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Forums / Sexuality and gender identity / Female in a hetero marriage, asexual and in love with same sex friend

Topic: Female in a hetero marriage, asexual and in love with same sex friend

  1. Chris54
    Chris54 avatar
    2 posts
    1 August 2020 in reply to SH-2600
    Throuple?
  2. SH-2600
    SH-2600 avatar
    35 posts
    1 August 2020 in reply to smallwolf

    Hi Tim,

    My weekend is quiet and relaxing, thank goodness. How is yours? Being told to cheer up is an infuriating response to depression, or even sadness. It shows a lack of understanding or respect for the emotions you are feeling.

    My husband seems to be doing a little better on the depression front as he has been in to work a couple of days this week instead of working from home. It seems to have made a bit of a difference for him. He also withdraws and disengages when he is not feeling ok, so apart from a discussion a couple of months ago when he told me he was unhappy and lonely in our marriage, I haven’t been able to get much from him. Although I haven’t been particularly available either. I am hoping the counselling creates a positive space for us to talk.

    That Rumi quote is another good one. If only we could not worry about what others think. It is certainly something to aspire to.

    Keep taking care of yourself, Tim. I am grateful that you come to this thread to talk. Thank you.

    SH

    Welcome to the discussion Chris54,

    I think there is so much diversity in relationships out there, which is such a great thing. For me, even if a throuple was an option, I don’t think it would be something I would pursue. Thanks for throwing the idea out there, though.

    SH

  3. Timshel
    Timshel avatar
    24 posts
    3 August 2020 in reply to SH-2600

    Hi SH,

    I am just about to enter the land of nod but wanted to check in with you first and make sure you are okay. I know you have a counselling session with your husband this week and I wanted to wish you all the best and let you know I’ll be thinking of you. My husband and I have our second counselling session this week too. We can compare notes!!! This session is a 2hr session which means that it will probably go for 4 hours given that our last session was a 1hr session that lasted 2 hours!!!! She’s a nice lady but somewhat disorganised. She was also recovering from a cold and was deaf in one ear which meant communication didn’t exactly flow easily. Plus I made the mistake of saying ‘yes’ to a coffee at the beginning of the session. BIG MISTAKE! It only took about 20 minutes for my bladder to point out the errors of my ways to me. Concentration became a little difficult for me from that point on. All in all it was a bit of a comical affair. What can I say, you live and learn. When you know better, you do better!!!!

    Listen, I know you must be feeling low at the moment following your last communication with your friend. I know you said that you really needed to hear from her once and for all that she didn’t reciprocate your feelings, but that doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t still hurt to hear those words. I’m sure it also hurt her to say them. If I could magically take that pain away from you I would, but only time can do that. But I can be here to listen and lean on (albeit it virtually) if you need to unload. So unload all you like. It must be especially hard trying to hide all those feelings from your family. I really get that.

    I have read through your thread again tonight and I can see how writing down your thoughts and feelings over the last couple of weeks and answering certain questions seems to be bringing a bit more clarity to your thinking about certain issues. There are a few things which stand out for me in particular and, if it’s okay with you, I would like to discuss them with you at some stage, at least to the extent that you want to share.

    I have to go now but I’ll get back to you soon.

    Be kind to you and remember you are never alone.

    P.S. I think my husband is also wondering what the hell all my recent typing is about......probably thinks I’m writing a bestseller..

  4. SH-2600
    SH-2600 avatar
    35 posts
    3 August 2020 in reply to Timshel

    Hey Timshel,

    I hope you managed to get some sleep last night. I was going to pop over to your thread and check in on you, but you beat me to it. Thank you for checking in with me. It really means a lot, and I am so glad you are here. You are sharp with your insight and thoughts and you show so much warmth and humour. I so value that. I hope you feel you can lean on me too, as I would really like to be here for you.

    I welcome any comments or questions, as the process of thinking and writing really helps me to clarify and pin down my thoughts and feelings. I sometimes struggle to work out if my feelings are true. I often can’t work out if some emotions are just a pattern I have developed as a coping mechanism. I don’t know if this makes sense, but my ptsd brain is a bit unreliable sometimes. There is a literary tool that authors sometimes use, the unreliable narrator - sometimes I wonder if I am that in my own life!

    I feel devastated that my friend does not want a relationship with me. But I need to get past that. You are right about it being hard for her too! I have thrown this extra degree of difficulty in to our friendship. She rang yesterday because she was having a really rough couple of days. We talked, but then afterwards I slipped back into wishing and wanting! Honestly, it is hard to shut those thoughts down.

    My husband and I had our counselling session this morning. On your advice, I made sure I said no to the hot beverage!! I hope your second session goes well, and I would like it if you felt you wanted to talk about it. I am still thinking about how it all went. Our discussion was constructive and the counsellor seems quite practical, which I like. She asked what the end goal was for us and my husband made it clear he wants to stay married. That surprised me a bit. The conversation moved in a different direction before she asked me, which I am grateful for. After thinking about it all for a while now, I am feeling quite a bit of guilt and also feeling a bit backed into a corner. I feel guilt about keeping big secrets, about being unfaithful (in my heart at least), about being unable to commit, and about potentially turning what could be a good relationship again, on its end. I really am scared to take any big steps. But honestly, if my friend wanted to be with me, then we would be having a very different discussion. We didn’t discuss my sexuality. I will need to before our next session in 2 weeks.

    Don’t forget, you are not alone either.

    SH

  5. smallwolf
    Community Champion
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    smallwolf avatar
    3980 posts
    3 August 2020 in reply to SH-2600

    I hope you do not mind me commenting on your session with the counsellor... the guilt you feel, or not being able to commit may be a result of things that have happened in the past. You have previously indicated (I think) that you look for a deep emotional connection. So if you have drifted from your partner (husband) there are multitude of reasons to explain this. For example, if I pull away from people that care about me, it can have a detrimental effect on those relations. Patterns of behaviour might make us think in a particular way about the other person.

    I sense you are still at the cross-roads, unsure of what direction to take... whichever road you take will have turn-offs to take you in another direction. So if you are scared of taking big steps, the perhaps going slowly is the better approach - you will have a chance to see the turn-off and make a decision later.

    You will have your chance to speak. What you say will be up to you.

    I was talking about the view from the top of the mountain with my psychologist - I described it as a valley with a single hut, etc. Of course we then started to see how that played out in the real world.

    What would your view from the top of the mountain look like?

  6. Timshel
    Timshel avatar
    24 posts
    4 August 2020 in reply to SH-2600

    Hey there,

    Glad to hear you like your counsellor, wanna swap? No, I’m kidding. I’m sure we’ll get into the swing of things with our counsellor this week. Two good ears and no hot beverages, the foundation to any good counselling session.......Oh I forgot to mention her new chihuahua puppy who also joined us for the session, never mind!

    I’m sure you are still digesting everything from today. When your husband made it clear that he still wanted to remain married, you said you were surprised. You also said you felt backed into a corner. Were you perhaps hoping on some level that he would say he wanted to split thus taking the pressure off you to make a decision? I can understand why, in some ways at least, that might have provided you with some sense of relief. There would still have been a sense of loss and sadness I’m sure, you obviously still care for this man deeply, but perhaps not the same feeling of devastation you describe at having to accept that there is no hope for a future romantic relationship with your friend. Now the ball has been put firmly back in your court so to speak. You need to take your time with this one I think. Maybe it is good that you don’t feel ready to take any big steps just yet. Just breathe for a while. Let things sit for a bit. I understand the guilt you feel at keeping such a big secret from your husband but try not to let yourself be too consumed by it for the moment. You have a couple of weeks before your next counselling session. Maybe I can talk some things through with you during that time, help you achieve a bit more clarity. Have you and your husband talked since the session? Do you think you might want to spend some time with him over the next couple of weeks just to see if you can start rebuilding your friendship? Maybe just keep things simple, go for a few walks together, go out for a few coffees, sit with each other in the evenings and talk about your day. Nothing too heavy.

    Then, when your head is a bit clearer, you could probably start thinking about bringing up the subject of your confusion over your sexuality. There is probably no need to mention your feelings for your friend just yet. In fact, do you think she would want you to talk about your feelings for her at all with your husband? Have you asked her? She may be afraid that your husband would feel uncomfortable with you being in contact with her? Does she know about the counselling? Does she support the idea?

    We can chat more tomorrow. Be good to you.

  7. SH-2600
    SH-2600 avatar
    35 posts
    4 August 2020 in reply to smallwolf

    Hi Tim

    I don’t mind you commenting at all...in fact I appreciate it. How are you? I hope you are doing well.

    I have been thinking a lot about my patterns of behaviour with my husband, both around my withdrawal from him but also around my reluctance/reticence to shift from my withdrawal. Sometimes the patterns are coping mechanisms, but sometimes they are just habits and perhaps even stubbornness?? When thinking about what I need to do to shift out of my current pattern I feel an almost childish unwillingness to change. I think part of it comes from being in a relationship since we were practically kids, and my change through so many iterations of myself. Sometimes I wonder if i struggle to separate an early version of me (which I don’t want to go back to) from my relationship with him. I am kind of thinking out loud here but I think there is some level of truth. I think that for us to move forward, if that is what we do, somehow I need to change the picture of him as embedded in my past and the past me.

    I am definitely at a cross roads, I feel that very keenly. I feel like my heart has been broken, and I either have to leave it at that, and go back to my old life (which means committing to my husband and tramping down any attraction I feel toward other women), or breaking the hearts of everyone around me to try for a new life which may or may not exist. Well either way move past the broken heart bit. Both you and Timshel have suggested small steps and you are right. If I only see big steps, I am over run with inertia.

    You made me think a bit about my mountain view. I see other mountains. I don’t know what that tells you about my psyche or the emotional place I am in right now! My figurative mountain view is actually a bit influenced by an actual view. There is a place very near to me where I walk most days. It’s called a mountain, but really it is just a big hill. Anyway, there is a walking track around it, which I usually take, but there are also tracks that I often take up to the top. My favourite view up there is of the mountain range to the West especially in the late afternoon. Often as the sun sets, the mountains look like they have been painted. So even though I see other mountains from my figurative mountain, I know I have to make my way through them, but I don’t feel I have to climb all of them. they mostly give me a sense of calm. Does the view from your mountain, give you a sense of peace or is it a different experience?

    SH

  8. SH-2600
    SH-2600 avatar
    35 posts
    4 August 2020 in reply to Timshel

    Hey Timshel

    Your counsellor sounds very much like one my son saw for a couple of sessions. She was a bit interesting! It sounds like you and your husband have headed off on the right track anyway, fingers crossed it all comes together this week! I am interested in hearing how it goes.

    The ball is now firmly in my court, for sure. You are quite right about me wanting to not have to make the decision. I was also surprised at his response, because I thought maybe he didn’t like me that much anymore. It was like he didn’t want to be in the same room as me. The session left me feeling quite a bit of pressure to make a decision, but I do need to wait because I am not ready.

    It sounds ridiculous but I feel backed into a corner partly because our relationship is very reasonable. He is a good man, our discussions and disagreements are respectful, we get annoyed with each other but there isn’t a lot of heat in our disagreements. If there is heat, we walk away and then come back to it later. Who in their right mind would leave all of that security? I got the feeling that even the counsellor felt there wasn’t much work to be done. Sometimes I feel quite foolish about the way things have gone. That I fell for my friend, that it is unrequited, and that I am thinking of leaving a perfectly good marriage. I loathe drama and suddenly I am covered in it, managing to draw two perfectly good people in to it as well.

    The “homework” we have been given by the counsellor is to spend 10-15 minutes a day with each other. We had a coffee yesterday and walked the dog, but he didn’t want to discuss the session. He has already changed a number of the ways he was withdrawing himself and is making himself more available. It is a little disconcerting to be honest. After months of mostly silence and distance, he is there in the room! I am trying though. And pushing through my instinct to stay withdrawn, as the pattern had become quite a comfortable one.

    I think my friend is very nervous about me mentioning my sexuality, let alone my feelings for her. I think in her ideal world, I would turn my focus back on to my husband and forget any of this ever happened! She is supportive but she is afraid. She knows we are having counselling and she is quite happy about it. I completely understand her point of view.

    I have had a very quiet day today, because I couldn’t find the energy to do anything. I work part time, luckily, so didn’t have to pick myself to go to work today. Tomorrow though...

    SH

  9. smallwolf
    Community Champion
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    smallwolf avatar
    3980 posts
    4 August 2020 in reply to SH-2600

    I am writing about your homework initially. Please note that we I refer to "us" read "me" (Tim).

    I obviously don't know whatever has happened since you started writing here. Without a counsellor (psychologist in my case) we move and act as we always have - in my case, being distant, quiet, worried about the future, lamenting the past etc. Bring in an expert who provides us with ideas on how to improve things and we (may) start to do these to see what happens, if only to feel a little better about ourselves. And when we next see the professional and they ask us how it went we can give an honest answer. (Vs I did not both trying). And it can be hard for both persons - sort of like restarting a relationship.

    The top of my mountain... when there is a problem I am typically the goto person to find a solution in different environments. I work in IT. Sometime it is when a customer is irate. I did not have any self-care mechanisms. Little thanks for that which I did. So the top of the mountain is the end goal, when I have made it. So I look over the top in the valley of fields and grass. And as I said a single house. I am all alone. Quiet. At peace with nobody the pestering me. (People would send an email or message and a minute later ask me why I had not replied.) I don't really mean it (?) but I have said to my psychologist that I wish I were dumb, where nobody would ask me to solve their problems. And on the flipside, I will criticize myself as being stupid. How that view from the mountain looks in real-life .... working on that part, sort of complex.

    Tell me a little about your "reluctance/reticence to shift from my withdrawal"?

    If I were to apply that to myself... it is the like the comfy slippers vs jumping into the unknown. You understand the current situation and perhaps safe there. And if I dare to make a change, the outcome is unknown and uncertain. And I like certainty.

  10. SH-2600
    SH-2600 avatar
    35 posts
    5 August 2020 in reply to smallwolf

    Hi Tim,

    I agree that the purpose of counselling is to shift us out of old patterns. I do feel like we are restarting the relationship, and that is maybe where my reticence is coming from, as I don’t know whether that is where I am at personally. There is definitely an element of the comfy slippers syndrome and I am similar to you in that I like certainty. Unfortunately for us, relationships are very uncertain!

    I am glad there is some peace at the top of your mountain. I hope you regularly get to the top of it. Being in IT at the moment would be hectic especially if there is a customer service element to your job! So many people relying on it now!

    I absolutely relate to having self-efficacy and confidence in a range of areas, including work, but then criticising yourself for being stupid. Honestly it is a paradox that I struggle to understand, because I genuinely feel quite sure of my skills and abilities, as you appear to as well. When my mental health slips though, the first sign is the harsh and awful words that come into my thoughts and the way I think and feel about myself. Sometimes i get so used to hearing it, acclimatised to it, I don’t even notice when it starts up! It takes a lot of work and maintenance to keep it at bay. It sounds like your experience is similar. I hope you are able to manage it and have some self care practices in place.

    Thanks for making me think deeply again!

    SH

  11. Esti67
    Esti67 avatar
    77 posts
    6 August 2020 in reply to SH-2600
    My pleasure SH, happy to share but i do acknowledge that leaving your stable life is a huge decision and you will see on other threads that some haven't been able to do it, and thats completely valid and understandable. What you are contemplating is huge. I didn't anticipate the fallout and its still falling out to be honest 😊 but it feels right and i just hoped that if my closest people loved me then we would all eventually get there. We are but it hasnt been easy. Maybe exploring your other side with some other newbies might be ok, i contemplated the dating scene when i thought it wasn't possible with the woman i had been in love with for over 15 years. Luckily we did get together and now we are living together. Sorry that your friend isnt going to work out romantically for you but i think to you are right, you need to sort out that stuff before leaping into anything . Good luck with everything, and yes, the softness if a woman is utterly delicious.
  12. smallwolf
    Community Champion
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    7 August 2020 in reply to SH-2600

    not sure how you will interpret this and is certainly easier to write than do...

    I am a fan of Lord of the Rings and used the analogy that I was stuck between the lone lands and the land where the Trolls are and the Elves. To get into the other have to cross a bridge. In my mind the bridge was/is broken.

    I was speaking to someone about and they said to just step out. Perhaps the bridge will appear then. (Bit like in that Indy Jones film for the Holy Grail.)

    Sometimes we have to step into to uncertainty. Until we do we might get stuck in the place we don't like but are used to. There is a web site where my psych get some information from. They have a page for uncertainty here....

    https://www.cci.health.wa.gov.au/-/media/CCI/Consumer-Modules/What-Me-Worry/What-Me-Worry---09---Accepting-Uncertainty.pdf

    I am not at the top of the mountain... that is my end goal. I see my life similar to Journey to the West which is the story on monkey king - never ending and ups and downs.

    How are your recent days?

    I have try to stop myself from making negative comments to myself. My latest homework. When you have been doing it for 30+ years not easy to stop.

    What is it about your younger self you are struggling with?

    Again, I had to write a letter to myself. I might cover that next time.

    Tim

  13. SH-2600
    SH-2600 avatar
    35 posts
    7 August 2020 in reply to Esti67

    Hey there Esti67

    Thank you again. Other people’s stories really do help make me feel less alone in my decision and your post makes me feel validated no matter which way I go. I am so happy that your situation is working out, even if it is still in progress. I still have no idea what I will do or how my story will go, but I am feeling like I am on some kind of path to figuring it all out. I am feeling quite sure about my attraction to women, I just don’t quite know what I will do with it or whether it is enough to take the plunge. The way you describe the softness of a woman makes me wonder if I could actually go the rest of my life without that experience!

    If only it was all a bit easier.

    Take care and good luck with rest of your journey towards your best life.

    SH

  14. Timshel
    Timshel avatar
    24 posts
    8 August 2020 in reply to SH-2600

    Hi SH,

    Hell! The way Esti67 describes the softness of another woman as being ‘delicious’, I’m not sure anyone of any gender identity or sexual persuasion should consider living the rest of their lives without THAT experience lol!! I think I may have just have shifted a few more notches along the spectrum in that direction myself! Sexuality sure can be fluid! Which reminds me of a British TV comedy I once saw where the mother (who was a bit vague when it came to remembering the correct lingo to use when talking about sexual and gender identity) referred to her daughter as being both gender and sexually ‘liquid’! Close enough I guess...

    I mentioned previously that I had seen your thinking gradually become clearer about certain things as you answered questions about your situation from some contributors and reflected on the comments of others. (If you re-read your thread you might see what I mean). It seems to me that your thinking around the question of your sexuality has ‘evolved’. In the beginning, you described yourself as being asexual, in a hetero marriage, but in love with your female friend. You spoke openly about the emotional intimacy you and your friend shared and also about the emotional and physical intimacy you had shared with your husband throughout your marriage up until the last 3 years or so. But, when it came to the area of sexual or romantic intimacy, you spoke less. I think you only mentioned it a couple of times when it came to your husband (saying that you and he had ‘managed’ okay within the marriage and, in a later post, referring to the fact that you knew it was an area of your relationship that he probably missed). You also said that, whilst there had been certain women in your life that you strongly admired and respected (some of whom you had even become ‘flustered’ around), your friend is the first woman you genuinely remember feeling a romantic connection to. You said it was like she had ‘flicked a switch in you’. (By the way, I am obviously paraphrasing here or even just giving you my interpretation). Even then, I think it was only in a later post that you actually mentioned the fact that you were attracted to her SEXUALLY as well as emotionally. At the same time you seem to be realising/accepting/acknowledging that this same sex attraction you are experiencing for your friend could possibly also be something you feel for women in general. In fact, your last post suggests you are becoming more sure if that??

    Hang on I’ll be back

  15. SH-2600
    SH-2600 avatar
    35 posts
    8 August 2020 in reply to smallwolf

    Hi Tim,

    I have been thinking a lot about your last post.The idea of stepping into the unknown and having a bridge appear is interesting (and a little terrifying). I don’t deal very well with uncertainty, I will put that out there right now! I like to feel that I have some level of control over an outcome, or can at least see it or imagine it. The only time I have ever really stepped right out there into the complete unknown was when I decided that I actually might want children. Terrifying!!

    I think stepping into uncertainty requires faith or at the very least some level of belief in self, or the universe or something! It reminds me so much of my beautiful friend who passed away in January. She had a deep faith in God, although she had long ago turned away from religion. I am an atheist, and quite faithless in that regard! She had similar childhood trauma to me and we often discussed how our responses were so different. Her faith was cemented in those moments and mine was lost. Although, to be honest, I don’t think I had much too begin with as I have memories of being booted out of Sunday school for asking too many questions. There are so many examples in her life when she just stepped out and waited for the bridge to appear. She was extraordinary like that. I can’t even begin to wrap my head around it, and I am not saying that stepping into the abyss requires faith in a higher being, but it does require some level of belief that things can/will work out. I am still a work in progress on that one. I could imagine a life together with my friend (although I have to unimagine that), and I already know my life with my husband, but I am really struggling to imagine the other life where I leave my husband and go into the complete unknown.

    You also ask what it is about my younger self that I am struggling with. I actually have a lot more compassion for my younger self now. I understand more and I no longer blame myself for coming to the attention of men who saw me as fair game. I do still have to actively push back the thoughts that damage my self worth but I am as ok as I can ever be. Part of it is accepting that my mountain is not as high as it perhaps might have been, but it still has a bloody good view and I can still feel good standing on top of it. Having said that, there are times when I find myself toppling over the edge and clinging on somewhere down its side. But we all trip and fall sometimes, don’t we?

    I hope you make it to the top of yours, Tim.

    SH

  16. Timshel
    Timshel avatar
    24 posts
    9 August 2020 in reply to SH-2600

    Somewhere...

    I’m a fighter made of steel and stone

    and nobody dares but love me

    nobody dares but love me

    or leave me alone

    From the song Somehwere by Missy Higgins. Do you know it? You should listen to it because you are that fighter SH. What you have gone through, or rather what you have come through....I really don’t have any words, I really don’t.

    No one should have to go through that, ever. I hate that you did and I am so, so sorry that you did. You are absolutely astounding. You said in one post that your friend once said that you inspired her to want to be a better person or something along those lines. I know why.

    I came on here tonight to finish my last post to you but when I read your reply to Tim, it just stopped me in my tracks. I will finish that post, but not now. SH, I am not the biggest hugger in the world but if I could I would hug you so tight right now. I hope you truly believe now that nothing that happened was ever your fault. You are and have always been worthy of respect. You are and have always been worthy full stop.

    And you Tim, by the way. What a wonderful ability you have for abstract thinking. That incredible ability to imagine different realities from the one you are in. I love the way you just lay your thoughts out on the page for others to pick up and contemplate..

    SH, I hear what you are saying about your fear of uncertainty. I can relate to that now. I used to be a different sort of person though, before my mental illness. I guess I was more prepared to jump without a safety net, take risks (calculated one’s, not reckless ones) and ultimately trust in my own abilities to make things work or work things out. Don’t get me wrong, I felt fear, terror even at times, but I could push through that. I used the power of negative thinking!! I would always think of the worst possible scenario, put myself in the virtual position of having to deal with that and imagine myself navigating the situation successfully. Once I realised that, no matter what, I would be okay, I jumped.

    I imagine pilots, surgeons, people whose jobs entail being responsible for the lives of others on a regular basis, would have to undertake a similar sort of training on a continuous basis. Simulate all the possible worst case scenarios, imagine themselves in the most stressful of circumstances, yet somehow manage to keep calm, take control of the situation and work towards finding a solution and achieving a positive outcome.

    You are in my thoughts SH.

  17. SH-2600
    SH-2600 avatar
    35 posts
    9 August 2020 in reply to Timshel

    First of all, I want to acknowledge you as well Tim. Timshel is absolutely right. There is a gentleness in the way you lay your thoughts on the page. They are like a quiet invitation that I can’t help but take up. You have a knack for picking up on the things I say that I would otherwise just leave behind, things that actually do bear thinking about and broaden my understanding of my situation. I know you are working through a lot yourself, so the generosity with which you give yourself is very much appreciated. I am glad you chose to be here on this thread.

    And Timshel. Your words have stayed with me all day. I have listened to the song several times. I actually didn’t know that song at all, but I now really love it. You do know that it equally applies to you and your fight, right? Funnily enough I am not much of a hugger either, but I definitely accept and return yours. I hope you can feel the squeeze! I love the way your heart and warmth come through in your writing. As does your beautiful intellect and your gorgeous sense of humour. I find myself wanting to know you better and spend time on your path with you.

    Honestly, I am lucky, my story could easily have been a lot worse than it was. Looking back I now understand that my mother did some manoeuvring to remove their access to me. There are so many other stories from people who are stronger and braver than me out there that bring me completely undone. I am really lucky that there have been plenty of other people along my way who took good care of me or helped to give me different experiences and perspectives.

    No one should have to go through any of the things we go through, me, you, Tim or anyone else on this site for that matter. But you know what? While our mental health struggles absolutely cause grief and pain, they give us strength, and more importantly, they give us compassion. I feel that here.

    SH

  18. smallwolf
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    9 August 2020 in reply to SH-2600
    Hey!

    Sorry to hear about your friend. It sounds as though you were quite close to this person.

    On you being an atheist... Belief, spirituality and religion are three different things. There are people that do not go to church who are better, accepting and more loving than some who go to church.

    So your younger self was not allowed to ask questions. There is a saying along the lines of ask a question, fool for a day, ask no questions and fool for a lifetime. Curiosity, wanting to learn, even if critical thinking should count for something.

    I wonder if that had a effect in other areas?

    I might have said this before, for me not showing or talking about my emotion became an every growing problem. You were told not to, or teased or ... or ... or ... and so I "conformed". You are made to feel shame.

    One of the issues I have with the mountain analogy is that for me, a mountain as a fixed height. Where you refer to tripping, that is going into the valley to find an alternative path towards the top. That valley is moving into a feeling "normal" to "meh" or "awful". With the fixed height, there is a definite end point. Yet when it comes to mental health I don't see that end point.

    In your own way you are brave also. Rather than running away from relationship issues, you are reflecting on this, thinking, writing here, exposing yourself (figuratively speaking.) Each day is a step forward on that journey.
  19. SH-2600
    SH-2600 avatar
    35 posts
    10 August 2020 in reply to smallwolf

    Hey Tim,

    I think sometimes we grow up in places that don’t fit us completely. As we grow and get to move on, we have a bit more flexibility to find the people and places that do. It sounds like your place didn’t fit you so well either. I think the place I grew up was very much of its time and place. There were some fantastic things about it, and in some ways it was free and idyllic, in other ways...not so much! I do still have a strong connection to it and even a love for it, and maybe a kind of nostalgia as well. I kind of think about it like a faded, yellowing Polaroid photograph. I agree that curiosity should be rewarded but sometimes it is a threat. Some humans do better when everyone around them is just like them. So they expect others to conform. It sounds like you have very much been on the wrong end of that.

    For me, mental illness meant I had to reframe the mountain so that I could reach the top with the tools and equipment I had. There was value for me in ‘unfixing’ the height. It meant I could still get there, there was an end point, a reachable one. Shifting the goal really helped me to find a way to some peace, and to feel like I was successful.

    thanks for all of your kind words. We are all brave Tim. Any of us who manage mental health issues and take the plunge to be vulnerable, here on the forums or in any other way in our lives. We keep moving forward!

    SH

  20. Timshel
    Timshel avatar
    24 posts
    12 August 2020 in reply to SH-2600

    How are you going SH?

    I am glad you liked the song and yes, I do know that it equally applies to me and so many others too. I have been a fan of Missy Higgins for the best part of 20 years now. She has always seemed to be someone for whom being worth knowing is more important than being well known. I love how uncompromising she is as an artist, never conforming to industry ideas on who she should be or how she should present herself. She was told to ‘loose the Aussie accent’ when she sang in order to be more ‘marketable’ so she accentuated it. She was told to be ‘sexier, more pop princess like’ when she first started out so she went out and cut her hair really short and dressed down more. But, whilst you may think that this show of character points to someone who is extremely confident and sure of themselves, the opposite is, in fact, true. She has spoken quite openly about her vulnerabilities, her struggles in life. From her ongoing battle with depression to her confusion over her sexual identity (she’s ‘liquid’ I believe, though happily married to a man now). So I guess you could say she’s as much a human paradox as the rest of us. A work-in-progress as you would say SH! I like that! I have found solace in her music many times most notably after the birth of my son when I was suffering from severe postnatal depression. I must have listened to her song Nightminds at least 10 times a day. On first hearing it, I instantly knew that only a person who has themselves been in a dark place could have written such lyrics. Apparently she wrote that song as a kind of ‘love letter’ to a friend of hers who was experiencing a severe depressive episode. Whilst her melodies are beautiful and unique, it is her lyrics that I most connect with. Vivid imagery, raw emotion, passion and compassion. Language and music, perhaps mankind’s greatest contributions to the world! In times of turmoil (or not) words and music feed my soul and quieten my mind. As does the natural world and, on occasion, even a glass or 2 of Merlot does the trick...I’m kidding...Riesling can be just as effective!!

    SH, I would be honoured to have you spend time on my path with me. You really are an incredible human being! Your story is so hard yet you have somehow managed to remain so tender and kind. Not to mention being a real Badass! I did not know it was possible to get kicked out of Sunday School! I, too, was an incessant question asker when it came to matters of Faith. That’s another conversation.

  21. SH-2600
    SH-2600 avatar
    35 posts
    12 August 2020 in reply to Timshel

    Hey Timshel,

    I am ok. Sleep is getting away from me a bit, so I need to get that working again. Also, “Emotional me” was behind the wheel yesterday, instead of the usual rational and pragmatic me, so I fell in a pity puddle, said a few stupid things that I wish I hadn’t (mostly to my friend) and cried a lot! Anyway...

    Today, I am a bit more in control of emotional me , thankfully!

    I do know Nightminds as I used to listen to Missy Higgins quite a bit. I have no idea why I stopped, but I am now rediscovering a lot of the songs I loved, thank you. She writes like a poet and is not afraid to be vulnerable - I like that about her. Words, music and wine or two is my idea of a perfect evening!

    I like being described as a badass, although when you get to know me you will realise that I am really not! I peaked quite early in that regard and haven’t been kicked out of anything since Sunday school.

    You know, I am now officially referring to myself as “liquid”! I have been thinking a lot about what you said a few days ago about the shift in my thinking about sexuality since my first post. I have been trying to define my attraction to women and men. I do feel a little like I am trying to describe something I can’t see, but it helps to try to quantify it. I wouldn’t say that I was 100% asexual, but I am probably in the grey area somewhere near that end of the spectrum. Even with my friend, the sexual attraction is definitely there but even when I am with her it is often in the background of the emotional and romantic attraction, rather than front and centre. It is a quiet, slow burn kind of attraction.

    I don’t feel attraction to men anymore, although again, I have always been in that grey area. Also, in my head, my husband is separate to men in general. I can’t really pin down or define what attraction is left there or still there. Not yet anyway. The grey area near asexual is the best I can do there too.

    Sometimes I feel like I think about the two issues (my sexuality and my marriage problems) as very separate from each other but then they are not at all. I feel like my feet are stuck in thick mud and I can’t move in any direction. Which may be the best place for me to be right now, while I figure it all out.

    SH

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