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Repressed

Discussion in 'LGBT Later in Life' started by Lia Maz, Apr 23, 2020.

  1. Lia Maz

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    I only a few months ago admitted to myself that I have been attracted to women all my life . I am 52. I was shocked at how I have repressed it although looking back on a religious upbringing I can see why . It was only when I developed a strong attraction for a close friend last year and also when a gay colleague died that I finally acknowledged it. I am have been married for 25 years with 2 children. I told my husband at Xmas - he was understandably distressed. I then sank into a deep depression from which I am only now coming out of. I don’t know where this is going to take me. I don’t know if I will stay in my marriage or if I need to explore this repressed side of myself. I feel confused and unhappy. I know I am attracted to women, I know I love my husband . I don’t know if I am lesbian or bisexual and I don’t know what to do. Not helped by living in a small village and in lockdown !
     
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  2. Really

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    Hey @Lia Maz

    Welcome to EC! You’re in the right place to figure this all out. Ask anything you like and vent whatever is on your mind. There are sooo many people here with very similar stories. Take a look through this section and you’ll see. We’re all here for each other so take a breath. This isn’t a race. You’ll get there in time.
     
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  3. silverhalo

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    Hey welcome to EC.
     
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  4. Snowqueen

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    Hi, welcome, we all have experienced these things to an extent, have you always had feeling like this or are they new?
     
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  5. ChescaC

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    Welcome to EC.
    Coming to terms with ones sexuality can seem daunting, but don’t worry. You’re in a safe place, we’re here to help.
     
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  6. Zombi3

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    How is your husband with you now?? Any further discussions??
     
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  7. Lia Maz

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    Thank you all.
    I panicked after posting this and asked for it to be removed but I’m sort of glad it’s still there after getting your replies.
    I think I was afraid I was attracted to my friends at 14 but denied it then. Looking back I can see many instances of being attracted to women yet it’s as if I knew it and didn’t know it at the same time. It was only a few months ago I actually acknowledged it to myself and told a friend and then my husband . He finds conversations about it extremely difficult as he fears I will leave him, thinks our marriage been a sham and is angry or sad. I don’t know where to go with this. It’s like I’ve denied it and repressed it so long I feel I can’t just bury it again now I’ve finally allowed myself to admit it. And I am suddenly very aware of women. But I don’t know what I do now.
     
  8. Snowqueen

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    Take your time, don't let anything or anybody rush you. Do you still find men attractive or are women the only gender that interest you now? Can you see yourself staying with your husband in some form of relationship? If that's possible?
     
  9. Lia Maz

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    I’m really not sure. I know I love my husband and I don’t want to hurt him. I don’t really look at other men and haven’t done for years. I do look at women though. If I could stay with him yet still explore my feelings towards women maybe that would be best but he would never agree to that - I know because I got as far as asking him .. and I don’t feel I should do it behind his back. So I’m a bit stuck and unhappy and I can’t talk to him about it.
     
  10. Snowqueen

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    Sounds do difficult for you. If you had to choose, would it be staying with your husband or being by yourself for awhile until you found a female partner? How do you feel about being a lesbian? I'm gay, and in my 50's also, took me years to admit I need to be with a man, so I can understand how stressed you are.
     
  11. Lia Maz

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    I can’t even identify with the word lesbian at the moment. I feel ashamed and I am so unsure. And choosing is so difficult. Will it be better or will it be the worst mistake I ever make and then I can’t go back?
     
  12. Snowqueen

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    Try not to worry about the word for how you feel, that's something that will come with time, If it's truly what your heart desires, live will probably be so much better, as for going back, do you mean going back to being hetrosexual? Sexuality is fluid and you can be anything you like, it's your life and you have a right to be happy. X
     
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  13. LostInDaydreams

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    Welcome to EC. :slight_smile:

    I’ve been in a similar situation - long term relationship with a man, we have one child, realised I was gay about 5/6 years in and it took me around 3 years to actually leave him. My ex was emotionally abusive, so I’ve never actually told him about my sexuality, but I can relate to a lot of what you’ve said in your posts here.

    As others have said, there’s no rush to do anything or make any decisions. With hindsight, I could/should have left my ex sooner, but it certainly didn’t feel like that at the time and you can only go as fast as you feel comfortable and can process what’s going on. I wasn’t financially independent for a lot of that relationship, which kept me stuck there, so there are practical considerations too.

    Going back to the quote above...I don’t think going behind his back is a good idea either, as well as it not being a long term solution. With regards to not hurting him...is he happy now? Are you? Will you both be happy in five years time, when potentially more resentment has built up? In the long term, is it better for both of you to separate and find people you’re both more compatible with? I’m not trying to sway you, it’s just some things to consider.

    With regards to feeling stuck and unhappy. I can relate and it’s a horrible feeling. It’s suffocating and constantly there, and must be worse in the current lockdown. It helped me to reframe the situation in my mind, so rather than thinking that I was stuck and helpless, I thought of myself as choosing to stay because I needed to find employment first or to consider my options or what suits your situation. That trapped feeling only really started to go away when I took action towards leaving my ex, and it only needs to be small steps to start with. It went away completely on the day that I left him and I just felt freedom and huge relief.

    I couldn’t identify with the lesbian label at first too, and I also had so many doubts. For me, it went up and down - one day I was sure I was gay, then the next day I was doubting it, then days became weeks, then months and eventually it stuck and the doubts went away. There’s no rush to work through what you’re feeling. I had to confront each doubt individually and knock it down, if that makes sense.

    It’s probably not an option right now, but I found therapy really helpful. Could you look into that? A lot of mine was done over the phone, so could that be an option?
     
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  14. DecentOne

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    Welcome Lia Maz,
    When I came out to myself and then right away to my wife I was surprised how much she reacted with fear, and by saying our marriage was a lie. It is almost two years later and it still hurts to remember, but it isn’t that way in our home now, so please know it can get better. My wife has come a long way to understand I love her and don’t want to leave her, and that our marriage has always been real.

    I am bisexual. I didn’t know that (or at least have a word for it) when I was younger. I knew I wasn’t gay, because I liked girls/women as I was growing through my teens into adulthood. So I found the special someone for me and married her and raised kids together to adulthood - and then about the time we were settled empty nesters my fantasies about men began to predominate. I still love my wife, but I have this whole other part of me too. I’m remaining faithful to my wife. I figure I can do that for the rest of my natural life, though I don’t think monogamy is workable in every mixed orientation marriage it can for us.

    I interviewed a counselor in the early days before figuring this out, who tried to say I could work with my wife to experiment in ways that were not Technically cheating, suggesting I could have time with a guy with her permission. I didn’t want that, but if you are following a different path forward than me, please don’t cheat on him. I’ve read too many stories of straight spouses who could accept their LGBTQ spouse’s coming out, but were deeply wounded by the cheating.
     
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  15. BiGemini87

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    Hello, Lia!

    Try not to panic (well, further; I know it's hard not to at the start of said revelation), and try not to push yourself too hard. I can't say you're one or the other--lesbian or bisexual--but I can say, from my own experience, that when I first came out as bi, I didn't check out a lot of guys either. All that time spent repressing your same-sex attraction, when you finally acknowledge it, can create a sort of backlog; you start making up for lost time by noticing the same sex a lot more. It has since evened out on my end, but realistically, I didn't look at a lot of men prior to my revelation, and I still don't check them out so much now. The fact that you haven't been checking out men much (or at all) doesn't necessary mean you're a lesbian; it might be something in your character. Some women notice every "cute" guy (I have friends like this). I only tend to notice certain types.

    It's the same with women, only I think there might be more types physically that I find attractive. This might be the case with you, coupled with your repressed side coming out--but I definitely can't say for sure. You could very well be lesbian too, and this might be your awakening.

    Definitely continue to be open and honest with your husband during this time. Make it clear you're not going anywhere (at least for the time being), and that you're just trying to figure things out. Hopefully, despite his very understandable concerns, he will give you the time you need to work through this.
     
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  16. Lia Maz

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    Thank you for this. I suppose at the moment I don’t know where this is taking me so it’s difficult to give my husband the reassurance he wants. It’s interesting that you say it was about the time you were’ empty nesters’ as it’s the same for me and I can’t help but wonder if that is significant too.
     
  17. Lia Maz

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    Your comment about a backlog of repressed feelings is so true. It’s as though I’m suddenly on alert and noticing women in a way I haven’t done before. I’m trying to just allow myself to do it and not judge myself but I feel like a hormonal teenager so yes lifting that repression seems to have released a tidal wave!
    It’s very hard to be honest with my husband about how I feel or to be able to talk any of this through with him as he really finds conversations about this very challenging and quickly gets angry or closes down completely. Generally I’m a very honest person so I don’t feel comfortable about considering being unfaithful. However I feel a strong need to allow this new side of myself to be explored some way.
     
  18. Lia Maz

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    I think your suggestion to reframe is helpful as is not going behind his back. I need to take this slowly I think but still explore what it means to me to have this whole other side that I have neglected and not known.
     
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  19. Lia Maz

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    I also just wanted to say thank to you all for taking the time and caring enough to reply. I was surprised how supported I felt by you all.
     
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  20. Peterpangirl

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    Welcome to EC, Lia Maz. It can be a very painful and traumatic experience coming out after so many years of having repressed your true sexuality. It takes time to fully accept, heal and assume a new sexual identity. I came out at 42, after marriage and children. I only understood my sexuality after mistakenly falling in unexpressed love with another woman. My marriage has ended on good terms but it was an ambivalent journey of mixed emotions including guilt, sadness, anxiety, depression, despair, joy, passion, love, anger, betrayal....I had an eighteen month relationship with a woman, which ended badly and from which I am still healing myself 16 months later. I then (perhaps rather hastily) began a new relationship with a woman and we are still together, though physically separated by the lockdown. I struggled with labels at first, but am now out to close friends and family. Some close family members have rejected and/ ignored my new identity. But being congruent with myself is an amazing and - ultimately - (though not initially) liberating experience, that has enabled me to face rejections when they come. For me it has also caused me to begin to lift the lid on some very self-limiting beliefs about my potential - in order to begin to take my life in a new direction. I truly believe that self-acceptance is key, whichever path you choose. Be compassionate with yourself. You have had a big self-revelation that has rocked your sense of self to the very core. It will doubtless take time to fully adjust to your changed perception of your reality and for your loved ones to adjust also.
     
    #20 Peterpangirl, May 2, 2020
    Last edited: May 2, 2020
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