Closeted Partner


I am 23 years old and have been out to my parents since middle school. My girlfriend who I’ve been in a relationship with for almost 2 years is still not out to her family. In the beginning I accepted this b/c she had just figured out that she was gay and I wanted to allow her to take steps at her own pace but she still isn’t making any moves to come out to them and what’s worse, I’ve never met any of them and I can’t spend her birthday or holidays with her. Unless I’m willing to be introduced as her best friend which I AM NOT WILLING TO DO. I feel like I’m at the end of my patience with this. The fact that our relationship is a secret makes me feel very bad about myself. Am I being unreasonable?


For most people, coming out to friends and family is among the most personally challenging things they’ll ever do. Human beings don’t typically welcome change or challenges that effect relationships, so it stands to reason that the driving force that would propel someone to take on such a challenge would need to be significant. As much as I’d like to think that the excitement of falling in love might motivate someone to come out, outing oneself is usually motivated by negative forces, ie, I can’t live like this another day!

I’m guessing if you found the closet to be a comfy place to live, you wouldn’t have pushed your way out of it. You’ve taken steps to own your own life and to establish certain standards for yourself which include being openly gay. The reality is that regardless of your chronological ages, your girlfriend and you are at two different developmental stages. Your willingness to participate in a relationship with someone who isn’t out speaks to your desire to be open-minded, but I’m here to tell you that I’ve never seen it work – professionally or otherwise. The reason why this issue so frequently renders partners incompatible is because the extent to which one is out speaks to a person’s values and principals, and if you were able to compromise on them, you wouldn’t be out in the first place.

Unless you can accept that she’s in the closet and stop looking for her to make any moves towards the doorknob, my advice is to wish her well and let her make her own way navigating these important philosophical issues, because as long as you’re in her life, you’ll be her motivation to come out, and this is one decision that has to come from within.