Fact, fantasy, or fiction: what am I thinking.
October 12, 2014 8:08 PM   Subscribe

I'm a straight female, married for 15 years, two kids. My marriage is not perfect but pretty darn good. After my kids were born, I've started fantasizing about lesbian relationships. Fantasy is great, but shoud I act on it?

I've never questioned my gender or sexual identity until recently. My marriage is not perfect but I wonder whose is? I grew up totally open to sexual identity and always identified as I heterosexual, now I find myself fantasizing about other women. I see two options: 1) ignore that I have homosexual feelings and be in a relationship based on fidelity because I am married with children and accept that marriage involves sacrifice or 2) tell my husband that I am fantasizing about women and want to explore these feelings.

What should I be considering in making this decision? I love my husband and family. I don't want anyone to get hurt but I also wonder if I am denying who I am by playing a heterosexual facade. My question is what else should I be considering? What ami overlooking? What will help me identify the next steps?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (13 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Look into seeing a sex therapist with your hubby. It's probably going to get more and more difficult to contain these feelings, so the best thing to do now is to get help from a professional that can help you express them as constructivly as possible.

Good luck.
posted by Fister Roboto at 8:16 PM on October 12, 2014

Are you ready to have an open marriage with all that entails? Have you received repeated signals from your husband that he'd be open to it and is ready to consider making your marriage non-monogamous? Are you ready to be ok with him having sexual and emotional explorations with other partners?

It's not unusual to fantasize about same-sex relationships. Those feelings alone don't entitle you to exploration if you're in a relationship predicated on long-term monogamy. It could be risky to go down this path. Lots of bisexual people have long-term, monogamous relationships with a partner of one gender. They're not denying who they are; they're making a choice to be monogamous.
posted by quince at 8:22 PM on October 12, 2014 [20 favorites]

All I can say is this:

1) the vast majority of people of all sexual orientations fantasize, at least on occasion, about people of all genders;

2) the vast majority of people in monogamous, committed relationships fantasize about people other than their partners.

I don't think the fact that you are fantasizing about women means anything, by itself. If you were fantasizing about some guy in your office, most people wouldn't say this gives you a green light for sharing this with your husband and asking him about opening up your marriage. I don't see why it should be different just because you are fantasizing about a woman.
posted by girl flaneur at 8:41 PM on October 12, 2014 [44 favorites]

We seem to be living in a time that says if you have this particular fantasy and don't act on it, you are denying some core part of your self. That's not necessarily true. I mean it might be, we don't know you, but it's also perfectly possible to enjoy a new dimension to your fantasy life without feeling that you are denying your true identity by not acting on it.
posted by third rail at 8:41 PM on October 12, 2014 [26 favorites]

Is it just the thrill of something forbidden or excitingly never experienced that makes it such a compelling fantasy? People fantasise about all kinds of things that don't translate into reality. As an extreme example, some women fantasise about rape or non-consensual sex. I doubt any would actually want that fantasy to become reality.

Our minds are curious beasts when it comes to sex. I don't think you should try to act on this unless you wind up with more evidence that it's more than just fantasy. The reality of lesbian love includes prosaic things as well as the erotic. And why throw away a life and a marriage and a relationship with your kids that would be forever changed just because the idea of something turns you on?

Things you could consider: can you see yourself in love with a woman? Living with a woman? Introducing her as your girlfriend? Can you imagine sharing your fantasy with your husband and having really hot sex as a result? Watching 'lesbian' porn together? There's no right answer here, just ways of trying to figure out what's going on.
posted by Athanassiel at 9:05 PM on October 12, 2014 [2 favorites]

Having a less-than-perfect relationship does not make you cheat, be gay, grow a horn, or anything else. Real people have a) real relationships, b) all kinds of complex thoughts and feelings. Don't create false cause-effect situations that will just make things more difficult.

Feelings are not facts. If you *want* to sleep with someone else, you should work that out with your existing partner. If you don't want to and just want to fantasize about it, do that (if you have an agreement not to do so with your partner, again you will need to work that out with them first). If you don't know, you may want to do some journaling or talk to a therapist to help you navigate how you feel and what it might mean.

FWIW I am not a straight woman. I have been married monogamously to a man for 10 years. So far, I've not suffered any real discomfort and I'd have to be in quite a bit of pain to change anything. But I'm fairly comfortably down-the-middle bi, so to me the urge to sleep with a woman is approximately the same as the urge to sleep with another man, and not sleeping with other men is not a serious sacrifice for me either. I sometimes have fantasies about other men too, but I'm not going to end my marriage so can live them out.

I agree with third rail above, that we live this myth that one's sexuality must be indulged in every way but honestly, that's not possible unless you're very, very wealthy. You're not owed every experience you can think of. If this goes deeper than sex, and you do not feel that you can have a marriage relationship with your husband at all, then yeah, you need to not dawdle on the way to the therapist's office.

But no matter how intense or not, spend a year in therapy before you even consider your next move. (And not a sex therapist, that's for something else entirely.) You could leave a lifetime of damage in your wake for what might be boredom or a midlife crisis. You've gone this long, you can wait one more year. If you are in a situation that your marriage does need to end, the therapy will help you make it less of a nightmare for everyone.

(Warning: you may consider a compromise in which your husband says he's okay with you going out and sleeping with a woman. Or maybe you can bring one home. You cannot undo these things, and in your eagerness you may overlook things like the impact of allowing an outsider inside the boundaries of your family and your intimate bond that way. There is no such thing as a fling when you have a home and family and career, so unless you do it on another continent with a false identity be very, very sure you're ready for the potential consequences.)
posted by Lyn Never at 9:11 PM on October 12, 2014 [17 favorites]

I would definitely not view this as most likely to mean you've finally discovered your true sexual identity. It might! But it could mean a lot of things.

1.5) Maybe tell your husband you are fantasizing about women and would he be into watching some lesbian themed films (e.g.) together?
posted by salvia at 11:25 PM on October 12, 2014

Can't emphasise Athanassiel's comment enough. There are many aspects at play here and you need to look at this from many angles. You need to decide what this means for you, how important it is you- and whether that import is sufficient to disrupt your marriage by telling your husband.

So you're having fantasies. If this is just a fantasy of sexual novelty and excitement, how important is that to you? What role does the erotic play in your life? Is sexual exploration as important to you as the stability of your family?

Or, is this fantasy of novelty arising because you're finding your marriage lacking in other areas? Are there things about your relationship which are hard and painful? Are you turning to a fantasy to escape from the reality of your marriage? This might not have anything to do with sexuality at all.

Or, are you very much drawn to women? Do you have strong crushes on your female friends? Do you daydream about being with women? Does this go beyond an erotic fantasy? If this is the case you might do well to question your sexuality. Even then, would this trump your marriage?
posted by mymbleth at 2:48 AM on October 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

Are you still attracted to and enjoying sex with your husband? That's a rather significant piece of this question to leave out.

I'd talk to your husband, starting with "I've been daydreaming about women lately," and seeing where the conversation goes, rather than jumping to "OMG I'm living a lie."
posted by orangejenny at 6:57 AM on October 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

Hi Anon, I'm another queer female living in a outwardly hetero relationship, and I also grew up open to sexual identity. (More than half my closest friends in high school were gay! Why did I wait until just a few years ago to figure my shit out enough to come out? It's weird, even to me.) I have some thoughts that may or may not be appropriate to your situation and am also just willing to be a sounding board, if you'd like to contact someone else who's been there...ish.
posted by deludingmyself at 1:36 PM on October 13, 2014

I'm a primarily-lesbian queer woman who has been hit on a lot by people in opposite-sex relationships.

Please consider carefully what you're looking for emotionally from a woman and what impact it will have on her and on your interaction with her that you are in another relationship, and one that carries straight privilege.

Please also consider how you want to identify and how open you want to be with that, and if you do want to stay closeted, what you are asking for from any woman you get involved with in terms of her having to conceal things.
posted by bile and syntax at 5:43 PM on October 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

Here's another possibility: what if you are fantasizing about women because you are mostly straight and mostly committed? Does fantasizing about men who aren't your husband feel like cheating?
posted by yarntheory at 7:26 AM on October 14, 2014

If I read this correctly these fantasies started after you had your children? Could it be that becoming a mother has changed your sense of your own sexuality? I think many people discover in themselves whole new ways of loving when they become parents, new expressions of tenderness, new ways of touching another person. This probably happens more to women than to men because of pregnancy and nursing, but it probably happens to dads and adoptive parents too.

Is it possible that your desires have changed and you have not been able to express this to your husband? I don't mean telling him you fantasize about women, I mean figuring out the ways that you imagine a woman might do things differently and asking your husband if he could just do a little more of this and a little less of that.
posted by mareli at 6:53 AM on October 15, 2014

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