How Do I Tell My Boyfriend I Want to be with a Woman?

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Betty Dodson

Dearest Betty,

Thank you both for your openness and fabulosity ;)

I suppose I am just in a time of "not knowing what to do next" with regards to my sexuality in my life, and I just need a little direction. Thanks in advance for reading my lengthy story!

I just turned 30 and I live in a really open area of the country. I am free to be "me" and I have been pretty comfy with that girl for at least several years now. I have gotten past a lot of the social and cultural stereotypes of my youth and from being raised in a highly conservative area of the country. However, I do know that I still have a lot of settling in to do too. There is always room to grow!

I got divorced 3 years ago from a man who was the first and only guy I'd ever been with and my high school sweetheart. We have 2 awesome girls together who I am raising in a very sex positive environment. He is still in their lives and we remain friends. However, one of the key issues in our marriage was MY sexuality. I realized very early on that I am surely attracted to both women and men but because of how I was raised and my inexperience and youth, I didn't know how to process that at all. I was in a marriage at 18 years old, had a baby at 20 and another shortly after only to find myself very much attracted to women and not knowing how to proceed.

7 or so years went by and after much unease in our relationship, we moved far away from our hometown to this really open area of the country to start afresh and see if we could ground ourselves and truly live and be happy together. Not a year after we arrived, I "came out" to him which ended up being pretty devastating to our relationship. I truly hoped that we could find a way for us to process through it all and still stay together. After all, I had discovered, there were many support groups, dating sites and people in general around our area that were able to be partnered and still able to explore their sexuality. This was all so liberating to me to realize! His feelings of insecurity (and his accusations that I was a lesbian...haha) led to the complete unraveling of us.

There towards the end as a last ditch effort, he agreed to allow me to explore my feelings for women by responding to an online ad from a woman in a similar situation as us. I was beyond excited when I realized the chemistry she and I had through email and phone conversation. One night, we finally met up and it felt so comfortable to me. We held hands (oh my GOD!) while walking through a park...we shared drinks and dinner and she ended up getting us a room!

To make a very long story a little shorter, everything completely imploded after that. My husband could not handle his feelings of jealousy and I couldn't handle my subsequent feelings of guilt. Within months, we had decided to split, agreeing to remain friends while sharing custody of our children.

I truly felt we had tried evereything we knew how to try with the tools that we had at the time to make our relationship work. It's been over 3 years now since we split and now he has found himself in a similar situation since now his girlfriend of 3 years has come out to him...poor guy!

Anyhow, our break up gave me the opportunity to explore my newfound freedom. I dated incessantly...mostly other men because for the life of me, I didn't know (and still really don't...haha) how to meet women, especially not "looking" like the stereotypical queer/bi/pansexual woman...(what DOES she look like anyway...!?). All in all to date, I have had around 30 partners with only a handful of those being women.

As a side note, thank the stars that I have been an avid masturbator for my entire life. That has helped tremendously!

Ok my current dilemma: I have had a solid male partner for a little over a year now. He came to me at a time in my life when I was THROUGH with men! D-O-N-E!! Haha! He knows completely about my past and accepts me for who I am. He even is friends with my ex husband! We have a truly fabulous and active sex life and an all around pretty balanced relationship. I told him from day 1 that if we stay together, he has to understand that I probably can't or won't go the rest of my life without ever being with a woman again. I feel like that is truly a part of myself that i would be denying if I didn't explore it further. After all, I feel i have barely scratched the surface of interacting sexually and emotionally and relationally with other women. I DESIRE to be with a woman again. The whole thing just feels so complicated as of late, however.

For starters, we became engaged about 6 months into our relationship mainly because of a really silly reason...a contest we entered to win money that we became finalists in...we ended up not winning, however and as I really analyzed my heart, a few weeks ago, I decided to tell him that i actually don't want to get least not right now. It honestly has less to do with our relationship and more just to do with his entanglements with his ex wife over a house they still own, finances, and me just being more honest with myself about how I really feel about marriage right now. I already was in an 11 year relationship very early on in my life and if I ever marry again, I want it to just be truly right. After a few days of him pondering over it, he said he understood and we have moved on from that pretty gracefully.

Moving on, he has never been in open relationships nor (as he puts it) is it even appealing to him to be with anyone else sexually besides me (he has only had a handful of partners, by the way). Why is this a problem, you may be asking? Well, it is because the issue of me being with a woman again someday has come up recently; especially since I discovered your website and have begun showing him my findings! In many ways other peoples' words and experiences on here have given me a voice and a vocabulary to talk more openly about these things.

Although i was honest before about my feelings and experiences, I have been so content and busy in our relationship, that i haven't even thought about making the effort to pursue anything with anyone else...until now. Suddenly, it feels an inconvenience, a stress and an imbalance in our relationship for me to even talk with him about it. He is visibly worried and emotionally shut off from the possibility of this at present.

True, we are going through quite a bit logistically with him working in another city and us running the kids back and forth to their dad on the weekends. True he is dealing with a lot with his ex wife and the house they still own know, it's just normal life stuff. But in all actuality, I am more content now than i have ever been in my life! I am joyful, relatively stress free and I love myself and my family so much. I am smiling constantly and I radiate light and positivity. I strive to be genuine in all of my dealings and I speak my mind in a thoughtful way. This said, I am not sure that he gets how important my sexuality is to me. It has become such an issue, that I have made it a non-issue by telling him that with everything else we are dealing with right now, maybe it just makes sense to not talk about me being with women at this time. That logic, however, is ridiculous! I am denying my feelings while placating and protecting him.

Meanwhile, its just constantly on my mind...I mean, just about everyday. Are my old feelings of guilt creeping in again? Maybe...and I don't like it. I care so much about this guy...we are happy and balanced in almost every regard aside from this. So, I suppose my main questions are, how do I stay with this wonderful man who I care deeply for yet not deny myself of something that I want and is part of me? How do I bring this issue up again in a tactful way as to not shut him down and help him feel like I am not just going to run away at the first sign of tension. How do I begin to unbury and unburden the load that our highly conservative and unopen society has placed in our psyches. How do I create that balance that I strive for with a man that is scared of something he does not understand?

Thank you, Betty, so much, for what you have brought me and continuously bring to others through your work. You are truly someone I want on my team. Love to Carlin as well. You both are the best.


Dear M,

You are obviously a very intelligent and verbal woman. However, I'd suggest you stop talking about your desires to be sexual with a woman and just do it. All married woman I know have one or more close girlfriends so why can't you have one that includes sex? Stop driving these guys nuts with you incessant talk about wanting to be with a woman. You are bisexual and that's just fine. If you go on to have another straight BF, it would be nice if he knew this upfront. Many men would find this a big turn-on and not be so defensive.

In many ways, a married woman has more freedom to enjoy a girlfriend than some lesbians who live together, and like many heterosexuals, get bored with one another with day in and day out contact. The best way to create the balance that you strive for with a man who is scared of something he does not understand is to learn how to keep your own council. You both have your hands full with obligations right now so don't muddy the waters more that is necessary. Continue to enjoy your active life, the kids, your ex and the man you are living with now and when you find time, the women in your future.

Dr. Betty

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