You’ve finally met a guy you get along with. He’s sexy without being a pretty, yet empty shell. He has a great sense of style but isn’t too much of a snobby queen. You get along great and share interests that extend beyond the gay sphere dominated by Ru Paul and Andrew Christian. But, as usual, there’s one caveat: he’s closeted.
You might see being closeted as unnecessary in the America of nationwide gay marriage recognition and feel frustrated that you finally found someone for them to still have one foot in the closet. Situations like these can be tricky since there are a lot of factors involved when you’re seeing someone who isn’t 100% out.
Here’s a quick guide to navigating this seemingly impossible, yet common, dilemma specific to the realm of LGBTQ+ dating.
1. Understand There are Different Levels of Closeted
Being in the closet doesn’t always mean that they’re deep in the back with boxes filled with high school yearbooks and participation trophies. And it also doesn’t mean that they’re ready, or in a place where, they can take that final step out of the closet and never look back.
Additionally, some people are only closeted to certain people. They may be out to their friends but not their family. Or they might be open to some of their family members but not their extended family or parents. They could be out with everyone except for those they work with or literally any other combination.
Figure out who they’re out to, if anyone, and go from there.
2. Understand That People Stay Closeted for Different Reasons
People don’t usually stay in the closet for no reason. They might not be ready to have the ìI’m Gayî conversation with their friends and family. They might be more concerned with work or school and don’t want the extra stress. Or it could be as simple as they’ve never gotten around to having that conversation; perhaps you’ll be the reason!
In other cases, they might not feel safe enough to come out to family members. If you live somewhere that isn’t super liberal, you might feel comfortable being out but they might be scared for their life. In cases like these you should not push your partner to come out.
3. Understand Your Partner’s Situation and Move from There
While it’s important to consider your partner’s feelings you also need to consider your own. For instance: if they aren’t willing to be out in public with you, you might want to reevaluate your gay dating relationship for your own sake.
If your partner is gathering the courage to come out to their family, you could be there to support them in that.
But you will never quite understand what your partner is going through unless you ask. So, communicate. Have a heart to heart about why your partner is still closeted and who he is still closeted to. Ask if they’re willing to come out to those people and evaluate if you’re okay with them staying in the closet when it comes to, say, their work friends or certain family members.
Make sure you not only consider their needs and feelings but also your own.
If you want to learn more about this, check out the video below!