Hello, Late in Lifers! Here is another great guest blog post from my partner, Rachel. This is a question we get a lot from members of our support group, so we thought it would be good to address it.
Hi! I’m Rachel.
I’m an honorary member of Andrea’s support group of women coming out later in life, because I am her partner. I’ve been out for over 20 years since I was 25 or so. Therefore, Andrea has asked me to answer a question that has been posed more than once in our support group. I love the group and I love my late-in-life-lesbian, so I’ll give it a go…
“How do I convince long-time lesbians that I have dating potential and am not confused or ‘testing the waters’ because I’ve been with men in the past?”
Usually, this question comes on the heels of a frustrating disappointment. Someone dismisses you online asking, “Are you for real? Will your husband show up on our date?” There have been a couple of great dates with a woman, but she can’t get to know you because all she talks about is the fact you are a “newbie.” You may even have begun a beautiful romance with a girlfriend who then tells you she fears getting hurt when you return to dating men. So she leaves–preemptively.
The first thing to know is lesbians are people, too. We aren’t automatically enlightened human beings. We come with preconceptions and prejudices like everyone else. Some of us are welcoming of everyone who identifies as lesbian or queer. Some are a little more suspicious, especially when we are betting our heart on you, grrl.
Some may be accepting of you as a lesbian, but perhaps not accepting that you are in a safe place in your coming out process to have a meaningful relationship. Your story may remind them of someone hurtful they fell for in the past.
In short, we all have big old lesbian BAGGAGE, and not every gal that enters your orbit is going to get wonderful, authentic, newbie lesbian you.
The best approach is get to know people in your community and let them get to know the 360 degree you–whether that’s online or in real life. The more you can share your story with new friends and people you are interested in dating, the more they will see that you have already been through a lot to discover who you are.
Even though you may feel hormonally like a teenager at 40 or 50, you weren’t born yesterday! You have a whole life from which to garner what you really want in a relationship. Even if your relationships were with men, they were still relationships. You don’t have to negate or apologize for your past to be with a long-time lesbian. If someone implies you should, run. She is not the one for you.
It does help if you are already out–at least to most friends and family. This shows you really know who you are and you have taken steps to let the world know it. This will make a potential partner feel like you are comfortable making her a part of your life. Most of us long-time gays have no interest in going back in the closet. When we are with a person that has one foot still in, it can be frustrating for us.
The point isn’t to make an argument to someone that you are dateable. The point is for you to show yourself and allow her to fall in love with you. Someone who actually does get wonderful, authentic, newbie lesbian YOU.
Good luck out there! And don’t settle. You’ve done that enough.