex) was with a girl right around puberty. I always thought I was attracted to boys... had crushes on them.

    I had other fleeting moments of "am I gay?" with other peoples reaction to me.

    For me there was probably an undercurrent of always thinking I may be but never believing it was an option.
     
  11. Yossarian

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    What Choirboy said. You know you are different, but you just can't put together what it means, in my case with no examples of what it means to go by. All you see is other guys talking about girls and focussing on girls, and you not finding them very interesting. I still see it that way; nothing has changed. There is how you feel, and there is what you are supposed to do, and they don't match up, so you do what you are supposed to do, like everyone else is doing, and wonder why it seems so meaningless to you as you go through the motions, assuming it is just as meaningless to everyone else. Just people doing what people do, as nature intended.

    Then one day, maybe when you are ten, maybe when you are 50, something happens and all of a sudden you put the pieces together. Oh F**K, I am one of THEM; the ones other people may be guessing I am if I'm not careful 24/7; the ones who some other people hate for no good reason; the ones the religious zealots think are going to Hell; the ones who get strung up or put in jail in some countries; the ones the Boy Scouts think might be a pedophile; the ones the Republicans want to prevent from marrying and living a normal life for who I am; the ones being discriminated against, not one of the white privileged ones as I always thought I was and have been accepted as.

    No wonder it never made sense; no wonder what worked for them didn't work for me; I am not like the rest of the boys/men; I am one of the 5% or 10% or whatever the number is; I am 100% of one of the 5%, not 5% gay and 95% straight; I am 100% gay inside where it counts. That is why it never made sense what the other people were feeling, because I am different. Now what, at this late date, am I going to do about it, if anything, when there is so little time left and so few options available to me, none of them very palatable. So many wrong actions that are too late to be made right even if I wanted to. I am gay; I was always gay; I just didn't know it; I do now. BFD. Put down the computer and go do what you are supposed to do. "I'll worry about it tomorrow, for tomorrow is another day".
     
  12. greatwhale

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    The clues were there, no doubt about that, but until the mind believes in the possibility of being less than straight, those clues will not be discovered, or understood.
     
  13. Kate Lee

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    ^^^^ This (the bold) At first I thought that I was just a late bloomer, but it lasted far too long for that... I had just about enough interest in boys and men to not question my sexuality but nowhere near enough to really understand other girls and women and their fascination with them.

    I never understood the dressing up (or walking on uncomfortable heels) and usually only do so when absolutely necessary. At one point I actually realized with a jolt that they were dressing up for the men, that's why they were going through so much trouble!, and I couldn't understand that either. I figured you should dress up for yourself. But now, when I think about dating (at one point in the future) I can understand wanting to dress up and look your best :slight_smile:
     
  14. PacificNWbiGuy

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    This rang true for me, thank you.

    I too am 39, and have only recently put the clues and the questions on the same page, as it were. I grew up in a Catholic family, at that time it was definitely all fire and brimstone, guilt, and all that isn't a man and a woman was evil and a sin. I quit church after High School grad, been a FEW years but I still struggle with reprogramming my thought patterns to accept that I am not straight. Bringing up the nature vs. nurture argument, nature was telling me I liked both while nurture was telling me to be straight. It was VERY confusing for a very long time!
     
  15. TTSP

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    Thanks for this, this is exactly what I feel and have felt. My life in a few paragraphs.. I saw this onion article recently.. I thought it ws funny in a tragic way :slight_smile:

    Son, I’ll Always Love You Whether You’re Straight Or A Closeted Gay
     
  16. looking for me

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    looking back now, the attraction was there but i clamped it down, hard. coming out when i was a kid, one who got beaten up and pretty much tortured while growing up was a sure way to end up face down in a ditch in a bloody heap. and later as a military man, official positions of the Canadian Forces be damned, you kept that to yourself and fit the hetro mold. i got real good at covering. add to that a marriage with a kid to a woman who will not be accepting when she finds out after the divorce and custody is ironed out ( he's staying with me) i kept it "undercover" for sure.

    it was after we split and i could relax and let my self open to myself that the old attractions came back and i didn't fight them this time, then it sort of hit me out of the blue (as it were) that i am Bi. i posted a couple of threads about it. By the way, i am 47 so late to the party is my lot. at least im at the party....
     
    #16 looking for me, May 8, 2014
    Last edited: May 8, 2014
  17. CyclingFan

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    I've had fleeting moments too. Although lately they've felt more like a Mack Truck. :wink:

    I've been in a very calm place. I had a little weed, a beer in hand. The evening weather was perfect. I'd ridden the day before. Basically, I felt fan fricking tastic. And I thought, what could make this better. And some, let's call it basically your real, super gay act that even thinking about will send ya to Hell. And for the first time in a long time, I allowed myself to say, yeah, yeah that does sound pleasant. Like, super pleasant.

    And part of me is still like, are you serious? You want to take on all that, now? After all that's gone on, with a wife who really loves you?

    But the more I allow myself to say to myself, the more I feel like "I'm home". There's tension that leaves my body. The world feels brighter. It makes more sense.

    And I worry about being alone. And I think that's just something they told us would happen, cause that's how they used to make it happen. But I'm not alone.

    I want to love and be loved. Maybe that's going to be a bit more "penisy" for me than my parents etc thought it was going to be but what ya gonna do?
     
  18. wanderinggirl

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    CyclingFan... hahahahahhaa "penisy"

    Seriousliy though the fear of being alone is what drove me to deny to myself my attractions in the first place! I thought it would make me different from my friends and I would lose them forever, and that I would never find other friends (I was like in middle school when these thoughts first popped up; things get blown out of proportion at that age). Anyways I'm still struggling to get over this, and in some contexts revert to acting straight or playing up my attraction to guys to fit in, which is stupid and I should stop.

    But the fear of being alone is still there, and it's threatening to pull me back into the closet.
     
  19. StellarJ1

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    i am in my late 30's and I just was hit over the top of the head with this news for the first time only a year ago. It was a message that came from somewhere very deep down and rose to the top.

    The things that we do for survival are hard to fathom. Fear is powerful.

    I feel grateful that I am giving myself the opportunity to be honest and a chance to be happy. I didn't realize that this was an option and I have to keep convincing myself that it is okay.

    Maybe it is just a matter of feeling. Maybe we don't feel fully when we are younger and we get used to it? Or maybe we get scared off enough times that feeling becomes a dangerous endeavor? I know that I have learned to syphen off feeling after getting the little doses of feeling that I need to survive.

    If are repressing our sexuality, then we are not giving ourselves permission to be our own, honest person. I think that I gave away that part of myself, in hope that I would be loved and included, from the very beginning and it grew out of control.
     
    #19 StellarJ1, May 8, 2014
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  20. paris

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    What Yossarian and Kate Lee said.
    Growing up I had absolutely no idea. The girls around me wanted to date boys, wanted to look good for them but I've never felt that way. I never dreamed of marrying a guy.
    I remember once a boy came to my house and all I could think of was "could you just leave". When taking dancing class I was usually dancing with the same boy who, looking back, I think liked me, but it never occurred to me to even kiss him. Being different I didn't know what to think about myself and I didn't know that dating a girl was an option because I grew up in a strictly gay-free environment.
    At 35 yo, after meeting a lesbian girl on twitter, it hit me that I could be attracted to women. I started craving all the English TV shows that portray lesbian characters (something you can't watch in my country) and read f/f fanfics. I realized that when I close my eyes I see myself with a woman, I dream of women, I'm aroused by women, yet I'm struggling to truly accept myself. I have so many fears... and a boyfriend of 13 years. Ugh.
     
    #20 paris, May 9, 2014
    Last edited: May 9, 2014