Question: Well this has been going on for 3 years now. I know that I am gay and my close friends know that I am gay but I go back and forth and can’t really make up my mind. Maybe because I don’t want to accept it. I have experimented with men sexually, more men than women. I have dated a guy but our relationship was very short because I felt super uncomfortable in public. Although I am not attracted to women at all, I have dated and have had sexual relationships with them…I’m not out to my parents or family and I am thinking that if I do tell my parents I will be completely comfortable with my sexual orientation. I feel very distant from my parents currently and it’s not a good feeling.
Any help would be appreciated!
Response: Hey there, thanks for reaching out and posting about this important issue.
It sounds like you’re having a hard time accepting your sexual orientation and coming out. You said yourself that you know that you’re gay and are out to close friends, but that you still feel uncomfortable being out in the open.
From your question, I get the sense that the biggest issue for you is how to tell your family and close the distance that has formed between you and them.
You said that you feel like you would be completely comfortable with your sexual orientation if you came out to your parents.
+ How will their reaction have an impact on the way you feel about being gay?
+ Will being out to your family change how you feel about being visible in public?
Unfortunately, there’s no sure-fire way to come out to your family and be accepted with open arms. Each person, each family and its dynamics, are very different. People’s reactions when a loved one comes out can vary based on a lot of different factors. I highly recommend checking out this post for some really important questions that you may want to ask yourself.
Other important questions you might consider may revolve around how confiding in your parents will close the distance you feel.
+ Will that happen immediately or might it take time?
+ Are you prepared for the possibility that for a while, there may be even more distance between you (if they have a hard time accepting your orientation)?
If you do decide to come out to your family, it’s possible that they will need some time to digest that information and what it means for them. Be ready to answer any questions that they have and reassure them that you’re still the same person they’ve always known and loved. You might want to think of what you need from them (acceptance, reassurance or love, for example) and to ask them what they might need from you (possibly information, reassurance, or resources). Ultimately, you are who you are. Once you have expressed yourself, no matter the outcome; you might see things more clearly and perhaps you will be more able to accept yourself.
One thing that you can lean on during this confusing time is the close friends you mentioned. Friends and allies are an invaluable source of support, but don’t be afraid to reach out to other resources as well. Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) has lots of helpful information and resources that might resonate with you and your folks. If you think you and your family might benefit from counseling during this period, the Couple and Family Therapy Centre at the University of Guelph offers queer-friendly individual, couple, and family counseling on a sliding scale.
Of course, we’re here to listen too. If you’d like to talk about this further, give us a call. We’re open Mondays from 3.30-6pm, Wednesdays from 6-9pm, and Fridays from1-3pm.
We’re in your corner :]
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