7/25/2012 4:52 PM
While there are plenty of hurdles any gay or lesbian in the US faces, there are a bunch of challenges unique to being a lesbian who comes out late in life.
Gay Girl Dating Coach Mary Malia knows all about it. She divorced her husband and came out as a lesbian when she was 45 years old. Like many women who come out when they are older she had been married to a man, and had kids, both of which can complicate your life when you begin dating women. She talked with us about some of the specific challenges women who come out late in life face:
“Lots of women who have always been out do not like women who have come out later and been married.”
“There’s a lot of prejudice for coming out later in life,” Mary says, although she stresses that this attitude is far from universal. A lot of lesbians say that it’s because they’ve dated women who have come out of heterosexual relationships, and it’s been a mess.
Frequently, if someone has just come out, there are issues involving her ex and her kids. It’s a lot of upheaval for everyone involved, and it can cause problems that have made a lot of women who have only ever dated other women to shy away.
It can be hard to break into lesbian culture.
Many lesbian bars are not able to stay open because women are generally not into bar culture the same way that men are. Women tend to make friends and nest, and will hang out in their social groups at one another’s houses instead of out in a bar or at the club. When there are fewer places to gather, it’s harder to find out where to go to meet women.
Even if you can find a bar or a dance to attend, it can be hard to meet someone if you don’t already know people in that scene. “Women come in packs and hang out in packs. There’s no way to interject yourself,” Mary says.
She says that it’s not uncommon to show up at a place knowing no one, and leave the same way. But sometimes you’ll meet someone who will introduce you around. There are open and friendly people who will approach those who are new, and they can be a big help.
Sexual performance concerns can be a huge issue.
“One woman I dated off and on for a number of years had a problem with the idea that I might have ever enjoyed intercourse,” Mary said. There can be lingering fears that a lesbian partner might not be able to please a woman who has been with a man, or that there might be some residual attraction to men.
Many lesbian women are also extremely turned off by the idea of penises. “The fact that you’ve been associated with one wigs them out,” said Mary.
Online dating is a huge help.
Mary started dating online back when the internet was a relatively new thing. There was nowhere near the level of engagement that there is now. Even so, having the internet as a resource helped immensely, and remains one of the best tools for meeting women. There’s no issue of scanning for clues to a woman’s orientation, since it’s right there on her profile
. You can find women you may never stumble across in your life otherwise. And, your dating pool is geographically limited only by how far you’re willing to go for a long distance relationship.
It’s not going to be like your dreams.
Life can be complicated. Mary said that she moved four times in the year after her marriage ended. The first woman she fell deeply in love with left her heartbroken. Another relationship had problems for years because of issues that her girlfriend was unable to let go.
Women who have kids will have to have continued contact with their exes in some capacity, which can lead to friction in the new relationship. A lot of the women they date will have a problem with a man periodically being around. If the kids are older, they may have problems adjusting to seeing their mom in a relationship with another woman. Some relationships may never work out because of all of the history that you bring with you.
Despite the ups and downs, you can get past it to live a life that is what you want. Even with all the potential hitches, it’s worth it to live the life you were meant to live and find the person who you were meant to be with.