Guest Author - Meghann Hodges
Being involved with a person who refuses to come out, especially if you are the one who is out, can be difficult on the relationship. You love them and want to support them, but you may also have the feeling that they are ashamed of you or see you as their dirty little secret. How do you go about expressing your feelings with out seeming insensitive or pushing them to come out?
For some, once they realize that they are gay, they do not hesitate to tell the world. Most will agree, that one of the best parts of coming out, is not having to censor yourself and having the freedom to truly be who you are. For others, the process of coming out can be much slower. There are many fears associated with coming out, that your partner may not be ready to deal with.
Putting their personal safety at risk, is a very real factor that some LGBT people face when deciding to come out. The loss of a job, of family and friends, religion are also considerations when choosing if it is the right time to come out. And in some parts of the world, people still face laws that make homosexual conduct a criminal offense. Not to mention all the LGBT youth that are homeless because they chose to come out and their families could not understand or support them.
Understanding the many reasons a person chooses not to come out, is the first step you must take in order to understand why your partner may be hesitant. Communication is a must. No matter what you are feeling, remember that you are both probably struggling equally with the complexities of your relationship. Talk about your feelings, and ask your partner about theirs. Talking through your issues cannot make the situation any worse.
Trusting each other is detrimental in a relationship where one is out, and the other is not. Your partner is putting a lot of trust and faith in you, that you will not out him or her. Respect their privacy. Even if you decide that your relationship canít work while one of you is closeted, do not out them. Coming out is a personal choice, and a difficult one, and it is never someone elseís place to out another individual.
Having a partner who is in the closet can be hard to understand for someone who has accepted themselves, but if you really want to make your relationship work, then try to be supportive. Give them time, and helpful information. And if you are in the closet and your partner is out, try to understand how difficult it really is to go back to hiding who you are. Honesty , being open, and communicating will go a long way, and remember that all of us were in the closet at some point!