Bicurious... maybe?
August 24, 2017 11:41 PM   Subscribe

After 34 years of considering myself straight, I've had some feels lately that have me wondering if maybe I am less straight than I thought? Along with those come lots of other feels about appropriation and being an impostor and feeling kind of confusingly scared and sad. How do I even start unpacking all this?

So this question is similar in some ways to what I'm going through, although I am older than that poster and this isn't tied to a crush on a specific person. A lot of the answers there have been helpful to read through but I think I am also still much more on the "questioning" side than a lot of the discussion in that post if that makes sense?

So, these are mostly thoughts I've been having over the past few days. I am female and have only ever had romantic relationships with men, and was married up until last April (i.e. 2016). Since that relationship ended, I haven't seriously dated at all. A few weeks ago, I got into a Facebook discussion with a friend where I joked that I wished I wasn't straight because I've kind of had it with relationships where I am like the therapist and explained of basic feminism to a straight dude. And it was kind of a silly discussion overall but... then later I kind of could not get it out of my head. A few nights after that I hopped on okc to just like check if anyone new was on, and I got to swiping in their tinder-phone interface thing and I was just struck by how much I was NOT attracted to ANYONE who showed up.

So these two things had just been kind of rolling around in my brain, and today at work I was thinking more about them and more seriously entertaining the thought that I'm not especially attracted to men. I started thinking about all the times I've had "girl-crushes" on women, both celebrity and real-life and was like, "what if those weren't just i-admire-you-so-much feelings? What if they have always been... crushes? Just actual crushes?" It felt like an honest-to-god crystallizing moment because I expected, when I had that thought, to be kind of like hmm, ok next random thought thing but what actually happened is I broke down crying. I am finding it really hard to describe the feeling, like it was just something genuine that I had never ever let myself truly think about before and like overwhelmingly real and sudden. It felt both REALLY sad and really really exciting at the same time and I'm working on untangling those feelings in more detail at the moment.

Related to this, like I said I have always been in relationships with men and I know that there are men I'm attracted to, but I also know that until fairly recently, I haven't really ever found sex with a partner that satisfying. There are times it's been good, but those are pretty rare. My marriage ended when we both came to the realization that while we were great buddies, we just weren't attracted to the other person and were both more interested in just moving on than trying to negotiate any sort of open relationship. Since then, I've been pretty happily single and along with that have been trying get more in tune with what works for me sexually - Come as You Are was a really validating read, and I've also been just... practicing some self-love which I am honestly enjoying more than ANY of the sex I've ever had over the years.

So with all these thoughts roiling around... what do I do? Some part of me feels really weird asking queer friends for advice because I feel like it's weird/appropriative/privilegey to be straight for 34 years and then be like "ooh, what's this new shiny thing?" How do I know if that's what I'm feeling? And I've also had a lot of heavy stuff going on in my life recently - my mom died in June and I kind of totally switched careers right before that, and the divorce and processing all of that was happening through most of 2016. What if I'm just dealing with all of this other huge stuff and me having these thoughts is some sort of trauma processing and not real? So I guess the overall question here is, where do I go from here to figure out if this is something I want to explore? I'm happy to clarify stuff briefly in answers here if that'd be helpful as well!
posted by augustimagination to Human Relations (25 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
a friend came to me 3 months ago with a very similar account, although its more that she feels she may need to transition to male, but she (still doesn't want to change pronoun) was really nervous about exactly the appropriation issue you identified.

I encouraged her to find and join a LGBTQ group in nearby Brighton which is one of the most progressive towns in the UK and to just get to know a wider group of people.

It's been a fantastic experience, she reports finding people incredibly welcoming, and felt safe enough to go on a weekend away with the group just last week.

They've helped her find more online communities and are essentially mentoring her as she finds her way in what she feels is the most confusing period of her life. She's 40. She did encounter 1 problem individual, but the wider group supported her when she felt she had to stand up to them. It's very early days but it seems to be what she needs to keep asking what she needs to ask to find her way. Good luck!
posted by Wilder at 12:06 AM on August 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

You should totally ask your queer friends, I would be so pleased to have a conversation like this – after all, we've all been though it, and queer folks know queer community – they can steer you to resources and places and faces you'd never find on your own!

What if I'm just dealing with all of this other huge stuff and me having these thoughts is some sort of trauma processing and not real?

Uh, your sexuality is not determined by trauma. Lifelong suppression tho? Yup, it's a sad cis straight world. Let yourself wonder. Also... depending on the survey, 14-50% of women have had some kind of sexual contact with other women. Most of these gals ain't gay. You're not alone.

So I guess the overall question here is, where do I go from here to figure out if this is something I want to explore?

Start (politely, secretly) ogling babes! Read some queer literature. Go to queer events. Talk and dream and maybe one day set up an OKCupid account. It's gonna be ok, promise.

Also I just wanna say that there are different spectrums of attraction, and you may find that your interest in men, women and other genders is not evenly split. For example, I'm omnivorous when it comes to emotional and intellectual spark. Though I consider myself a dyke, I've had romantic partnerships and kink relationships with cis/trans men. But sexually I am only fulfilled with women and estrogen-dominant folks. The chemistry never quite lines up with anyone else.
posted by fritillary at 1:05 AM on August 25, 2017 [7 favorites]

A bit outdated, but: Queer Girl City Guide to Milwaukee

Milwaukee Queer Exchange on Facebook

A little bit about Milwaukee queer history!
posted by fritillary at 1:15 AM on August 25, 2017

First, don't worry about appropriation. I hate how that word has been bent out of all meaning. It means when you are a member of a group with more power and you coopt something from an oppressed group without permission or credit, or you use it inappropriately.

Wearing a warbonnet you're not entitled to is appropriation. Earnestly thinking you might be part of a group? Not appropriation. Even if you're wrong. And I'll say one thing - straight people generally don't spend a lot of time questioning their sexuality. Not suggesting any foregone conclusions, I know you're still questioning, but it's something I've noticed.

Second, I'm a lesbian and if my straight friend (hypothetically... I don't actually have any) said this to me, I'd be like "Welcome to the club! Here's your complimentary first flannel shirt." Definitely just go check out local community stuff and see what grabs you. Also it's ok if nothing does - you're still you whether or not you want to be a part of "the community."

And fritillary is spot on about it being complex and a spectrum.

So here's what I'd suggest. Take things as slow as you need to given all you're going through - it's a lot of upheaval and grief. If you get to the point of meeting someone, I would tread extra carefully right now. If you really are into women, the first time you're with one you might find it burns with the intensity of a thousand suns, which is probably not what either of you need right now. So I'd suggest going slow.

Other than that, keep talking to people online, maybe try and meet people in person through local community, and by all means chat with your queer friends. I'd suggest opening with something like, "Hey, I've been questioning my sexuality lately. Is that something you'd feel comfortable talking about?" since it gives them an out if it's not something they're up for discussing.
posted by bizarrenacle at 1:17 AM on August 25, 2017 [15 favorites]

It sounds to me like you've decided that it's something worth exploring, and are wondering what you should fear from taking what I know seems like a life-altering path.

Thing is, given your apparent circumstances (seemingly supportive and loving social group and socially liberal environment/outlook, a level of maturity and open-mindedness) I would consider this less of a life-altering decision than getting a tattoo.

Human sexuality is not a binary mechanism or easily categorized no matter what alphabet soup we use. As you probably know, it's really a spectrum like most other personality traits and if everyone was 100% honest, few among us could claim to be 100% straight or 100% gay. Don't drive yourself nuts trying to forge or come to grips with a new identity. You are the same person, you will be the same person. You don't need to make it public or feel like you're hiding something if you don't. If you do choose to come out, your friends will not think any different of you. It's not as if you have to commit to a whole new lifestyle and persona. You are who you are with no shame, and no reason to label yourself as anything unless you want to.

Although I'm mostly attracted to women of my age or older than I, I struggled with bi-curious feelings during my teens to mid 20s and quite a bit of guilt as I had no openly gay friends, relatives, or even openly gay classmates. Although I'm slightly androgenous and definitely not a lumberjack, everybody has always assumed I'm straight. I lost my virginity to a girl but felt doubly confused because it became clear that although we had a very close relationship, it was more of a friendship for me and a romance for her. Lasted 3 years but didn't end well and even after moving to college in one of the most LGBT friendly areas of the U.S., I still was unwilling to come out as gay or bi because I just didn't want any more stress or self-guilt. Continued to see girls and continued to feel like I was deceiving them and depriving myself.

After I turned 21 I kind of said screw it and allowed myself to smile at some cute guys at local club in Northampton. Still too shy to take it beyond a peck on the cheek, it was another year before I had any sexual contact with a male. Then I was even more confused because things were just as confusing. I had a hard time identifying with the very femme guys and I still had girls asking for my number despite doing my best to blend in with the wallpaper.

I continued to fool around with guys of different "types". Sometimes it was exciting, sometimes depressing, sometimes awkward. Just like with women. And although I still had no clear preference in bed, I found that I really did find women more commonly attractive in a romantic way while most of the guys I saw were just friends with benefits. As I moved to different states I still kept an open mind but was far more comfortable with myself. And I realized that a decision of foresight wasn't necessary to make me happy.

At the end of the day, I realized I'm attracted to people and personalities more than I am to a certain type of body or appendage. I've dated and slept with at least twice as many women as I have men, but I keep my options open. And I think I'm finally at the stage now where I am comfortable enough with myself that should I enter into a serious relationship with a man, I wouldn't feel the urge to hide it or act differently at all. I'm glad I explored my curiosity and don't regret any of it for an instant despite coming to the conclusion that I am more straight than gay and will probably marry a woman someday.

I'm at a point now where it's more liberating than confining to be able to love a wide variety of very different people in pretty much the exact same way. Live your life on your own terms! The worst thing that can happen is a lackluster encounter. You may feel shame at first but it won't last. I think no matter what you decide, at the end of the day you'll end up more comfortable with loving yourself, and that's what really matters.

Best of luck, keep physically safe and stay emotionally positive! You can't really have a successful relationship with ANYONE if you don't first learn to love yourself.
posted by WhitenoisE at 1:31 AM on August 25, 2017 [8 favorites]

What if I'm just dealing with all of this other huge stuff and me having these thoughts is some sort of trauma processing and not real?

I wanted to jump back in to address this. It may be a valid concern, it's possible some people experience this kind of confusion when faced with such turmoil.

But from my experience it seems more likely that the turmoil has just brought to the surface things that were already there. When you're already vulnerable and the world has fallen out from under you, sometimes that's when it becomes impossible to ignore things you'd been able to suppress before.
posted by bizarrenacle at 1:39 AM on August 25, 2017 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: I would consider this less of a life-altering decision than getting a tattoo.

gave me a chuckle, because I am also currently considering getting a tattoo and am totally over-researching the whole thing :D

Also thanks so much everyone who's replied so far! I think a lot of the sadness-feelings are coming from a place of "Lifelong suppression tho? Yup, it's a sad cis straight world." as fritillary put it! Also that my mom would so be someone I want to talk to about all this stuff.

Ok, bowing out before this becomes chatfilter!
posted by augustimagination at 1:43 AM on August 25, 2017 [2 favorites]

You can't appropriate queerness if you yourself are queer. And it's further not appropriative to be exploring the question! Even if you eventually conclude that you are straight. (Which sounds unlikely to me.)

We all come to moments of personal growth and discovery when we come to them, including quite late in life (which you aren't, yet). This is totally normal and you sound like a person discovering something wonderful and exciting about herself to me.
posted by spindrifter at 4:44 AM on August 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

it's okay for your attraction to different genders to feel different, hell it's okay to go through periods of time where you're more attracted to one gender than another. it's okay if your attraction isn't evenly split 50/50 or if you are sexually attracted to one gender but only pursue romantic relationships with another. and it can be fluid! sometimes it'll be 50/50, other times it might be 40/60 or even 1/99, and it's still okay. it's just where you are at that time in your life. and it's okay to be confused about it. i've identified as bi for pretty much the entirety of my romantic career, and i still get caught off guard sometimes. if you feel you owe it to yourself to explore those feelings, then by all means, go for it - there's no wrong way to be, just be physically safe and honest with yourself and your partners.
posted by sephira at 5:56 AM on August 25, 2017

God I felt the EXACT same way. Vague dissatisfaction with dudes. Ambiguous 'girl crushes' that I assumed meant nothing. Terrible fear of being a straight tourist and using some poor 'real' queer girl for my evil experimental needs and then running back to dudes forever. So convinced that if it was really true that I liked women I would Just Know and since I didn't, I couldn't be.

Friend, I am bi as hell and women are so hot and pretty and fun to date, and I wish it hadn't taken me 25+ years and getting extremely drunk with a gay friend to figure that out! GO SMOOCH A PRETTY GIRL!
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:01 AM on August 25, 2017 [28 favorites]

Not to complicate your life more = ) but it may be worth it to look into asexuality, demi-sexuality, graysexuality, etc. I am not asexual (I'm bi) but reading about this stuff has helped give me a vocabulary to think about my own romantic and sexual life ( like did you know you can be bisexual and heteroromantic? Or asexual and biromantic? ). Also, there is such a thing as relationship OCD which can lead to constant questioning of one's own sexuality, but in that case the inquiry is usually not based in experience, is illogical, extremely troubling/upsetting, and has an obsessive quality. It doesn't sound to me like that's what you are describing. So I think it's safe to say this isn't just your anxiety and trauma putting thoughts in your head. It sounds like a journey worth exploring. And to echo others, if you were my friend I'd be super happy to welcome you, even if it turns out you find out that you really are straight, and I would be your wingman at queer events.
posted by shalom at 6:33 AM on August 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

I think a lot of people who see themselves as straight don't realize how big a part of their identity straightness is. But like, yeah, no, straightness has probably been a huge part of your identity so far. You grew up in the straight community! You made friends there! A lot of your happiest nights out have probably been in straight bars! You got straight married! I'm being flip here, but I'm not even kidding. Of course losing that identity is going to be difficult for you, even if in hindsight it was never a perfect fit. Of course you're going to feel some grief. That sense of loss is a normal part of coming out.

Another thing about coming out as an adult is that it usually means there were some things that stopped you from coming out when you were younger. Maybe you internalized a bunch of homophobia. Maybe you felt like people like you didn't fit in queer community. Maybe you were prevented from really thinking about your own desires at all, and decided to "want" what others wanted you to want. All of those are sad and stressful things to realize you've been through. They're especially sad and stressful if you're a liberal feminist who doesn't think of herself as homophobic, or as a person who subordinates her desires to the needs of others — because then you also have to admit that you're not as free from the patriarchy as you thought, that it still was occupying a bunch of space in your psyche even after you identified it as an enemy. Finding that out about yourself after years of priding yourself on your LGBT-friendliness and feminism and all-around independent-mindedness can be really jarring. But again, that's normal, it's part of coming out, it's part of why people struggle with this stuff so hard, and you'll eventually get past it and come to some kind of peace with the internalized hurdles you had to clear to get here.

And the "I'm not queer enough, I'm being appropriative and privilegey" thing? Literally every queer person I know who came out older than age twelve went through a stage of feeling that way. It's a good thing to be conscious of — like, if you end up identifying as bi, you want to remember that people who are gay have different struggles and you can't always speak for them, and vice versa. But it can also be a defense mechanism, a way of saying "Okay, I guess I'm technically queer, but it's still somehow not okay for me to let myself go to queer women's events or make out with other women or any of that really queer stuff." Forget that. Go to queer women's events. Make out with women. You're going to feel weird and awkward and scared and sad sometimes, and in between all that you're going to have a bunch of fun and find a bunch of things to be happy about.
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:13 AM on August 25, 2017 [17 favorites]

I posted a question like this years ago. Now I identify as bi, strongly and proudly. I'm still partnered to the same man I was at the time but realizing and owning my sexuality has been great--and very healing. I'm going to repeat something that was said to me back then, because it gave me a lot of comfort: "You can stand under my queer umbrella. I think you can say you're bisexual, a 5 on the Kinsey, queer, pansexual, anything you like. Nobody has a right to sanction your identity. It's fluid, and your own, and does not depend on what kind of relationships you've had. Labels and descriptors are only as confining as you allow them to be."
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:17 AM on August 25, 2017 [8 favorites]

I love the honesty and clarity with which you approached this question, and the kindness with which people have answered you. It reflects my own situation in so many ways and it just feels really good to have someone describe it so thoughtfully.

One thing I'd add is that I think you're doing the right thing by exploring these questions openly first before trying to attach them to any particular person. But eventually they will attach to a particular person, and that's hard.

There's a kind of conundrum at work because you can get yourself all spun up in the question of what's 'real': how do you know if the feelings are real unless you act on them? But how can you act on them unless you know they're real? What if you decide they're real and then you act on them, but then as you're acting on them you realize they're not real, and that means you're doing this terrible and appropriative and cruel thing that straight people do called 'experimenting,' and then someone gets hurt? Who in God's name wants to be the test subject on the other side of this experiment? Should it be someone you know casually, you don't care about at all? How could you possibly go through something that feels so scary with someone you don't really know? But how can you ask someone you actually care about to put themselves in such a messy, compromised position? If you think you want to have sex with someone, but then you change your mind, doesn't that mean you were a terrible person and just using them? But how can you know if you're going to change your mind until you try? Ahhhhhhhhhh everything is impossible and you're going to end up hurting people and getting hurt no matter what you do; better just to crawl under your bed and never have sex with anyone ever again.

I don't know, maybe that was just me. And the truth is I didn't find answers to any of those questions, I just bulldozed through them like a lunatic and people did end up getting hurt. And honestly, I'm not sure there is a way to get through this process without some degree of hurt coming into play - just as there's no way to learn how to be in straight relationships without hurting and getting hurt. Most people sort this stuff out in college, or in their early twenties, when there's so much hurt going around (and so much freely flowing alcohol) that it kind of blends in with all the other hurt that accompanies learning how to be a person relating to other people. When you're older, and things have mostly settled down and people have their shit figured out, it can be awful and discomfiting to suddenly be a messy person with all these ragged edges. But the truth is, inadvertently hurting people as you go through this difficult thing doesn't make you a bad person. You are a good person to the degree that you are as honest about your feelings as you can be- even if they're not totally clear to you; treating other people, and yourself, with as much kindness and compassion as you can, and - if someone does end up getting hurt - apologizing and doing your best to make it right.

Also, biphobia is a real thing, and people who are totally okay with your fluid sexuality in the abstract may become very uncomfortable with it in practice. It is totally the right of people who have their sexuality more or less figured out to decide they don't want to get involved with someone who isn't there yet. It's totally okay and absolutely understandable for them to be wary of being hurt. What is not okay is for them to call your sexuality into question to protect themselves: to say, I don't want to date you because I think you're just a straight girl fooling around or to hold you responsible for the sins of other people - Girls like you always go back to men after they've had their fun or, if things don't work out, to make it about your identity - I always knew you were straight. Your feelings are real, whether or not you ever choose to act on them, and your identity is yours to claim. No one has the right or the ability to define your sexuality but you.
posted by pretentious illiterate at 7:56 AM on August 25, 2017 [12 favorites]

It's a totally different thing to take a friend aside and say, "I think I might be gayer than previously assumed" than it is to say something, you know, really grossly reductive to a casual acquaintance or stranger. Your friends have context, and you're not saying something reductive to them.

That said, you should have some sort of plan in your pocket for the off chance you are surprised with biphobia from your friends. And it may just be to understand that not everyone is very well-evolved on this and that you don't need to take it as gospel just because it comes from someone you otherwise like and trust. It is sometimes sort of culturally ingrained, a knee-jerk, and sometimes this is how people end up confronting it in themselves and dealing with it. But you don't need to take it personally if it happens, because it's not about you, it's about them. Hopefully it won't come up with your closest friends, will be unlikely that you will never walk into that particular brick wall.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:14 AM on August 25, 2017

On reading your question, I was reminded of this blog post from Molly Wizenberg from late last year, going through a similar experience, just in a slightly different order [was married to a man, sexuality shifted, now what?].

I'm not queer, so I don't have any particularly helpful experiential advice, but Molly's experiences and her writing about it have really stuck with me, so I hope that if nothing else, it at least assures you someone else out there went through a similar experience at a similar age.
posted by Pandora Kouti at 8:53 AM on August 25, 2017

It is definitely super-okay to ask your friends about this. If you have friends who you know to specifically identify as bi, pan, queer, or something along those lines, I'd start there, only because you might hit a rough pocket of biphobia with gay or lesbian friends and I would hate that to be the first thing you run into. But generally speaking? You love and trust your friends for a reason, they love and trust you, it should be okay to share this with them.

If you were in my city I'd tell you to show up at a monthly bi social night that my local queer center holds, which is explicitly welcoming to questioning folks. Maybe there's something like that near you?

FWIW, as a late-30s bi woman (whose attraction to various genders manifests differently and sometimes changes over time, sexuality can be so fluid!), I don't think the questions you're asking are weird or appropriative at all. I think you're doing fine, and will be fine. Honestly. MeMail me anytime if you need to talk.
posted by Stacey at 9:30 AM on August 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

Seconding the "ogle women" suggestion above. Not leer at them, nothing inappropriate, but -- look around, see what you might be attracted to. Let yourself think of women as potentially sexy to you; let yourself enjoy ridiculous fantasies of things that will not happen. E.g. sexy female movie star of choice has car that breaks down right in front of you and you call in the problem, and the two of you go out for coffee and she flirts with you and you blush and etc.

Don't start with "what would I want from a relationship with a woman." Start with, what makes me feel happy thoughts. What turns me on. Which of my longstanding fantasies work just as well if I swap out the imaginary guy for an imaginary women. What fantasy have I never been able to make click because I just couldn't think of a guy who fit that other role, but works great with a woman.

Maybe pick a romantic movie you like, and imagine yourself in the guy's role. (Not in the sense of "being a guy," unless you want to play with those thoughts, but in the sense of "wooing the lady.") Decide if there are parts of that you like, or parts that you want to think about more.

Explore your own feelings and what's inside your head. Ignore what you've been told about what is or isn't okay to want - this isn't focused on what you want. This is what you enjoy thinking about, which can be very different from actual desires. When you've gotten a sense of what you like in fantasies, you can shift to sorting out which aspects of those you want to consider as potential RL experiences.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 12:39 PM on August 25, 2017 [3 favorites]

I joked that I wished I wasn't straight because I've kind of had it with relationships where I am like the therapist and explainer of basic feminism to a straight dude.

I gave up dating men for essentially the same reasons.

When I was in a similar place, my solution was reading books. Lots and lots of books. I didn't feel comfortable hitting up my queer friends for direct advice in the early stages of exploring my bisexuality, but I could read queer coming-out stories in books! The personal stories helped me the most - especially the ones from women who talked about reaching a level of emotional reciprocity with women that they were never able to find in relationships with men.

Another thing that helped me a lot is bisexual women's discussion groups, especially on the days they had meetings for "straight-identified-but-questioning" people. Is there a bisexual women's network near you?
posted by velvet winter at 11:54 PM on August 25, 2017

This was me in so many ways a little over a year ago. I was 37 at the time. I had always suspected my sexuality might be a bit fluid, but I think the constant bombardment of hetero-normative culture and the fact that I never had a WOW-I-LIKE-GIRLS moment early on steered me more toward dudes (and then I wondered what was wrong with me because I wasn't comfortable around dudes, even ones I had legit crushes on). When I finally realized I was both bisexual and demisexual, everything suddenly made so much more sense -- I wasn't broken, I was just trying to shove myself into societal norms that weren't a good fit for me.

I'm currently stuck living in a conservative area without much of a queer community, so I haven't had much success with meeting people or dating locally, but I've made some new friends via fandoms that have a sizable queer/lesbian/bi following (hello, Ghostbusters reboot!), and I haven't yet come across anyone who gave me a hard time about figuring myself out a bit later than usual or "appropriating" anything. There's some stereotypical garbage out there about bisexuals, and that worried me early on. So far it hasn't been an issue for me, but it's good to be aware.

About a month ago I signed up for OKCupid, mostly as practice (because, again, there's very little going on where I live), and I have it set to only show me women. (I accidentally set it to "show me men and women" at first and got ALL THE MESSAGES from skeevy guys wanting threesomes, no no no nope.) OKC used to trigger my anxiety like crazy back when I used it as a straight woman, but as a bi/queer woman looking at other women, it's kind of a delight. Everyone's far away, but at least I can look at cute girls and figure out what I find attractive.

I've definitely had some sad moments where I wonder what could've been if I'd figured this out earlier, but... That's in the past. I'd only be wasting more time by dwelling instead of moving forward.

And a friendly warning... If you decide you're into women, your first full-fledged major crush on an actual real-life lady may throw you for a loop. I'm working through mine (on a long-distance lesbian friend -- she's awesome and we occasionally flirt but I don't want to awkward up the friendship by coming clean about my feels) and it's been rough and glorious and heartbreaking and sheesh, I feel like I'm a teenager again, at least emotionally.

Overall, I just feel "right" in a way I hadn't in a long time. Whatever you figure out about yourself, I hope you eventually feel that, too. :)

(And you're more than welcome to MeMail me if you ever feel like chatting about this stuff!)
posted by QuickedWeen at 9:33 AM on August 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks SO MUCH to everyone who answered this question. It was really hard to write and I appreciate your kindness so much! I haven't ventured into dating or really anything irl quite yet but have done a lot of talking with a couple friends and joined a really awesome Facebook group for bi and gay women/nb folk where there is a lot of body appreciation and validation and ... like, yeah I think I am definitely attracted to women.

There are quite a few others in the group who have had a similar experience of not realizing it until later in life and it's been really great to connect with people who can talk from experience about these exact same feelings. I can't stress how awesome it is that I had a venue to ask this question in the first place - this post really helped me process how I wanted to move ahead trying to figure me out, so massive thanks to everyone who replied here :)
posted by augustimagination at 6:30 PM on December 9, 2017 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: So just, like, for anyone who wanted any updates here, soon after I posted this question I shared it on Facebook with privacy set to a group of seven specific friends who I felt comfortable being open about sexuality with. One of them, who I knew through various social circles but who I wasn't especially close with at the time, wrote the most incredibly supportive and thoughtful answer that made me actually cry. I thanked her for it over Messenger and being the anxious, shy nerds we are we kind of just didn't talk for a few months after that - until she messaged me in February asking me to coffee and we both realized we had been TOTALLY BOTH MUTUALLY CRUSHING for quite a while.

Reader, I am dating her and I feel romantic feelings for another person for the first time in my life and it is LITERALLY because MetaFilter is the type of place where I felt comfortable asking this question and because all of you who answered were so amazing and supportive. THANK YOU.
posted by augustimagination at 10:32 PM on June 13, 2018 [23 favorites]

posted by nebulawindphone at 9:31 AM on June 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

Hell yes! Happy Pride to you and your lady!
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:26 AM on June 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

Oh hooray! That’s delightful!
posted by rmd1023 at 9:08 AM on June 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

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