’Hey, I think I’m bi.’ ‘Cool. I still love you.’: Woman comes out as bisexual later in life, ‘Know your feelings are valid’

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“I Think I am Bisexual.

I didn’t come out for their approval, I came out for my own self-acceptance.

At the age of 29, I’ve decided to be honest with myself, and instead of being afraid of what others will think, I have decided I will be myself. Part of this means sharing my authentic ‘mom body’ and scars with my Instagram following, part of it means accepting my changing values and political beliefs, part of it means letting go of one-sided relationships, and part of it means coming to terms with my sexuality.

I think I am bisexual.

I married my high school sweetheart, and he was my first ever boyfriend. We met through our youth group at church, and I told him when I was 16 that I was in love with him. It was not reciprocated at the time, and I was heartbroken. A couple years later, he confessed his love to me, six months later we were engaged, and 11 months after that we were married. I was 19, he was 21, and we had a LOT of people think that we were just getting married so we could have sex. We were told marrying young would be a mistake, and I think people were jokingly making bets on how long our relationship would last. When I told people we were abstaining from sex until marriage at my bachelorette party I was flat out asked, ‘Would you buy a car if you hadn’t test driven it?’ Well this September we will be celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary, we have three gorgeous children together, and life is so, so sweet. Do you have to test drive the car before you buy it? Or can you just be really attracted to that car, want to spend your life with that car, and make it work?

couple at prom
Courtesy of Paige W.

Do I regret not having several partners? NO. Do I regret not ‘playing around’ or having a ‘bi-curious’ phase? NO. Not at all. I wouldn’t trade my life or my partner for anything. If I hadn’t married so young, would I have realized I might be bi much sooner in life? Possibly?!? It’s hard to know for sure, but I’ll say maybe. Maybe, because a huge factor in me not admitting it, or acting upon it, was my faith, family, and friends group, and the fear of alienating them or receiving a lot of hate for it.

I grew up in the church, and 95% of my friends/relationships were made within the church. My parents and close family are Christians…what would they think if I told them I might not be completely straight? What if they thought this was just a cry for something different or an over exaggeration? But it’s not that. I have had these thoughts for close to a decade now. It’s not just a whim, or a fleeting feeling or thought bubble popping up over my head once in a blue moon. I thought I would get comments like, ‘You’ve never even kissed another person, let alone a girl. So how could you know, after close to ten years of being married to a man, that you’re bi?’ or some rendition of those thoughts.

Over the years my husband and I have talked about our celebrity crushes, specifically those of the same sex, and I clearly remember saying, ‘I think I’m like, 10% gay for so-and-so.’ I also remember telling my female friends that I can become quite flirty and handsy (shoulder touches, deep eye contact, verbally flirting) when I have a couple drinks in me. I preferred drinking with girls and dancing with them over the guys at bars. I remember before I was with my husband daydreaming/wondering what it would be like to kiss my close female friends. But I pushed those thoughts aside.

wedding party photo
Courtesy of Paige W.

Recently I’ve been saying things like, ‘If I was single and a girl came onto me, I don’t think I’d turn her away.’ When viewing shows, or movies, or other ‘risque’ things, I found myself attracted to the girls in them almost as much as the boys. I would get tingly feelings. It was time to stop pushing those thoughts out of my head, and instead I started dwelling on them and over-analyzing them.

I haven’t driven that ‘car,’ but if I WOULD drive it, and like how it LOOKS, and think about what it WOULD be like to be seen in that car, or wonder what’s UNDER THE HOOD….okay, yes I’m pretty sure I’m bisexual. Whether I’m 10% gay, 50% gay, or 1% gay, I’m bi. Percentage is not a thing when it comes to sexuality, it’s some weird thing I came up with to explain away my thoughts. Once I came to that realization and admitted it to myself, it wasn’t much of a leap to tell others, because that’s who I am. Whether it’s in the privacy of my own home, or on my public platform, I will continue to be authentically me.

One thing I have been thinking about through all this is, ‘Would a bisexual female who married a man no longer be bi, because they aren’t currently with a woman?’ No. It would be absolute folly to think that. You don’t need to physically ACT upon your likes in order for them to be valid and true. They can still be attracted to women, and married to a man. Them having actually been physical with a woman doesn’t invalidate my thoughts and feelings or dictate whether or not I am attracted to women.

I was nervous to tell my husband, not because I thought he would leave me or wouldn’t understand, but because I didn’t want him to think I was missing something in our relationship. I didn’t want anything to change between us, especially not our sex life. The only thing that telling him could accomplish would be continuing the circle of honesty in our relationship. I pride myself on the fact I don’t keep secrets from my husband, and vice versa. One day I just went up to him, chest puffed out, chin up, making eye contact and said, ‘Hey, I think I am bi.’ To which he responded, ‘Cool. I still love you,’ and then we proceeded on with our night as normal. I didn’t expect anything to change, and so far it hasn’t. If anything, it has allowed me to be more honest with him, and with myself.

couple laying by a tree
Courtesy of Paige W.

My mom found out through my Instagram post about coming out, as I assume most close friends and family did. She said what one wishes any parent would say upon finding this out. ‘You are my daughter. On a very special day I gave birth to you. From that day until I draw my last breath I am, and always will be, proud of you and stand by your side.’ I feel very privileged that her response was positive, because that’s not the case with a lot of people coming out. I was worried that my female friends might read into things when I say, ‘I love you,’ or get weirded out when talking to me now, thinking that I’m ‘into them.’ Nothing has changed. I am still the same person I was two weeks ago before coming out, and have had the same thoughts for years. There are still several important people in my life I haven’t heard from, but it’s still early. Maybe they haven’t seen it. Maybe they don’t care. Maybe they already knew. Maybe they have nothing nice to say. But I didn’t come out for their approval, I came out for my own self-acceptance.

To be honest, I don’t know if I will ever be 100% sure that I am bi, since I don’t plan to act upon this realization. I have zero desire to be with anyone other than my husband. None. This isn’t me seeking something my marriage isn’t providing. This isn’t me trying to be ‘trendy’ or searching for something new. I’m sure if I actually wanted to, my husband would give me the go ahead to experiment, to try and learn this truth about myself. If the roles were reversed, and he was curious, I like to think that I love him enough to let him learn that truth about himself.

So with no desire to cheat on him or be with anyone else, how will I ever KNOW for sure? Maybe it’s just imposter syndrome…you know, the ‘real’ bisexuals might think that I am co-opting their identity because I have fleeting thoughts about being with a woman.

family portrait outside
Courtesy of Paige W.

Sexual identity isn’t our only identity. I’m a mom, a Christian, a wife, a daughter, an entrepreneur, and many other things. I identify with lots of different things, and those definitions have evolved over the years. I think it is entirely possible for one’s sexual identity to change and evolve over time as they learn more about their world and themselves. As they learn to accept themselves more, and worry less about what others will think.

I need to learn to accept that my feelings and thoughts are valid and true, and apparently people like it when you show your true self. The overwhelming response to my coming out has been positive. I have received several private messages from people thanking me for sharing my experiences. Those who have been struggling with almost identical situations and being afraid to tell their partner. Those who recently went through this exact same situation and telling their partner they are bisexual and their outcomes. Comments from those who recognize how vulnerable it can be to share your innermost thoughts, with some even telling me they are so proud of me for being so raw and real. If I can make a suggestion, BE YOU. Be authentically you. Know that your feelings are valid. Know that people want to know you, and they want you to accept and love yourself.

family photo outside
Courtesy of Paige W.

Our world consists of a lot of artificiality (insincerity), and putting on a facade to please the masses, get likes, clicks, or acceptance. Perfectly curated feeds on our Instagrams, showing only the positives, and none of the struggles. Not showing your true self out of fear of being judged, ridiculed, or hated. I REFUSE to be that person, because that person is not REAL. Those messages are not REAL. What’s real is this: people struggle. They struggle with accepting who they are; they struggle with accepting their faults and flaws. They struggle with coming to terms with change, and with putting themself, their TRUE SELF, out there. But you know what? The world is kinder than you think. People want to know YOU…at least the people who you want around.”

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Paige W. from Ontario. You can follow her journey on InstagramDo you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here, and subscribe to our best stories in our free newsletter here.

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