My Account
0

Coming Out as Lesbian/Bi/Queer After 35

A brief orientation to your new life

Share this post:

Young couple on a couch

Maybe your attraction to women came as a surprise to you. You might have suddenly started having feelings for a friend. Perhaps a woman expressed attraction to you, and you were surprised to find yourself feeling open. Or maybe you’ve known about your feelings for a long time, but there were inner or outer barriers that kept you from living your way. Then something shifted and what seemed unthinkable suddenly became something you couldn’t stop thinking about.

Although I’ve been out for a long time, I still remember how scary it was walking into my first LGBTQ meeting. At that time, the “Q” stood for “questioning,” and I made sure every woman in the room knew that’s all I was. A few weeks later, a woman kissed me, and my physical response to her kiss answered that question in a way I could no longer deny. Since then, I’ve spent my adult life loving women, and, more recently, teaching other lesbians and queer women about dating, love, and sex through the Conscious Girlfriend Academy.

So, what do you, as a new lesbian, bisexual or queer woman, most need to know? Here are a few things I wish someone had told me when I came out.

Relationships are Deep and Complex

Relationships between women are deeper, more emotionally intimate, more dimensional, and complex. At their best, lesbian relationships can be like “best friend” and “lover” in one package.

Think about it. In general, heterosexual women experience more emotional intimacy with their non-sexual girlfriends. When you combine that emotional intimacy with sexual intimacy, you’re in a new universe.

That said, it can also be harder. Women who come out later in life often say that lesbian relationships take more emotional intelligence and skill to navigate.

Also, two women tend to fall hard and fast and often feel ready to commit very quickly. This can be exhilarating, but it can also be very unwise. Much of my work involves helping lesbians learn to slow down and really assess their compatibility with the women whom they’re dating, rather than just diving in.

A Complicated Start to Dating

Lesbian dating can be complicated. First, you may need to find out whether a woman is even interested in women and communicate to her that you’re interested in women. Once you’ve both established that you’re interested in women, how do you find out if she’s interested in you?

It can be complicated to have your friendship pool and your dating pool suddenly be one and the same. If a man asks a woman out, it’s usually assumed to be romantic unless otherwise specified. But if a woman asks a woman out, how do you know if you’re looking at a potential dating relationship or just a friendship? Communication is key.

Fear of the Bisexual and/or Newly Out

Unfortunately, some lesbians mistrust bisexual women or women who have recently come out and don’t have a lot of experience yet. A lesbian might be afraid of being your experiment. She might worry that she’ll fall in love with you and then you’ll leave her for a man.

Some lesbians have actually had these kinds of experiences over and over, and it can leave a residue of fear and mistrust, even hostility. You don’t deserve that hostility. But if you remember that it comes from someone else’s pain, it will hurt less.

By the way, if you are just experimenting, be honest with yourself and others about that. Date responsibly, please!

A Wide Gender Spectrum within the Community

The lesbian and queer community has a wonderful array of genders. There are many, many shades and expressions of “woman,” and some within our community who have female genitals but don’t identify as women, while others have male genitals and do identify as women.

At first, the gender nuances and differences between lesbians and queer women might seem confusing, alienating, or frustrating to you. Over time, you may come to appreciate the enormous creativity and freedom with which the lesbian community understands the nuances of gender.

Final Thought

If you don’t yet know “who you are” and what you prefer, that’s normal. There is simply far less room in the heterosexual world to claim or even understand these nuances in your sense of your own gender, or the energetic, psychological, and physical dynamics you prefer in bed. You don’t have to know any more than you know right now. As you go about your new life, you will undoubtedly learn more. One of the wonderful things about engaging in lesbian/queer culture is that there is a vast and ever-changing vocabulary. The menu of identity and sexual options are available to you to try on, play with, and explore. You go, girl! Or boi. Or whatever you are, and whoever you turn out to be.

Share this post:

Ruth L. Schwartz, Ph.D. is the director of the Conscious Girlfriend Academy, an intelligent, compassionate learning community for lesbians and queer women worldwide, and author of the Amazon bestseller Conscious Lesbian Dating and Love: A Roadmap to Finding the Right Partner and Creating the Relationship of Your Dreams and seven other books. Ruth has taught at many colleges and universities, and is a certified Somatica Method Sex & Intimacy coach. An out lesbian for 40 years, she is passionate about bringing life-changing dating, relationship and sexual education to empower all women and adjacent non-binary people who love women, or want to. Follow Conscious Girlfriend on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube or Tiktok.

Recommended products

Original price was: $250.00.Current price is: $199.00.

Transform Your Relationship

The Gottman Relationship Adviser is a complete approach to relationship wellness. Measure your relationship health with the research-based Gottman Assessment, analyze five key areas of your partnership to identify your strengths and weaknesses, then start a tailored, step-by-step digital program proven to heal and strengthen your connection—all on your schedule and from anywhere.

The Adviser uses the legendary scientific Gottman Method to help you understand what’s really going on in your relationship—and gives you exactly what you need to improve it.

Original price was: $119.00.Current price is: $79.00.

Research-based Foundations for a Lifetime of Love.  The Gottman Relationship Coach is an inspiring and educational multimedia experience designed to enhance the well-being of relationships. Participants will be guided through research-based tools and communication skills that can transform relationships—all based on the popular Gottman Method. The first program, “How to Make Your Relationship Work”, is now available and includes:

  • The Gottman Method and How to Make Your Relationship Work
  • How do we predict the future of a relationship?
  • How to build a Sound Relationship House
  • What to do when the destructive Four Horsemen enter your relationship

“Buy Now” will take you to GOTTMAN CONNECT to purchase and view this product.

$599.00

Created by “the Einstein of Love” (Psychology Today), this two-day workshop is grounded on what actually works in relationships that are happy and stable. See for yourself why millions of couples worldwide have benefited from the Gottman Method.

Quote from participant in most recent Live Virtual Workshop:

The Art and Science of Love workshop- where do I begin? It was an absolute stellar workshop. We were looking forward to this for weeks, and it exceeded our expectations! It was well-structured, and well-organized, and provided a wealth of information with real-time demonstrations of how to work through specific scenarios. The outstanding support that was provided throughout the exercises with therapists on standby- WOW! Priceless!

Includes the Art & Science of Love box set.  Please allow time for shipping.  Please Note: This is a live online event. To attend, you will need a reliable internet connection. Our staff will reach out to you with your personal registration and access information.

Related posts

How to Be Kind When You’re Upset With Your Partner

Sanaa Hyder

Kindness is not just important in the heat of an argument. ...

Read More

What to Do During a Rough Patch

Are Rough Patches in Relationships Normal?

Dana McNeil

What you can do when your relationship is on the rocks ...

Read More

Authenticity in Relationships

Anna Aslanian

To create a close, intimate connection we need to be authentic in our relationship. However, this is easier said than done. ...

Read More

Couple not talking where one person is stonewalling.

What Is the Difference Between Stonewalling and Gaslighting?

Laura Silverstein

Read More

Couple using the power of touch to strengthen their relationship

Touch More, Touch Often 

Cheryl Fraser

How to strengthen fondness and admiration - without saying a thing ...

Read More

Couple having a romantic date.

Date Your Mate!

Cheryl Fraser

Why date night rejuvenates long term relationships - if you do it right. ...

Read More

Subscribe to Gottman Love Notes

Sign up and start your relationship transformation. Subscribe and get the latest on relationships, therapy, and much more from the experts. Includes a free download and access to special pricing on Gottman products every month