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Coming out after going back in the closet

Discussion in 'Coming Out Advice' started by Mysteria, Nov 24, 2020.

  1. Mysteria

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    The title pretty much says it. I was out to everyone but my children, broke up with my girlfriend, and let that throw me back in the closet. I'm embarrassed that I've flip-flopped so much. I just...without someone in my life, I couldn't picture how to tell my children, and I wondered if it was a sign that I should 'turn back to God'. Has anyone gone back in the closet and had to face coming out again?
     
  2. quebec

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    Mysteria.....I'm sure that there are many people who have come out and then gone back to hiding their sexuality for a myriad of reasons. It happened to me in my early twenties. I was out during most of my college years with a wonderful boyfriend. We were completely committed to each other and, had it been now and not the 1970's, we would likely have married. I lost him through illness and his parents threw me out of their house when they discovered that we were far more than just good friends. I didn't get to say goodbye or attend his funeral. I don't even know where he was buried. That situation devasted me and I turned my back on my sexuality as I couldn't endure the thought of anyone else taking Tim's place. I went so far as to erase everything about the years with Tim from my mind. I just refuse to ever think about him because it was just too painful. That happened when I was about 21 years old. I didn't "reaccept" my sexuality until I was 64 years old in 2014. Even then it was about two years after I came out here on Empty Closets that the memories of my time with Tim gradually came back to me. It was almost as terrible the second time as it was the first time. But this time I had the wonderful folks here of Empty Closets and a really outstanding therapist to help me through the rough time. Now I can remember the time I had with Tim and cherish those memories. Sorry that I've written so much here...but I wanted to share with you that "going back into the closet" can happen, especially when a person doesn't have a support system to lean on. There are times when we face situations that are just more than we can handle alone. Sometimes it can seem easier to just turn our back on our sexuality in the face of rejection by family and friends, etc. The cliche that "It gets better" is actually true when we give difficult situations time to heal, when we allow ourselves to lean on others who do love and care for us. You've made a great first step by sharing with us here on Empty Closets. If you haven't thought about contacting a therapist, please do. My therapist has helped me in so many ways. He was instrumental in guiding me to learn how to love myself. He helped me to overcome the shame, guilt, and self-hated that had caused so much depression in my life. Even friends of mine who do not know that I am gay have remarked that I am such a different person in the last few years! That's all due to the support I have received from my therapist and from Empty Closets. When you look for a therapist check what they list as their fields of expertise to be sure that they list working with the LGBTQ+ Family as part of their practice. My therapist happens to also be gay. That has helped as I know that he has gone through the same things that I have. Your therapist need not be LGBTQ+ themselves, but it usually doesn't hurt!
    There are many of us who have dealt with the same kind of thing that you are going through right now. Please don't hesitate to vent on us, to cry on our electronic shoulders. We do want to help in any way that we can. Remember that you are a part of our LGBTQ+ Family and we do care! Please keep us updated on how this is working out!
    .....David :gay_pride_flag:
     
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  3. PeterWI

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    Yup, this happened to me too. I originally came out in 2002 (IIRC, LOL) while I was married. Got divorced and started to enjoy my new life, but then tried to repress it again. Now I'm back out, though, on a need-to-know basis or with new people I meet. I don't know what else to add. Now it's kind of like Marie-Louise von Franz said, that if you're done with something, you don't really feel like saying much about it at all. So I'm just going to go on with my life. I'm kind of trying to start dating again. Feel free to ask me anything, I'm pretty much an open book.

    I hope things work out for you and you find your way. :slight_smile:
     
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  4. QuietPeace

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    I have been in and out of the closet a couple times but my coming out was more about my gender. I first tried to talk about it with my mom in the 60s and found out quickly that was not something to talk about. I first came out as an adult in the mid 80s and started living as my true self but due to a relationship I was pushed back into the closet. When I got out of that I had to come out again only to be put through conversion "therapy" and shoved back into the closet hard. During that period I was married and had children. Once I was widowed I came out again for the final time. There is a stigma attached to going back and forth, I had to just accept that regardless of what I did some people were not going to believe me. I have lived as my true self ever since and refused to allow anyone to "make" me question myself about how I am.
     
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  5. Mysteria

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    Thank you for your post. Wow...what a traumatic situation! I'm so sorry you had to go through that.
    I do have a therapist. My therapist of four years, who was great in helping me with my sexuality, quit, so I got a new one, and so far she seems very good. I'm hoping she'll be able to help me as we get to know each other better. Unfortunately, in my area, there's a shortage. I was lucky to get a therapist after mine quit without a wait, and it was only because my psychiatrist pulled some strings. Luckily I live in a very LGBTQ friendly area and the office I go to is pretty openly pro-LGBTQ friendly.
    What sucks is my friends who have the biggest problem with this (very conservative Catholics) were, if not thrilled, resigned to my sexual orientation before. Then I went back in the closet and they were thrilled at my "conversion". Now I'm going to be leaving the Catholic church and looking for an affirming church, and I'm going to be coming out, and I'm worried our friendship(s) won't survive it. And of course, I still have to figure out how to tell my kids, which means I have to tell my ex. So I basically created all this work for myself. :slight_smile:
     
  6. Mysteria

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    Thanks for your post! Did you find you lost relationships with people as you went back out the second time?
     
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  7. Mysteria

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    Thanks for your post! I'm sure some people aren't going to believe me, less on this issue and more on the issue of my faith. My identity as a Catholic has fluctuated along with my being in the closet and I'm sure there are going to be people who will just write me off. I mostly care about my children, and they never knew in the first place, so that's good..
     
  8. PatrickUK

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    Coming out is a process and it can sometimes take us along a 'bumpy road' towards that final destination. When the road is rough we may need to pull-in for a while or pause the journey and that's okay too. This is a big life issue. It would be very nice if it wasn't, but society hasn't yet come round to the idea that our default setting isn't straight.

    I noticed in your first post you talked about turning back to God, which is often code for suppressing who we are in order to conform. Please don't do that! God does not require conformity from anyone. I'm sure you are familiar with the passage that reminds us that "nothing in all creation can separate us from the love of God." Keep that in mind as you look for an affirming church.
     
  9. Mysteria

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    That's what it was. I wondered if the breakup with my girlfriend was a sign that this whole homosexuality thing was sinful and I truly thought I could go back in the closet, even though it would mean being celibate the rest of my life. It turns out I can't pull it off. That's why I'm here again, working on coming out of the closet again.
     
  10. Ram90

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    I tried coming out of the closet as a teen and when it backfired, I went in for almost a decade. It helped that I found supportive, open-minded friends and came out to them when I was 27. But now I'm sort of, one foot in the door and one foot out ha ha. I'm out and proud of it, online, especially on EC and on some discrete social media accounts. But in real life, sometimes I go to the extent of behaving heterosexually on purpse, just to avoid confrontation. Especially since the pandemic and the concurrent lockdowns, which have forced me to stay home.

    So I totally understand where you're coming from. As for the religion thing, don't worry. It happened to me too. I got so mad that I "lost" religion for a while. It was during my "life isn't fair" slump, which lasted a few years. But I found comfort in religion again and don't let religious fanatics and scripture-preachers ruin it for me. :slight_smile:. I pick and choose what aspect of it I follow and I'm happy with it. :slight_smile:. So don't worry about what people will say or judge you for it. They can take a hike!
     
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  11. Rin311

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    I think going in and out of the closet is pretty common. Coming out is the final expression of a very long process which is mostly internal - coming to terms and accepting ourselves, figuring out what being LGBT means to us and how it would affect our lives, and eventually choosing to live authentically. Embracing your true self and living it is a big decision, and it takes time until people choose to take that leap. I don't think going back and forth on any big decision is uncommon.

    What makes this more complicated though is that going back in means denying who you are. There are situations where you really don't have a choice (living in a culture where being out would get you hurt or killed, being a minor who is financially dependent on non-accepting parents, etc.), but when you are an adult who is free to choose, going back can be mentally damaging to yourself. It implies that there's something wrong with being who you are, and accepting and conforming to that message would only make you feel worse. You can't change who you're attracted to. You can change your acceptance of and view of yourself.

    As for God... I grew up in a religious conservative family that taught me that God created people as straight, and that gays deviate from God's will by their own choice/surrender to Satan's tricks. "Going back to God", in an environment this spiritually toxic, has nothing to do with God and what He might want for you, it has everything to do with control and hatred. God created us as we are. As hard as it is to accept sometimes, we are as we should be. Take care.
     
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  12. old tacoma

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    I truly sincerely wish that I had previously had someone to share with, what we share here on EC. I might have walked a very different path in my life.
     
  13. Mysteria

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    Thanks for your post. It was mentally damaging to go back in. No sooner had I decided to go back to being a conservative Catholic and be celibate then I lost the happiness that I had with being mostly out. But I thought that was just the cost of doing the right thing. Then recently someone told me that if I couldn't find joy and healing as a Catholic that I wouldn't stay one. This got me thinking about coming out of the closet again and feeling joy and peace doing that.
    Now I'm trying, tentatively, to build some sort of relationship with God on the basis that He loves me as I am.
     
  14. PatrickUK

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    Honestly, there is very little to support the idea that God doesn't love you just the way you are. Conservative Christians base their arguments against homosexuality around a small number of verses from the Bible that are snipped out and used in complete isolation, without any appreciation for context or the wider story arc. The Bible contains over 750,000 words and their argument is tenuously based on the supposed meaning of a few hundred words. It's a very silly and hypocritical game to play when the tables can so easily be turned.

    An affirming church that appreciates sound theology and biblical exegesis will make a real difference.
     
  15. Mysteria

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    I'm very blessed that there are many in our area. Once COVID-19 is lessened to where we can do in person church again, I know which one I'd go to. In the meantime, I'm trying to do a little studying on my own, reading some Christian authors who have studied those verses and have sound exegesis.
     
  16. FindingMe7

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    I too am researching and studying on my own. Faith has always been a very important part of my life and I don't want to sacrifice Faith or my true self because Faith and same sex attraction for me is my true self. Hopefully that makes sense.
     
  17. Mysteria

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    That totally makes sense. I wrote in my journal once that those two parts of my life felt like a double helix that was holding up the rest of it. I cannot picture not having faith in my life in some fashion. Even when I've totally left Christianity altogether I've taken part in religions like Wicca or Buddhism.
     
  18. PeterWI

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    Sorry for the late reply... I've been busy with finals at the ole community college. I haven't lost anyone yet, but the people I'm closest to I've known for years so they're probably bored with my struggle already. :wink:
     
  19. Raisinsss

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    Ah, I remember getting hit with extreme poverty a few years back. I had no health insurance, no running water, limited heating. It forced me back in the closet because I definitely looked like a guy during this part of my life. I think a lot of people started to doubt my sexuality because I had been "out" for 5 years without ever really doing anything about it. Then I moved somewhere new and basically had to start from scratch. I was a hard time. I feel a bit odd about the whole thing because when I first came out it was such a big part of my life, but it got put aside for years because just having basic necessities was such a challenge.
    It was at a point that my family was genuinely surprised when I started taking estrogen. As if they expected me to back out of it. Anyway, much like coming out the first time I had a bunch of anxiety about it, but I just took my time and let things kind of happen naturally. I usually like to come out as part of casual conversation. It's just easier then pulling somebody aside to tell them I'm trans. Most people can probably tell I'm trans (or not a man, at least) just by looking at me, though, which makes things easier.
    That's all I have for now. Feel free to message me. Best wishes.
     
  20. Mysteria

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    It's funny you mention poverty as a reason for going back in the closet, because that was a reason for me. Although mine was not as extreme as yours, I live right on the brink of it. I didn't really have the money to date and neither did my girlfriend and our lack of seeing each other (no cars, but both of us had health problems where public transportation was hard to do) affected our relationship. And when we broke up the idea of starting a new relationship knowing I could only afford about one date a month sounded so overwhelming. More then that, I felt like I had no right to date. That's something I'm still struggling with. Should poor people date...I'm sure there are many who would say no. *Sigh*