Helping Your Partner Out of the Closet

by August 1, 2012
filed under Sex & Dating

I think the worst part of being in a same sex relationship when you’re young is the dreaded closet door.

I myself walked through the door a long time ago . I did not hide who I was, or my preferences, from any of my friends. I did keep quiet on it around my family, finding that there was never a good time to tell them. But when I did tell them, they all accepted me with open arms. My mum had some issues, because she’s a control freak who got knocked off balance by the sudden news she hadn’t seen coming. After a long talk, however, we figured everything out. My dad’s reaction to my announcement of “Dad, I’m Bi,” was, “Bi what?” A simple man, my father is.

The problem with the closet metaphor is that “coming out of the closet” sounds like you’re escaping something. But for me, it’s more of a headlong battle. It’s a gauntlet to get to the other side of admitting to yourself and others, “this is what I am.” If you really like the closet metaphor, you could say that there’s a reward at the back of this cluttered closet, and you have to sift through all this extra meaningless crap to get to what you want. However, meaningless crap is heavy, and sometimes it hurts you. So the idea of sorting through all of it can be daunting.

I have been in love with my sweetie for over a year now, and we have dated on and off. We’ve made love, told each other secrets and had emotional breakthroughs together. If it weren’t for her, I would be a much different person. She is my soulmate.

But her parents still think I’m just her friend, and this is a strain on our relationship. They treat me like I’m just this friend of hers that’s over all the time. I don’t blame them; they don’t know that there is any other way that they should be treating me.

I’ve noticed that the boyfriend gets a different treatment. In families where the parents like the boyfriend, they fully accept that he’s going to be spending lots of time with their daughter, and he’s even pulled into the family. I’ve never really felt like that with my girlfriend’s family, and it doesn’t help that I know that they don’t know all of what happens between us on those nights when we have sleepovers. A part of me feels like when we do manage to tell them, they’ll treat me like they would if I was her boyfriend, and afford me a measure more acceptance.

There’s also the stupid, “are you ashamed of me,” feeling that comes along with a loved one’s family not knowing about your relationship. You feel like because your partner hides your relationship, they think you’re unworthy of introducing to their parents.

Not to mention that when I’m standing in the kitchen with my sweetie and her mum, I cringe every time her mum says, “oh I met a nice boy I think you should meet. He’d make a good boyfriend.” When she says this, her mum doesn’t realize that she’s stabbing me in the heart, twisting the knife and then pouring lemon juice into it. Her parents don’t understand why she’s never seemed to have a boyfriend, and why she isn’t trying harder. I would love to say, “because she’s too busy dating me.” But that would probably give them both an aneurysm, and my sweetie would drop dead from shock at how blatant it was.

I know she’s scared they’ll be upset. She’s afraid they won’t believe her. You hear horror stories about coming out all the time. I get it. I don’t blame her for being scared. I was too. That’s why I word-vomited it to my parents.

But as much as it hurts me to be in the closet around her parents, it’s really helping us as a couple to come out together. Planning to do it together and holding hands, helps fight the feeling of being unworthy. It makes our relationship stronger. One day soon, we’re going to sit down with her parents, and she’ll say, “Mom, Dad, I’m bisexual. And I’m in love with Bryn.”

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