I was the girl who did what was expected like many. I went to college, found a man to marry, started a career, bought a house, and had babies. I checked all the boxes.
I spent the decade of my 20’s having three babies. My friends would joke that I was never available to have a drink with them because I was either pregnant or nursing for almost 10 years. After having my third baby, I began to develop a couple of same-sex crushes. These were confusing and disruptive, especially because I was married to a man and had three young kids. These crushes felt good in a way. They felt exciting and different than how I felt when I first met my husband.
When I first met my husband, it was a different kind of excitement. The excitement was more because someone was giving me a lot of attention. He was nice looking and made me laugh. He visited me at work multiple times per day, cooked for me, and was extremely loyal. We enjoyed similar things like camping and being outdoors. I was happy I met someone who cared so much about me and gave me all of his attention, so naturally I thought he must be “the one.” “The one” is what many teenage girls are told they would find someday. Find your prince and live happily ever after. Years before that I often heard, “Sarah, don’t you have a boyfriend yet?” It was a box I hadn’t yet checked. Many of my friends had boyfriends throughout high school and college but I never really did until I met my husband midway through college.
Years into my marriage, after having my third baby, I began crushing on a couple of female friends. There was this excitement I hadn’t had with men. When I would begin to question these crushes, I quickly pushed it out of my thoughts, as the idea of being gay seemed liked a nightmare. How could a woman be gay after choosing to have three children with a man? In the beginning it was easy to squash these thoughts, but as time went on, I allowed myself to explore this part of me.
I began to allow myself to enjoy these crushes but at the same time they were disruptive and thought- consuming. Much of the time, it seemed as though the feelings were reciprocated but it was all unsaid. Nothing ever happened, it was just an intense emotional connection shared by two women which felt awesome. It was an emotional connection I had never experienced with a man. These crushes/friendships both ended eventually which helped me get back to a more peaceful mental place. A place where I could forget I had “this issue.”
As my children got older, I began to have some “me time” which meant I had time to re-explore these feelings. I was never brave enough to check out a book in the library or be seen in a section of the bookstore that could reveal I had same sex attraction. I remember getting up the courage to google “married to a man but attracted to women” and finding a forum called, After Ellen.” Here is my post :
Married to a Man and Confused
“I have an awesome lil family. I’m in my 30s and I began developing intense crushes on women after I had my 3rd child. I used to have harmless same sex crushes when I was younger but never thought too much about it. The crushes I’ve developed on women are so intense, I can’t stop thinking about them. I find my husband attractive but I don’t feel that intense emotional connection I feel with women. I haven’t told my husband because I feel embarrassed. We live in an area that is conservative. Anyone out there willing to chat who has similar feelings or situations? I feel my friends (2 crushes I’ve had) flirt w me via texting which makes it more confusing.”
I received a response the next morning from a woman who also was married with three kids similar in ages. We instantly connected. We helped each other navigate these feelings and also became instant friends. We didn’t only talk just about these confusing feelings but we discussed everything in life including raising kids, career stuff, etc. I didn’t feel alone anymore. The thought of being gay felt less scary and more normal.
I was unhappy in my marriage for many reasons aside from my sexuality which I won’t get into. I began some therapy which eventually helped me come out. This decision was not taken lightly. I had fears of breaking up my family and worries about how it would affect my children. Therapy helped me realize I deserve to be in a loving, fulfilling, and emotionally connected relationship. I also deserve to fully be me. Everyone does. Coming out showed my children they should be who they are and if they aren’t in a happy place, they should make a change. I wasn’t being a good role model by staying in an unhappy relationship and hiding who I was.
Coming out wasn’t planned that early morning in 2019. I was sitting on my couch in the dim-lit living room as I often did at 5am. I love the peaceful feeling an early morning has. But my peace was disrupted every morning when my husband woke and came into the room to watch the news. When I heard his footsteps this time, I thought, I can’t do this anymore. Not even one more day which is when I made the decision to come out to him right then and there.
I asked him to sit down next to me because I wanted to talk to him. I gave him a hug first and during the hug I told him there was something I needed to tell him. He responded “This doesn’t sound good. I feel your heart beating out of your chest.” I continued to hug him tightly as I told him I was more attracted to women.” He seemed sad and a bit worried. We went out to dinner that night and talked things over. He accepted the news and was looking for apartments within the same week. I was grateful he took the news so well but it also made me realize he wasn’t connected either.
I came out to all three kids separately the next day. My oldest, age 18 gave me a big hug. She said “I just want you to be happy, Mom.” She mentioned she knew her dad and I were very different people anyways. My son, age 15 also gave me a hug and told me he loves me. My youngest, age 12 cried. I let her take the day off of school the following day. She didn’t know what separated parents would mean for her. By the end of the following day, she was smiling again.
That was 2 years ago. My kids are awesome. They adjusted well and are happy. I’m in a fulfilling , loving relationship with the wonderful woman who answered my forum post years ago.
I often wonder if I would have chosen that path if it wasn’t expected. I often wonder if society, friends, and family would have opened my pool of dating possibilities to men AND women, if I would have gravitated towards a relationship with a woman from the beginning. I obviously don’t have regrets as I have three amazing children from my marriage and lots of good memories.
On to a new chapter..Love wins