Trying to figure myself out

Discussion in 'Relationships' started by AnotherDizzy, Sep 22, 2016.

  1. AnotherDizzy

    AnotherDizzy New Member

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    Ok, I don't want to sound silly or naive, but I probably will anyway, so here goes.
    I have thought of myself as straight most of my life. Not 100%, but close enough to. I had a short crush on a girl I worked with when I was 18, which I kept to myself and never really thought about in the 15 years or so since.
    I have been engaged or married to my husband now for 14 years.
    Over the last couple of years, I've had more close relationships with women who identify as queer or lesbian and met other people through them who I've also become acquaintances with. I have had an ongoing (again, secret) crush on a trans man acquaintance, both physically and intellectually. I have started questioning myself on and off as to whether I am actually straight, or if I'm bi or queer or who even knows? And is it important to me know really know what I identify as? And if I'm happily married then does it make a difference? Is it a part of truly knowing myself? And what if I decided that I did identify as something else, I can't act on it because I am married? I just don't know the answer to any of these questions. What do you think?
     
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  2. mariannek2u

    mariannek2u Well-Known Member

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    Hi! Questions like these are difficult and almost never have a simple solution. But let me ask you. What if you would identify as Bi...why would that change your marriage? If you are in love with your husband you can still be Bi without acting on it...right? Or is there more to just wondering if you are?? Sorry maybe some questions are not well formulated lets say they got lost in translation
     
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  3. Bluenote

    Bluenote Well-Known Member

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    I don't being to pretend I know how to advise someone on how to:
    1) question their sexuality while in a marriage
    2) be bi and stay monogamous (plenty of bi people do, I'm just not bi and can't advise on it)
    3) stay faithful if you have never gotten to 'sow your wild oats' (with women at least.)

    I hate to play the therapy card, but I think you have enough going on and enough at stake that it's above the pay grade of free advice types.

    I really do hope you get it all sorted. I know how disconcerting/ painful it can be to be unsure of one's identity.

    edit:
    I guess I wanted to add that I would feel terrible if I (a lesbian) said something that was incorrect about being how anyone should handle being bi. And I would feel really terrible if I gave dumb advice that messed up your marriage.

    I don't think that you are a "unicorn," there are plenty of married bi men and women out there. And there are plenty of bi / gay women who come out at all different ages. (I have heard of women coming out in their late 60s and even 70s). There is a pretty powerful thread on here "I just came out to my husband," maybe you will find it helpful.

    I can't offer advice, but I can offer support. I do think that you can figure this out. I do know that plenty of people question their sexuality while in relationships. I do know that it is possible to be attracted to other people and balance that with being faithful and happy in a relationship. I know that doing any kind of self or relationship examination can be hard, but that people come out of it feeling stronger, with stronger relationships and more at peace.

    I wish you the best of luck.
     
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    Last edited: Sep 22, 2016
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  4. greylin

    greylin Well-Known Member

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    First of all, you are not naive and certainly, you are not alone in this. The journey can be such that it is good for you to find someone to talk to.

    I would try separating the problems a bit between you being in a committed relationship and self discovery. Regardless of your sexuality, a lot of married or people in a committed monogamous relationships have developed crushes and attractions on others that they have happily not acted on. Sometimes, it is just something to acknowledge to yourself and say, "Oh, I can see why I like this person." But I would suggest to not go running to your husband and tell him about it. If you love the person you are with and still want to be committed to him, and you are acknowledging a crush to yourself, then I would try to remove certain temptations with this other person. Things like, maybe don't do things alone with your crush, keep a certain polite distance but don't be abrupt and weird about it. (tall order, I know...)

    And if you eventually choose to discuss your sexuality with your husband, it is a coming out process like any coming out process. Even if you are just coming out as questioning because you have not figured out yet. It could be alarming and devastating to the person you love, or you might get surprisingly great support from him and everything in between. You would have to prepare for it not only for the announcement, but how it would change your relationship from there on out. Knowledge of something on his part and your ability to accept who you are will change things. I am not dissuading you, I am in the camp that if you are in a loving relationship, sometimes you have to face some personal discoveries/changes together. However, I just want to give you my 2 cents of what I think would be ahead if you head down that road.

    Lastly, there is a forum within this website of a lot of people who are already in similar shoes:

    http://www.lavendervisions.com
     
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  5. rainydaze

    rainydaze Well-Known Member

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    AnotherDizzy,
    (*another too long response by RainyDaze...apologies.)

    I don't think you are naive or silly. I think self-discovery is a challenging, scary, and exciting adventure...and one well worth examining. You ask a lot of really good questions, and I think that many others also think about these issues too. So, it is good that you are able to come here to share your questions, insights, and your concerns.

    I think, for many, exploring one's sexuality is quite a complex issue and for some (Not All!) sexuality may be fluid. It does not have to be life-shattering to discover this about oneself. It just sorta "is", you know?

    You can choose to use labels or not...but, be aware, even individuals who choose labels don't always have the same understanding as each other about how they define or interpret that label.

    You can choose to discuss it with your husband/friend/therapist... or not. That is also a personal choice. It does not have to be an emergency discovery in terms of your marriage or in review of the context of your life. It can actually be more of an acceptance, a recognition, a deeper knowledge of yourself.

    I, actually, have several female friends who basically identify as "straight" (and are married to men) who have confided that they either have had crushes on other women in the past or at least very much understand that they may possess the potential. It has not seemed to lessened their love of their husbands at all.

    As a culture, we seem to accept fantasy heterosexual crushes, in a way, and don't find marriages to be threatened by them (i.e. A husband may be aware that his wife is extremely fond of a particular football player, movie star, or musician. He does not feel threatened by that because he knows the thoughts, attraction, fantasies are not likely to develop into behaviors beyond watching games, seeing a movie, or attending a concert. It seems to be very common and not disruptive to daily life so much). As a society, we even have come to talk more openly about crushes that we have on same sex celebrities. You will hear many women who say they have a "girl crush" on a particular female star or athlete, or that their husbands have a "man crush" on a famous person, whose style or body they may admire.

    If the crushes are with co-workers or friends or neighbors, etc., they can become more threatening because there is actua,l mutual contact and behavioral choices that people make regarding time spent and situations they may put themselves in as a result of their feelings/attractions/admiration. Again, though, people vary a great deal in how they address these crushes. Some people acknowledge them and discuss them openly in their marriages....others keep the thoughts to themselves and wait for the crush to fade without much concern....while still others can become very distressed or very inspired by having the crush.

    Primarily, the danger to a marriage, I think, enters when:
    1) you are well aware of the crush, keep it completely secret, and, rather than decrease contact, find ways to nurture the relationship with the crush more than the relationship with the partner
    2) You start to discuss your feelings with your crush, seeking reciprocation and validation of feelings/connection.
    3) your partner notices the crush and inquires about it, but you deny it (knowing your partner is correct) and make your partner feel stupid, ashamed, or crazy for feeling jealous, and continue to choose time/experiences with the crush over your partner OR
    4) you lie to yourself and your partner about the crush, remain in total denial, and begin to let yourself favor the crush's qualities/behaviors, while picking apart/finding fault/viewing negatively your partner, until you become convinced that you are mismatched/unhappy/unappreciated by your partner etc., but you do not acknowledge how your behaviors and the feelings you entertained toward your crush contributed to the dissatisfaction in your marriage.,.

    While there are lots of other possible scenarios of how crushes can play out, generally, if one is doing ANY of the above things, the marriage is going to be showing signs of real strife. And I feel that it would be true with either heterosexual or same-sex crushes. It really would make no difference.

    Bottom line, unless you have an agreed upon open marriage, when you choose to marry a person (male or female), you are saying: I know there are a zillion of other people in the world, but I choose you on this journey called life. Sometimes, that changes over time, and the marriage does not work out (idk, 50% of the time?), and that could be for an infinite number of reasons. For some, one's sexuality may be a factor.

    But if you are in a happy marriage, you love your husband, are attracted to him, and are not planning on going outside of your marriage for your physical/sexual/emotional needs (unbeknownst to your husband), then there is no reason to be too concerned that you are examining yourself and your history and realizing that you have the potential to become interested in or attracted to a male or female. In fact, your self-awareness may help you avoid potential pitfalls that could put a strain on your marriage.

    Also, I agree that therapy may be a good, safe place to examine this and to decide when/if/how to discuss it with your husband, once you understand it for yourself. I know @Bluenote doesn't like to "play the therapy card" ;), but I do! I think a skilled therapist is a wonderful asset to one's support system.

    Sidenote: Prior to meeting my spouse, my dating history was with males only. It was not until I was in my mid-twenties, and I found this woman to be really cute and I said yes when she asked me out, that I realized I may be bi-sexual (I guess?). All of my feelings for/attractions to/relationships with the men I dated were real and intense, and even passionate and loving. So, when I fell for this woman, it was confusing...to me, to my friends/family, and probably my exes too! Looking back, I probably had a few crushes on females (and some had crushes on me) throughout my history, but it never amounted to anything beyond friendship, so it never caused any crises or soul searching. So, I had identified as "straight" up until that time. Then, my "label" - just for explanation purposes -became "bisexual" because it was easier for people to understand that I was not "hiding" that I was gay that whole time and that my hetero-relationships were not a "cover" for my deep, dark secret. That was not my experience/not my story, although so many made such assumptions. For me, though, as a "bisexual" there were SO MANY assumptions....like, "she must need to sleep with both sexes at the same time" -not true, or "she will leave her girlfriend for a man eventually, bisexuals always do" - not true, or "she was hurt by or mad at men, so she sought out a woman" - not true. or "she must be promiscuous, her poor naive girlfriend" - not true...or "she is experimenting by trying out women"..not true....AND ON and ON and ON I could go! Oh my, you would NOT believe the assumptions I encountered from straight people and LGBTQ people!

    So, Now, because I have been in this relationship for 20+ years, we are married, and raised a family, everyone assumes I am a "lesbian," which I am fine with, (especially, politically), but not exactly sure it is accurate (personally). I am in a monogamous marriage, but if it ever ended, I am not really sure who I would date, honestly. I don't think much or talk much about it because it is irrelevant to my life. I don't go around correcting people who assume I am a lesbian....because, frankly, with a wife on my arm, I look like a lesbian. I also don't really like talking about my sex life, so I don't discuss it unless I personally am asked about my history or my sexuality by someone who is genuinely interested in knowing me. AND, it is much easier on my spouse, who is a Lesbian (capital L!), for people to assume her wife is a lesbian - it raises less suspicions of me among other lesbians and it, hopefully, doesn't bring about as many creepy smiles from male colleagues in her professional world, although there are still too many! Yuk!

    Anyway, I am happy and I am faithful to my spouse and that is all. So, my "label" to the rest of the world has changed at least three times for categorical purposes, I guess. However, at my core, I have not really changed at all. So, while labels may be important, they are not always adequate for understanding the complexity of ourselves or our stories.
     
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  6. Bluenote

    Bluenote Well-Known Member

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    @
    @rainydaze , I have seen the pictures. I think you are on your wife's arm, not the other way around. :-0
     
    #6
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  7. rainydaze

    rainydaze Well-Known Member

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    @Bluenote - Hahahaha!!! Ok, maybe I can't argue with that! But my point still stands! ;)
     
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