Tag Archives: marriage

UPDATE: A Lesbian Wife and Her Heterosexual Marriage

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.

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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.

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The Other Side: Coming Out Story #14

This post is part of the “Our Stories” project, where readers submit their testimony or coming out story. It’s important to engage in meaningful and life-giving discussions about a topic that is too often silenced. When you tell your truth, you help someone else accept theirs.

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Peaceful, quiet, joyful – that’s how I felt when I finally acknowledged that I am attracted to other women; that I am a lesbian.  Not perverse, sinful, or ashamed. That was a surprise.  That and the utter certainty I felt for the first time in my life about anything.  It was as if a gaping fissure in my soul suddenly closed and became mended.  All of the things I mistakenly thought I was collapsed into who I actually am.

It is difficult to reconcile the peace and certitude I feel about this with the pain I perceive in the few dear friends with whom I have shared this news.  I want them to be happy for me.  They are not.  Yet – I understand; I remember my reaction when I learned that someone I knew as a heterosexual announced their sexual orientation was otherwise.  I felt bewildered about their obliviousness, afraid for their souls, and I braced for the consequences in their lives, and the reverberating effects in my own.  I assumed they felt as confused and conflicted as I did about the matter.  Now I see things differently.  They were not confused – they were finally free and extraordinarily courageous.

As I think back over my life, I now understand why I felt strangely drawn to, fascinated with, while at the same time, vaguely afraid of lesbians.  Somewhere deep inside I felt resonance, but recognizing that resonance was either too much to bear or too fantastic to be real.  I recall awkward and unfulfilling relationships with boyfriends – where I thought I felt something, but as the relationship developed, my feelings rapidly progressed from infatuation to ambivalence to confusion to aversion.  I assumed I had just never found the right man.  And when the inevitable breakup occurred with the “It’s not you – it’s me” conversation, I had no idea how true that was.  Nonetheless, I eventually got married to the one man who persisted.

So now, here I am, decades into a marriage that gratefully resulted in two wonderful children, but finally understanding myself and dealing with the monumental consequences of failing to see or figure out what was hiding inside me.  I have told my husband and he is in great pain.  I have not yet told the kids and wonder whether the pain they will experience dealing with this knowledge is worth the freedom it brings me.  I would rather cut off my arm than cause them such pain.

But, the truth is like a siren I can’t block out.  And a life of integrity requires that I recognize and live in accordance with that truth, regardless of the pain it causes me and those around me.  I cannot go back.  I can only hope that living in the truth will ultimately be for the best for all of us.  Pray for us.

-Erin

A Lesbian Wife and Her Heterosexual Marriage: Coming Out Story #13

This post is part of the “Our Stories” project, where readers submit their testimony or coming out story. It’s important to engage in meaningful and life-giving discussions about a topic that is too often silenced. When you tell your truth, you help someone else accept theirs. 

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I’ve struggled with my sexuality for as long as I can remember.  I’ve always been attracted to women, but good southern Christian girls just don’t entertain those thoughts.  In my very early twenties I entertained the idea of being a lesbian, but I was extremely conflicted and fell into a depression.  I decided that it was just the devil trying to trick me, and set out on my quest to find a husband.  It didn’t take me long to find one through online dating.  We were married for five years before I realized that I had used marriage as a way to run from my feelings.  I began to acknowledge to myself that these feelings weren’t going to go away, and I found places like Coming Out Christian that helped me reconcile them with my faith.

I had been unhappy in my marriage for some time and convinced myself that my husband didn’t love me anymore and would be happy to be rid of me, so I started to talk about getting a divorce.  As a Christian I believe wholeheartedly in the sanctity of marriage, but my husband is not a believer and I thought he didn’t want to be married to me anymore, so I figured I had an out.  Contrary to what I thought, he said he did still love me and wanted to stay married.  I had this grand plan cooked up wherein I would get a quick and painless divorce and be free to explore my new-found sexuality.  When that came crashing down I was confused all over again.  I had it all planned out!  Now what was I supposed to do?

I told my husband that I “thought” I was gay, which was not how I planned to phrase it, but when it came down to it, I wasn’t brave enough to say it more decisively.  Naturally, my husband had questions and concerns, but above all wished to remain married, in whatever context we came to define it.  I found a few resources regarding lesbians who remained married to their male spouses, and it was a huge relief to find others in the same situation.  None of us are as unique as we like to believe!  These people have managed to stay in love and stay married and stay happy, and that is what I aim to do.  I do love my husband, and I am committed to working out our issues and staying married to him.  He has offered to allow me the freedom to explore my sexuality, or “experiment”, as he put it, but I told him that I do not want to “experiment”.  In my eyes that is adultery, and I could never forgive myself if I did that.  Homosexuality does not have to equal promiscuity, and I do not have to let sex run my life.  I have moved to an apartment temporarily as we work out our problems, but I’m happier than I have been in a long time.  My husband and I are “dating” and enjoying it very much.  I know it seems strange to say that I am a lesbian in love with a man, but I truly feel that as long as we remain honest and act with love instead of selfishness (which is always a struggle for me!), we will be just fine.

-S.S. (Arkansas)

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There has been a update to this post. Be sure to check it out here!