You may remember this post from earlier this year. S.S. from Arkansas shared her coming out story with us in a very heartfelt and candid way. It continues to be one of the most-read posts on this website. Here is an update from her and what has happened in her life over the past eight months.
I was Coming Out Story #13 (A Lesbian Wife and Her Heterosexual Marriage) in March, and so much has changed since then. I spent the Spring and most of Summer “dating” my husband and trying to build a new relationship within the context of my newly-embraced sexuality, and for a couple of months it seemed to be working. When I moved out into an apartment in February, I signed a six month lease with the intention of moving back to the house, but as the deadline to let the landlord know I would be moving drew closer, my anxiety grew and grew and it became clear that it was not the choice I wanted to make.
In July, I informed my husband that I would not be moving back to the house. I had fully accepted and embraced my true self and I was terrified to lose that. The prospect of jumping back into the closet out of which I had finally stepped a single foot was unbearable to me. Because I had initially moved out on a temporary basis, I had not told anyone, so now loomed the task of coming out as a divorcing woman to my family and (mostly Christian) friends.
I knew my older brother would be angry at my husband, possibly to the point of doing something stupid, so I made the decision to come out to him so that he would understand that he did not have to defend my honor. I asked him to dinner one weekend, which is pretty unusual. We’re close, but we don’t hang out or anything like that. I had no idea what I would say. Finally, after we’d talked quite a bit, he asked how my husband was. I simply stated that we were splitting up. The look on his face was just what I had anticipated, so I quickly told him that it wasn’t my husband’s fault, because I’m gay. It was the first time I had stated it as a fact out loud, and it felt strange but liberating at the same time. My brother’s reaction was the better than I could have hoped. We talked for a while longer, and as we left the restaurant, his last request was that I find a girl who has a sister for him to date.
I’ve only come out to two other people (who previously knew me to be straight), but I have a growing number of friends who only know me as a lesbian. I’ve never been this happy in my entire life. People speak of wanting to be a care-free kid again, and I have to shake my head. I was never a care-free child (well, I’m sure I was as a very young child). I always felt anxious and confused, carefully compartmentalizing my thoughts and feelings, not allowing myself to get too close to anyone, afraid that someone would figure out how weird I was. Now I can be fully myself with people, and having people know the whole me is taking some getting used to!
I have been attending a new, inclusive church that I just adore. At least 80% of the congregation on any given Sunday is made up of gay and lesbian couples. I have not officially come out to anyone there, but I feel so at home when I walk through the doors each week. Because I also work at a non-inclusive church, I do worry about losing my job should the wrong people find out that I am gay. I love my job and I have been told in no uncertain terms that they don’t want me going anywhere, but that is an issue that I will have to address eventually.
I filed for divorce earlier this month, and my husband is not contesting it. If all goes well, I will be a single gay woman in about a month. Not so long ago I was afraid of being single. In fact, that was the reason I got married in the first place. I didn’t want to be single, and I certainly didn’t want to be a single lesbian. Seven years later, I’m happy to be both.