Feeling like a bit of a fraud - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 02-18-2009, 12:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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So, I'm sure everyone comes to this place sooner or later.

Long story short - I was curious in high school and definitely had leanings towards women. At one point when I was eighteen my mother out and out asked me if I was gay. Of course I was horrified and defensive, and immediately became as promiscuous as I could be.

My first boyfriend became my dh (well, stbx now) and we've been together about eight years. He was my first sexual encounter, and well - last. We have two girls together... but we've never been truly happy.

So, we're in the midst of an amicable separation and (oddly enough) we were discussing dating in the future. As in, dating other people. He says to me 'I think you'd be happier with another woman, as opposed to dating men again'.

Now he knows nothing about this, I've kept it pretty close to my heart, you know? I just started crying and crying, partly because I was shocked and partly because I couldn't believe it.

He says he's always suspected based on my personality, the way I act, my morals and values, my strong beliefs, the way I get completely incensed when equal rights come up in conversation.

The way I was never really comfortable in my own skin, and the way I loved him more like a friend and a comrade, or a brother. We've always gotten along, but we've pulled away from each other. There's no romantic love there.

Anyway, I'm not even sure what the point of this is. I guess I'm wondering when did you know about your sexual orientation? And now I'm feeling like I betrayed myself years ago and should have come out truthfully then - rather than spending almost ten years trying to be someone I'm not.

I've got an envy going on for women that have always known, and came out earlier. It feels like if I say this now, it'll just be a late twenties crisis, or I won't be taken seriously, kwim? Ach.

Feel free to share any advice, stories, knocks on the head, etc.

Full time working mom to two bright and busy little girls! treehugger.gif
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#2 of 14 Old 02-18-2009, 12:49 AM
 
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My story is very different than yours- I did come out when I was 18, and have had a much less traditional path to parenthood, relationships, etc.

But, I get the sense from reading your post that you feel like you've somehow wasted the past however many years, and that struck a funny chord in me. While I've been out forever, it still took me a good ten years to figure out what type of women I wanted to be dating, to understand exactly what I was attracted to, to make sense of my identity and desires. Like, I knew I was queer, but it still took me ages to figure out how to live it in a way that felt right. I dated a lot of women I loved, but to whom I wasn't really attracted, even though I felt like I ought to have been. And ultimately, this just made me feel guilty, and made me question my sexuality all over again. Was I really a lesbian? If so, why wasn't I happy with the people I was dating?

For me, ultimately, it was when I began dating butch women and trans guys that I finally "got it." It was so empowering to discover my own desires, to make sense of my identity, and to feel like it was reflected in my relationships. But, it took me a very long time, and many unsatisfactory relationships, to get there.

I'm not suggesting that this is what will make you happy. We are all so brilliantly different! I guess I'm just saying that, in a funny and unexpected way, I empathize with your story. And, don't beat yourself up. NO ONE has it all figured out at 18, even the people who seem like they do. You've spent the past decade learning to love someone as a friend and to raise children with him. Now you're figuring out some of your other pieces.

Don't worry about it sounding like a late-twenties crisis. It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. Focus instead on yourself, and your own desires. And let yourself be excited about the possibilities opening up for you.

Good luck!

A, partner to J, mama to O, now with a new username!

Building queer family since 2008!

(and oh, did i mention we're having twins?!?)

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#3 of 14 Old 02-18-2009, 02:27 PM
 
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I came out when I was 15, but even then I *still* felt like I was "late" to figure things out about myself. I heard stories of people knowing they were "different" from early childhood, or "always knowing" that they were queer. And that was not the case with me. And I figured that since I had thought I was straight for "so long" that I must not really be gay. I truly believed that I was a straight person who simply wanted to be gay. It took me about 6 months to really come out to myself, but I still felt insecure about the whole thing for a while. I hadn't even so much as kissed a girl yet, how could I really know?

When I went to college (by then feeling very sure about my queerness), I met LOTS of women who were only just beginning to question their sexuality. And living where we do (in lesbian-town), I'm frequently coming into contact with women who have come out much later in their lives--in their 30's and 40's and 50's even.

I think it's a very common feeling to feel like, "why didn't I figure this out sooner?" No matter when you figure it out.



Lex

Mindfully mothering SIX kids (ages 5, 6, 8, 9, 11 & 11) in a small house with a lot of love.
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#4 of 14 Old 02-18-2009, 02:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much for the incredibly thoughtful replies. I am caught between crying and laughing because both have been so spot on with regards to how I'm feeling... well, it's amazing. And scary.

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I'm not suggesting that this is what will make you happy. We are all so brilliantly different! I guess I'm just saying that, in a funny and unexpected way, I empathize with your story. And, don't beat yourself up. NO ONE has it all figured out at 18, even the people who seem like they do. You've spent the past decade learning to love someone as a friend and to raise children with him. Now you're figuring out some of your other pieces.
You're absolutely right. I don't want to look at the last ten years and see it with regret; I wouldn't trade my friendship with my girls' dad for the world. Or them, for that matter! I'm going to have to see it all as shaping part of the path I'm on, and not wish it away.

Also, I totally appreciate you sharing the journey to discovering what type of relationship or individual you're attracted to. Part of my fear is that I (thought) I knew exactly what kind of 'guy' I was attracted to. If that is no longer true, what exactly am I looking for.

I feel like I'm starting over again. Part of that is exciting to be truthful.

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And I figured that since I had thought I was straight for "so long" that I must not really be gay. I truly believed that I was a straight person who simply wanted to be gay. It took me about 6 months to really come out to myself, but I still felt insecure about the whole thing for a while. I hadn't even so much as kissed a girl yet, how could I really know?
This is an excellent summation of what's constantly churning through my mind, hence the 'fraudulent' feeling. It feels (felt?) that if I really wasn't straight, would I not have inherently known this from the moment I hit adolescence? Or earlier, as you've said? Because I also know women who realized they were gay from early childhood.

Either way, I live in a blue collar mining town, so it should be interesting to see what kind of community exists here. I've fantasized about moving somewhere bigger, or more diverse, but I have ties here I can't leave (mainly immediate family and stbx for the kids sake). Lots to figure out!

Full time working mom to two bright and busy little girls! treehugger.gif
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#5 of 14 Old 02-24-2009, 11:35 AM
 
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Originally Posted by nursemummy View Post
It feels (felt?) that if I really wasn't straight, would I not have inherently known this from the moment I hit adolescence? Or earlier, as you've said? Because I also know women who realized they were gay from early childhood.
i can attest to the fact that there is not necessarily any inherent knowing! so much can interfere with that sort of self-knowledge. i was raised in a body-denying fundamentalist christian home (there were many more issues behind the way i was raised than religion - religion was the cloak hiding a myriad of problems i didn't know about until early adulthood). when one is taught from childhood that one's body is the root of all sin, that one should strive to deny the "desires of the flesh" (in all their manifestations), well, it can really stunt your ability to identify your own desires!

all that to say, i came out when i was 19 years old - on an otherwise unexceptional morning when i woke up and realized that i was in love with a woman. nothing in my upbringing had prepared me for that possibility. and for that very reason, it was a reasonably untraumatic experience to come out to myself. the rest of my family, well, that's a much longer post in a very different thread!

but when i started coming out to all my high school friends, not a single one of them was the least bit surprised. and that surprised me.

all this to reiterate: don't beat yourself up and don't spend a lot of time wondering why you didn't know before. you know now, and you are about to embark on what can only be a fascinating journey, so prepare yourself and your family to enjoy getting to know yourselves all over again!

ETA: and "fraud" implies there was some intent to deceive - so stop thinking of yourself as a fraud. realizations about yourself do not invalidate the experiences you have already have!
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#6 of 14 Old 02-24-2009, 09:40 PM
 
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I never had a "feeling" that I was always different from my straight peers. As a child, I never liked boys or girls! I was more interested in playing kickball with all of my friends in my neighborhood. However, as soon as puberty (around 12) hit me I started to noticed that that women were just so beautiful! I tried to come out when I was 13 years old but my parents were(and still are unfortunately) frightfully homophobic! They would never let me around me baby sister (who was between 6-12 months old at the time) becase they thought gay people were child molesters and they also threatened to kick me out if I didn't pray that God would change my perverted mind!

I offically came out in college around 18 years old and I have never regretted doing that.
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#7 of 14 Old 02-25-2009, 08:20 PM
 
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I kind of know where you're coming from--I came out at 23 while I was in graduate school, and it definitely felt "late" at the time, and I even remember once when I was out and a few months into my first relationship (I'd come out the year before) and a graduate school colleague/pseudo-friend tried to invalidate my opinion about something because *she* had been out for 10 years, while I had only been for a short time, so what did I know?

Now, 12 years later, I'm still in that lovely first relationship with my wonderful, amazing, thoughtful, cute, sexy, brilliant partner of 11 years, and it feels so strange to me that I ever felt uncertain and insecure during that coming out time.

As for your past...from what you've written, it sounds like your relationship with stbx has been respectful and caring--and learning to live with someone is no joke, no matter the gender, and you have two great kids (and you didn't even need to scare up the sperm somehow to produce them!) I don't see anything to regret, but wish you all the best wishes as you continue your journey..
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#8 of 14 Old 02-25-2009, 10:15 PM
 
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Hey, I didn't read the other responses to your initial posting. I was so interested in your story and your insecurity that I had to get straight to writing.

First of all, I was married for 10 years. Actually, I'm still married. Going on 12 years now.
I fell in love with a woman. Other people saw it coming but not me.
I fell in love with a woman after being married for 10 years and having two children. He was my first sexual experience and she is my second.

Now I live with my Great Love with my children and her two children and all is well. I also have an amicable relationship with my husband. Of course we are getting divorced but it is financially better for us right now to remain married - plus I am covered under his health care.

I was 31 when I figured it out. I'm 34 this year and I'm so ridiculously happy AND I have my children I don't even care how late I'm starting. This is my story and it doesn't have a timeline.

I wish only good things for you and I know you are going to have a fabulous life starting right now. Don't worry about timing or age or anything else. Just do it girl!

Can't wait to here more.
Do you have a blog?
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#9 of 14 Old 03-01-2009, 10:51 PM
 
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Melissa,

You are NOT alone!! I am 30 years old and have been on the "coming out" path for the past few years. My first sexual experiences were with girls, then at 19 I got married to my now ex husband, who I have a fantastic relationship with. I've kinda been taking a few years for myself to not be in a relationship and figure out who I am and want I want. I've had those same feelings of why didn't I figure this out 10 years ago, but if I did I wouldn't have my four wonderful children and many other things that make me who I am today.
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#10 of 14 Old 03-02-2009, 12:00 AM
 
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I married my highschool sweet heart at 22 - October 1999. I had always thought women were attractive, but never really put much into it. I always had these intense friendships -- none of them physical -- and never really put it all together.

On New Year's Day 2000, I made a resolution to "find myself" I felt a bit like I had lost my identity. I was no longer Just Jenny, I was Jenny and her husband... I wanted to sort of find my own place in our marriage. Boy did that open up a whole word of possiblities!

A couple months before I got married, I started a new job and met this girl... and ultimately figured out that perhaps there was something about me that I never acknowledged.

Looking back, I'm not sure how I missed it, but I did. Maybe I blocked it out because I always had the idea that I would be a married SAHM and couldn't figure out what would happen if I "decided" to be with women. As my therapist put it "You can't know what you don't know."

My friend and I subsequently came out to each other about 6 months after I got married... and about a month after that I told my husband.

He is now remarried with two girls -- we had a pretty amicable divorce with a period of about 1.5 years where we had some difficulties. That seems to be all behind us now, and we frequently get together with them. I adore his girls -- although at first it was a little bit like watching someone else live my life.

I am currently living with that girl, but we're not together and never have been. We have a wonderful friendship and most of our friends accuse us of "hiding" or relationship from them. We spend Holidays together and our families get together often. We have a closeness that people have trouble classifying (so do we) they can see there is a great deal of familiarity -- but they can't quite figure out why. We get asked if we're sisters all of the time.

All of this time later, I almost have a difficult time remembering what it was like to be "straight". I kind of think of my life as if a line were drawn down the center. I struggled for a long time about whether I could ever trust my own judgement and if I really did know what love was. I cared for my ex-husband very much and felt like this some how minimized what we did have because I did love him. I was also really embarrassed... my entire family and all of my friends had just watched us get married! I felt like a fraud too... and guilty for putting him through all of that. I struggled for a long time as to whether or not I was bi. Now, I can't imagine ever feeling that way for another man.

It was frustrating because for a long time --- everytime I answered one question for myself -- three more popped up.

The short of it is, I'm happy. I do wish things were a little different with my friend and I, but emotionally we support each other 110%. I finally was able to just live my life and stop trying to put everything in a box. My dad died almost 3 years ago of colon cancer -- and something about that gave him this ability just know what people needed to hear.

He said, "Don't let people make you feel badly about your relationship with H. If they can't classify it that's their problem... not all relationships are the same... not all relationships are physical. Live your life the best you can and as long as you're happy and not hurting anyone else then there is nothing wrong with it. I'm proud of you for having the courage to be your whole self, and I'm glad that H. has been able to give you the support you need. You don't need to call it anything. Just live it and enjoy it."

So, here I am... on my way to try to have a baby. I'm struggling again with how this is all going to fit together. Right now, it's an endeavor that I am choosing to do as a single parent. If H. should decide that she wants to be part of this officially then all the better. If not, I know she will be here with me through it all no matter what happens.

It's a heck of a journey, but I promise you... when you get to the other side... you will reach a point where you know that you did the right thing and you'll finally feel comfortable in your own skin.

(Hi everyone, I'm new here!)

Me36), PCOS -  IUI#1 post HSG w/50mg clomid & trigger 7/25/12: BFN  & med break for cyst IUI#2  9-9-12 BFN IUI#3 10-2013 BFN  IUI#4  2-18-13 same meds, new donor BFN, IUI#5 6/1/13 100mg clomid trigger, BFN,  IUI#6 TBD 8-2013 GONAL-F and trigger blogging.jpgdog2.gifcat.gifcat.gif

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#11 of 14 Old 03-02-2009, 01:59 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Ceinwen View Post
This is an excellent summation of what's constantly churning through my mind, hence the 'fraudulent' feeling. It feels (felt?) that if I really wasn't straight, would I not have inherently known this from the moment I hit adolescence? Or earlier, as you've said? Because I also know women who realized they were gay from early childhood.
Many of my earliest crushes were on females. When I first started having crushes on females, I didn't know such a thing was possible. When I did find out that lesbians existed, I figured that wasn't me, because I was attracted to males. So I just sort of disregarded the female crushes.

When I heard about bisexuality at 15 or 16, I suddenly made a whole lot more sense to myself. The extent to which I acknowledged it (both to myself and others) depended on how religious I was at the time (and, I suppose, whether I had any particular female I was attracted to )

Then I doubted myself because I'd never actually had a relationship with a female, so how could I be sure? Eventually I heard the argument that heterosexual virgins aren't generally questioned about whether or not they're really sure they're heterosexual just because they lack experience, and that made a lot of sense.

Then I doubted myself because perhaps most people feel this way, and just choose not to act on it for whatever reason, so did I really have any right to be claiming a special status when I really wasn't any different from anyone else? Then everything surrounding Prop 8 made me realize that there really do seem to be a lot of people out there who seem to be both fully in favor of homosexual rights (and therefore probably not just internalizing homophobia) and utterly unquestioning of their own heterosexuality, and that I really honestly don't relate to the term "straight ally" in any way except that, being married to a male, I'm aware of my heterosexual privilege.

So that's where I am at 29, nearly two decades after my first crush on a female. And I still feel vaguely "fake" as I've never had a relationship with a female, despite the fact that I now have no doubt that I'd be into it if the right person came along.

My son wants me to put some smileys in :

::

DS born 6/03, DD1 born 9/06, DD2 born 10/10, DD3 born 4/14.
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#12 of 14 Old 03-05-2009, 02:29 AM
 
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Oh, here I am just wandering into a forum again...

You guys rock!!! What an awesome, amazing supportive community. Reading your replies made me feel so hopeful about humanity. :

mama to two DD's, 7 and 3 (3 rounds of IVF and more FET's than I can remember)
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#13 of 14 Old 03-05-2009, 12:22 PM
 
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I've looked at this thread for a while, started responses and erased them, but here I am again. It's a little strange for me to read everyone's responses because I feel a little like I'm coming at the same situation from the other direction. I came out when I was 16 because I started dating someone who was, to the outside world, female. It was a big, big deal to my family to have a 'gay daughter' and it took lots of struggling and tears for them to develop the acceptance they now have. I have no way of knowing if I would have ever outed myself or learned that I was queer without meeting my DP. I had never thought about dating/sexuality/anything like that until we met. I was/am very involved in queer justice (was one of those BDOC wymyn at university...) and was very out politically when I was younger, to the point where I was at times pretty judgemental of people who I felt were 'holding on to straight privilege.' Basically everyone I know is queer and I work in a ‘gay job.’ But…I don’t think I’m a lesbian. I don’t really even think I’m bi.

I've never had a relationship with anyone but my partner. He is now living day-to-day as a genderqueer transman, and I am realizing more and more that I feel really uncomfortable being 'a lesbian' or having people think of me that way. I'm definitely a big ol' queer, which means something different in Britain than it does in America, but that feels hard to explain to people. I feel like if I wasn't with DP, it would be perhaps more likely that I'd be with a bio-man (or another trans man) than with a woman. But...it's like this weird and awkward secret that no one IRL knows. I feel like talking about it would undo all my street cred and I'm not willing to make things easier for people in terms of heteronormativity, and besides, I think that lesbians are really cool. I would be proud to be one. I just don’t think I am, and I don’t know how not to be, if that makes sense.

It’s come up a lot recently now that we’re TTC and people are seeing us as a two-mom or ‘lesbian’ family. My DP seems cooler with it than me, mainly I think because he’s gotten ‘misread’ all his life. It’s strange to have something that you thought was a major part of your identity not really represent what you are feeling. Props to all of you who have found out new things about yourself as you’ve gotten older. There’s no ‘authentic’ experience. People come out all the time…and sometimes, go back in. Or something.

Bicycle-ridin', craftin', bloggin' feminist future mama to my starbabies dum spiro spero
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#14 of 14 Old 03-09-2009, 06:14 PM
 
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I'm jumping in here b/c my story is very similar to yours. I was partnered to a man for 6 years and we have two kids. I wouldn't trade that time in my life for anything. Seriously.

But, I am also definitely a lesbian. And some days I feel like I've lost a lot of time. When I touch that deep down part of me, the part that "knows" what it's always known about how I love women, I feel sad that there were years that I denied that part of me. And yet, as they say in RENT, "No day but today." And so I take each day as it comes and revel in the authenticity that my life now has - that I now have with myself.

I was worried it was just a fad or a phase or a backlash from the abuse I suffered at the hands of my XP, but from the first kiss with my girlfriend, it all fell into place and I know, Know, KNOW what is right for me. I'll never be able to go back and although maybe that time wasn't perfect, the time I was living with/partnered to a man, it wasn't wasted. I learned a great deal from him, from the places we lived, the relationships that were created during that time and those lessons I will take with me into the future. They are the gift that came from that time, as well as the gift that I am now able to more truly know myself and present my authentic self to the world.

It is all a journey and now you have this wonderful, exciting, new opportunity to explore this part of yourself.

*~* A * Mama to C and A * *~* I blog - PM me for the URL
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