Have you had ANY kind of detour in your life?
My name is Sophia Graham and I am a Detourist.
In 2008 my life was right on schedule. I was 29, engaged to be married to a wonderful man with whom I hoped to have children and only a year away from completing my PhD. My fiancé was financially supporting me for that last year of the PhD with was unpaid, so I had a lot invested in the relationship both financially and emotionally. Then something unexpected happened. I met someone I’d had a brief fling with at university and fell madly in love with her. It is no exaggeration to say that the world shifted under my feet. It was seismic.
I was hopelessly torn between the future I’d mapped out for myself and my husband to be and this woman that seemed to have captured my heart and mind. I was scared and sad and exhilarated all at the same time. It was utterly confusing. I had never experienced emotions like it. My fiancé and I went to relationship counseling, and in a session with the two of us, the counselor asked me whether I was a lesbian. That sent me into yet another spiral of uncertainty. I was pretty sure I liked men too, but there was something erotically appealing about women that was at a different level to my experience of men. I knew I couldn’t get married without exploring my sexuality more.
I proposed non-monogamy to my fiancé, but he wasn’t open to it. Leaving him was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Our relationship represented the future that I thought I would have. Marriage, kids, security. The traditional escalator relationship. I loved him dearly, he was my best friend, but I couldn’t marry him without knowing who I was. It took months to realise that. Months of pain, long conversations, and so much internal torment. I’d made a commitment. I’d planned a life. How could I walk out on that for a relationship that was so uncertain? The questions rolled around in my head, but I knew I needed to be myself.
She represented freedom, self-exploration and insecurity. My finances were a mess, my PhD was progressing very poorly, but I was feeling a range of emotions that I’d never experienced before and it was intoxicating. The relationship was stormy and intense and wonderful. It didn’t last all that long, but it changed my life and my perspective on relationships forever. Of course, it wasn’t all plain sailing. I had to contend with family members with deeply held religious views who didn’t approve of my being in a same-sex relationship, and I lost several friends when I came out. Almost a decade on, my family is very supportive of my relationship choices, but it has been a journey for all of us. I finished the Ph.D., I survived the financial uncertainty, and even thrived on the opportunity to do work I loved
Realising that I might be lesbian and that I hadn’t known it made me question so many other things in my life – my gender, my relationship orientation, my chosen career. It gave me a point to take stock and to really investigate myself. That period of reflection has made me the person I am today. Now I know I’m thoroughly queer in how I approach my sexuality, gender, and relationships. I have created a life driven by what I love and the relationships that are most important to me.
That is why…I #LoveMyDetour
Sophia is an experienced sex-positive, gender-affirming, LGBTQ educator turned coach. She has been running workshops on consent, sexual empowerment and kink in the UK and Ireland since 2009. She has also facilitated support groups for women coming out as lesbian and bisexual. She is passionate about communication, negotiation and creating win-win situations.
Sophia has a BA, MA and PhD in Human Resource Management. She has also completed a Post Graduate Certificate in Education, a Post Graduate Certificate in Counselling and will soon have completed her counseling Msc. She is a professional member of The Association of Somatic and Integrative Sexologists (ASIS) and complies with their ethical code. She undertakes regular professional development, including recent training in gender and sexual diversity, polyamory, consensual non-monogamy, out of control sexual behavior, consent, and relationship challenges around neurodiversity.
You can find out more about her at her website: https://loveuncommon.com
Pronouns: she/her or they/them
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