Minnesota-based Nikole Mitchell, the mother of three children and the loving wife of a wonderful man, tells how it was for her to realize one day that she not only loves men – and how that insight changed her life.
Nikole Mitchell is a young woman from St. Paul, Minnesota, who revealed to her husband in 2016 that she no longer feels heterosexual but queer instead. As this insight changed her life and her marriage, Nikole Mitchell narrates here because she hopes her story “sheds light on a topic that still receives very little attention, and that helps others to find out their own truth and Ways to handle that well. “
What do you do when you wake up one morning, next to you is your beloved husband, next door your three children, and then, for the first time, you realize you’re no longer heterosexual? How do you deal with such a revelation? How do you handle it without feeling like you have a “dirty secret”?
That was me three years ago.
Let me tell you a bit about the background.
All my life, I thought I was heterosexual. In my youth I was crazy about boys. I dreamed about boys, dated guys, messing around with boys and dreaming one day to marry one of them. And the guys were crazy for me, too. I got two marriage proposals before I met my husband (but that’s a story for another time).
When I met my husband, it was a perfect whirlwind of romance.
We met in October 2008, started dating in November, we got engaged in December, and I would have married him in January, if I had not been so worried that people would freak out in the face of such a fast relationship. So we waited until July, until we gave the yes.
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We both were teachers and loved working together at the same school. We went back and forth together, had lunch together, visited the breaks and sent each other Valentine’s cards through the school office. We were crazy in a row and loved spending time together.
Very soon we became pregnant (surprise !!) and the following six years were a hurricane of three children, job changes, parades and finally a quieter rhythm with a man who was working full time and me, who stayed at home to take care of our children.
At the time we were both very active in the church and it was the first church I ever belonged to that did not directly condemn “homosexuality”. The church did not speak for it, but it was quite open to the LGBTQ community and that made me curious. ( Editor’s note: LGBTQ is an abbreviation for the terms lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer, which means lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer, meaning that each group of LGBTs could be, but sometimes not, queer knows which one to listen to or want to belong to, which is perfectly fine (Source: USA Today ). )
As I grew up, I was taught that homosexuality was a sin, and I was familiar with those verses of the Bible that conservative Christians believe to condemn homosexuality. But I had never heard of how LGBT Christians interpret these verses and were curious to learn more about their thoughts. I read many articles and books, listened to interviews, watched videos and even participated in a course on “Queer Theology”. Throughout this process, I came to believe that Scripture did not condemn homosexuality and became a passionate advocate. ( Editor’s note: Meanwhile, Nikole Mitchell has renounced the Christian faith and instead designates love as their religion. )
As a result, I spent more and more time at queer events. I always felt this magnetic attraction and was attracted by the queer people, which confused me a lot because I always thought: I am heterosexual.
At first I thought that I just love people.
I love meeting new people, talking to them. I’m attracted to all sorts of people, just love people.
But something happened to me, somehow it clicked when I was at this queer event one night. Suddenly, I thought, ” Oh my god, I’m not straight. “
I wish I could say today that this was a moment of joy because today I LOVE being queer. But then, at that moment, I got sick first.
Because I asked myself: what does that mean for my marriage? What does that mean for my children? What does that mean for me?
Suddenly memories of my childhood and youth came to my mind, my queerness suddenly made so much sense.
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For example, at school I was very much in love with the band “Hanson”. I thought the three boys were girls, with their long hair. Even when I found out that the three brothers were, I fell in love with them. My two biggest high school loves were queer men. I even fell in love with a college friend for a while.
There were many signs of my queer identity. I just had no eyes, no words to describe what I was experiencing, nor the freedom to spy out what I felt all these years.
And there I was: 32 years old, realized for the first time that I not only loved men, married to a man and three children by my side.
I felt so alone.
I did not know anyone who felt the same way. I only knew heterosexual couples and gay couples. Where were the other couples with a queer partner and a heterosexual?
I knew my new self-perception would have painful consequences. That’s why I thought for a moment, I could just pretend I never realized that I’m queer.
But I knew that was not possible. Authenticity is very important to me and I love it too much to want to do that to myself. So, what to do?
So I did what I know to do: be honest, vulnerable and brave. I told the truth to my husband.
We stood in the kitchen that night and I felt that stitch in my heart that told me it’s time. I took a deep breath and asked my husband, “Would you like something interesting from me?” He said, “Yes, baby.”
I said, ‘I realized something about myself … and that’s … I’m not heterosexual. I’m queer. ‘
He stopped washing and turned to me, begging me with tenderness in his eyes to explain what I meant. I told him about my journey, about my magnetic attraction to queer people and how it finally clicked. When I finished, he said with so much love in his soft voice, “I think that’s great, baby, I think that’s perfectly normal, healthy, and I totally support you.”
I broke down crying.
My husband took me in his arms, making me cry until I could not cry anymore. When my tears stopped, he looked at me and asked softly, “Did you cry well?”
My heart could not love this man anymore. He was and is the essence of love.
The following year, my husband and I had many, many conversations. He supports me in my development and in my new understanding of myself. I learned that I am pansexual , which means that I am attracted to all people regardless of their gender.
One year after my coming out to my husband, he told me that he had expected that night that I would tell him that I would part with him. I was scared to hear that, because I never wanted to.
I felt bad because he had kept this worry for a year and carried it alone, and asked him why he had not told me earlier. He said that he did not want to pressure me so I could freely make my decisions.
There are times when I swear that I can no longer love this man, and then there are moments like this when the vastness of his love overwhelms me completely.
And that’s how things come together.
Most people assume that in a marriage like ours, one day a divorce will happen so that the queer partner can find a queer partner as well, or that one stays together and the queer partner is completely happy with it to live a heterosexual marriage.
We live in the tension of these realities.
I love my husband from the bottom of my heart, I can not imagine a life without him and have no intention of getting a divorce. But I also feel a desire for the love and the body of a queer person.
Because I discovered my queerness only after my marriage, I have always experienced sexuality only with cis men, ie men whose gender identity corresponds to the gender assigned to them at birth.
There are days when I am consumed by the queer experiences I did not do, the tenderness and body of a woman with whom I could cuddle and live my queer sexuality.
So I’m trapped forever, between the desire to fully accept my queer sexuality and living and the desire to fully honor and respect my marriage to my husband.
And that’s the reality that most people do not want to talk about. People prefer clear answers and black and white realities. My marriage and my identity can not offer that.
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My husband and I live in a limited space of overlapping identities, and we choose to do so We accept them by accepting them day after day without imposing unhealthy expectations on us or putting ourselves in any kind of box.
We love each other deeply, respect each other and navigate together hard and valuable conversation, is not that what life is all about?
After my coming out to my husband in the summer of 2016, in 2017, I publicly talked about mine in a small YouTube series I did that for a variety of reasons.
I wanted other people to feel less alone in such a situation than I realized when I realized I was queer
I hoped that my story would give others hope and hope, as stories from other people helped me.
I wanted to oppose prejudice addressing queer people by making clear that queerness exists, regardless of whether you perceive it or not. We are your best friends, colleagues, teachers, neighbors, daughters and fathers. So please, be the kind of family member you dare to come out on. I wanted to be seen and loved, just as I am, not even though I am so, but because I am the way I am.
I wanted people to see that queerness and pansexuality are a gift for themselves this world is. I wanted to go on the path that my LGBTQ + family has taken for me. I do this for those who come after me.
I wanted to help make this world safer, more beautiful and inclusive for all of us.
And that’s still what I pray for. Everything I do, as a wife, mother, friend and life coach, I do to make this world safer, more beautiful and more loving – for all of us. “
In this video, the husband of Nikole Mitchell, John Mitchell, in English Questions from followers of the two to the life of a marriage with a queer partner:
This story by Nikole Mitchell was first written at LoveWhatMatters.com published and translated by courtesy of Nikole Mitchell of BRIGITTE.de into German. If you would like to follow Nikole Mitchell on her journey, you can find her here at Instagram , Facebook , YouTube and on their website NikoleMitchell.com .