Gay/Lesbian Issues/I'm so confused
I have known that I don't really care about what someone's gender is for a really long time, that has never been my issue. I just recently ended a long term relationship because I was not attracted to the guy anymore. I decided I needed to step back and really just look at my life and figure myself out. I realized that I hadn't been attracted to the guy in a really long time, which alone wouldn't be a huge deal but it occurred to me that that is what has happened in almost all of my relationships (save for a few that just ended very badly). After thinking about it even more I realized that I might actually prefer women because, looking back, I might have always been more attracted to them. That realization doesn't bother me and I already know my family doesn't care, however I don't really know what to do about it. I have really minimal experience with a girl and that was when I was 16 and in my junior year of high school, I am now 20 and a junior in college. There were only three girls in my high school, including me, so there wasn't a lot to work with there. However now I just don't really know what to do. I don't know how to show someone that I am interested, I've never been good at that. I don't know how to meet other girls who are into girls, I'm not really into parties so I don't go to clubs and I work 40 hours a week on top of classes so I've never really stopped to find clubs or groups or anything. I don't really want to meet someone romantically yet but I really want to talk to people who have gone through, at least something similar to, what I am going through now. I don't really know where to go from here and I think that I am ready to discover this side of me that has basically gone unnoticed for that past 4 years. I could really use help figuring this out.
Thank you for sharing your journey with me. I'm glad to know that you feel that you would have family support if shared with them your feelings and emotions about your attraction. I can certainly understand that the unknown can feel confusing, overwhelming and perhaps a bit scary.
By your email, it seems that you haven't had many opportunities to connect with diverse people which has affected opportunities for socially connecting (including connecting intimately). Your 40 hour work schedule also makes it difficult to meet new and similar people outside your work mates. Firstly I'm going to encourage you to give yourself permission to be more gentle and compassionate with yourself; you were involved in relationships with men which may not have given you the space, time, or chances to explore your own identity. It's not unheard of that people can't do more critical self-reflection while in a relationship; they are focused on the relationship itself, not self-identity. Also, if we weren't taught that it was okay to reflect on the fluidity of sexuality as it pertains to our own identities, why would we give ourselves permission to contemplate or 'go there'?
In terms of figuring things out, I think it is a wise decision for you to try to find someone to help unpack some of your feelings on a more deeper, personal level. There are a number of options out there to help you get started:
1. Try researching if you have a local LGBT resource center or support group in your city/area. Often there are counselors and peer supporters there to help you navigate life issues. I'm most likely not in your city but a quick google search can help.
2. Maybe there is a group in your college such as an LGBT support group or women's center that you can visit. They may have resources available.
3. There are a few websites out there that may be helpful such as: http://www.yoursexualorientation.info/
They have links that can be helpful as well.
4. If you like to read, I did a quick search on Amazon and put in the keywords: Coming out, sexual orientation, sexuality and lots of great books popped up.
5. There are also counselors out there in private practice that you can speak with too. If you don't feel comfortable reaching out to someone local, there are a number of people who do phone or Skype counseling. Most take either paypal or some kind of electronic payment if you're not in the same city.
6. LGBT friendly coffee shops, book stores, lounges
By doing a google search with those words for your city, there may be opportunities to just be in an LGBT friendly environment without the expectation to talk to anyone. Some coffee shops are great to sit and read while being around people. Even though you may not meet someone, just finding a sense of community can be healing and grounding.
I hope those options are feasible for you. It's never too late to start exploring your sexual identity. There's lots of options and resources out there that can feel overwhelming. Know that you're not alone and what you're experiencing and feeling are common for those who are discovering something new about themselves.