Same-sex relationships can prove a bit complicated at times. While all romantic connections have their own fair share of difficulties, gay and lesbian couples may find themselves dealing with a handful of unique troubles. One major issue LGBT relationships face is when one person is still in the closet. There may not be a “right” time to come out to family and friends, but choosing to hide your identity while being in a committed relationship can cause a number of deep problems for both you and your significant other. There are many reasons to be honest with who you are.
Being a closeted member of the LGBT community can take many forms. Perhaps you are completely in the closet and only a select few people outside of your partner know the truth of your sexual orientation. Some people are closeted to family members but choose to be honest and open with friends or at work. No matter the specific balance you have struck in your life, the decision to hide a major part of yourself can create a number of frustrating problems with your identity. How can you know who you are inside when you constantly change to meet your surroundings?
While you don’t need to march up to each person you’ve ever met and proclaim your sexual orientation, the decision to keep this aspect of your life hidden is only going to add a strain to your relationship. Your partner is not going to want to continue to pretend to be your roommate at family dinners or work functions forever. The longer you wait to be honest about who you are and who you love, the more likely it is that your significant other is going to grow tired of waiting around for you.
Asking your partner to be patient while you deliberate the details on how to come out can be a fair request. Still, you need to actually have the desire to make a change. If you are constantly pushing off this request, then you may notice your significant other is going to start to put a lot more pressure on you. This makes sense, as “out and proud” members of the LGBT community who date closeted individuals are more likely to feel as if they are being dragged back into the darkness along with you.
A vast majority of queer-identifying individuals struggle with coming to terms with their sexual identities. By dating someone who is still in the closet, a person who has come out may feel a bit of PTSD over their own experiences. Pressure is placed on the person who needs to come out at their own pace, as well as the person in the relationship who is living out and proud. While you don’t want to rush, you do need to acknowledge the needs of your significant other.
There may also be a scenario in which you and your partner are both still closeted. Despite that society seems a bit more open lately when it comes to LGBT relationships, countless people still live in a state of fear. Whether you’re coming out together or alone, it is crucial to lean on your significant other during this time. Work together to find a path that helps you live your honest truth without forcing yourself out of your comfort zone in too fast a manner. Having someone by your side during this journey can make a world of difference.
While there is no perfect time to come out of the closet, being in a relationship does force you to face your own truth. Learning to be honest with yourself starts by acknowledging that you are living in fear and taking active steps toward a solution.