Dear Christine, Frustrated in Ferndale

Dear Christine,

I’ve been confused lately and was wondering if you could maybe help me understand the situation. I have been seeing someone for almost 2 years now. She has not come out of the closet to her parents yet and it’s starting to take a toll. She says she needs time to tell her parents which I completely understand. I just don’t understand why she doesn’t try to introduce me as a friend or a study buddy. I may not be the girliest girl out there but I am even willing to wear a dress and stilettos if it will make her more comfortable. Yet she is not open to this idea at all. Why won’t she sacrifice too? This frustrates us both because it creates pointless arguments. It also gets me insecure because am I not good enough? I just don’t want to be a secret anymore. Am I being too harsh or do I have the right to say these things to her? Please help……Thank you!!!

Frustrated in Ferndale

Dear Frustrated, I hear you, loud and clear! It’s hard to be out and proud and in love with someone who is either straight, or not yet out! However, you’re not even comparing apples and oranges, but instead apples and cars. Coming out is a huge deal, given how our culture is not completely comfortable with gays and lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people. Our legal status and rights changes from state to state, even city to city. Then, add on top of that your girlfriend and her relationship with her family. That is core in her life, even if it is conflicted, and there’s a great deal of fear and risk from her perspective in coming out to them. Try to remember that her coming out is about her, not you. It’s about her identity, her relationship with her mom and dad, brothers and sisters; her ability to feel comfortable at the Thanksgiving dinner table, weddings and funerals, where extended family gather. I get you are not comfortable with her being closeted, but don’t place your security in the relationship in her coming out or not. Keep talking to her and find out what fuels her reluctance in coming out to her family. Finally, if she can’t or won’t come out, can you still love and be with and be comfortable with your girlfriend? People change when they are able to and ready to, not when forced with an ultimatum. Bottom line, if you can’t accept your girlfriend as she is right now, then the relationship probably won’t make it. You wearing stilettos just doesn’t compare to asking her to come out. She may well get there, but it will be in her time and when she’s ready to take that risk. So, yes, you’re being harsh. Be understanding and supportive, letting her figure out what is best for her, not based on your insecurities.

Let me know how it goes for you,

Christine C. Cantrell, Ph.D.
Licensed Psychologist
Prism of Possibilities Psychotherapy
3926 Royal Avenue, #A
Berkley, Michigan 48072
[email protected]

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