Authentically you, to suddenly single: Welcome to the other side of the closet door.
There's nothing like the first time. First kiss, first intertwining of hands and of course first sex (even if it is a little painful and scary). And, let's not forget the first time you can say, "He's my boyfriend" or "She's my wife!" It's all good...until it's not.
Even in the land of rainbows and RuPaul Drag Races, your first love will likely split your heart in half quicker than you can say, "I'm gay!" Trust me I know.
For me, it was that damn hot Brit. But he broke my heart for my own good. I know that sounds stereotypical, but it's true. Every time your heart gets broken, it also heals stronger. Obviously, it's not just gay men or lesbian women who get their hearts broken right out of the gate. Anyone who dives into his or her first "real" relationship is just as susceptible to drowning in a bath of tears. However, there are unique little twists when it's your first gay romance that gets its bubble burst. It's enough to cause you to beeline back to the closet and curl up with the dust bunnies, mothballs and yesterday's fashions, and never reveal your gay self to anyone again.
Breakups are a fact of life. The good news is they're also a way to force us to come to terms with what is actually in our best interest. With that in mind, here are some tips for getting through your first post-coming out breakup.
- It's Not You, It's Them. Ok, maybe it is you and your lack of experience in a same-sex relationship. In reality, it's them too, because they knew what your situation was before they jumped into a relationship with you. If they've been waving the rainbow-colored flag for years and they can't handle you being a newbie, then move on. There's lots of rainbow-colored fish in the sea just waiting to be caught!
- Like A Virgin And Proud. Gay, straight, bi, pan, or whatever, we're all virgins until we're not. This does not mean you're walking around with VIRGIN stamped on your head in neon blinking lights. It simply means you've got to start with the training wheels and get used to spinning down the street flicking your bell before you're ready to balance. If he or she breaks it off with you because of that, then they're the one missing out on all the fun. Newbie sex is an exploration to be enjoyed, shared and relished.
- Too Much Baggage. Straight or gay, we've all got luggage from past relationships either with our old partners, parents, siblings, school crushes or even colleagues. No doubt, right out of the closet, you've got some baggage yet to be unpacked. Quite honestly, if the beau or gal of your first post coming-out relationship says, "You're great in bed but the luggage has got to go," then it's time to dump him or her with dignity. Yet here's a little secret: those who criticize your baggage often have their own load of excess weight that they are carrying around.
- Cry Baby, Cry! If you learned nothing else from breaking free from the closet, remember that bottled up emotions and pent up anxiety didn't make you gay; it only prevented you from being your true gay self. This is also true for pretending that your first same-sex breakup doesn't suck. Who are you kidding and pretending to be? That didn't work when you were in the closet so why should it work now that you're learning the ins and outs of LGBT relationships? Let those tears and emotions flow. Without the release of emotions, you'll walk into another damn closet with a whole new set of dark corners and hidden fears that will not serve you well. A whole string of guys broke my heart; the hot Brit, the suave Hollywood film guy and a slew of formerly straight divorced dads-with kids (in other words, men just like me). But every tear I shed made me stronger and allowed me to love with self-respect. I come first, they come second.
- Find Your Posse. There aren't enough fingers or toes on our bodies to count how many times we've loved and lost — even if it's only in our heads. Whether you've been power dating all over West Hollywood, casually seeing people in a small town in Iowa, or just been suffering from unrequited love, surround yourself with like-minded members of the LGBT Broken Hearts Club. Ok, you can have a few hetero members too, but there's something to be said for kibitzing with other guys or ladies who have been trying to uncover the Holy Grail of dating as a gay man or a lesbian. At its core, love is love, but there is definitely something unique about the homosexual experience. So rally the troops because it's going to be a bumpy ride until you find someone who fits like a nice pair of Lucky Brand jeans in all the right places.
Like a loving father, I want to tell you that you'll be fine — because you will, even if you think your life will never be the same again. Just remember, that's what you thought before you came out of the closet too. Granted, your life will never be the same on the other side of the closet doors. It can't! But in all honesty, would you have it any other way?