Alone, scared and confused. These words could be used to describe a lost child, but in this case, they’re not. They are the very real and daily feelings of a woman at midlife who is questioning her sexuality. For those of you who’ve been there, this may take you back to a place you’d rather not visit. For many others, it represents the beginning of a totally new and ultimately joyful journey—one of living the life you were meant to and being open and honest about yourself, maybe for the first time.
We are everywhere—mothers, wives, daughters, aunts and friends, who are discovering and then many times hiding, a major piece of ourselves—our same-sex attraction. For some of us the internal conflict began when we were young. Because of our life circumstances we felt fear about being discovered and somehow being perceived as “different”. So we did what was expected of us, finding a man and marrying, burying that hidden piece of ourselves to live a more accepted life among the majority.
For some, myself included, we married without an inkling that there might be feelings buried beneath the surface. I married a man who was a good husband and dad, but I always felt that there was “something” missing. And I can honestly say, I didn’t know what it was until it came in the form of a woman who was introduced to me by mutual friends. It didn’t take long for the shift in my consciousness to begin. And trust me when I say, the process wasn’t easy or fun, but it was necessary and intimately resulted in finding my personal truth.
Several common life situations can cause someone to question their sexuality. These include: marital unhappiness that leads to a reevaluation and search for what is missing; a major life event, such as the death of a parent; an honest assessment at one’s life and love; and perhaps a crush or major physical attraction that can seem to appear out of the blue. Major upheavals, both internal and external, happen as an adult woman, especially one with an established life, becomes conscious of her sexual orientation. Once aware of the emotional void and realization of a same sex-attraction, it’s almost impossible to stuff them back down.
Unfortunately, many women become depressed as they come to the realization that they are gay and cannot, for whatever reason, come to terms with that part of their lives. Just imagine living your life as a lie and feeling like there is no one who truly knows you. You are living with a secret…and secrets are never good.
In my next blog, I’ll talk about what happens when a woman is emotionally ready to come out—to herself and to those she cares about.
Note: I have a 6-week women’s support/coaching group for women questioning their sexuality starting up on April 12. This is a tele-group so location is not an issue. If you or someone you know needs support, please click here this link to get more information.
By Denise LaFrance, Certified Women’s Coach
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