I had my second therapy session today, and I managed to spit out the words: “I don’t think I’m attracted to men,” between choking sobs. Is this what therapy is? Just trying to form coherent sentences while crying uncontrollably for an hour?
She asked, just before the end of the session, how I felt about the idea that I might be gay. And I (amidst more crying, of course) told her that I’m worried I might be wrong.
As a little backstory… once, when I was about 19, I told one single friend that I thought I might be gay. I told her via email or maybe AIM, and I’m pretty sure I also included a request for some time and space while I figured things out. That turned out to be the end of our friendship. I wish I had a better memory of exactly what I said and exactly how she responded. What I do remember is feeling at the time that she didn’t believe me, and then later feeling like maybe she was right not to believe me. Over the years, after continuing to date men and eventually having a child with one, that incident became a real source of shame for me. Even though, in the moment, I was being authentic, I came to feel like I had somehow been deceitful. Clearly I wasn’t gay. How embarrassing that I had suggested such a thing that obviously turned out not to be true.
After that experience I’ve been extra hesitant to start labeling myself. On top of that, I’m an ISTJ, and the way that I like to move through the world involves gathering data based on experiences and then coming to conclusions based on evidence. I’m constantly modifying beliefs as I assimilate new data, and while I’m open to being wrong about things, I also prefer to withhold judgment when I know I don’t have enough information. On the religious front I consider myself a hard agnostic.
When it comes to my attraction to women, I feel like I’m missing way too much data to really know anything. I’ve only ever been with men. I’m pretty comfortable saying that I don’t enjoy sex with them; I have enough (too much?) data to back that statement up. But I’ve never even kissed a woman. Sure, I can imagine what that would be like (and the imagining is very, very good), but it’s not the same as having a real experience. What if, just what if I finally got the chance only to discover that, nope, it’s actually not for me.
Because I pride myself on being faithful, and also because Mister is a jealous person and I’ve worked so damn hard to earn his trust after all these years, I’m having a hard time with the idea of gathering more data on this issue while I’m still in a relationship. This is leaving me stuck in limbo. I feel like I ought to remain agnostic about my sexuality, but with so much time having already passed me by, I also feel a sense of urgency to just hurry up and get on with figuring out who I am. It’s a bit maddening.
Short of actual first-hand experience, I’ve decided that the next best thing I’ve got is second-hand research. I just recently joined a fantastic (and secret) facebook group for people who are, or suspect they may be, late in life lesbians (check out https://alatelifelesbianstory.com/about/ if you want to join too!). I also just started watching The L Word (that counts as research, right?), and my review after the first episode is: very good, but could do with fewer hetero sex scenes please.