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Struggling to fully accept myself

Discussion in 'LGBT Later in Life' started by AnxiousJB, May 6, 2020.

  1. AnxiousJB

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    Hi all,

    This may be a long thread. So I thank anyone who perseveres to the end. :slight_smile:

    Ok. So I am 27 and I have had doubts about my sexuality ever since puberty. When I hit those developing years I assumed I would be straight like everyone else, I would look at naked women and talk with my male friends about which celebrities we liked. I would develop crushes on girls in class and fantasise about being with them.

    However, one day I got the urge to look at gay stuff. So I did. I came across a rather homoerotic photoshoot of David Beckham and I realised I was attracted to him. I realised that I was far more attracted to him than I had been with any woman before, what with a raised heartbeat, a feeling of excitement and such. I experimented further and realised I was consistently attracted to men. There was a guy in class who I used to daydream about kissing.

    Although, this didn't cause me to accept myself. I've never been homophobic to others, but I wonder if I had some latent homophobia which caused me to reject myself. Despite the obvious signs of attraction to the same sex I kept seeing myself as straight. I have consistently had same sex desires bubbling up in the meantime, and each time the feelings of attraction are more intense than when I repress them, but I always would feel shame afterwards. I would always say that I find that girl in class or whatever attractive. And I would to an extent; I'd recognise that they're pretty, but could never achieve the same level of attraction. No matter how hard I tried I found it hard to feel actual attraction to women as I did with men when I did let myself be.

    Over time this would become more of a self-fulfilling prophecy. I would fantasise about being with women, have dates with them, and still convince myself that I am straight despite it all. I would say that by getting these 'crushes,' even if I found it hard to get physical signs of attraction, and by dating women I showed I was straight. Since a lot of time passed since puberty I would say to myself that it's been years and you still feel like this, still do these straight things, it shows these gay desires are not real. It doesn't help that I am straight acting. I think this has caused confusion.

    However, I have realised that I cannot go on denying myself. I have soul searched this year and have realised that I am gay. I don't want to deny it any longer, I just want to accept myself. I have realised that I can't be attracted to women. I like my female friends, but the thought of going further with them fills me with dread. I have always dreaded being intimate with women on dates or whatever. I would convince myself that it was nerves, but I know there's no excitement there as there should be if I was straight. With men it's different; when I have been around male crushes I have felt excited, I want to be intimate. I like looking at guys I find cute. Sexualised imagery of women, in films or whatever, wouldn't really do anything for me. I'd say it would, but my inner self kept telling me that I don't want to look at this. Conversely, if it was a sexualised guy in a film my eyes would be fixed on him and all inner doubts silenced until it's over and I would feel the usual shame and self-loathing for it.

    This has left me with the inevitable conclusion that I am gay. I am more at ease with it than I have been, but my experiences so far have caused a lot of baggage. I still struggle to fully accept myself; I still feel some shame. Even though I've accepted it, because I've locked it up for so long I don't fully trust myself. I keep saying you've got it wrong. But I don't want to bottle it up any longer. I am excited to tell others that I am gay. I think it'll be a surprise for them, because it's not obvious and I have not given things away, I think. However, I know they'll be supportive and will be happy for me. I've tried meditating on it and accepting myself, and it has helped somewhat, but I still find myself conflicted in how I feel. Can anyone give any suggestions as to how I can fully accept myself?
     
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  2. Fuzzy

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    It sounds to me like you're doing what you need to to get on the right road. I find talking back to the self-doubts is helpful as well as talking to people who can relate, in order to validate your own experience is helpful. I think coming out to people who you know are not going to judge or care can be helpful because then it's not a secret locked in your head, but known more broadly.

    Good luck!
     
    #2 Fuzzy, May 6, 2020
    Last edited: May 6, 2020
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  3. Rin311

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    Self acceptance is a process, and it takes time. First we have to let go of the idea we’ve had of the person we supposedly were (“I’m a straight guy who’s going through some confusion but I’ll eventually marry a woman and have a conventional family”). It’s totally normal to feel sad or depressed over losing that concept of self.
    Then we also have to process this new unfamiliar self. So you’re gay - now what? Doubting yourself and going back and forth is also common. You are trying to build a new perception of yourself, anchored in reality this time rather than wishful thinking.
    Give yourself time. Talking about it helps, even if it’s only online for now. Acting in a way that’s more in line with your real self (for example, not going on dates with women) also helps. Being honest with yourself in words and action helps. And mainly, keeping in mind that this process of self discovery is a marathon, not a sprint, and allowing yourself all the time you need to figure yourself out. Take care.
     
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  4. Spaceman

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    Hi Anxious,

    First of all, you should be really proud of yourself for taking steps to accept yourself as a gay man. It’s not easy and it takes time. There are many guys on here (including me) who didn’t come out until their 40s or later after being married to women and having kids. So hats off to you for being brave enough to become your authentic self.

    The self doubt and denial is a very normal part of coming out. We’re grasping at anything that could let us believe we are straight. Why? Because the truth is, life is a whole lot easier in many ways when you’re straight. So much of our culture, society and even our laws are built around the assumption of heterosexuality. But as you’re realizing, pretending to be something you’re not is a losing proposition. Most people who come out find the benefits of living authentically far outweigh the difficulties.

    It sounds like you’re fortunate to have people in your life who will accept you for who you are. I think you will find it much easier to accept yourself after you have come out to a few people you trust and realize it doesn’t change how they feel about you. In the closet, we spend so much time analyzing, questioning and agonizing over our sexuality, but for most everyone else, it really doesn’t matter that much.

    This is a great place for advice and support, so don’t hesitate to keep reaching out. Best of luck to you on your journey.
     
  5. Snowqueen

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    Hi, your story is kinda simular to mine, even down to the David Beckham thing, although thinking about it there were other signs earlier in my life that are obvious now, but I denied them at the time.
     
  6. quebec

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    AnxiousJB.....First of all...a very big welcome to empty closets! Second... ***HUG*** ***HUG*** ***HUG*** ***HUG*** !!! Congratulations on accepting yourself. It's not easy, and believe me, 27 is not old! I came out here on Empty Closets in December of 2014 when I was 64 years old..so 27 isn't old!! You have so many years in front of you to have a wonderful, gay life! I am so very happy for you!
    .....David :gay_pride_flag:
     
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  7. Lgbtqpride

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    Hang out with more lgbt people and people that support you. Be free and be happy.
     
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  8. Deshawn

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    Hello I am new to this site and to great at meeting new people. I would like to make same friends in the community so I can be myself. How are you?
     
  9. Deshawn

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    I know this was not written to me but it made me feel better about my own self doubt thank you
     
  10. zuice

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    One who is coming out as gay, to co-workers, who thought one was straight is a challenge. The rural business workplace is very competitive and one wants always to have an edge. In my former rural worksite, especially during break/lunch periods, I would hear crude comments from co-workers about gays. Perhaps, this was a subliminal coaching for me to come out as my co-workers often hinted that I was gay. Sometimes, the subliminal teasing is an effort to prompt one to come out. I never took the bait, because over the years with my former rural co-workers, I often heard offensive comments about gays. Coming out to my rural co-workers would have given them a platform to display their prejudices. Whatever you do, your personal life is not to be tampered with by rude comments from your work associates. Protecting myself from offensive people has always been my motto. My job is stressful and I am not paid to educate fools.
     
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  11. Snowqueen

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    So true, I'm not sure if it's just pure ignorance of they just don't know any better, after all, no one is born homophobic.
     
  12. Lgbtqpride

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    I think people are born homophobic because I found that most woman accept lgbt while most man are homophobic.
    If people are taught to be homophobic, then both woman and man should be homophobic.
     
  13. Kwekie

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    thats assuming the incentive structure to create and maintain homophobia is the same across genders, but it clearly isnt. homosexuality for men is tied up- unfairly- in the concept of not being manly. It still is the case on some level everywhere in the west, that to be gay is to be unmanned in some way. When your taught to be strong and hate weakness and taught that x is weakness, a lot of people are going to dislike it.

    women dont have that going on especially re: gay men.
     
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  14. Pedro123

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    Maybe do activities, start a new hobby, learn something new, try becoming someone admirable who society wouldn't bash for it. It certainly sucks but I think accepting yourself through rationalization isn't always 100% effective. I used to have social anxiety and was extremely awkward next to people, had few friends. The way I got over that was through starting to practice guitar intensely and starting to do super well in university and it worked wonders. Now I'm learning german and plan on becoming a polyglot by the end of 2021. You can never fully accept yourself without obvious good things about you that everyone can see and that will help you with it.
     
  15. AnxiousJB

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    Sorry for the late response everyone. Thank-you for the kind words.

    It's early days, so I am still coming to terms with it all. I am just trying to take it easy and hopefully the full acceptance will come.

    I think that's good advice, Pedro. I aim to do that somewhat by just focussing on myself and catching myself continuously thinking and rationalising this through meditation. If I can accept my homosexuality as just a part of me, rather than thinking about it constantly I'll be at the point where I am accepting myself, I reckon.
     
  16. NotTooLoud

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    Being gay doesn't make you less of a man.
     
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  17. Gayhusband

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    Wisdom. Couldn’t be any truer
     
  18. Kevins1197

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    I know how you feel I’ve been attracted to other boys for as long as I can remember, but because I still liked girls I always considered myself straight. On here is the one place that I can be openly bisexual and still feel comfortable, but deep down I think I might actually be gay.
     
  19. Contented

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    As I started to acknowledge my same sex attraction I considered myself bi but in my heart I knew the truth was I am gay. It took a little while to fully embrace the idea of being totally gay but through honesty with myself I was able to admit once and for all I was a gay man. This is not to say that bisexuality is not a true sexual identity, it certainly is just not for me.
     
  20. Pole star

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    the idea of masculinity that we are exposed to from birth (and continue to do so) is one of the main reasons why acceptance is difficult. Fear of the consequences of being gay especially family and friends pulls guys into the closet.