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I miss being (actively) queer...

post #1 of 46
Thread Starter 
I guess this is more of a vent than anything...Mods, I was unsure whether to put this here or in Personal Growth, but I thought I might get more support here. Hope that's OK but feel free to move it.

A little background: I'm a 37-yo woman involved in a het relationship with a great guy. We have two kids, and we're engaged. He is the first serious het relationship I've had since high school. In between, I have identified as bi, but mostly as lesbian -- it was only in 2000 or so that I started accepting my bisexuality, in part b/c I met and fell in love with DP.

When we got pregnant and I moved into his house, I found myself -- all of a sudden, or so it seemed -- turned into the very picture of typical housewifedom/motherhood. I a SAHM and I have all the outward trappings -- OK, we don't have a minivan , but I have just turned into a schlumpy mom with the sneakers and sweats, with the harried, hurried frustration and the granola bars in my bag and the toys littering the backseat of the car, yk? In other words, I have totally lost myself and my identity -- not necessarily b/c of the sexuality issue, but just in general. I never, ever thought I'd be a parent, not even back in the day, before I came out. It just wasn't in my future...or so I thought. But I find I adore being a mom, and of course I love my kids, and I'm good at it. But there's still something nagging...a grief, perhaps, for the life I've left behind.

Until recently, I've been happy, or at least content, with DP and with our life together. I've been struggling with finding myself again, or rediscovering myself in this new environment, but on the whole I've been distracted with the day-to-day of raising the kids. But lately...I don't know, it's as though something has changed within me. I've been having dreams about all my ex-GFs. I've been thinking more than usual about who I used to be and how I've changed. I'm a member of the board of my son's preschool, and we've been having board meetings at a local LGBT coffeeshop, and it's bumming me out -- not that we're there, but that I'm me. That I no longer belong there, even though I feel like I do. Or I should. I wish I had some way to announce myself -- "Hey, even though I'm a parent, and I'm with these other parents, and I live with a guy...I'm still one of you! Honest!" But am I? I guess that's the crux of the matter. In addition to the lesbian relationships I had, it also meant so much to me to belong to this subculture, this community, and I no longer do. And that's hard. It's like I've bought into the heteropatriarchy that I rebelled against for so long. How could I have done this?

I've talked to DP about this, and about the fact that although we're engaged, it's hard for me to commit to him, knowing that that means committing to heterosexuality (at least in practice) -- unless we radically rethink our definitions of marriage and commitment, which I don't think either of us is prepared to do right now. He is a very cool guy, and understanding about all my ambivalence -- I couldn't be with him if I had to hide who I was and how I felt, yk?

I have a friend who is in a similar boat -- married w/kids, but still identifies as queer, and I love that I can be open with her, and talk about our past GFs and so on, but we are not that close and don't get together that often. Next time we do, I want to address this w/her and see what she says, but... Anyway, she recently introduced me to yet another bi/queer mama friend of hers, and I find myself fantasizing about this woman -- not sexually, per se, but just...about being with her. About somehow her husband and my partner being magically out of the picture and the two of us being a couple, a family with our kids. I'm not even particularly attracted to her. I just think she's really cool, and -- I dunno, maybe it's my only channel of fantasy/escapism? Maybe she just gives a face to my (hitherto unacknowledged) dreams of being able to be actively queer again?

I don't even know what I want. I can't leave DP -- financially I am not in a position to do that, and I love him, besides. He's a great dad, and I have no complaints (other than the usual complaints, you know? but no serious ones). I feel really stuck and confused. I am a million miles from who I used to be, and while on the one hand that's great -- I've grown and changed for the better, a LOT -- on the other hand, I miss me. I feel like I've erased myself for the sake of my partnership and my kids. Which -- you know, there's worse things in the world than sacrificing things for the love of others. I know this. But I am still plagued by this feeling of sadness and grief and loss and longing.

Anyhoo. If you've read this far, thank you. I think writing this post has helped me take the first step towards working through my grief, and identifying my dissatisfaction. But if you have any words of advice or wisdom, I'd love to hear 'em.
post #2 of 46
Thread Starter 
Wow. 73 people have read this, or at least skimmed it, and not one hug or response whatsoever?

Now I feel like an ass...Guess I'll go back to Nutrition and Good Eats, where at least I get responses once in a while.
post #3 of 46
I don't have any words of wisdom, but I will give you a big
post #4 of 46
I know how you feel writing something that puts your self out there and no responses. I wondered a few things as I read. Firstly that you strongly identified as queer and miss the support. I think there is a strong influence in our culture that tells people that they have to be one or the other. There is open talk about it now where there didn't used to be and colleges have supportive teaching groups. It is attractive to belong to a group and identify as such. I believe that many woman have strong feelings for other woman and for me those feelings did not stop just because I was married with children. I felt that it was a decision but I also know that a woman can only comfort me in that special way when I need comfort. Anyway, you speak of wondering who you are, that you are lost. You are not your sexuality. You are you. Whoever that is, you are not the gender of who you are intimate with. It seems to me at least that there is a lure to being woman identified. I believe that you can love woman and be woman identified without sleeping with another woman. It is confusing stuff and I perhaps have age to give me more perspective. I miss woman but to be honest not in a sexual way, but in a hold me and lets be intimate but not sexual. Only with a few very dear friends. There is such a power in that love. It is in fact the same power with which we love our kids.

I grew of age when woman were just starting to verbalize this love for eachother and felt that it had to be sexual. For me it did not but it may be different for you. You are a person who needs to know who you are inside that isn't about who you are mated to. What do you like? It is important to use your creative self whenever you can. It is also fine to listen to "queer" music if it resonates with you. I hope that you can find what you are longing for. Caution, I feel we throw relatioships away over nothing in our culture and especially with children it is even more importnat to figure this stuff out in a way that doesn't hurt the children. I hope some of this makes sense.
post #5 of 46
I'm not queer, but I clicked on this from new posts so I hope you don't mind me posting.

I can relate to how motherhood reduces you/strips you away to, in some ways to, well, a mother. Not to sound silly, but you get so caught up in the day to day aspects of mothering and taking care of a home (if you're a SAHM...I WOH so I don't really take care of the home, it explodes around us regularly!) that it's so easy to lose aspects of what makes you you.

Is there a community that you could reach out to? Go to readings, gatherings, etc that revolve around queer issues? Maybe this is more about just getting re-connected, as a mom, to a new group of friends that happen to be queer. I would think that it's also important for your children to have relationships with others within queer community if that's how you identify yourself.

Hope this was helpful.
post #6 of 46
well, i would recommend finding a way to do the things you used to enjoy in your "queer" life...

I *am* a lesbian, married to a woman, raising our son, and I still miss the days when I used to do the things I loved to do myself:

sit in the coffeeshop reading the Sunday paper with friends
volunteer at the dog rescue
volunteer at the women's health clinic
play soccer
go to the gym
take the dog running in the park

My life used to be surrounded by lesbians and lesbi-friendly women. Now, I see my co-workers and the parents at my son's daycare.

my best friend wants me to start playing soccer again, but I feel like I barely see my son as it is. I can't give up my Sunday afternoons too.

So, I don't have a ton of advice, but I do understand a little about how you feel. I think you do need to find a way to get some time carved out just for you. And, get a new haircut, and spend some cash on new shoes, or jeans or shirts or whatever was your favorite thing to buy pre-kids and relationship.
post #7 of 46
Thread Starter 
Thank you, everyone, for responding. You have each given me something to think about, and I appreciate that. I also really appreciate the recognition and response.

Off to bed, now, but I'll be back to reflect and respond. Thank you. :
post #8 of 46
I couldn't read and not say something, I just don't know what to say.

The invisibility sucks, doesn't it? I feel like I do so little to connect with the queer community these days. The random march/parade here or there (few and far between these days). Letter writing. Rainbow clings on my car. Charitable donations.

And it seems so empty.

Yet, like you, I wouldn't give up my partner for the world. I don't seem to fit into queerspace, but I really feel out of sorts in het-space.
post #9 of 46
There is a total invisibability that happens from being in an opposite sex partnership that is really frustrating. Frustrating isn't even the right word for it, but I am at a loss to explain. Plus it seems like other people are always wanting to make sure you stay there. What I've noticed is that there is a lot of resentment against bi people, but especially bi people partnered with opposite sex people. You don't count unless your partnered with someone of the same gender. Bi women are assumed to just be wanting to be "cool". A bunch of posers who don't really get it. I've seen more stereotyping about bi's from lesbians than I care to remember.

Being a bi woman with a guy is to be completely isolated and not fit it with gays or straights. They both just want you to disappear and shut up.
post #10 of 46
:

I can very much relate to all of this. I mean, I think you hit on stuff that I haven't even realised yet, but it totally applies.

It's an extremely frustrating situation to be in.

post #11 of 46
I'm sorry your having a tough time. I can't identify specifically with the sexuality issue but to me it seems like you really miss is the sense of community? Maybe you can create a community around you, or online, of other women who have similar experiences.

I also think that it's really normal for people who have entered any new phase in their life to be very nostalgic about how they used to live. I've been there myself.
post #12 of 46
post #13 of 46
I can relate, too. I used to be such an out and open bi grrl. Now I'm married to a man, and have a little one on the way, so at times I feel like I'm hiding behind het privilege. But I thank Goddess that my man is bi, too, and has radical ideas about gender roles and gender expression. I don't think I could ever be with a "typical" straight guy!

But anyway, what some PP have said about how being yourself is not just about who you want to be with sexually, it's about the whole self, is vitally true. Get out there and find what interests you in general. If you find that dressing like a schlumpy housewife doesn't do it for you, then figure out what you can wear to feel like you again.

Good luck, and You are not alone, sister!
post #14 of 46
Well I'm going to give the typical excuse that it was late when I read this (it really was) and I needed some time to chew up what you said before I could respond. (I hate to be hasty.) Sorry you felt ignored.

I think I know what your talking about. I identify as a bi female, married in a het relationship. I do not wish to end this relationship and start a new one. I married my husband because he "gets" me. That being said I miss close female companionship deeply. I too find myself lusting after random women, wishing some one would pay me that deep attention and love, that only women seem to have.

Editmom actually just gave a voice to thoughts I have been having for a long time. Perhaps what I crave isn't sexual at all, maybe it's more like intimacy from some one motherly. I'm not sure but I know that for me I have found outlets for sharing that special place with women. During my pregnancy I found myself so completely drawn to midwifery I could hardly catch my breath. When practiced with your heart it's something ancient and pure that our modern day go go go society cannot compete with. Anyways it's my outlet and community for that close female bond. Not at all sexual for me, not saying that this applies to you, but its been a wonderful expression to love women for me. I hope you can identify what it is that will help you to feel whole again as well.

love and peace,

Savannah
post #15 of 46
I don't really have anything helpful to add, so allow me to provide some hugs!
post #16 of 46
post #17 of 46
I really related to your post. I am struggling with the same issues lately.
post #18 of 46
I think I can relate to where your coming from. Sure, I'm a fully fledged card carrying lesbian, but as a first time mom, I'm scared I'm going to loose myself once my kids are born. I'm this wild rocker chick activist, I'm not a soccer mom! I don't even like soccer that much! I've noticed a lot of my preggy straight peers seem to be thrilled about staying home with the baby, and nursing the baby, and changing the poopy diaper, and getting to bond with other mothers doing the same thing. In fact, on another site I'm on, one lady was posting about how she was so thrilled to have friends that just didn't want to talk about the latest movies and reading books. Friends who wanted to disscuss the best educational toys, and what cute little thing the baby did.

I'm sure I'll love my children. And I'm excited to meet them. But I don't want my identity to be totally wrapped up in them. I want to disscuss books and movies, I want to go to rallys and marches, I want to be Roxie...just with two kids. It took me years of thearpy and soul searching to figure out who I am, and now I'm expected to give it all up and be a soccer mom? Screw that. Oh, and mention that I don't really want to stay at home, and that I really love my job, and apparently I'm the worst mother to ever exist! My girl has said she'd enjoy staying home for awhile...and I'd love for her to stay home! She's always wanted to be a SAHM, and why shouldn't she? Just because she's not giving birth dosen't mean she has to be the "man" and the "bread winner". Grrr...

Ok, this went off into a weird rant. Sorry.

I think there is a way to balance who we are, and still be good moms. I haven't figured it out yet (I've got awhile still), but I'm sure it exists! HUGS!
post #19 of 46

Women need to stick together

I haven't logged on in awhile, and I happened to click on your thread, and found your thoughts very interesting....

Let's look at both "roles:"
Being a SAHM is completely underappreciated and misunderstood. There is so much skill, patience, intelligence, and passion in the job of mothering, but only the mothers really know that. This can be very frustrating because it is hard work, and takes all different kinds of strength that most people don't even know exist. Mothering is never like what you expected, and could never be explained to a non-mother.
Being a lesbian is also misunderstood, but for different reasons. Lesbians appear "strong" to others, and thrive in their differences. There is pride and "community."
Mothers can find community, but so many mothers are divisive and judgmental it can be hard to find.

If only mothers could band together like lesbians, despite all our differences, because in reality we are all craving the attentive love that we are constantly giving. I miss spending time with female friends... I miss it so much... I feel like I am in high school sometimes, trying to make friends. In reality it is so hard to communicate with other mothers if the kids are around- without being interrupted.

For over 50 years now, girls have been brought up to believe that being a housewife and being a mother is not a job because (usually) it doesn't make money. We need to start changing our attitudes about our work, and teaching young girls that being a mother is one of the most important jobs you will ever have the chance to do. I think the new feminist movement will be women realizing that being a woman is pretty damn important.

On another note, I miss alot of what I used to do, and a community I used to live in. I miss being more active, reading all the time, and being spontaneous.
I think what you are feeling is completely normal for a mom in your situation, it just seems different because being a lesbian was "different."
I definitely crave female energy, I crave talking to women and laughing with them. It is sexual only in that being a mom is sexual- in the sense that we reconnect with our female energy as a mom and want to revel in it with others. Maybe for you, you remember the sexual part and need to find a new way to express that energy...

As Ani said- "Women should be allies not competitors."
Ani is a new mom, I wonder how she is doing...

This was a late entry, my first in awhile- and since I am a mom()
I don't write as much anymore! Hopefully this all made sense.

Good luck
post #20 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by PGNPORTLAND View Post
I really related to your post. I am struggling with the same issues lately.
I was just about to say the same thing. I've been dealing with it for awhile. I'm married to a man, but honestly, I'm not happy. I was so much happier with women. We are (not actively) poly, but it is so hard to find a woman than is willing to have a relationship with a married woman, let alone one with 3 kids.
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