MARRIED TO A MAN, ATTRACTED TO WOMEN

Dear Ella and and Suse,
I am 40 years old, married and mom of two great kids. I love my husband alot - we've been married for 19 years now and I can honestly say he is my best friend. In the last couple of years I've been through what I can now see as a "mid-life crisis": panic attacks, questions concerning my past as well as my future, search for new meanings in life - I have been seeing a therapist who has helped me alot in the complex and sometimes excruciatingly painful process. The reason I'm writing to you is this: For a few months now I have been feeling an attraction to women. At first I was so surprised and overwhelmed I could hardly talk about it (even to myself...). I would love to read a book (or many books!) that address this complicated journey of self-exploration, and the way it affects and integrates (or not) with marriage and motherhood. I'm in a desperate need of reading about other women who have gone through such intense and overwhelming experience.
Thanks a lot.
Yours,
Overwhelmed
Dear Overwhelmed,
Thanks for writing to us about this complex and challenging moment in your life. We immediately feel concerned that you are describing your husband as your 'best friend' -which rings alarm bells. A husband who is a best friend is not a husband, but a best friend...which is a problem in a marriage! So we feel we have two interesting ideas to address here - one your marriage, and two, your attraction to women. We would like to nurture both issues, though this could be contradictory. 
Start by reading the wonderful "The Price of Salt" by Patricia Highsmith. This engaging novel explains the surprising development of a woman's crush on another woman, when the first had imagined herself to be in love with a man. Carol, the object of her love, has a child, and a man in her life too.  Written in 1952, this was probably the first time in fiction that a gay love story had a happy ending. Read it and ponder- it will certainly chime with your current feelings, and make you wonder about the direction you want to go in. Next read the intriguing and unsettling Accidental by Ali Smith. In this novel, we have the chapters narrated alternately by the four main characters - mother, father, son and daughter - and then an interloper called Amber. This interloper has a profound and intriguing effect on the family she invades. Nobody quite knows where she came from, why she came, or what she wants. But she subtly infuences everyone in the family in profound ways. This book will have you asking yourself what it is about your family that you love and value most - and what you might be prepared to sacrifice.
Now read a book which we hope will help you to re-evaluate your marriage. Is your husband really your best friend, or is he perhaps something more? Find The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim. This will be a light, positive and uplifting read, set in Italy, describing the adventure of two middle aged married women, who decide to spend a month in a castle in Italy. Why they go and what kind of love they find there, we leave you to discover. And if you find yourself ultimately more attracted to the women in the novel than the men, this could be an interesting sign for you.
All the best,
Ella and Suse
We prescribe - The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith
Accidental by Ali Smith
The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim

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A SLUG WITH VISIONS OF HUMANITYABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP ENDED, LEAVING SCARSADULT ACNEAFRAID OF FAILUREALCOHOLIC DAUGHTERALONE ON A WIDE, WIDE SEAAlways wanted to be a writerANOREXICANXIOUS ABOUT SINGLE FRIENDAT A FORK IN THE ROADAVID READER, LACKING BOOKBEREFT OF A CATBORED IN ALABAMABOTHERED AND BEWILDEREDBRAIN SHRINKING MOMMABROKENBROKEN HEARTBROKEN HEARTED - TORN BETWEEN MALE AND FEMALE BEST FRIENDSBROKEN UP WITH GIRLFRIEND; FEELING BURNT OUTCAN’T MOVE ONCANDIDA REVOLTAIRECan’t afford to go on holidayCAST ASIDECHEATEDCHRONIC PAINCOLD HANDS AND FEETCONCERNED ABOUT DAUGHTERCONFLICTED PARTNERSCRAVING FOOD CULTURECYNICAL STEPSONDAILY ABUSEDARK NIGHT OF THE SOULDEPRESSED AND UNABLE TO READDEPRESSED DURING CHRISTMAS, AND LONELY NOWDESPERATELY WANTON GIRLDIRECTIONLESSEASILY BORED WITH NOVELSEMOTIONALLY SABOTAGED BY MY MOTHEREMOTIONS IN EXTREMEEVER THE FRIEND AND NOT THE PARTNEREXTREME ANGER AND FRUSTRATIONFADING AWAYFALLEN OUT WITH MY FRIENDSFALLING IN LOVE WAY TOO FASTFAZED AND CONFLICTEDFEAR OF CONFRONTATIONFEAR OF GETTING OLDFERTILITY PROBLEMSFOMO (FEAR OF MISSING OUT)FORGING A BRIGHT NEW FUTUREFRIEND WHO HAS LOST A CHILD LATE IN PREGNANCYFRIENDS DAUGHTER LOST TO SUICIDEFrightened of lifeGAPING HOLEGetting over a break-upGIRL OF UNCERTAINTY, BOUND BY RULESGIRL WHO DOESN’T FIT INGRIPPED BY LOSSGUILTY FRIENDHOPELESSNESSHOUSE AND LIBRARY DESTROYED BY FIREI love music more than booksI no longer commute – and therefore I no longer readI PEEK AT THE END OF NOVELS BECAUSE I WORRY THE CHARACTER MIGHT NOT MAKE ITI wish I were famousIN MOURNING OVER LITERARY DEATHSINABILITY TO SIT STILL AND ANXIETYINCONSISTENT AND NON-STUDIOUS- BUT AMBITIOUS NONETHELESSINDECISIVEINSECUREINTERESTED IN EVERYTHING BUT ACHIEVING NOTHINGINVISIBLE WOMANITALIAN NOVEL CURESJILTED AND UNSUREJOB IN LIBRARY UNDER THREATKICKED IN THE HEADLEADENLIVING ON THE MARGINSLONE RANGERLONELY AND DEJECTEDLONELY IN LOVELONELY IN MONOTONOUS JOB, LOSING SANITYLOOKING FOR A SENSE OF PURPOSELOOKING FORWARDSLOSS OF A SISTERLOSTLOW WATTAGELOW-ENERGY PESSIMISMMAD SCIENTISTMARRIED TO A MAN, ATTRACTED TO WOMENMISSED THE BOATMISSING MY MOTHER-IN-LAWMUM GOING BACK TO WORKNEED TO LET GONEW CITY, NEW LIFE -BOOKS FOR 12 YEAR OLD BOY?NEW FRIENDSHIP WITH HOLOCAUST SURVIVORNIGHTMARISH COLLEAGUENOMADIC FLANEURPOST NATAL DEPRESSIONPREGNANT AND ALONE