Imagine yourself at 33 years old. Mother of three kids. Loving husband of 10 years. Perfect two-story home with a white picket fence. A perfect life as far as the eye can see. But, you are going to mess it up. Big time. Because you realize, you’re attracted to women.
Suppressed emotions do not go away. I tried that. And it made me miserable.
They exploded out of me this year, due to the stress of the pandemic, among other things. Despite feeling fearful that I would lose everything – I was ready to come clean with my husband.
While he was aware I thought women were beautiful and men were handsome, that is about the extent of his knowledge. What he didn’t know is that four to five years into our monogamous marriage, I fell in love with my best friend. I had an emotional affair with her; though, she and I never talked about it. Still to this day, we haven’t talked about it.
She was everything I wasn’t getting at home. We had shared interests and spent a great deal of time together. I spent time with her to avoid spending time with my husband. Despite him being a very loving person, I often felt very lonely in our marriage. There is no one to blame but ourselves, because we didn’t talk about much, outside of the bills, cleaning the house, and what was for dinner.
I spent most of those years beating myself up that I had let myself fall for someone else. A woman, at that. Was I a lesbian? Was I bisexual? Or was I just losing my mind?
The guilt was so intense, I decided to shut her out.
I was ready to suppress anything that made me feel like I was part of the LGBTQ community. I began to take on a traditional gender role as a stay-at-home mother. I tried not to engage with any articles, social media or movies that involved same-sex relationships or themes. Though I was very busy with little kids at home, the noise of what I had done years prior combined with the suppression of my feelings of curiosity ate me alive.
Last year, the pandemic hit us. My family was forced together during every waking moment. There was no hiding anymore.
My husband and I visited a therapist. After a few sessions, I spoke separately with the therapist. I expressed my concern that he was going to leave me but said that it was time. She encouraged me and that night I told him.
“I may be bisexual. Or gay. I don’t know what my label is, but I fell in love with my best friend years ago. That is why I don’t speak to her much anymore and why I haven’t been emotionally available to you.”
The incredible man looked me in the eye and said “I understand. I haven’t been there for you emotionally, which is likely why you needed to seek it elsewhere.”
Oh. Em. Gee. What a beautiful human being he is.
I attribute his reaction to his unwavering ability to unconditionally love me and also, the work we did in marriage and relationship therapy. It allowed us to have an honest conversation, which was something we hadn’t ever truly done before.
Isn’t it something, that you can share a mortgage, three kids, and daily life with another human without speaking to each other honestly? It had taken almost 13 years together to learn how to communicate in a way that includes the truth, while also being kind.
Today, we are trying to work out the details of our marriage or post-marriage situation.
While he is non-judgmental toward me being gay, he also doesn’t want to open our marriage. That is not what he signed up for and I 100% respect that. The unknown is truly terrifying, but we are working on it. We want to keep our children at the forefront of whatever decision we make. And if that means we are happier apart, then I guess that is what we will do.
I am thankful, though, that my husband is willing to talk openly and honestly about his needs while I figure out mine. Until then, we are trying to soak up all the time we have together as a family of five, living in the same home. I don’t think this is something that will be resolved overnight, but with the love that we have for each other and our children, we will come out stronger on the other side.