The Sex Issue

I’m Dating A Woman After Being Married To A Man

And I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.

Written by Sasha Martinez
The Sex Issue

I was 37, with a 7-year-old son, when I dated a woman for the first time in my life. And it’s one of the most empowering things I’ve ever chosen for myself.

After my decade-long marriage to a man dissolved, I took a hard look at my life and everything I had once believed in. Thanks to years of therapy, I had come to realize that I was never really in charge of my own life. As a former Christian, I had a simple belief that everything that happened was because of God’s will. For years, I had mindlessly followed the beliefs of my church and my parents, especially when it comes to marriage and procreation. To me, they were the arbiters of truth, and I tried hard to satisfy their list: graduate from school, pursue capitalism until exhaustion, get married to a man of faith, and bear lots of children.

Growing up, my church had pounded a steady drumbeat of abstinence, heterosexuality, and love for God above all else. God will show you the way if you truly love him. I clung onto these promises. I met a man in my 20s who seemed to tick all the boxes. He graduated from a good university, came from a lovely family, went to church, and had a lucrative career. But we just never fully connected, and for years I felt lonely and unseen. I thought following these preordained rules dictated by an ancient text would give me a happy ending — and yet here I was, divorced at 35.

Then came along a mind-altering shroom trip in Tulum, Mexico, where the universe opened up and delivered a message to me: “You can achieve anything you want in life as long as you decide it’s right for you.” And so, I held onto this nugget of wisdom as I started my first foray into the exhausting world of dating strangers online.

I swiped on many, many men. I had both great dates and truly terrible dates. But it was still only with guys. Then, when my good lesbian friend introduced me to her new girlfriend, I was instantly attracted to her.

Now that I had a second chance at love, I wanted to keep an open mind and rewrite the rules for myself. I didn’t want to just fall into what was easy or expected. So instead of denying my attraction for women, I was curious about it. I had never examined my own sexuality and always felt obligated to go with the status quo. Rather than praying, I listened to my inner self that I had denied for so many decades. And armed with a little nugget of shroom courage, I decided to try dating women.

Ten months later, I’m in a committed relationship with a woman, and I have never been happier or felt more content. I feel like I’m finally in an equal partnership where we both see and hear each other completely. The church taught women to diminish their own needs and wants, while the man is expected to be a leader and provide. In my reality, the husband does a smaller share of the childcare, chores, and mental burden of running a household. With a woman, none of those gender norms exist. When I unload the dishes, she’s right there next to me without prompt. When I cook for her, she thanks me with genuine appreciation. We explore our sexuality unabashedly, unhindered by a man’s limited countdown to the “finale”. We take turns paying for the bill. We drill things into the wall, and if we can’t figure it out, we watch YouTube videos. We openly communicate about everything, and we’re able to make the rules on our whole terms.

This certainly isn’t how my devout, Sunday-school-going, Bible-toting teenage self imagined I’d end up. But, as I’ve learned, sexuality isn’t linear and binding; it’s fluid and exploratory. Maybe someday I’ll go back to dating men and maybe I won’t. Learning to trust and listen to my inner self took me decades. But hell am I happy to finally be in a place where I get to live to the beat of my own drum.

Sasha is a freelance writer who lives in Seattle. In her free time, she enjoys weightlifting, running, and hanging out with her son.