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So was I bisexual then, or shift to it recently?

Discussion in 'LGBT Later in Life' started by DecentOne, Jun 28, 2020.

  1. JessNC

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    I get the notion of examining life choices and paths not taken kind of thinking. This implies, I think, that it will pass or one will get past the "crisis" and get back to normal. I seem to be looking at a new normal, however.

    Do you think of your reaction to the time your friend wanted to do something with you as your really not being interested or more being concerned about aids?
     
  2. Nickw

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    @DecentOne

    I can relate to the situation where your wife carries shame for being married to a bisexual. My wife doesn't want her brothers to know about my orientation. She is a little afraid of a family gathering coming up this fall with her brothers where my FWB will join us (a mountain biking trip). This is complicated by the fact that one of her brothers is my best friend and our friendship predates my relationship with my wife (he introduced us). Over some weed, camping back in the early eighties, I told him I was bisexual. We never spoke of it again and I have no idea if he remembers it. His wife has met my FWB and figured out he is gay. So, I'm guessing they've figured it out. But, my wife is still afraid of what her family will think of her. So, as in your case, my wife is part of my closet.

    Back to your subject of the "switch" in your sexuality. Your post that you had a friend proposition you at one time is interesting. I'm not an expert on this but do you think you might have been giving him a vibe about your sexuality? I've been propositioned twice by men. Once by a bisexual when I was 22. Once by a bartender when I was considering coming out a few years back. Both times I was very attracted to the guys. Both times they picked up on it and acted.
     
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  3. Bastion

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    [
    QUOTE="DecentOne, post: 6707636, member: 89778"]Yes, I’m fine with who I am, and what I discover about myself. The 1992 conference doesn’t quite fit the “some part of this was there all the time” narrative I’d been building, so that’s why this thread got started.

    I am sorry that the person I love and chose to be with has trouble with it. I honor our love, and I am monogamous, so it is just the sexual orientation itself which is a cause of trouble, and the fear that my shift could happen again and then I’d be gay. She doesn’t have trouble with anyone else who is LGBTQ. I gave her control over the coming out process from the beginning, because of her fear and shame over my self-discovery. Recently she brought up that I’d worn my pride wristband to a family wedding last year (I wear it every day), even though she told me I was not to come out to her family. I didn’t mention it to family, and most of the time it could not be seen under my dress shirt sleeve. Before the wedding she had said she was going to bring up my bisexuality to siblings if the moment was right and she was alone with them privately, but even though those moments presented themselves she didn’t feel comfortable to go through with her plan. But she did finally tell them a few months ago, and while it was uncomfortable for her to “admit” she has a bisexual husband, I’m still completely accepted (I knew I would be) and they are not shaming her or gossiping (I knew they wouldn’t). But my wearing my wristband was still bothering her, still on her mind a year later. On the other hand, with counseling, she has now chosen to put a rainbow pride magnet on our cars as of this summer. Things get better, but not in a straight line.[/QUOTE]


    Where does the concept of shame come from anyway as it relates to one’s sexual expression?

    I have seen it talked a lot about here? When I think about it. I feel it can arise only from people who constantly shame other people about what they have done.
     
  4. OnTheHighway

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    Bastion, as you see there is a lot of discussions relating to shame. I would suggest doing a search and you can read tons of good threads on it. Here is one that might be particularly helpful, but many many more exist:

    https://forum.emptyclosets.com/index.php?threads/continuing-to-deal-with-underlying-shame.474505/
     
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  5. DecentOne

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    I don’t consider this temporary. Mid-life reexamination is different from a temporary crisis - I’m finding this time to be a chance to reacquaint myself with my wife (as empty nesters, no longer centered on the children), figure out this last stage of my career, and embracing this new-found fantasizing about guys all the time.

    I was not interested. But without the fear of AIDS I might have been a nice friend and let him do what he wanted to do. I was very much into trying to be nice at that stage of my young adulthood. He was respectful and didn’t keep pressing when I said no.
     
  6. DecentOne

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    I don’t know. I may have been one of those guys the younger Empty Closets posters fret about in the Friends and Family section of the forum (“Is my friend straight? Is he just being a close friend or should I tell him what I’m feeling? Help me figure out the signals I’m getting”). He may have been just a horny young adult male wanting release before the night ended. Of the people I’ve come out to, only one person said they picked up on a vibe from me, a person who identified as lesbian, at a work conference at least a decade or two ago, and they said something to me at the time (back when my kids were young). They were surprised to hear I was married with kids and decided their gaydar was off. I’ve since crossed paths with that person again at a more recent work conference (pre-COVID), came out, and said it turned out their gaydar was partly right! :slight_smile:
     
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  7. DecentOne

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    @Nickw I thought of another possible “picked up on vibe” moment a few years later:
    Two female colleagues knew I was trying to save money to go on a work trip, and offered that I could skip making a housing reservation and plan to use the spare bed in their hotel room. They had discussed it in advance with each other and their husbands (who were not going), and all had agreed that it was safe to have this particular unmarried young guy there in the room for a few nights. Maybe they knew I was a good guy who wasn’t going to be crude (True), maybe they read a vibe? This was pre-1992 conference.

    I think I’d already mentioned in this or other threads that one of my college roommates and his girlfriend had a discussion between themselves when I wasn’t around, that they thought perhaps I was gay, and that that was fine with them if I was. She told me later about that. I wasn’t offended, I was amused as I thought she was really hot and would have told her so except for not wanting to break “the guy code” with my roommate (as he found her first. Did you get taught that code back in the day, not to come on to your friend/roommate’s girl?).
     
  8. Nickw

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    yeah. That stupid rule that kept me and a girl I was totally into apart. I think what happens sometimes is that you get to know someone who is off limits and you develop a friendship and become closer because you don’t have to play the game. Then you find out there’s more.

    I’ve wondered sometimes, and I think I might have mentioned it before, that it seems like when you were younger that you were attracted too and by a lot of women. I was that way. I didn’t hook up often at all because I was just too respectful. Maybe that’s why I always had a lot of women friends. But, I was constantly being stimulated by this exposure. I was always so horny for one or another of them all the time.

    It made it easy to look the other way on my same sex attractions and believe them not to be real. I’ve always liked women more than men and having sexual desires for them too made it a slam dunk...”straight”. Right...
     
  9. Bastion

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    So where do you find yourself now on this journey. Any updates or news to share. Since a lot of us on this section of the forum are going through similar issues. I feel it’s good to talk about it. Maybe the more we talk about it the more we get closer to resolving things.
     
  10. DecentOne

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    Definitely, Empty Closets has been incredibly helpful to me. I’m not that far ahead of folks. Chip once said that it is hard for late-in-lifers. Maybe because we’ve lived straight for so long? Maybe because we know the comfort of a life lived this way? In my case, and it sounds like @Nickw ’s and others too, because I’m bi, and have worked the hetero-working side well enough that the same-sex stuff randomly showing up now and then was “extra” and not central. Except for me the male/male fantasies came roaring forward to dominate things, no longer quiet in the background.

    This part of the journey I’m looking over my past, and reinterpreting events, moments, and seeing things in new ways. I remember somebody here on EC a couple years ago mentioned it was like watching “The Sixth Sense” movie the second time. No spoilers, but the Bruce Willis character gets a major insight, and suddenly everything that made sense before falls into a completely different meaning. I don’t have anything that dramatic, but I do yearn to have that happen. I am willing to work towards it.

    The other part of my journey is trying to have my life partner on the journey with me. That’s how I phrased it in my coming out to my wife - a journey. I don’t control her emotions, but I can show her I’m still me, and still loving and committed to “us”. If I figure out something here on EC, it helps me explain myself better to her.

    The more I reflect on Empty Closets, the more I can see if my view of my life is becoming clearer. This thread was started out of the confusion I have about how to describe the shift I felt. My vocabulary does not fit the standard story. So many folks talk about “I’ve always been this way” but I’m not getting the most sense out of that narrative. I have plenty of re-examined moments that say “this isn’t foreign to you DecentOne”. But the 1992 conference does not seem to have fit the new narrative I was building.

    I like the shift description I use (hence my typewriter image of a Shift Key). Typewriters were built so that the whole mechanism could do upper and lower case (and special characters) with some pressure and leverage. My internal shift key put everything on capital “M” male orientation. Or maybe Hetero was with a finger constantly mashed on the Shift Key, and in later life that leverage was released and I’m typing all lower case. Either way, I think I was built for both CAPS and lower case.

    I’m glad for the folks who have challenged, questioned, and helped by sharing their stories too.
    I’m fine with who I am. I’ve got an active fantasy life. I used to have ways of being part of the LGBTQ family, but COVID-19 shut that down, so that’s sad, but I had enough to get me nourished in my beginning stages. At this stage of the journey I embrace all of me.
     
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  11. Bastion

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    Thanks for sharing that. I have also been looking into finding better ways to explain myself to her and to my family. I guess I want to reach a better understanding of myself first maybe before I can be more convincing to others. I don’t know yet how long this will take and what will be the end result but am trying to be optimistic and positive about it.

    I like the movie analogy. I have seen it so I get what you mean.

    Also the shift key and lower case and caps. Make sense. It is a big shift in a way for us. That’s why it’s harder I guess.
     
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  12. Jonboy70

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    Your story is familiar and interesting for me. I’m 50 and have recently realised (or accepted) that I’m bisexual. I’m happily married to a woman (have been with her for 27 years), and only really even noticed my bi feelings around 5-7 years ago.

    I too look back at my earlier life for clues to try and distinguish whether I’ve undergone a change of orientation or have just accepted or noticed what was always there, and I don’t know the answer. The only even vaguely sexual contact I’ve had with a man was back in university when (in an unusual circumstance) I made a bit of a move on my housemate. He rebuffed me and asked if I was gay. The weird thing is that at the time I thought it was an odd question, and never even noticed that my approach was indicative of being non-heterosexual!!

    I’ve had other hints across the years (eg being turned on by a book of gay erotica I found in a friends house, other small things like that) but again it didn’t register with me!

    I think my late realisation is because broadly speaking I feel heteroromantic. I just didn’t know that I was sexually attracted to men until I saw gay porn. But this isn’t just a ‘hetero’ interest in gay porn. I realise I’m very sexually attracted to the men (not the porn, which I don’t like much).

    For me, looking back is just a matter of interest. I’m very lucky. I’m comfortable with being bi, and I told my wife and she was unbothered. I don’t feel the need to experience sex with a man (in the same way that I don’t want to go out and have sex with other women who I find sexually attractive). I can satisfy my same sex urges when I get a bit or time on my own! Perhaps it would have been good to have realised earlier, before I met my wife, but you can’t have everything in life!!
     
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  13. DecentOne

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    Thanks for sharing your very similar story Jonboy70!

    Yes, my fantasy life when I’m alone goes a long way. Sadly I’ve felt the bisexual part of me has died, and I’m depressed about that. It affects my total sexuality too. I’m blaming COVID-19 for the feeling of deadness inside, because when I could be active socializing in-person with groups of LGBTQ folks it was fun and reinforced this invisible part of me. I’ve been watching the LA Outfest (LGBTQ films featured) this week in an attempt to get back that feeling of connection to the wider LGBTQ community. Maybe it will work.

    When watching “Cured” on the streaming film festival (about the Psychiatric community changing their manual that said homosexuality was a mental illness) it reminded me my Mom mentioned the change. This was the mid-1970’s, because the APA Board voted in Dec. 1973, and the membership voted by referendum in April 1974, but I think my Mom mentioned it in 1975 or 1976. My memory is hazy, but she was saying something about if I wanted to go to a therapist she could find one who was more progressive, who embraced that rule change. I was bewildered at the time - because like you and your reaction to your roommate I thought it was an odd comment from my Mom since I liked girls (so I must be heterosexual). I believe my Mom had spotted something about me, and did many things over those early years to try to let me know it was ok. By the time I came out to her a couple years ago she didn’t remember those moments from 40 years before, but she was of course still fully accepting.

    If I had realized it before I met my wife, she would have friend-zoned me. That would have been terrible, because despite the pain of her words and lack of trust of me when I came out, I think we match pretty well overall and we raised our kids to adulthood and they are great. (And I did “heterosexual” really well, so how would she have guessed it if I didn’t even know it myself?)

    As of today I think I was mildly showing signs of bisexuality in adolescence and perhaps still some vibes in college, then swung over to full hetero especially as we married and raised a family, and then in late mid-life (empty nest time) that adolescent bi guy came back out (Bi. Will. Not. Be. Ignored.!).

    Welcome to E.C.! When you get a few more posts you’ll be able to post and respond to messages on your board. I’d be glad to chat more about similarities.
     
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  14. Fuzzy

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    You are what you are and I don't think it is constructive or important to dwell too much on trying to redefine the past.
     
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  15. DecentOne

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    I have had a similar message from my first and second therapists: the important thing is knowing myself now, and navigating life now. My wife differs, she wants to know if this was in my past, and if not what caused the shift, because it is very scary to her and she wants to place blame somewhere. If it was clearly there before we met, then why did I lie? If it wasn’t there before, that means I became bi out of nowhere and could suddenly become even more into guys and leave her, and that seems so random and scary for her.

    For me looking back is a good mid-life thing anyway. A little along the lines of remembering “hey, DecentOne you used to take painting lessons when you were an adolescent, then your interest went away, does that memory remind you of your wholeness?” Except I don’t feel a need to do art, and I very much fantasize about guys, more than in the past.

    I was glad to figure out I’m bisexual. It is nice to realize most everyone is fine with it (with the one exception). I am sad that it is dying during COVID-19.
     
  16. Nickw

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    @DecentOne

    You’ve mentioned that your wife wants to know if you knew you were bisexual because it is important she place place blame somewhere. Does your wife not feel the Kinsey study had validity. That sexuality is a spectrum?

    I know you are on a study of self reflection. Which I feel is a good thing. But, let’s assume for a moment that Kinsey was right. That MANY of us are, actually, bisexual. If that is true then maybe this self reflection is really not about discovering a shift in sexuality, it is really about trying to understand why those same sex attractions, that were always there, are more important now?

    This was me. Always bisexual, always knew, always boxed away those attractions as not important.

    Now, they are important for me. They, apparently, are important to you. Why seems to be an important question.
     
    #36 Nickw, Aug 28, 2020
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2020
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  17. DecentOne

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    I like the way you phrased this. “Why are they more important now” is a different way of asking the question.

    I’m not sure the difference will help my wife (who is advancing at her own pace, and gave me rainbow car magnets this summer, but still gets anxious about this). The question she asks is “Why not then??? Why now?? - “there was nothing to hold you back, you would not lose your job, your parents would have accepted it, your religion is fine with it.” I like the question why is it more important now?

    I don’t have the transformative catalyst person, as some folks talk about here. You’ve talked about your crucial moment being approached by the bartender. I don’t think, for me, it has to do with any particular person.
     
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  18. Bastion

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    I too find this a good question. Why now? Why is it important now? It has crossed my mind and I have been even asked that. Along with why did you get married? Why did you not separate? And the answer is I don’t really know. What I do know is that I have been reflecting and thinking about the matter of sexuality, and attraction a lot lately. Still working through it. Is it because am rebelling against the idea of monogamy, marriage, kids, and the heteronormative script and that I maybe want to live a single life and date again? Is it just a phase? Or not? These are questions am beginning to ask myself.