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Therapy...HELP!

Discussion in 'LGBT Later in Life' started by Ph0eNiX21, May 3, 2021.

  1. Ph0eNiX21

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    So today I had my second therapy session and I’m not really sure how to feel about it. To start I’m 29, married to a man, w/ 2 young children. I’ve had an attraction towards women for as long as I can remember but I’ve always pushed those feelings deep down out of fear and shame, and strictly dated men. If I’m honest I’ve never really been “in love” with any man I’ve had a relationship with, even my husband. I do love and care for him, but I’ve always felt like something is missing. In recent months I’ve come to somewhat accept that I am only attracted to women both physically and emotionally but being that I’m married with children I’ve found myself kind of lost so I sought therapy in hopes of finding some way through this.


    When talking with my therapist she kind of insinuated that since I’ve never actually been with a woman, how can I be sure that I am a lesbian. She further went on to suggest that I go out and find other lesbians to talk with and “befriend” and see where things go. And by doing this then I’ll know if I’m really only attracted to women and I can make a decision on how to proceed with my marriage etc.....


    To me it just feels way off to suggest that I go off and cheat on my husband with a woman to find out if I’m a lesbian. Am I overreacting to her suggestions?


    Did anyone who was questioning their sexuality find that by being with someone who identifies that way somehow helped confirm your own sexuality?


    Any advice is appreciated!
     
  2. Unsure77

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    So, my original therapist suggested I just go out in public and note who caught my eye. See who I was drawn to (and I got a very clear answer). Maybe even watch some lesbian movies or read some lesbian novels and see how that makes you feel. Also, it sounds like she’s not overtly suggesting a full blown affair. Maybe she really did mean you just meet some lgbt women and make friends and see how that makes you feel. Maybe ask your therapist for clarification and express your concerns. Be honest with her.
     
    #2 Unsure77, May 3, 2021
    Last edited: May 3, 2021
  3. Chip

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    Yikes.

    Short answer: You have the wrong therapist. Either she is utterly inept in her understanding of sexual orientation and how it works, or she is utterly inept in communicating about it.

    The typical retort to "how can you know if you've never been with anyone of the same sex" is... "Well then, I assume that you must have had a few hookups with same-sex partners to assure yourself you were straight, correct?" What's good for the goose is good for the gander, and somehow the folks that suggest this (who are invariably straight) don't seem to get this... and are mortified when it's suggested to them. But usually they see the point.

    So, for the record, NO, you do not need to "go hang out with lesbians" and it is absolutely appalling that your therapist suggested you cheat on your husband. This is antithetical to what we have suggested here at EC and arguably an ethical violation on the therapist. A further indication that your therapist is inept is... therapists are never supposed to give advice. It goes completely against what therapy is supposed to be about, which is helping the client explore their own wishes.

    In short... I think you need a new therapist. Some folks say that a gay client needs to go to a gay therapist. I vehemently disagree with that (and in some cases, recommend against it, simply because there are so many wounded and unhealed gay therapists who do more harm than good.) But it is crucial, if your therapist is straight, that s/he has a lot of experience with LGBT clients and understands their needs and issues. A competent therapist, straight or gay, would never tell you what this therapist told you, nor would s/he suggest you go and cheat on your spouse.
     
    Lyman, Nic2552, Theoislost and 4 others like this.
  4. Chip

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    This is much more competent advice, and pretty standard fare for a therapist with a questioning client. Even the above is a little more directive than I'd consider ideal, but pretty harmless.

    Even if we give the benefit of the doubt, even the idea of going out and meeting up with a lesbian to make friends and "see what it's like" when one is married and questioning one's sexuality is playing with fire and absolutely not a good idea to suggest to someone.
     
  5. Lemony

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    I agree with every word Chip has said here. You need a new therapist.
     
    #5 Lemony, May 3, 2021
    Last edited: May 3, 2021
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  6. justaguyinsf

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    Was your therapist suggesting an affair? It's not clear from what you've written. If you don't know any lesbians it seems like it might be a good idea to meet some as friends, although it would probably be awkward to do so on the pretext of deciding if you're a lesbian. Also, it seems like you already sense some attraction from women without actually having had sex with one, so I'm not sure what is to be gained from trying to meet lesbians. Remember also that talk therapy has its limitations and, in my experience, is often not helpful in helping make life decisions but is good for dealing with emotional and mental-health crises. There are a lot of things you can and should do for yourself in deciding the direction to go, including considering the practical ramifications of possibly becoming single and sharing custody of your children.
     
  7. Tightrope

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    I sympathize with you. Therapy is hard enough without knowing if you have the right therapist or not. They can have studied all the right subjects and passed all the right tests, but it doesn't mean much if they can't work with a broad range of people. My last therapist told me that a good therapist should be able to work with all clients on sexuality issues. Basic sexuality and relationships should be something they should understand. If it has an urgent or dangerous aspect, then they need to refer upward. But your situation is similar to what a lot of members here have come across if they are or have been married, so your therapist should be able to work with it.

    I am having my own issues with therapy right now. I believe in therapists who do not have a "one size fits all" solution for sexuality and relationship concerns. These kinds of therapist have not taken sides because sometimes sexuality is unclear and fluid. Socializing with people of different sexual orientations because you have or had them as friends would seem normal and healthy. Friends are friends. A lot of people have LGBT friends and family members throughout their lives. Insinuating that you should experiment to know for sure is crossing the line. I also see that consulting with lesbians you could drum up to see if you're a lesbian or not is probably not helpful. They might see it one way. A therapist who is neutral, knows sexuality issues well, and is a good therapist for you can help you work through this more objectively.
     
  8. Nic2552

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    I agree with what everyone said above in the comments. You will realize by reading old forums on here that there’s a lot of people who have gone through or is experiencing what your going through right now.
    For instance, I always knew I was different. I didn’t have to be sexually or imitate with another female to realize I was into woman. It took me a long time to accept myself . I suppressed myself for so many years based on my own insecurities and just wanting to be “normal “. My situation is different from yours because I never had children or gotten married with a man. However, what you are feeling is exactly what I felt in the past before I just accepted myself. I’ve dated lots of guys and had sex with males. Until I was 22 years old, I couldn’t take living a lie, I needed to be honest with myself,I drove myself in a dark place. I met my now girlfriend , we been together for 8 years. Before her I never done anything with another female, I was to afraid. This place is my counseling because I met a lot of people who understand me and can help me when it comes to sexuality. I personally haven’t found a lgbt counselor... I ran into a lot of lgbt friendly counselors which is different ..
    But Good luck ..