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Woman unsure how to clarify her sexual identity

DEAR AMY: I am a 65-year-old divorced, professional woman. I have a great career, a teenager at home and three other children who are grown up and living on their own. I was married to a man for over two decades and we had a nasty divorce about 15 years ago. Since that divorce, I have had two five-year relationships with women. Everyone knows me as lesbian. This may seem strange but, after all these years, I find myself attracted to males again and believe my personality and behavior are more compatible with men. My friends are supportive. My children have always thought of me as bisexual. I have a divorced male friend and colleague of several years and he knows me only as a lesbian. We are both self-employed mental health practitioners and we cross paths at workshops, in town, etc. I have always felt his attraction to me, but when I was with women I never considered pursuing anything. I could be wrong about his attraction to me and do not want to assume anything, but I would like to tell him that I am no longer interested in romantic relationships with women. How can I say that I am not lesbian anymore without sounding weird? I tend to be shy and do better via email.

-- Searching

DEAR SEARCHING: Given your history of fluidity concerning your sexual attractions, I don't think you should make any proclamations about "not being a lesbian anymore." It seems most accurate for you to describe yourself as bisexual and open to attractions with men and women.

Here's a sample email to bridge the awkwardness: "Hi George: I thought the workshop we attended was fascinating, but a little too long. It might be fun for us to team up to do a presentation for the next one (whenever it got slow we could cut to a cat video...).

"Regardless, I'd really like to meet outside 'the office' one of these days. Are you interested in having coffee/a drink sometime soon? Please let me know." Spending time together will give you the opportunity to fold up your rainbow flag slowly.

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