Real Life Stories and letters shared with us by our community, including emails that users have given us permission to post.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Coming out in later life

The full, unedited email:

I’m nearly 50 and have been married for almost 30 years (first boyfriend). Several years ago I fell for my best friend, we are still very close. Certain things have made me now believe that I have always been bisexual and I’m struggling to make sense of it if I’m honest. When I look back I think there were signs but I kind of ignored them and went down the husband, children route. I still like men but am definitely more attracted to women now. I love my children dearly and am worried how this might affect them so have kept it to myself. The only people that know are a couple of very close friends. I believe that some of my other friends would find it hard to accept so wont mention it to them.

Just wondered if anyone else had been through similar and how they dealt with it?

Our sister response:

You most certainly are not alone in this discovery in later life, and it brings with it many different complications than the ones we are more used to advising on. As you say you've lived a life that up until now (and even now I imagine) felt right. You've done what many young women do; marrying young and having a family.

Your new found desires will never detract from those things, nor the love you feel for your family, but just as you have felt like your sexuality has been hidden from you, so too might the people in your life feel the same. It's only natural. The people closest to you will feel you have kept a secret. The important thing to note is that they are not alone in that feeling, because it has been as much a surprise for you as it will be for them. I'd be frank about that.

I would undoubtedly say you have always been bisexual, but an early choice in partner can easily mean those feelings are not realised or expressed until later life. Even if you had known at the time it would not necessarily have changed the course of your life, something you should make sure you're family understand. You married (I hope) for love, and admitting an attraction to the same sex would not have changed that.

Now that you have recognised your attraction to women as well as men, and have admitted it to yourself, the first thing to do is acknowledge what a hugely brave thing that is to do. You should be proud of that. How you now proceed is likely to be affected mostly by the people surrounding you and more importantly what your intentions are regarding exploring these new found feelings.

Some film-maker friends of mine released a film last year entitled "Jan's Coming Out" - I heartily recommend it for some inspiration! It follows Jan who is a not so dissimilar position to yourself, and a whole host of people commenting candidly on the subject.

In regards as to how you now move forward and acknowledge your bisexuality with your loved ones, the fear of rejection you feel is no different to any other coming out. It's real, it's hard. It takes guts. A lot of people test the water first, engaging in surrounding topics. Ultimately I think many people find strength from others who have been through similar situations, and often the topic is only broached when they have a partner to support them through it.

But that's why you came to us, so we can open the door to the wealth of experience our projecteers have had.

So I'll let them do what they do best :)

p.s really, do watch that movie, and visit their page and chat to Jan about it, she's lovely.

Disclaimer: We must stress that we are just human beings trying to help, we are not counselors, therapists, psychologists or psychiatrists. But we do have some pearls of wisdom on occasion, and we also have an incredibly supportive home here. If you feel you have advice to offer, feel free to comment below, as always. It's important no-one feels alone, that's what this project is all about after all.

Note: All correspondence is reproduced here without editing, except to protect the users identity. Please excuse all typos and other faults you may find. When emotion is high, grammar is a low priority.

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