Dr. Romance answers a reader's question about whether or not she should come out to her family.
Dear Dr. Romance:
I need some of your advice. You're the only one I could think of who would give me a sensible answer. Well, this situation might seem easy when viewed from the outside, but going through it myself really created stress for me. I do not want to have to choose between family and love. For any reason!
Ok, here's the situation. A while back, me, my older sister, and my mom all won a pair of annual passes to a local amusement park. Sounds fun right? Wrong. The problem is that they planned that our whole family would use the passes and we would all go together. It is a great idea because our family hardly ever does stuff like that together anymore. So, we came to the decision that we would all go for my sister's birthday.
I was excited and so forth, but of course, in my head, there's a whole other world going on. I want me and my girlfriend to go with the passes that I won. Of course, since I live a double life, one of which they have no idea about, giving one of my passes to my girlfriend would mean coming out to them and telling them that I would like to take her. But, that isn't happening at the present moment. So, nothing is said. I hide the whole thing. I go with their plans.
What could I do? Just be a fool. I want to tell them so bad, but I just can't. So, I tell my girlfriend what is going on. How I feel...and to her, it seems like I want to give the ticket to my family member. I tell her that I want to take her, but I dont know what to do. I tell her that I want my whole family to go, but that I don't know how to work this out.
She got hurt at the fact that I am considering giving the ticket to a family member. I don't know how to deal with this. I feel bad that I am hurting my girlfriend and the fact that she loves the park and I know we could have so much fun. At the fact that she feels I would choose them over her is the worst, especialy since it shouldn't have to be a choice! I can't choose.
How do I tell them that I want to give the ticket to her? They would be upset. They would make me feel like s**t. I even came up with the idea of just buying one more ticket and that won't make it any better because it's not the point. The point is that I can't be me. I can't live my life the way I want to. I have to make all kinds of sacrifices to keep my a** from getting caught being Gay!
Well, since then, my girlfriend has given up on the situation since it was causing us too much of a problem. And it's not the fact that it's an amusement park ticket or if it was a ticket to Mars,which would be great at this point, but the dilemma lies in the fact that I cannot be me. I am living two lives and am forced to choose between my loved ones. It isn't fair and it isn't right.
I don't know what to do. I want to take my girlfriend. I really do. And at the same time, the loyalty towards my family is pulling at me. More lies after lies after lies. It's torture. Can you help me?
Seriously, I love all of them. But how do I choose. And I know for a fact that if I were in a relationship with a guy, this wouldn't be a problem, because they would automatically assume he would get the ticket and everyone would be happy. So here we are. This isn't about the tickets. This is about the foundation of my life. Is life naturally forcing me to come out? What could I do? What would you do in this situation? I really need help with this one. And it's times like these that bring me down.
If these are season passes, buying one more ticket would make it better. Stop worrying about "I can't be me" and start thinking about solving the problem. There's a way for everyone to go. You're trying to pressure yourself about coming out to your family, and you don't need to.
Go with your family to your sister's birthday, and then go another time with your girlfriend. It isn't the kind of choice you think it is. You don't have to sacrifice, you have to think. I think you're wrong about how awful your family is. I think you're the one who's the most homophobic, but you don't have to deal with it until you get out into your own apartment. Stop being all hysterical and accept the fact that you're not ready to tell your family, and don't make such a tragedy out of it. You're going to be fine, whether you tell your family or not. "The Right Way to Love" and "You Are a Gift" will help you gain more confidence about yourself and your relationship.
I fully support people being open about being gay, but it's important to understand whether you're ready, and what the consequences will be. Answer the following questions, from Gay Relationships for Men and Women: How to Find Them, How to Improve Them, How to Make Them Last
Questions to Ask Yourself Before Coming Out:
- Why should I reveal that I'm gay? What response do I hope to get?
- "I would like you to just listen to me, and not tell me how you feel until tomorrow (next week)."
- "I hope you can share my happiness with me."
- "I want to be able to invite you to my house, comfortably."
- "I feel distant from you because I've been keeping this secret, and I want us to be close, because I love you."
- "A very important event is about to happen in my life, and I want to share it with you."
- "I know this may be hard to understand, and I hope I can help you see how important it is for me that you do."
- What have I got to lose?
- How can I present my gay lifestyle in the most positive way?
- Am I prepared to give them time to deal with it?
- What do I do if...?
- Am I willing to make it easy on them?
- Should I consider coming out at work?
Questions to ask yourself before coming out at work include:
- What are the benefits?
- What are the costs?
- Who needs to know?
- Where do I stand with my job?
- How much do I want this job?
For low-cost counseling, find me at LoveForever.com
More advice on homosexuality on YourTango:
- Top 10 Misconceptions About Gay People
- Accepting Bisexuality: Attraction Across Gender Lines
- 4 Common Gay Sex Myths Debunked!