“Ex-lesbian” mother has abusive boyfriend.


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.

7 thoughts on ““Ex-lesbian” mother has abusive boyfriend.”

  1. Many domestic violence shelters now offer services that are specific for sexual minorities. Although your abuser is a man, it will be helpful for you to talk with women who understand domestic violence and are accepting of lesbians.

    Abuse can happen in any relationship, but you may be more prone to accept it from a man because of the shame directed at you for your previous lesbian relationship.

    When you call the National Domestic Violence Hotline be sure to tell them that you need to talk to someone who understands the pressures on lesbian women to act heterosexual for the sake of their family’s approval.

    Your son will be fine as long as you love him and are honest with him, and protect him from violence.


    Bonnie Tinker
    Executive Director
    Love Makes a Family, Inc.
    (Also founding Chairperson of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence)

  2. First of all I want to thank Abigail for addressing this issue. I have been studying crime vicitim advocacy specifically domestic violence and sexual assualt in the glbt community. Dear friend, you are not alone! Unfortunately, there are hundreds men and woman in your situation across the US. I applaud you for asking this tough question and for exploring your options.

    Abigail is right. You do need to get some help from the National Domestic Violence Hotline. You dont have to go into detail about your sexuality until you are comfortable. Just tell them that you are in an abusive relationship and ask for some help. There are wonderful people on the other line waiting to talk to you.

    In my opinion you will always be a lesbian. If you are still having dreams about woman chances are you really do want to be with one. You need to work on getting you and your son to a “safe place” and then you can choose a partner who is going to be healthy for the both of you. However, I would caution that if your current partner (man or woman) is abusive you need to get counseling and be able to see the signs of an abusive partner. I would hate for you to find an abusive lesbian partner (because there are some out there).

    You sound like a strong woman. Keep your head up. Take care of your son and yourself first then the person (be it male or female) who is out there for you will come. Good luck. Your in my thoughts

    Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

  3. I completely agree with Abigail on this.

    You MUST get away from the abuse, if not for yourself, and that should be reason enough, but for the son that relies on you to keep him safe.
    I believe until you sort yourself out with that situation, the rest is just too confusing and almost monumental to work on.

    Once you’ve left him and get yourself sorted, everything will become much more clear.

    Personally I think the way your family has reacted is sadly typical of overly religious people. Their thoughts should be of your happiness and nothing else because that’s what family is supposed to be about.

    As far as how your son will deal with the idea of you dating women, I think if he was ok before then he will be ok once again. What`s the difference if you date a woman or yet another man after leaving this one?

    Stay Safe


  4. please leave him! Dont go back to girls just go find another guy who is not like that and dont ever trust someone who does that to you like if they say i love you and i miss you dont believe them because they dont mean it.!!!!

  5. Girl do you have problems! As if a confused ex-lesbian is going to hitch a decent man. Until you make a clean break with your unfortunate past and sort out your muddled mind, you’ll continue to attract only dregs and losers!

  6. I am not a victim of these types of familes, but i have friends that are. I have no idea what these people are going through but i am sure GOD does. just believe. i am only 15 yaers but i know that GOD is GOOD.

  7. For your own safety and son’s safety leave this loser of a male. It’s better to be on your own and have your own place to work out all the issues of your pasted. Tell your family you are leaving because of the abuse. They do not need to know your personal business. In order to provide for you and your son, this in the only way.

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