Dating someone that is still in the closet can pose challenges when trying to establish a healthy gay or lesbian relationship. If you throw in the fact that you want to marry this person, or be in a same-sex marriage, things may get even more complicated!
Gay and lesbian couples in which a partner is not openly gay can create tension, not only within the relationship, but in their immediate social network.
While at first glance the idea of being with someone who is in the closet might scare you off, there are different ways to look at these circumstances. Here are some tips on being with a partner who is still in the closet about being gay, lesbian, or bisexual.
Have you considered that perhaps your partner is not ready to come out to their family and friends? While they are open with you and maybe your closest friends, they are not really ready to discuss their sexuality with ‘the world’. Just the fact that they have trusted you with their sexual orientation privacy says a lot.
Being there for the person throughout their process is something that can prove invaluable in time. Social support, especially from a trustworthy partner can be a deal breaker in a healthy dating relationship or marriage down the road.
Has your partner ever tried to come out to anyone? Negative reactions from others in the early coming out process can turn someone off from further sharing their sexual orientation. Some teens in high school shy away from even discussing these topics for fear of bullying or losing their so-called friends. Does this apply to your partner?
Offer feedback on how you think coming out will help your partner. How did it help you? Sexual orientation and identity development is a unique process for each person.
Someone coming to terms with the fact that they want to come out to ‘the world’ about their sexuality could literally take years to fully complete the process and even then they might feel wholly comfortable with the idea.
The best you can do as a partner, if you are okay with dating someone that is still in the closet is to offer your unconditional support. If you find this is something you cannot do, then perhaps this is not the relationship for you.
Are you currently in gay or lesbian dating relationship? As a lesbian couple, do you struggle with one of you being in the closet? How do you deal with it?