How To Leave Your Husband (Because You’re a Lesbian)

Hello Autostraddle, I used to be married to a man.

We’ve gone over this before, but it’s been a while, so here’s the refresher:

I got pregnant and married, in that order duh, while I was in high school! I stayed married, got pregnant again, and kept staying married for something like eight years — I lost count. Then we moved to Virginia, into a house I hated, in a neighborhood I hated, away from my favorite place (California) and my favorite person on the planet (the straight best friend I subconsciously wanted to marry). My husband was in the military and he’d be gone for months at a time. I was perpetually in a bad mood/depressed. Then there was free Showtime and a Season Three marathon. I watched Shane fuck Cherie Jaffe by the pool over and over and spent the next month googling ALL THE THINGS + FEELINGS. Everything — every last fucking thing ever — finally made sense. I made sense.

I came out, we separated.

But it wasn’t quite as neat and easy as that. Not even close.

I’m often asked, not necessarily outright, how I kept up that husband thing for as long as I did. It’s not an easy question to answer, both because it involves summoning a state of mind I can no longer relate to and because I’m scared of being judged. I judge myself so harshly, and I judge the girl I used to be, even though everything seemed normal to me then.

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Where I grew up, it wasn’t uncommon to be young and pregnant and married. Birth control was available but not really discussed or supported, and no one talked about homosexuality or feminism. This was the 80s and early 90s, so there wasn’t any internet or gay people on television. All I had was what I saw, which to me looked like a prevailing acceptance of just sorta settling.

Yes, I was miserable in my relationship(s), but I thought that everyone was miserable in their relationships. I’d been listening to women complain about their husbands or boyfriends — in real life and on television and in movies and magazines — for as long as I could remember. From what I’d gathered, it seemed like women chose a spouse based on who annoyed or disgusted them the least. Maybe they also considered whether or not this guy would be nice to their future kids, and his capacity to eventually afford a boat. It never occurred to me that being “in love” could feel like anything more than kindly agreeing not to be mean to each other. And attraction? Actually wanting sex? I mean, what must that be like?? Women aren’t socialized, like men are, to think they deserve sexual satisfaction. Maybe it’s different now, but at the time, I interpreted sex as a thing that made boys happy, but for which women shouldn’t set their sights too high.

That part — the sex part — is hands-down the most difficult thing for me to talk about, process or explain. Not just because of how personal sex is, for everybody, but also because of the terrible sad vacant feeling that comes with discussing a thing that I never related to and now can barely fathom ever doing. At that time, sex was how I could get someone to like me.

It’s sad to know that I thought so little of myself, that something that should’ve been… something, was so very nothing for me, and that I stayed anyway. When I realized I was gay — and I wish there was a different phrase for this because it sounds like I figured out something as simple as my zipper being down, “realized” — things started making a little bit more sense. I finally understood why my husband felt more like a brother than a romantic partner, and I started to wonder if the communal heterosexual misery I’d considered myself a part of wasn’t the same for me as it was for everyone else, after all. If I admitted I’d been miserable with him for a long time, would people wonder why I hadn’t already left?  And how could any future person trust that I knew my elbow from my asshole if I’d gone 25 years without even knowing I was gay? I’d have to tell everybody, and they’d ask me all these questions and they’d be really confused and I wouldn’t be able to help them because I also had a bunch of questions for myself, like about my levels of self-awareness and self-worth.

So anyway, imagine my surprise when all of a sudden, the world looked like a real place — a place where self-awareness was possible and I could see out windows and speak the language and understand why people had ambitions. I could finally be honest with myself. I mean, just imagine that.

When I came out, I came out as a lesbian, which also confuses a lot of people who assume that because I was married to a man, then I must be bisexual. I’m not, and that’s not what this post or my story is about. I guess the easiest way to explain it is that I was basically a lesbian in the closet trying my very best to be a straight person (like so many gay women have done, and still do, and was the norm for most of human history).

From what I can tell, coming out after being married to a man has the tendency to send almost everyone who knows you into screaming hysterics. People just can’t wrap their heads around how you could’ve lived one life and now want to live an altogether different one. At least, that’s how they see it — it’s actually still just you and your life. And unlike the typical coming out story, which can also result in confusion and hysterics, you get the added thrill of parading your personal journey through the court system!

“so i think i’ll have this baby, wait a couple of years, and then be a lesbian”

So for those of you in similar situations, or who know somebody in a similar situation, here are my tidbits of wisdom for how to get yourself out of Man Land. (Coming out, both to yourself and to the masses, is different for everyone, so you may not see yourself in this piece. That doesn’t mean you’re weird or I’m stupid, it just means we’re humans! Share your own experiences in the comments!)

Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me

Write this down.

You’re Not The Only One
If you are [anything — anything AT ALL], there are other people who are also [that thing]. This means that you’re not uniquely or permanently fucked. Things might be terrible at the beginning, but you’ll make it to the other side of this because other people have. That will be your mantra.

You’re Not Fundamentally Unappealing/Damaged Goods
Probably everyone who’s ended a long-term relationship of any kind comes away feeling a little disheveled. Exhausted. Like you need three weeks/years of full body exfoliations and maybe even new teeth. This feeling will pass. You’ll meet other people who’ve molted and you’ll believe in possibilities again (or maybe for the first time). Also noteworthy: other humans on this planet will and do find you attractive and interesting!

You’re Welcome Here
Does it seem like the queer girls’ world is a members-only treehouse in Narnia? It’s not! You might think that your history with a -gasp- man will forever alienate you from the club, but actually you’re already a member, via your desire to cuddlefuck another woman-type person. Welcome! There is no club president — though that doesn’t stop some from trying — so it’s total anarchy up in here. Who will kill the spiders now?? Only time will tell!

This Is Not Legal Advice

I’m not a lawyer, so be sure to get your own, but let’s talk about this shit anyway.

Don’t begin a relationship with anyone else while you’re still married. This is called having an affair and it’s a bad idea. If you sleep with a woman, it’s still an affair. Try to keep it in your heart/pants until the divorce is all tied up. Do not have an affair! If it can be used against you in the divorce, don’t freakin’ do it. Which brings me to…

Consider waiting until after the divorce to come out. You probably have a lot of pent-up militant lesbian feminazi rage that’s compelling you to shout your newfound identity from the rooftops — and that is a fun thing to do — but take a minute/month to think about the repercussions.

Divorces are not friendly events and you should go into yours assuming that every single thing possible will be used against you during this process. Even if you know your husband isn’t a bigoted jerk, who knows what kind of lawyer he’ll hire, or what his friends/family will plant in his skull. We always advocate for safety over visibility, and that’s what I’m talking about here.

Know your state. Every state has different requirements for filing a no-fault divorce, so do your research. Virginia, for example, requires that you be separated for a year before you can divorce. Isn’t that neat and not a pain in the ass at all?!

Be the first to file. There are probably solid legal reasons why this is a good (or even bad?) idea, but if nothing else it’s at least proactive, and that’s your new middle name. Also, if you file first, the paperwork won’t say “[HIS NAME] vs. [YOUR NAME]” (it’ll be the other way around) and that will make you feel better. I’m not kidding.

Speaking of Kids!

Do you have one or more? Congratulations!

Working out custody and visitation can be/is hellish. If you’re like most hetero couples, conceiving your child didn’t require anyone’s permission and no one ever asked you to prove why you should get to keep them. That’s pretty much over now, and it’s weird. Gathering information to show why he’s not “in the best interest of the child” and you are just isn’t how you want to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Most states can’t legally consider your flaming gayness when awarding custody, but that doesn’t mean they won’t. Judges and lawyers are also just people, with their own prejudices and beliefs, so sometimes things don’t turn out like they should. (Shock me!) A handful of states can take your children away based on sexual orientation, which is why you really need to research your state’s laws. The ACLU has some useful info for gay parents.

Don’t leave it up to your lawyer to know everything! My lawyer, in fact, turned out to be mostly useless. Instead of looking into whether or not a judge in Virginia could legally rule against me based on sexuality (they can’t), she assumed that he would and advised me accordingly. Because I believed her and didn’t do my research, I found myself in a mediation room across from my ex-husband and his lawyer, giving up everything but custody.

This is a good time to reiterate that not coming out, should you have that option and decide to go that route, is not a cowardly thing to do. Defending yourself in court is expensive and soul-sucking, and there are no guarantees. I honestly think if I could do it over again, I would wait to come out until after the custody/visitation situation had been handled. I still have court-related bills I can’t pay and enough animosity to resurrect Dark Willow, but my mother always said I made things harder than they had to be, so.

You’ll probably experience sudden and crippling guilt, maybe even doubt. You may ask yourself, “Am I doing the right thing? Is this selfish? Have I fucked over everyone by being so blind to my true self? Would it be better to stay for their sake? Can I be an effective single parent? Will we end up on Intervention in 12 years?” Someone might even ask those questions for you, which is a truly special kind of agony. Give these moments the space the need to run around in your brain and exhaust themselves. After a while they won’t come back.

For the record: You’re doing the right thing. It is selfish, but in a good way, like going to yoga. You haven’t fucked over anyone (this was the hardest one for me to believe). It would NEVER ever be better if you stayed for their sake. Being a single parent is hard but you can do it. You probably won’t be on Intervention because that show won’t be on in 12 years.

In short: take a deep breath! Everything’s ok and you’re not crazy. If you’ve been married to a guy and have some advice or stories you’d like to share, please do! Next time we’ll talk about even more feelings and new relationshippy stuff. Hoorah!


Special Note: Autostraddle’s “First Person” personal essays do not necessarily reflect the ideals of Autostraddle or its editors, nor do any First Person writers intend to speak on behalf of anyone other than themselves. First Person writers are simply speaking honestly from their own hearts.

Laneia is the Executive Editor and founding member of Autostraddle, and you're the reason she's here.

Laneia has written 927 articles for us.

409 Comments

  1. “People just can’t wrap their heads around how you could’ve lived one life and now want to live an altogether different one. At least, that’s how they see it — it’s actually still just you and your life.”

    AMEN. This is what scares me most about coming out as trans. I don’t know how to convince them that I’m still the same person, that this isn’t a “phase”, that my life before I realized I might not be a girl is no less valid or real than my life now, that I *want* this and it’s not an affliction, something they should pity me for, that it’s ultimately none of their business.

  2. I’m confused.I thought lesbians were lesbians. Ithought people here where above labels and yet your still tryin g to tell someone there not a real lesbian. Who are you to say what’s a real lesbian and what’s not a real lesbian.
    And it sounds like people are bi-phobic
    I loved the article anyway and I agree that she looks hot in the baby pic.

  3. I don’t think I got to comment on this yet, but I did read it when you posted it!! And then I read it again today. I may read it again tomorrow, who knows? Beautiful piece.

  4. *all the internet hugs to Laneia*

    i remember when you “came out” on AS about having kids. very powerful. thank you.

  5. I love that stories like this bring out the other commenters who came out later in life. Sometimes it feels like I’m in a sea full of women who knew they were gay right out of the womb and it’s a very lonely feeling.

    Thank you for sharing.

  6. Thank you for sharing such a difficult, touching, deeply personal story. Doesn’t sound like it was easy. Many LGBT people have difficult stories of many stripes, and the utmost respect should be shown when someone is brave enough to share something like. Those people trolling this thread with nastiness really should be ashamed.

    I admit not understanding the ability to be with a guy, have kids with him,etc. I imagine it must be extremely difficult, and commend anyone who has survived that. I’ve never wanted children at all; in fact, its a hard and steadfast deal breaker. I admire mothers though, as that is one admirable group of people.

    Laneia, you have done a wonderful service by sharing this to an often overlooked group of ladies in our community. Ignore the naysayers, as this an incredibly brave story. Thanks again for writing this.

  7. I love this piece, and the comment thread. This is my story too. I’m 32 – and though I dated women in my late teens, I buried everything under a desire to fit in, to live up to some imaginary image I thought everyone expected. I married my best (male) friend at 24, had two beautiful kids. They’re 3 and 5 now, and my husband and I are divorcing. I was too much of a coward to admit to myself, or anyone, that I was gay. And then I fell in love with a woman, and I dug the real me out of a deep hole. I’m not proud of starting an affair, but it forced me to confront my deep-seated self-hatred, and I am lighter and happier than I’ve ever been. I have no excuses for what made this so hard for me – I grew up in a progressive middle-class household, with supportive family and friends. It’s amazing what subtle and implicit homophobia can do to your subconscious.

    Thanks Laneia and everyone for sharing your stories. It’s no small comfort to hear them.

  8. Thanks so much for this. I came out to my mom 10 years ago she said I just needed to find the right guy so I just kept dating dudes and now I’ve been with seriously, the *perfect guy* for 6.5 years and I feel so empty. I don’t want to hurt him and i really love him and love spending time with him but the whole sex part of our relationship is really hard for me. I’m great at faking enthusiasm and skills but it doesn’t seem fair to either of us and I don’t know how much longer I can do it. I feel like a coward, I know I need to let him go but I’m terrified of hurting him. I’m just all around scared. and lonely.

  9. I read this a few days ago but I’ve been thinking about it since and just got a chance to comment.

    I’m so glad you wrote this and commenters with similar experiences shared some things too. The point that really hit me the most was the part about not realizing what other people felt in their relationships and so not knowing that you felt differently.

    I originally came out as a lesbian a long time ago but after things went really badly in life I decided i had to start dating men like the whole world seemed to think I should. And it took me awhile to find one, but when i did I thought I had such a mature relationship because it was totally calm and not tumultuous, like a good friendship. And I was almost always conveniently too tired for sex! And it took me a few years to realize that we basically were platonic best friends because I’d been right about myself in the first place. I felt like I’d made a terrible mess of my life and his, that I’d gone too far down the wrong path and couldn’t go back. But over the past year and a half I’ve made those changes, and I’m so lucky that we are still best friends, but just best friends now! Now at age 30 I think I am starting to live my own life not some combination of how other people, real or imaginary, think I should live.

    Also I’m really sorry you had to deal with the divorce and custody stuff! Changing my situation seemed impossible for awhile and we were just living together with a dog.

  10. I have a lot of feelings, but I read this too late to pounce on obnoxious comments.

    1. I used to be married, it was shitty but I still feel badly all the time because I feel like I fucked my best friend over because I was too dumb to realize I was [so, so obviously to everyone else] totally fucking gay. Please excuse grammar. tired.

    2. Divorce is terrible, but I have so much respect for people who have money/kids when they go through it [I didn’t] and it is so so so much harder.

    3. When I was eleven I thought I was gay but then all through high school and college everyone thought I was just experimenting and that made me feel unauthentic and so I decided to just date men because they didn’t question my authenticity. I fucking hate it when the lesbian club gets exclusive because this is how us closeted yet raised-by-hippies people get caught up in that bullshit. I wanted to be real, right, so *experimenting* was a bad call, so I figured sex was just nasty/boring.

    I kind of like boys sometimes [not so much for sex, but women don’t get to like that, right?], girls didn’t like me in college because I wasn’t “out” already [read: shy as fuck], and boys…well, they’re all of my friends. this = oops, dating ==> oops, marriage…. yeah that shit sucks for everyone. So the “if you’ve ever dated boys you’re bisexual” thing….hurts. Not that bisexual is a bad label, I might even fit it. I just like to be the only one labeling myself, thanks.

    I’m probably a little bisexual. There are totally men I’ve loved. Was the sex good? Nope. Was the conversation good? Yep. Did I have intimate emotional relationships? totally. I kind of don’t want to disrespect that by saying I’m a lesbian, but….I will probably only ever date women from now on. Did I fucking love my in laws and lose an entire extended family because I was lying to myself to preserve a level of comfort and authenticity I couldn’t find with other women? Yep. Does that suck? You bet.

    4. Being judged by female persons for all of the above no longer makes me hate myself [it’s been a minute]. Now I just think they’re being close minded. I’m a human who has loved humans and is good at doing that–and now and in the future those humans are likely to be female. I know I’m preaching to [mostly] the choir here….but I just don’t get it when how sure I am about how much gender matters is important. The fact that I was hung up on this shit when I was a dumb ass kid is why I spent so much time fucking up other people’s lives [inexcusably] so WHAT THE FUCK.

    end rant/

    • I applaud you and anyone with the courage to get out of a hetero marriage and join the queer community. I can’t imagine, as I said upthread, ever going through that, and you are to be commended.

      Now, that being said. You have to kind of understand a few things. For one, those of us who are lifelong lesbians probably won’t really understand your past decisions re: men. That creates an automatic disconnect when dating. Also, there is the component of if there are kids involved, there is an automatic, permanent connection to that person’s former “straight” life. It is up to each individual as to whether or not that is something she can stomach. For me, it isn’t. a) I don’t want kids. My dealbreaker goes: kids: don’t want ’em, don’t wanna raise yours. People can take that how they like, but that is MY decision. b)I want to know that the woman I pursue is into other women on a serious level and can see herself with a woman long term. A lot of times, if someone is fresh out of hetero land, there is really just no reason to believe that.

      The second part is what you mention about closets. I wouldn’t take that as people being hateful. I’d take it as protecting oneself of the responsibility of keeping someone’s secret. We don’t go through the pain and turmoil to come out just so that we have to kowtow to someone else’s closet, and go back in ourselves to avoid outing that person. Also, if one person is totally closeted and the other is totally out, they are probably in two completely different places in their queer development, and it won’t work anyway.

      As for labeling, agree ONE GAZILLION PERCENT that you are the only person who can label (or not label) yourself.

  11. This is a really good thing you have done, Laneia. Putting this out here like this is a real mitzvah.

    I was married in Virginia to my (dude) high school sweetheart. The divorce long and ugly. After 17 years together that easy-going guy I married turned into a flaming HELLBEAST when I left. It all got very bad indeed, violence, etc., lost the majority of my friends and several family members as well when I came out. It is human nature – some people just cannot deal.

    Now I cannot imagine living life any other way than as a gay lady. Was I ever really that dejected, utterly lacking in a sense of self-worth, and miserable? I could not have done it without my best girlfriends/sisters (10 years on, I still use straight-southern-girl lingo).

    This reminds me to go do some volunteering at the women’s shelter again, playing this good deed you have done forward. Thanks, Laneia.

  12. This is brave and you do have a great sense of humor. I’m also angry that there are states in the States (he) that discriminate against gay parents when it comes to custody. And that whole process of having to tell almost your entire life in court? And that thing where having affairs can completely fuck things up?

  13. Is it necessary to engage in name-calling and shaming? It appears that the point of the article is a “live-and-learn” one. Also. I accidentally ‘liked’ your comment trying to reply.

  14. To the people on this thread complaining about the “bisexual lesbians”:

    Just because someone has been with a man does not mean she is totally incapable of being a lesbian. I’ve never posted on this site, I’ve been content to just read the articles and be happy. However, some of these posts are so horribly offensive to me I cannot even begin to describe it.

    I have 2 kids. I was in an abusive relationship for 3 1/2 years, that ultimately ended with me almost dead. I was raped 3 fucking times-once protecting an ex girlfriend from a man old enough to be my own father. If I even had to TOUCH another fucking dick I think I would throw up and cry.

    So please, care to tell me, do I qualify as a “bisexual lesbian who throws the term around”? I’m not “bisexual” because that would require attraction to men, which I don’t have. AT ALL. And I don’t think I need therapy to “fix” it, since I had my first girlfriend at 13 (and multiple ones afterward, and a current one now) so orientation isn’t just a by product of trauma.

    I understand it may be offensive to some to feel like any woman who’s been with a man is just throwing the term “lesbian” around. But please consider that when people like me read threads like this, it is absolutely horrifying, offensive, and hurtful to say the least. Generalizing people and saying anyone who’s been with a man can’t be a lesbian is inaccurate, 110%.

    So to the autostraddle community, that is my first post.

    Thank you.

  15. Miss Anon, the only thing I would say to you is that if no one ever questioned their sexuality, do you have any idea how small the LGBT community would be? How many young people would possibly do irreversible harm to themselves or others b/c of intolerance like yours? How many people have found the true loves of their lives, b/c they had the courage to question their sexuality, and go through an incredibly hard journey that you couldn’t possibly understand. Shame on you for your intolerance and unkindness.

  16. It is funny how a couple stories can change your world so quick, I’ve been reading about all your experiences and I have to say that they made me realize that I always used sex with men as a weapon to get my ways.
    I’m 27 and I have always known that I like girls but barely last year I find out I like them this much :P I finally fall in love with an amaizing girl that has make my world so much more worthy that I wonder how could I missed this for so long.

  17. I dont know why there is sooo much stigma in the queer community its disgusting and embarrassing to think we’re taking a step backward.

    I feel as women, we’re compelled to tear other women down. Internally and externally we judge each other for whatever reason we can. Orientation, style, weight, sexual promiscuity, education, job..whatever. We’re all guilty.

    But why would you judge someone who is sharing their story in hopes other women will feel okay doing the same? Because there are those of us out there that need that support and need people to look up to.

    Orientation is fickle and even those “gold stars” arent so pure, because nobody is. Your not special, your not your own class. We all are in this together whether you like it or not.

    Sexuality is fluid, whether your looking at someone in a magazine and think “wow he’s kind of hot” Or lesbians that enjoy the masculinity of a trans boy. Its not necessarily “gender” we’re attracted to at times as women. Its the presentation of femininity or masculinity. Yes of course, most queer ladies don’t want to be physically with a male, but there are some that will compromise and participate in three ways because they’re attracted to the female half, porn as well, etc. Sexuality and who you spend your life with are two different things. There are people who sleep with whoever and whatever their attractive to, but only date or invest emotion and time into female identified people. And THATS OKAY!

    Anyways, I digress…the point is, no one has the power to judge ANYONE gay, straight, bisexual, homoflexible, heteroflexible…etc for who they love behind closed doors. A woman who comes out is just as valid as a woman who decides she wants to be with men more than women one day. Its their life story, and we’re not them. So we should be happy for that person and agree to disagree.

    Thank you for those of you out there who are okay with who you are, and for sharing your stories with us. Keep moving forward in your happiness. And those of you who are stuck with so much angst, find your story and share it. Be brave enough to put yourself out there and liberate yourself as these other women have. Dont stifle yourself and others!

    Xox

    • Sorry, but your denying that actually homosexual people (or women who have never been attracted to men at all) exist is just like claims of bigoted people in this comment section about lesbians that had experiences with men. And you’re completely wrong on sexual fluidity, since actually according to creator of sexual fluidity theory, Lisa Diamond, some people don’t have fluidity potential at all – those that have always been exclusively sexually attracted to one sex (which points a question why exactly it’s separated from bisexuality, but it’s subject for longer discussion).

  18. This has been a very eye opening thread. This is my first time posting here. I have gone through my life being married and I have children, but yes, in my heart, I truly love women. I have been keeping myself in this marriage for my kid’s sakes and I know that I shouldn’t, especially because I have a verbal abusive husband. This post has given me more hope and courage to be strong and to be able to stand up for myself, my rights and for the happiness of my children. They know my sexuality because my husband outed me to them. They were upset with me for a little while, but they have come to realize that I am the same mom that they have known and that I love them unconditionally. I hope that other women will find hope and strength as well, especially from brave women who put their foot out there and tell their stories. Thank you

  19. What a great website you have here, which I just stumbled across this afternoon. Even though I’m a guy, I can certainly relate to what Laneia has to say about people thinking it wierd when coming out as a Lesbian instead of a Bisexual after having been married to a man. I was married to a woman for many years, am divorced, and now I’m Queer! No Bisexual label for me.

  20. I think it is also important to remember to have compassion for your former spouse. They are also dealing with the loss of the person they married. However, its better to be honest then remain unhappy. I don’t think there can be a happy partnership if one person is always dissatisfied and cannot fix this without leaving.

  21. Thank you. You have no idea how much this article has helped me. Although not married or with children it helped me come to terms with myself and my relationship and helped me do what I needed to do. I hope you continue to inspire many.

  22. I had the opposite happen: I’m straight and my husband came out as gay about a year ago (we’d been together 9 years, no kids). We’re in our 30’s and aside from the marriage being sexless, we were happy, satisfied, and in love. We’re divorced now but still very close and care deeply about each other.

    Which is why I STRONGLY suggest something that is missing from this article: YOUR FORMER SPOUSE. There’s whole sections about the courts, the kids–but your legal partner? T’hell with ‘im! Fight him in court! He is the enemy!

    Former spouses of gay people ARE NOT THE ENEMY.

    I have and still fight fiercely for LGBTQ rights. But this sort of devastation takes an ENORMOUS psychological toll on your spouse. Hooray for your sexuality, but for all intents and purposes, we’re widowed without ceremony. We awkwardly explain to family and friends and employers and courts.
    We’re scolded & accused of “turning” someone gay, of not being wo/man enough for them, etc. This is hard enough to hear without suddenly being without support to deal with it.

    I know it’s more common in lesbians to pack up and leave very suddenly with minimal explanation, while gay men tend to linger longer, come out in the marriage.
    All I ask (on behalf of fellow “str8s”) is to be KIND
    Don’t use your children as pawn or weapons or shield.
    Don’t make the legal bits any harder than they have to be.

    You loved your partner once, the least you can do is the respect of treating them humanely as we hole up in depression, licking our wounds while you’re, well, out being gay.

    • Thanks for that, June. I am divorcing my lesbian wife and I was not prepared for the viscous treatment I have received from my soon-to-be-ex and her lawyer (who is also a lesbian). Our only child is grown and on his own, and there are no assets. So I figured mediation should be quick and easy. So wrong. Two year court battle costing thousands and thousands. The sole is alimony. She and her lawyer are demanding a monthly sum that is actually greater than my take home pay. The judge actually said “How do you expect him to pay that?” Meanwhile the court battle rages on and her lawyer is getting wealthy.
      From what I read here, it seems typical to wage all out war on your straight ex-spouse in family court. Is this true for most of you?

      • Not for me… still deciding if we should get divorced after a 10 year marriage, one 2.5 year old son. We’ve agreed to work things out amicably and stay friends if we split.

        Most days I’m not sure what to hope for… but I didn’t agree to marry her as long as she stays straight. I’ll go with her decision, but I’m not eager to kick out my life partner, even if sex is gone.

        It doesn’t have to be a battle. But it’s also not easy trying to empathize when you’re feeling hurt and rejected (on the straight spouse side).

  23. You’re a serious POS for f*cking up so many lives. My sympathies go out to people like June not top scum like you Laneia

  24. My ex-husband wanted to get a t-shirt made that said “My wife came out in San Francisco and all I got was this crappy t-shirt” Pretty funny considering the hell I put him through!

  25. Thank you. I have known that I’m not straight since I was about 10 years old or so. I am married to a man right now and am afraid to tell him I want a divorce. We’ve always had a rocky relationship and he also became violent a few months ago. I don’t know exactly what to do from here but what you’re wrote has helped me to not feel alone.

  26. Angel,
    Seek help from either a therapist or a lawyer asap. You should not have to be in a relationship where there could possibly be violence. Protect yourself and your children if you have any, Please. You are never alone.

  27. Well, what about if you were with a girl forever, and he was with a guy forever, and you really thought you loved him (a little at least), but you think now that it might just be a modern lavender marriage in disguise, because you’re both happier and healthier with the same sex, and not each other, and you both still check out the ladies/menfolk… but he’s a little less convinced that you’re not really meant to be together. What wins? Guilt over the feelings that you tricked your best friend into a marriage for shits,giggles and in state tuition, but that you really tried, and you were just too fucked from your first girlfriend to deal? And then you went to college, and rediscovered feminists and directed the vagina monologues? And lied to your family, and friends by saying that you were happy in your marriage, because people put so much time in, and feelings, and moneys? Or the fact that you’re not happy, but you could be… with a lady? What wins?
    We don’t even have kids, or shared assets, and I feel like a failure…Majorly. I dunno if anyone will get down to this comment, but… it’s pretty damn hard. And for anyone who does, and is in the same situation… See, you’re not the only one!

  28. I was an out lesbian, and 38 years old when I met my husband in 2001. Now I’m 48 and I have left him, after years of pretense (on my part) turned into disillusionment. It’s hard. Some days it’s very hard, and we haven’t even legally separated yet, let along started divorce proceedings. AND he’s in another country… It’s going to be a long haul.

    Some days I have major self-doubt issues. Much like Karinna, mine is (at the age of 59) a man-child, and I have terrible guilt about leaving him to fend for himself after having taken care of him for 10 years, but the fact that I had to take care of him – and that I resented it so much – that helped me make my mind up to leave. So there’s so much internal conflict.

    There is no conflict about my sexuality though. That’s always been there. I miss him. We were such good friends. Now he’s hurt and angry, and I know there’s nothing I can do about that. Except not leave, and that’s not an option…

    Thank you so much for writing this. And thank you everyone for all your comments. It has helped. Lots.

  29. You are such a good writer. It’s really a pleasure to read your words. That’s wonderful you’re able to do it for a living. I’ve got to say though please consider writing even more in the future. Do you like writing fiction? Just please continue to write.You’re so talented!

  30. Thank you so much for sharing your stories. Your story is my story in so many ways. It makes me feel so much better that I’m not alone, many have gone through this. Such strong women! Thanks again!

  31. Thank you for this article so much. I sobbed when I read it. People don’t understand how hard the situation is- you feel senseless and hopeless. It’s good to see that it can resolve, it can get better, even if it really sucks right now.

  32. I know this article was posted a long time ago, but I just have to say, having read the comments:

    I’m married to a man right now, and I don’t know what to do. I have no kids, I’m 25, we’ve been together for years; he’s the only person I’ve ever been with. I’ve always had feelings for women, though, and I don’t know that I’ve ever been attracted to men. But reading the comments, I can’t see any benefit to coming out and divorcing him, since if I do, people will think (as they seem to) that I’ll just go back to men, that it was a waste of my time, that I’m not really a lesbian. It’s hard when I don’t know what I am, myself- there are no resources for people like me. All I know is that I’m sure as hell not straight and every time I say the word ‘bisexual’ about myself it feels like a lie.

    It seems like I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t. Made my bed, guess I have to lie in it. I guess?

    • Late reply because I didn’t read this article until today. Just wanted to say: get out of that bed because you definitely don’t have to lie in it. Heterosexuality is as much a societal institution as it is an actual orientation. I’m always annoyed that it’s called “confused” when you start realising you’re attracted to people of the same gender. Because you know what? That realisation is when you start reaching *clarity*, not when you start getting confused. So I’d like to congratulate you on your clarity!

      The ones who can’t take lesbians with a past history with men seriously are a small, insecure minority. They are very easy to ignore. The rest of us will welcome you with open arms :)

  33. Okay. Deep breath.

    This piece was so much my story too. But there’s a really weird epilogue stuck to mine that makes me uncomfortable and not at all certain of who I am or where to turn.

    In my teens and twenties, I was promiscuous. I had sex in order to get guys to like me. But the first huge painful crush I ever had was on my best friend, Amanda, when I was sixteen. I have tried to be friends with her as adults– it’s been twenty years since she rejected me– but I simply can’t. It literally hurts my heart to see her. An actual physical pain in my chest. I know that I was in love with her. And some part of me probably will always be.

    As an adult, I went from one long-term relationship to the next and the next with no real dating in between. When it came to my future husband, Nick, I moved right in on date two because I had been still living with my ex and had nowhere else to go. I had depression that flared up terribly at this point and I lost so much weight that I looked like a heroin addict. I very much liked Nick. We enjoyed each other’s company. But I didn’t want to have sex with him. Just like every other man I’d been with, I was not actually attracted to him and avoided sex whenever possible. My pattern is that I would have sex pretty much right away with a guy, then within a few weeks I would just stop. It would get to a point where I couldn’t pretend anymore. It just made me sick.

    Nick and I got married anyway. Part of the reasoning I had for marrying him was that he would take care of me financially. I had depression and I had also by that point become fairly ill with fibromyalgia and arthritis. I actually thought it through, and made the decision to be unhappy in bed in order to be taken care of. The sex got even less frequent, much to his dismay. I had reached a point in my life where I couldn’t compartmentalize as well as before. So in order to withstand sex with him, I began fantasizing of having sex with a woman wearing a strap-on. That worked for a while, but then it wasn’t enough.

    I had long identified as bisexual. It was my way of acknowledging my attraction to women while also dismissing it as only part of myself, a part I could take or leave. So the fantasizing wasn’t a surprise to me. I even had a girlfriend once, when I was in my early twenties. It didn’t last. And I didn’t know how to BE lesbian. Was I supposed to dress a certain way? She was more boyish than I, so I tried to be more femme than I truly am because I thought I was supposed to. Her friends were very into gay politics and were all vegetarians and man-haters. I couldn’t identify with any of that. So I gave up trying and went back to the dreary existence of dating men.

    My marriage reached the breaking point after four and a half years. Nick couldn’t deal with my lack of sexual interest anymore. We were both miserable and drinking excessively daily. We had both gained weight– I had gained 35 pounds from drinking 8 or 9 beers a night and he had gained 200 pounds! Finally there came a night when he went to bed after another fight over sex. I sat on the couch and thought, what’s wrong with me? And I had an epiphany. (Really, the light in the room appeared brighter for a second. It was pretty fascinating, actually.) I thought, I’m gay! That’s what it is!

    So I told him. We split up. We had no kids, no financial ties to each other, so the legal part of the divorce was easy. It was under 5 years, so it was technically dissolution of marriage, which consisted of signing papers and paying the court $400. And that was that.

    But then, a few months into living alone for the first time in many years, I met Will. For the first time in my entire existence on the planet, I was sexually attracted to a man. And I mean really attracted. As much as I had been to my girlfriend and to Amanda. It was bizarre and totally confusing, but we dated for a few weeks before he broke it off. I spent the summer confused and lonely. Then this past fall, he contacted me again and we began a sexual relationship without the dating. Benefits without friendship, which was my idea because neither of us had what the other needed in a real relationship. I’m still confused at the fact that the sex is amazing.

    So I don’t know what label I fit into. The only thing that makes sense to me is gay-plus-Will because there still is no other man that makes me react that way. But what if there is someday? When I walk down the street, it’s hot women that catch my eye, not men. I feel uncomfortable in the gay community because I feel like some kind of traitor. I hate that our society makes us fit ourselves into boxes. What do I do when no box fits me? I feel terribly alone and unsure of who I am. And I’ve been very afraid to mention it because I feel certain I’ll be rejected by the community.

    Am I alone in this? Has anyone else had a similar experience? I would appreciate any supportive feedback.

  34. I should also mention that I don’t like the term bisexual for myself. It doesn’t seem to fit me because it implies a duality that I don’t feel is true to my experience. And as a word alone, bisexual has a far stronger sexual connotation than gay or lesbian do. It’s not about who a person loves, it’s about who they’re sexually attracted to. And I frankly don’t think that’s fair. But what’s more important is that it’s just not right for me.

    I know I shouldn’t be so hung up on labels, but I can’t help but want to fit in somewhere.

    • I left these two posts after reading the article but before reading the thread. And now all I can say is… OH SHIT. I don’t think I’m going to get the support I hoped for. If anyone even reads this at this late date.

      • I am support! I identify as bi (in spite of the overtly sexual, romance-absent connotation, which I hate).

        I’ve never been married, but I’ve had a similiar experience to yours in that I’m sexually attracted to women pretty regularly, and only to the occasional man. But then for those few guys it’s reeeally intense–even when, say, he’s 15 years older, we have no common language/culture/values/life ambitions, we are choreographing a salsa dance routine, I’m in a relationship, and it makes no sense. That.

        Anyway I hope you actually see this — I have never commented before (I liked something once!) and I’m spending way more time than it should actually take to craft this silly little blurb, just because for some reason it felt really important.

        • Thank you! I’m so happy to see I’m not the only one. I really appreciate you taking the time to be so wonderfully supportive.

  35. Try coming out not once, but TWICE. That’s me… the ex ‘ex-lesbian’. Married young, had two children… probably to get out of the house. Bad idea, wonderful children. Toward the end of the marriage, I began to have these “feelings” – that I’d had growing up – and even in my marriage. But I stuffed them down.

    I divorced him. I’d been reading feminist books at the time, and the subject of lesbianism was brought up briefly, then dropped. I had custody of my children. I worked hard and after several years entered into a long term relationship. When that relationship ended – badly – I went into a tailspin.

    By that time I was out at work, and out to my family (not a good thing). I had pressure from my parents to get out of that “lifestyle”, pressure from my fundamentalist baptist teenaged child (and his father), pressure from my extended family – and even worse from my family – silence and exclusion. My partner buckled from the pressure and so did I.

    I started thinking that if I were straight, my life would be better. If I were straight, I could have a relationship with my children again. If I were straight, I could hold hands in public. If I were straight, I could be respected. If I were straight, maybe I feel safer and more acceptable.

    So, I met a man. I liked him. I even loved parts of him. But it was a bad relationship – and I shut down all feelings toward women. I got busy – very busy – in school and work. The thought of being with women felt backwards at that time… until… I made a friend. I started going to church and realized they had a very strong (but conservative) women’s group. So strong it was nearly feminist in some respects (what a dichotomy!). It was not uncommon to see two women walking hand in hand in the hallways at church. I was floored. I couldn’t wrap my head around that (still can’t). The husbands didn’t seem to mind. I, on the other hand, did. I knew if I held my friend’s hand, my palms would probably sweat or I’d feel dizzy or some such thing. So, I tried to accept the “friendly” attitude of these women without putting a “lesbian” meaning to it. I tried to keep it as “clean” in my mind as possible.

    Last year, a group of women from church went out for ice cream. My friend was there. She rested her head on the table. It was all I could do not to run my hands through her hair. I wanted that more than the ice cream! I couldn’t breathe. Finally I gasped and stuffed the feelings down again.

    My second marriage was lifeless and flat. My husband at the time told me in the beginning he was bisexual – although he’d never explored those feelings with a man – and that he “understood” that I had “been a lesbian” but that I was probably “bisexual”. Our sex life was awful. He kept fantasizing about being with men – yet wouldn’t go there. For some reason he couldn’t do that on his own. He walked out on me six months ago.

    Now, I’m beginning to “wake up” and started having feelings for women again. They will not go away. Now – I’m honoring those feelings. I have to. Even if I appears weird, flighty or whatever. I have tried being “straight”. I have tried praying it away. I have tried stuffing the feelings down. I’ve tried finding “a good man” (I haven’t – the good ones are all gay). It has not worked.

    So, I’m out again. I’m Jazzy – I’m an ex “ex lesbian”.

    Peace out –

    JazzyL

  36. I am in a similar situation, and don’t know where else to turn. I’m hoping someone else here can point me in the right direction. Without boring everyone with a long comment, I’ll just give a few details. Met a guy at 19, married a few years later, had a kid, had an early “mid-life crisis” at 38, and now at 40 realize, I want to be with a woman. Looking back it should have been obvious to me, but I grew up in a small town, and didn’t recognize my feelings, I just did what you were supposed to do…get married and have a family. I felt like I was the only one this way until I found this website, but I still feel alone because there seems to be a lot of young people here, plus there are all these stereotypes and what seems like codes or labels that I guess I am behind on, so I’m not even sure where I fit in. Thanks to anyone who reads my comment. Guess I just needed to vent.

  37. I may not be married, but it still hit home for me.
    I don’t know how to speak to my boyfriend about this…
    I’m pretty sure he already knows and is just waiting for to say something about it.

    Kudos on this post.
    <3

  38. Okay, since there’s been a lot of sharing, I want to put my story out there. I’m not going to start at the beginning, because I don’t want to write a whole essay, but here’s the short version:

    I got married because I thought it’s what you’re supposed to do. I’d been in a relationship with M. for 3 years at that point. Before the marriage, we kind of treated each other like room mates who would sleep together (even though it did nothing for me unless I would get myself off). So it worked. Post marriage, everything went to hell, including our relative calm. He became an alcoholic, I became suicidal.

    Last year, I became pregnant, and he left me. I’ve slowly been coming to terms with the fact that, for 28 years, barring flings/short relationships with women (that were more emotionally and physically satisfying than any relationship I had with a guy), I’ve been in deep, deep denial.

    Every relationship I’ve had that was with a man was misery, depressing, empty, and I would sabotage it from the beginning, because I really didn’t want to be with them. Yes, I’ve loved (read: more friendly love), but never really been in love, with a guy. And I’ve kept it buried because of my family, and the area I’m from.

    I’ve seen friends beaten and bloodied for daring to live out. I’ve been called every name in the book by people here for coming out as bisexual in a conservative town. So I buried those feelings. Buried them deep, and covered them in concrete, trying to be normal so I wouldn’t be a target anymore.

    And I got good at hiding it. So good I almost believed the lie I was telling, save for that small part of me that screamed out like it was dying “HELP! I can’t breathe!”

    Now that I have a child, I know I can’t live in hiding anymore. I refuse to let my little one grow up thinking this is something to be ashamed of, to be hidden. I don’t want them* thinking it’s okay to hide a part of yourself just because it makes close minded people uncomfortable. I want them to grow up to be a truly good person, to be honest, and never feel the misery I have.

    So yeah…At the age of 28, I’m just now starting the coming out process. I’m scared. Okay, I’m terrified. But I know that my parents will still be accepting. I may alienate the rest of the family, but it’s a risk I’m willing to take.

    The way I see it? If there are people who don’t want to be around me because of who I love, why the hell do I want them in my life?

    Anyhow, sorry for rambling, I just really needed to get this out. This is all fresh, and I feel safe talking about it here.

    (* – I use them instead of him because I prefer to use gender neutral pronouns for my child.)

  39. “And how could any future person trust that I knew my elbow from my asshole if I’d gone 25 years without even knowing I was gay? I’d have to tell everybody, and they’d ask me all these questions and they’d be really confused and I wouldn’t be able to help them because I also had a bunch of questions for myself, like about my levels of self-awareness and self-worth.”

    i so get this. Thanks for sharing Laneia. I really admire your bravery

  40. Everyone is so brave in sharing their stories here. My story is similar in some ways to a lot of you here.

    There were always little things in my past that when I think about I pause for a moment. Like at my 11th birthday party when I made all the girls take their clothes off while we watched the painting scene in Titanic. Yeah. That happened.

    My first kiss was with a girl when I was 14. We spent every waking moment together but after two years and because of the christian high school we attended together (and also my parents’ interference) it ended quite painfully. She was my first love. After I was out on my own several years later I dated another girl but it only lasted a few months. It was no secret to my family that I was attracted to women, but they claimed it was a phase and blamed it on the girl from high school.

    They had me thinking that maybe it WAS a phase… so I met a man at 19 and by 20 we were married. I can’t really say why I went through with it all, I just felt like I needed to be loved, and the staunch heterosexual glove was easier to wear than the “I kiss girls and like it” glove. My husband knew about my previous relationships with women; he had met me while I was with a woman. Now that I can look back at it with more perspective, I truly think that he thought it was a phase too.

    I put way too much effort into over-sexualizing myself to make up for my short comings. I never enjoyed sex with him the way he thought I did. (That’s most men though, right?) I just figured that that’s what good little wives do. And it makes me incredibly sad because I know how short I sold myself. I settled for the first person with some semblance of stability instead of taking time to soul-search. Had I done so, I never would have rushed into a marriage with a man that didn’t fulfill my needs in any way except financially. It is painful when you never feel loved or cherished.

    I am grateful for our four-year failed marriage, however, because it has led me to where I am today. Finally able to be myself, and absolutely head over heels with the love of my life.

    I never feel like I’m entitled to call myself a “lesbian”. I’ve never referred to myself as gay. Ever. Other people will assume it because I’ve been with my partner for two years now and it’s automatic. I let other people think what they want and call it what they want. I’ve found the love of my life, and she just happens to be a woman. A drop dead gorgeous woman, with breasts and long curly hair and (gasp!) a vagina. And she’s the best kisser in the whole world (I may be biased). but the fact of the matter is, I love HER. I love the person that she is. And if she woke up tomorrow and was a man, I think I would still love her (I definitely prefer her with girl parts, though). Is there a name for that? Does there have to be? I don’t know. So I can take solace in the fact that I don’t need to fall into a category, but that I can just love who I love.

    SO, all that having been said…It was a very difficult journey for me to separate myself from my former “straight” life. I’ve been divorced for a long time and my parents have never asked me if I’m seeing anyone because I honestly don’t think they want to know. But now they’re the ones in denial, and I’m not anymore. It’s a beautiful feeling.

  41. Thank you for sharing your story. I just wish I have your courage. I’ve always known I was gay though I never acted on it growing up in conservative/devoted roman catholic family coming out was just not an option.I was 27 when I married my husband of 8 years I thought I could learn to be “straight” and forget much to my disappointment. I have a wonderful husband who loves me dearly is the very reason even though my being married to him is killing me everyday I just don’t have the heart to hurt him. I don’t know what to do anymore. I felt suffocated/trapped and have this great need to run but I can’t. I guess, I’m doomed I shouldn’t have gotten married in the first place. *sigh*

  42. I just left my husband two months ago because I finally came to a realization that I like the ladies. I’m quite happy that I can have these feelings with out the guilt. However, there’s not a large LGBT community where I live and am starting to feel lonely.
    Anywho, this article has been quite helpful. Thank you for sharing!

  43. I know this article is old, but it came up in a frantic Google search.
    To the author: thank you, thank you, thank you!!!! THANK YOU! Mother to 3, married 15 years… Just…thank you so much for writing this. I feel about 17 bazillion times better right now. I feel empowered! ROAR! ;)

    • Ruthie same for me…Googled it, Married 15 years mom of three…Feeling a little better but OMG why did it take so long for me to find out about my true self?

      • Brenda, yay! We should start a club! Haha.
        I can’t speak for you, but the why for me was that I knew from the start, but I was brought up to believe it was a sin so I did “the right thing.” Then once I realized that was all horseshit, I was too involved in making sure my kids had everything they needed to focus much on myself. Now that they are starting to grow up and don’t need me as much, I had no choice but to focus on myself and could no longer push aside that nagging realization that I hadn’t been true to myself. But there is still time!

  44. 1. It’s so nice to read comments and see how encouraging and positive people are about your story! I didn’t read them all but the ones I read were just so uplifting. It can’t be easy to put yourself out there like this but I’m sure the positive feedback helps you know you did the right thing.

    2. I went through a similar situation. I totally relate to you saying you didn’t know where you fit in. I left my husband because I “realized” I would never be happy married to him. I “realized” I couldn’t keep trying to be with this person who didn’t make me feel all those feelings you are supposed to have when you marry someone. Then, I met and fell in love with a woman. I “realized” I was gay? I never felt attracted to women before? But, all the things that were missing from my marriage: deep love, intimacy, attraction on a deep level… I found in her. So, that’s what I’ve been missing the whole time? All the relationships with all the men were never going to work because they lacked all of those things. I had no idea I was looking for the right things in the wrong places. I always thought I was looking right where I was taught I would find them…

    It’s nice to hear I’m not alone.

  45. This was a fantastic article to read, but I’d like to request the avoidance of the word “feminazi.” As a Jewish woman, it feels like a betrayal every time anyone says that word. It’s incredibly sexist, anti-semitic, and anti-Romani racist. It feels like a slap in the face from someone who’s supposed to be an ally. It might not have occurred to you as you wrote this piece, but I would appreciate if it was avoided in the future or possibly even removed from this article. Thank you.

  46. I’ve bookmarked, read, and reread this one so many times. It’s a very different situation from mine. But I’m here now, deciding on what happens next.

  47. I have nothing against lesbians or bi sexual women but what you are advocating and celebrating is building a house based on lies and then knocking it down with your husband and family in it.

    You only mentioned ‘guilt’ once and I wish women like you would get out the closet quicker!!

    If men did the same to women or even better if you were in love with a woman and she lead you on for 20 odd years then dumped you for a ‘man’ then how would you feel?

  48. Thank you. I’m a lesbian, married to a man, but terrified of facing the truth. I didn’t know if I was ready to face the consequences. He just loves me so much. However, your story was exactly what I needed in my life right now. I can’t seem to find happiness. Again, thank you… for sharing.

  49. For several years I thought that I was bi but I’m realizing that I am not. I just realized that I am a lesbian and I’m scared to tell my husband. We were both raised in a high-demand religion and were following the religious life script. I am so happy to know myself a little better now but it is going to be so scary. Our marriage is pretty great except that I hate having sex with him. I have been pretending to like it and be available for him like a good religious wife but it’s killing me. We have a kid. I don’t want to divorce him but I know that he’s going to be angry and hurt that I lied to him(even though I didn’t know). I know that it sounds corny but everything in my life makes sense now that I know that I am a lesbian. I have never been attracted to men and I have always been the one person at church who spoke out against gay-bashing lessons and comments. Plus my super-religious GF in high school. We had plans in HS to live together in our old age after our husbands died(both of us were never interested in guys so we would take each other out every weekend on very innocent dates: no kissing, minimal hand holding. I didn’t go on my first boy date until my junior year in college when I thought that I should think about getting married. The good news is that I was super practical and married someone who was a great match for me otherwise. I’m not ready to come out. I’m a stay at home mom with no job. But I asked him for a little break from sex and he was upset and every time he touches I jump(but that’s not new, I was always kind of jumpy). It’s happening soon though. I am so fucking anxious and I can’t live like this anymore.

    I know that this is a super old post but I felt like commenting.

    • So I ended up leaving my husband. He raped me again and our 3yo walked in on it so I had to leave. My life is so much better now, still a little jumpy and anxious but I guess that’s the PTSD.

      • His appalling mistreatment of you is HORRIFIC!!!
        I’m so sorry :'(
        On a better note, I’m so glad for you that you’re the hell out of there.
        Stay strong ..we’re here for you.

        • Thank you, Catherine. He doesn’t see it that way. To him since we were married, it’s impossible to rape me. Today is our 8th wedding anniversary. I left him 4 months ago and the spell slowly faded away. Even though he made me uncomfortable and I hated sex/only participated because he would be kind of scary when he wasn’t having any (he wouldn’t masturbate), I’m ashamed to admit that it took several months to admit how bad things were. I was definitely groomed at church from a young age to enter a sexually abusive relationship.

          I am in a safe environment now and I hope to start working again in the next few months. Idk. I still have a hard time leaving the house and my PTSD is still bad enough that if I find a job I think that I’ll get fired when I miss work because of a bad day.

  50. Just a bit of encouragement… I was married twice and had a child with each. The day I finally admitted who I was and had the strength to break free from the sham of a life that I was living was the best day of my life. Yes…people were hurt in the process…but it would have been worse to continue living a lie. No one really wants to be with someone who is unhappy being with them. That’s no kind of life to live. I wish any woman that faces this situation all the luck and strength in the world. I consider myself very lucky to be on this side of it.

  51. OMG! I’m crying after reading this because it is EXACTLY where I am right now. It doesn’t make me brave enough to do anything yet, but it does tell me I’m not alone or a total fuck up. Thank you so much for sharing!!!

  52. Thank you so much fit your story. I have come back and read this article a few times now, and will likely read it many more times before is all said and done.

    I have just started the process of divorce and as you know, it is very hard. All of those thoughts that you described are running rampant in my mind, but I’ve made the first steps and I can’t imagine going back now.

    My soon to be ex husband is my best friend, and we plan to continue to be that close after the divorce, I’m just hoping that the pain and anger that will naturally come from this situation will not destroy that close relationship.

  53. I am in a situation where i was in a loveless and lifeless marriage .Had a child hoping husband will become closer and bond with child and me.He became more distant and unavailable.
    Spent 7 years of lonely life with full responsibility of being a mom…enjoying my child who happened to be Autistic..high functioning.
    Came across this woman at work.Got closer ,shared my life and child s situation.She was in relationship with another woman at that time.But provided me Nd my child undivided attention support love joy and so much more that i always dreamed of.kind of relationship i always wanted with a lover a husband.There was lot of chemistry betwen us which surprised me as i never ever felt sexually attracted to a woman.
    Long story short we lived like a family inspite of being in relationships as pathetic as it sounds.She was a dream come true.
    Her gf betrayed her
    I consoled her.I decided to tell my husband and move out as i really loved her n wanted a life with her
    My husband came to know b4 that.
    He transformed into a family man..wanted me back.Want his family back.Promising he would do anything for me to let her go and give marriage a try

    I am lost
    Guilt ,condemnation ,wisdom to provide a healthy safe family for my child woth his dad, financial stability especially cuz he s Autistic and fear of uncertainties to embrace a lesbian life
    I told her goodbye
    And trying to work marriage
    But i am dieing every single day as i still love her and she s also still waiting for me and my child.
    We actually bought a small house to move together.
    What should i do
    I am living ..safe n sound..but cant bond with my husband as all i can think of is her and my heart is with her.For i jad emotional intimate sexual and all kinds of relationship for 3 years

    • Sweetheart, I feel your pain of not being with the one you love ..I’m waiting for/in love with a woman who is frozen with terror at breaking up her otherwise happy family (husband of 18 yrs that she hates sex with and two kids aged 13 and almost 11). My hunnybunny brings home the majority of the bacon, like BIG TIME, with a lifetime nest egg fund. My point here is abt $ .. Your autistic child is deemed disabled and for that you shall receive govt help, if you apply for it. Then you can figure out the next steps to get you out on your own. It’s not over for you, especially if you have someone wonderful waiting for you. Just don’t make her wait too long.
      Best of love and luck to you …and to me and my girl ;)

      • Hi Catherine
        My problem is two fold.
        I do not trust my gf as i have seen and known certain things that makes me suspect her.
        For a fact i know a relationship foundation is trust.
        When i dont have that i cant let myself follow my heart
        I wud rather stay with a right person and try to work marriage than trying to live on illusion.

        Eve though its v hard..i need to

        • I’m sad to hear that .. but I understand and agree that if you don’t trust her, the relationship is doomed.
          Take care …

    • I want a happy, fulfilled life WITH strong, fiery urges. So fuck you. :P

      All you have is your wrong ideas, your hate, your insults, and your ability to drive people to despair and suicide; all because they don’t love the same as you. YOU don’t have to be this way. You can love everyone, you can love thy neighbor as thyself. You can do good to others. You can be so much more than you are if you’d just learn to love as Jesus explained to you.

    • Before anyone attacks your OPINIONS, I’d like to know why someone like you is even on this site.
      Newsflash ..there’s nothing unnatural about being in deep, meaningful love with somebody of the same gender. AND this has been the norm throughout all of time.
      Fyi .. not that it’s ANY of your business, I was never molested. Trust me when I say ..if you married someone who discovered they’re not “hetero”, I really believe you’d appreciate the truth rather than living a lie your entire lives!!!
      Now, please go do something constructive.

    • If someone existed who could either make me immortal or have me tortured forever, and that person chose to have me tortured forever if I didn’t live my life in the way he wanted, including “sins” that did no harm to anyone like being gay or not loving that person enough, and he did this to every person who ever lived, then he’d be the worst abusive, murderous piece of shit to ever exist and it would be every right-thinking person’s duty to oppose him, no matter the consequences. :)

      Autostraddle, get better mods. We still have three-years-ago’s TERFs on some of the trans articles, too.

      • Alice, AS has better mods than literally any other site I am on. Per the comment policy, if you type “moderators please remove this comment” as your only response and don’t engage the troll, the comment is gone within 24 hours.

  54. Omg this is me at this exact moment. I needed this so much. Those questions about the kids and being selfish are dominating my thoughts. I even left a week and then came back because of it. I have no love for my husband he is just the person who lives with me and uses me for sex. It sucks. I’m glad someone else felt the same way. Much love!

  55. I know this is an old post but this is pretty much my life right now. Thanks for having it here for me to find :)

    ….What happened next?

  56. “All I had was what I saw, which to me looked like a prevailing acceptance of just sorta settling.”

    So true and so perfect.

  57. i want to thank Dr Olorun for bringing back my ex that i lost for the past 1 year and 4 months, i contact this great doctor after reading the testimonies of him shared by the people he has help as well, to be honest I never believe but i just made up my mind to contact him and give him a try but he prove me wrong by granting my heart desire, i am really happy that DR Olorun bring back my ex to me, what more can i say but thank you, contact him via his e-mail address: olorunoduduwaspiritualtemple @ gma il.co m

  58. I think it would be COMPLETELY unfair for the mods to remove Paul’s comment.
    He’s expressing himself like the rest of us and is genuinely hurting …don’t add insult to injury.
    Paul, I’m sorry some of us are closeted …I’m sure you understand why, with this HOSTILE world. Shit happens and not everybody can make the perfect scenario happen. Again, I’m sorry for your pain ..please try to understand your ex was/is in pain too. You’re both human. Hopefully you’ll find the one who’s truly meant for you.

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