Let me backup a second…
By the time the discussion of opening our marriage reached the point where both of us would be okay with it we had picked up and moved across country with enough money to get an apartment and sustain ourselves for a little bit while we both got jobs. Neither one of us are slouches in the getting jobs department so we were both gainfully employed within a month of moving.
Oregon isn’t like the Midwest. Culturally Oregon is a lot more progressive, especially in Portland where we lived. We were literally meeting people who were already in open marriages and relationships. It wasn’t odd to meet a gay or lesbian couple with kids. Or to be talking to someone who was openly polyamorous. There was even a support group in town for people where were in polyamorous relationships.
Christianity and religion faded even father into the background of our lives. In all of that though I still held to my faith. If asked what I believed I always said I was a born again Christian, that I believed in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I was done witnessing with more than my actions though. No more Tuesday night visitation teams for me or Wednesday night mid-week service or Thursday Small Group Bible study. Church seemed superfluous for more than building social relationships and I had plenty of those already from my other hobbies and activities.
So open marriage.
I’ma gonna gloss over the particulars a little bit since they don’t really matter and are just salacious bit and pieces of me exploring my sexuality in the physical realm. (and some of it makes me look bad *wince*)
I was free to date women. But I never really called myself gay or bi. This caused some issues with other lesbians my age I met. See, while I had been hiding from my sexuality these ladies had been fighting for the right to even exist in the public sphere. The fact that I was married but dating meant that in their eyes I wasn’t one of them. To them I was dabbling. I wasn’t Really Gay. This was something else that brought to the forefront that I wasn’t facing what I really was. It’s huge when the people you think are like you look at you and go “nope”.
People used to talk about Gays and Lesbians as if they were all just one monolithic stereotype. Perhaps you’ve heard it said but sexuality is a spectrum. Now that we’ve accepted that there is not just one type of sexuality we are finding that the spectrum is more diverse than we expected. Finding my place on that spectrum was made harder by my clinging to a relationship and all the trappings of another place on that spectrum.
When I finally had the full realization that I was a lesbian it was after my divorce. It was after I stopped holding on to all of the things that society said I should be.
I’m talking full on no holds barred realization that I am not sexually attracted to men at all, though some are physically pretty to look at or are very good people. My ex-husband is a good man and he loved me but I wasn’t in love with him. I Could love him for who he was but there was no spark there for me physically.
Accepting that realization was like waking up from a very real dream or altered state of consciousness. Suddenly who I was in my heart was just clear. Everything I’d known or thought about myself crystallized then snapped and shattered. What was left after that was the real me, unbound by my own or others expectations of who I was. I was free.
20 years of denial. A solid 15 of those years actively fighting the feelings of being sexually attracted to women. Then I spent 5 years just coming to grips with what I was willing to acknowledge before I could fully accept my natural state of self. It took a lot of self knowledge, support, forgiveness, and the acquisition of a vocabulary that hadn’t been part of the culture I was raised in. It took access to information through the internet and conversations with probably hundreds of people before I found the words that fit the feelings inside me.
I am a lesbian. I love a woman. I find her incredible and sexy and powerful and mesmerizing and gentle and intelligent and kind and so much more. I am so glad that now I have the language to accept and give this great big love I have inside me for this woman that has become my wife.
I wouldn’t have it any other way.