I´m struggling to come to terms with issues involved in dating, sexual identity, and religious identity. Perhaps because I have not dated in so long, I feel somewhat like a teenager just starting out, and learning a new set of rules. Dating was never terribly uncomfortable for me before, but this is perhaps because religious identity had been removed. That said, I was rarely the most successful person at dating. Often times, when going out with a bunch of friends, my friends would get the more desirable guys, and I would just kind of get to sit on the sidelines and watch. I was never the media-projected American image of beauty. I fit more to the European ideal – less flamboyant, less or no makeup, a “roll up your sleeves and do some farm work” kind of a woman. Although occasionally approached by other young women and once even kissed by a woman, I was initially more attracted to them as friends, rather than lovers. As prospects for men dwindled, I developed more of a bisexual identity, but it was never explored. Usually, I would lose some weight, and start to date men again. It seems that only within 15 pounds of my ideal weight, would any man show any interest in me. Many seemed very focused on outward appearance, and wanted makeup, and ultra-thin, dumber women, that they could parade around like trophies.
I was quite adept at “thinking like and among men” to compete with them. Intellectually, though, the competitive edge would make me uncomfortable with dating the ones that I competed with. For the most part I found what men were doing more interesting than what most women were doing. I wanted to compete. Interestingly enough, I have always gender-identified as a woman from the earliest age, although I have never felt secure enough in my family situation with a brother who was one year younger, to wear dresses. So, socially, I didn´t really fit in with my gender self-identity. Others would perceive me as too masculine and competitive to be a desirable woman. In my mind, my conception of a woman had no conflict with my more socially perceived masculine behavior like quarterbacking one of the neighborhood tag football teams, doing math, working on cars, or playing computer games.
Then there was the issue of religion. Although there are certainly many gay people in my family, no one is openly gay. Some are married. It would rock the family boat for anyone to openly have a homosexual relationship because of the religious sanction against it. So, then sexually, what was I to do? In my youth, I found a man, and we eventually got married, tried to have children, but I was never able to conceive. I wanted children, but I also knew that it would be medically very challenging. For me, the easiest way to have a child was to be with a man. This was the green way to have a child. I would have family support to help to raise the child. The child would have 2 different gender role models. There would be a supportive religious environment when the child needed a higher concept of discipline.
My marriage didn´t survive midlife crises. After several wonderful years, we parted company. He eventually fell in love with someone else, and we divorced at his request.
So, now I am left with the daunting challenge of trying to find a mate in mid-life (certainly more difficult for a woman who has been previously married). I look at the situation rationally, and am more open to my bisexuality. I still want a child. In my mind, another woman is probably more likely and willing to be able to raise a child if something should happen to me, and may also be more able to bear one. I believe that I am also more likely to be attractive to a homosexual woman rather than many, but not all, men. Then, there is the codified religious sanction against homosexuality. In one sense, I might be tempted to simply say, respect it. But I am not. Although I want to get along with people of diverse faiths, I feel strongly that this codification is morally wrong and harmful. The premise of the codification may have been increasing the population of religious groups, but in today´s world, with its problems sustaining the current population, the moral impetus must swing in the other direction. We must set aside population wars over religion, to the higher ideal of global sustainability. God surely knows this.
So, I want to date a woman. To explore this as a possibility. It´s somewhat of a change in thinking for me, and I really don´t have much thought about how to be attractive to a woman. Like flowers trying to attract the right butterflies, I will have to rethink this pretty significantly.