Dating Someone in the Closet

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A relationship not only depends on mutual attraction and compatibility for its success but also on mutual trust, transparency and honesty. These conditions are hard to fulfill if your gay or lesbian partner is still closed about his/her sexual identity. But while at first glance, the idea of being someone in denial may seem difficult, there are other ways too of looking at the circumstances. So here are some tips on dating a partner who is still in the closet about being gay, lesbian or bisexual.

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Consider casual venues

If your partner’s family and co-workers don’t know of his/her sexual orientation, then he/she may not be comfortable about frequenting explicitly gay or lesbian venues with you. In such a situation you can opt for casual date ideas like browsing through a museum or art gallery if your partner is fond of cultural pursuits. Alternately if you and your partner prefer the outdoors, you can choose a fine day to go biking or hiking through trails around your city. In fact the latter will give you some privacy without making things overtly intimate. Again the zoo, amusement park or a music concert are great casual dating ideas which let you have fun in each other’s company. Since these are all venues which can be frequented by anyone, your partner is unlikely to fear the truth of his/her sexuality being revealed to the world.

Try to see things from your partner’s perspective

For someone like you who has successfully come out, it may be difficult to understand why your partner cannot do the same. A free and open relationship would add so much more depth and meaning to your love; however keep in mind that not everyone may have the same strength of personality that you do. perhaps your partner comes from a traditional culture where same sex relationships are not only looked down upon but could even mean a threat to his/her safety. Family and religious pressures may be too intense on some individuals to make their coming out a smooth process. Even if family and culture are not an issue, 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 discussing such issues for fear of bullying or becoming unpopular. It is likely that you were lucky to get support in some way which made your coming out easier, which your partner has not been fortunate enough to receive.

Offer your support

Deciding to come out, and the way in which an individual does it, should always at the discretion of that person. And while you as his/her partner may already have gone through it, and may want to shout from rooftops that you have found someone, there should never be the sense of pressure to take that step. A good lover will be patient and provide emotional support. In the meantime offer your feedback about how you think coming out will not only help your relationship but your partner too and if possible, share how you found the strength and resources to come out of the closet yourself. but don’t rush the process. sexual orientation and identity development is a unique process for each person. someone coming to terms with the idea that he/she wants to reveal to the world the truth about his/her sexuality could literally take years and even then he/she may not be entirely comfortable with the idea. under such circumstances, the only thing you can do is to stand by your partner’s side and tell him/her that he/she can count on your love and support when he/she feels ready to come out of the closet.

Difficulties such a situation entails

And yet even the most devoted relationship can disintegrate under the stress of secrecy and restrictions that dating someone in the closet involves. it is only natural for you to wish to reveal you’re your friends and family that you have found someone to love and to really begin sharing your life with your partner. on the other hand, your partner’s hesitation to allow that can often be interpreted as being ashamed or in some way less invested in the relationship. above all, living a lie can make physical intimacy a difficult proposition in such a relationship, or at best a hurried, secretive affair.

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Keep communication channels open

The best way to avoid these misunderstandings is to sit down together and share your concerns. let your partner express his/her fears and anxieties about coming out of the closet; at the same time, let him/her know what your expectations are from a relationship, what you need a relationship to have if it’s to be meaningful to you. Sharing your feelings and expectations would help you to see if this is a relationship where it may be worth your while to invest your time and effort. If there is no possibility of your partner coming out – like if he/she is married to a person of the opposite sex and has biological children – you will need to take a call on how far can you put up with a relationship in shadows. on the other hand if you are certain that this person is someone you want to be with, then a discussion would open up the lines of communication and help you both to look for solutions, including the possibility of working on a game plan for your partner coming out. While this may be challenging, two people owe it to the relationship to understand how the other feels. That way, your partner who is still in the closet can know that someone he/she loves was once in their place, and hopefully move to a place of comfort with being honest and open.