I am a 40-year-old mother, currently living with a man for the past three years. Before this, I was with a woman for ten years. I am still very attracted to women and I have dreams about them all the time. This guy is abusive in every way and he is in counseling for anger management. He says he loves me but I am confused about what I want, thinking I can get over this turmoil I feel inside by focusing on what the straight life can provide.
I am unhappy, but I am Catholic and my family would freak if I left my straight life since they believe I finally have my life on the right path with a man. I also worry about how going back to women will affect my son. I hope to find the answers I need before I make myself crazy.
You are in an abusive relationship, and you owe it to yourself and to your son to get out. I’m not surprised your abuser says he loves you — this is one of the many things abusers say to manipulate their victims to stay with them.
Please get help immediately. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233). It’s free, confidential, and the service is welcoming to people of any and all sexual orientations. When you call, they will help you find services in your area. (Unlike filing a police report, your abuser will not find out about this call.)
Abusive relationships distort the reality of the person who is being abused. In your case, the anti-gay influence of your family and your religious upbringing has added to that distortion — leading you to believe that being with a man is preferable to being with a woman. Even if you are unhappy. Even if you are a victim of physical and emotional violence.
You are currently isolated by the shame of two secrets, making it extra difficult to ask for help. One secret is the domestic abuse. The other is your attraction to women. You don’t need to be ashamed about either, and talking about it with someone who won’t judge you or blame you will help. Once you and your son are safe, please work with a counselor who is supportive about addressing sexuality issues and who will help you sort through your feelings.
Proceed with caution when you deal with your family; if they are as judgmental as they sound, they could easily sabotage your healing process. As for how the truth about your attraction to women might affect your son: There’s a good chance that your son might need some time to adjust to the news. But that’s hardly fair rationale for raising him in a violent home.