A Lesbian Mother Mostly In The Closet
I am a lesbian mother who is mostly in the closet. However, recently I have at least come out to myself and my husband – again. Here is my story, so far:
As a youngster, I was never very popular with the boys – too clever, not extremely pretty and, as I think of it now, simply not very interested in them either. I remember breaking up with one of my early boyfriends because he tried to restrict me from practicing my instrument (he thought I spent too much time away from him) – obviously practicing was more valuable to me than he was. As a 17-year-old, I fell head-over-heels in love with my friend, a girl two years older than me. I can still remember the moment when I understood, because my initial thought was: “There is something wrong with this picture. She is supposed to be a boy…” Well, as it was, she fell in love with me, too, and we had a wonderful summer together – so much in love, until my parents found out about it and made my life a living hell. They restricted me from seeing her, and threatened to kick me out of the house if I did not obey. Like many young homosexuals (at least in the 80ies), I was told that this was just “a phase”, and that it was “not who I really was”. After being terribly depressed and seeing a therapist for some time, my parents finally let me see my girlfriend again, and we were together for two years until the relationship ended. However, I was scared and confused, now having realised and experienced how loving the “wrong kind of person” could remove my parents’ love for me and make life difficult, cold and harsh.
Starting my higher education and having lived by myself for a year, I soon met the man who was going to become my husband and with whom I now have two kids. He is many years older than me, and made me feel safe and comfortable back in those days, and also attractive as a woman. I remember thinking that “he was a man that I probably could bear to live with” – not a very good point of departure for a long-lasting relationship perhaps, but what do you do when you are 20 years old, scared as hell of who you are and what it means, and just want to mainstream yourself and make the “other” side of you go away? Well, no matter how hard I have wished and tried over the years, it did not go away.
I had my first baby quite young, and the second one some years later, both while having my education. I was all the time quite financially dependent on my husband, and our relationship was unstable at times. He knew about my first girlfriend, and was OK with that. While my first child was still small, I had a brief affair with a woman who was later to become a close friend. He knew about that, too, although it caused a lot of tension, which was also the main reason why I broke up with her.
At the age of 38, I now have a good career of my own, a stable job and income for the first time in my life. Somehow, this security has brought up the “other” side of me again (maybe I feel safe enough for the first time in my life?), and a year ago I once again fell head-over-heels in love with a woman. I met her at work, and she is the smartest, most beautiful and lovely woman you can ever think of. However, she is in a superior position to me, and this makes things difficult, so I have not told her how I feel. Yet. Still, my feelings for her have greatly affected my relationship with my husband. You see, the feelings I have for women are just so much stronger than those I have for guys. I guess it has always been like that, really, although I have had a hard time acknowledging it. Also, although I am not a “stereotype lesbian” (I dress in a quite feminine way), my character and personality are more masculine than feminine (probably I can be categorised as a “lipstick butch” or something like that) and this has become more apparent during the years. And then, I just don’t “click” with men the same way as I do with women. Flirting with men is awkward, while flirting with women is easy and welcome. So, I sat down with my husband the other day and told him that I was not going to deny my sexuality anymore, that I had come to the conclusion that I am a lesbian and that I actually need to, sometimes, visit a gay bar or two in order to “just sit there and be gay” and not just a heterosexual, married mom (which I am not, anyway, but how could you tell?). I need to express my gayness! At first he was seemingly OK with it (yes, we have discussed this topic some times before), but after a while he was really sad. We have decided to try to stay married and to raise our children together, however I can’t help wishing that I will, sooner or later, meet a fabulous woman who will just bring me out of this situation.
I want a family and I do love my kids, but I actually want to spend my life with a woman. I spend so much time thinking about the woman that I am in love with – wanting her in any way possible. I also spend a lot of time browsing the Internet, reading other people’s stories (the reason why I ended up here in the first place). But: How much pain can you afford to impose on other people in order to live the life that is meant for you? I am quite angry with my parents nowadays, because I feel that their judgmental behaviour 20 years ago made me interrupt what would have been an important exploration into my sexual identity. Instead, I just jumped into the arms of the first willing man (yes, he is a very kind father and husband, but he is a MAN for heavens sake). Still, I would not be without my children, whom I would never have had if it were not for this man. Sometimes my life feels like one of those “funny” pictures that just won’t add up (you know, where you see a building from below and above at the same time et cetera). At least I am open to him and to myself now (I have kind of always been, but at the same time I have had long periods of trying to forget the whole thing). Please, could destiny just send a gorgeous woman in my direction so I could say that “I just had no choice”? I don’t want to stay married, but I don’t know how I can bear to bring so much pain and uncertainty to my husband, my children and myself. So, what to do?
Reading this text once more before posting it, I realise that what I am asking for is a way to get rid of pain, shame, guilt and responsibility. I was never taught how to celebrate who I am and be happy about it, rather I learned to bury myself before I even came into being. Maybe I really should get myself together and go see a therapist? Not to find out that I am gay – I know that by now – but to find out how to live with the implications. Feel free to comment my story and give me some advice. I sure could need some.