Newbie Love

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.

Be-Real--Be-Out--Be-You

You Never Start Over

Today’s post is a guest blog by my amazing partner, Rachel, on the importance of knowing that you never start completely over. I couldn’t maintain this blog and the support group without her, and she helps me in so many big and little ways. I love this girl, can you tell?


“You never start over. You start from where you are. Every time.”

This is what I said to my partner, Andrea Hewitt of this Late Life Lesbian Story, as we were working through our fears side by side beginning our brand new careers. Both in our mid to late 40’s, I had lost a “comfortable” corporate job I had wanted to exit for years, and she was feeling stuck in her own work and called to do something more fulfilling.

I didn’t know what I wanted to do moving forward, but I knew where I had been.

In my recent work, I had worked with contracts and did very detailed work. I have a degree in communication and marketing, and for 25 years I have also been a semi-professional singer-songwriter. I know a lot of people and genuinely enjoy different personalities. When I remembered how much I enjoyed the process of buying a house a few years ago, I decided to ask the broker I worked with to allow me to work with him as a real estate agent.  It’s a great fit, and I love it!

Andrea decided to follow her passion to help women have babies as a doula. Win!

We jumped. We are so much happier having done it. We are richer in love and life for now, and that’s enough.

Continue reading “You Never Start Over”

What does Elizabeth Gilbert’s coming out have to do with me? (Lots, apparently!)

Last Wednesday, I was up early checking email when a request popped up from the Telegraph, a UK newspaper.

“Hi, I’m writing from the Telegraph Women’s section, wondering whether you’d consider doing an article for us? It would be linked to the news about Elizabeth Gilbert. I saw you quoted in a previous piece, and thought you’d be perfect.”

I don’t always wake up to requests for articles from a British newspaper, but when I do, it’s a very good day! Soon, I had another request–this time from The Guardian–for a 5:30am (US time) phone interview the next day for an article on women coming out later in life.

After these two articles were published last Friday, the emails started pouring in from the UK and beyond–from women wanting to join our online support group.

I’m beyond thrilled that our group is growing! We’re now up to over 300 members, and I have about 20 more emails in my inbox right now–more women who are looking for support and connection on this journey.

One of the worst parts for me when I decided to come out was thinking that I was the only one who had ever done this. I had a difficult time finding resources for coming out later in life, and after I did it, I promised myself that I would find a way to help other women on this path.

Whether you identify as questioning, bisexual, lesbian, queer, or “beyond labels,” if you are in the process of coming out and coming to a greater understanding of your identity, you are welcome in our group!

I’m so glad to see this issue getting more publicity as I firmly believe there is power in visibility.

Thank you, Elizabeth Gilbert, for speaking your truth! It’s helped countless women feel less alone today, and that’s a very good thing.

lgilbert
Author Elizabeth Gilbert (left) and Rayya Elias. Photo credit: Noam Galai/Getty Images

 

 

 

New Facebook Support Group

The number one request I get from women coming out later in life is “where can I find community and support?” A year ago, I started the Later in Life Lesbian Support Group to address this need. I choose Google Groups as the platform mainly for the anonymity factor, which is a big deal for those questioning their sexuality and needing support.

While I’ve had great response to the Google support group, the platform is really lacking in ease of communication.

So, I made the decision to move the Later in Life Lesbian Support Group from Google Groups to Facebook for these reasons:

  1. Facebook is the number one social networking platform. It’s where everyone is connecting these days!
  2. With the option of a “secret” Facebook group, anonymity is protected. The group will not show up in any internet search, and it definitely will not show up on anyone’s Facebook news feed.
  3. Facebook makes it easy to share resources, articles, photos, and anything else that might be helpful for women coming out later in life.

Join us in the new group! It’s a secret group, so if you want to join, you need to send me an email at latelifelesbian@gmail.com. Tell me why you want to join the group so that I can make sure you’ll be a good fit.

I look forward to growing our support network and I hope to see you on our new group soon!