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I can't come out....ever

Discussion in 'Coming Out Advice' started by Melody36, Oct 16, 2020.

  1. Melody36

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    I have known since I was probably about 7 that I was different then other people. When I was younger, I didn't know what was different about me, I just knew that I was. As I grew older, I knew....but I didn't want to admit it even to myself. I was raised in a super conservative household and I knew....if anyone ever knew...I would lose everything. I know for a fact my family would never accept my real self. If they knew...I would lose them...I can't tell them...or anyone else...the cost is too high...there is a huge cost that I pay every day for my silence...but the cost to say the truth would be much higher. It's not a price that I can pay. As I get older (I will be 36 next week) it is harder and harder to keep my real self a secret. There is a huge hole in my heart. My friends mean more to me then I do them because there is a void in my life that others can't fill. I know it is not fair to myself to put my family's happiness and views before my own. But I just can't. I don't know how to live authentically. I am so afraid that I will never find the freedom to live authentically. And that I will always be lonely because I can't have the kind of partner that I desperately want. No one knows the truth about who I really am. My family, my colleagues, my friends, no one knows the real me. The only person in the whole world who knows the truth is my therapist. I've known her for 11 years and it took me 10 years to tell her the truth. She helped me find this group. She thought it would help for me to talk to other people who would understand my struggle. I like girls. But more than anything I wish I didn't. If I were the way people wanted me to be then maybe I'd have a chance at real happiness. I care too much what other people think. I'd rather live a lie then risk losing the people I love the most. The pain of rejection is just too great. I don't know what to do.
     
  2. QuietPeace

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    You are making a choice, that of other peoples comfort over your own comfort and happiness. This is your choice and if that is how you decide to live then it is up to you.

    I made that same choice for many years. I lived a heteronormative life, I married and had children. If I had it to do over again I would come out to my family, they would reject me and I would then cut them 100% out of my life. I was unable to keep up the lie, it broke me, I am disabled from mental illness which in my opinion is mostly due to the stress of living the lie. I no longer have any genetic relatives in my life but that does not mean that I am alone. I have friends who ACTUALLY care about me, not conditional pretend caring as I got from my genetic relatives, it is not always easy and I do have troubles but it is worth it.

    But as I said, the choice is up to you.
     
    #2 QuietPeace, Oct 16, 2020
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2020
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  3. quebec

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    Melody36.....Hello and a very big welcome to Empty Closets! My first posts to EC sounded quite a bit like yours. I said several times that I would never tell my family that I am gay...that I would take that secret to my grave. I was convinced that it was impossible to come out to anyone, family, or friends. I felt trapped with no way out. I had allowed that secret to have control over my life for well over 50 years. The secret was tearing me apart. I reached a crisis in December of 2014 and the wonderful folks here on Empty Closets helped me so much the night that I came apart at the seams, completely unable to keep the secret any longer yet unable to tell anyone. After I came out here on EC, I spent the next year only sharing about my sexuality here on Empty Closets. I didn't tell anyone face-to-face until December 2015. That first person was my therapist the first time I met him. You say that you have been seeing a therapist for 11 years and yet you took 10 years to come out to her. That makes me wonder a bit about your therapist. I am glad that she pointed you in our direction, but does she have any experience with LGBTQ+ issues? If not then looking for a different therapist might be a good idea. With the help of the Empty Closets folks and my therapist, I have made some really great progress. I am now out to my wife, two of my three sons, their wives, and a few very close friends. Five years ago I would have said that was impossible. One of the most important things that I've learned is that I am in control of my own life. I get to choose if I come out to someone, when, where, and how I come out...no one else gets to pressure me or have a say in the choices that I make concerning my sexuality. I have learned that I do not have to live an all-or-nothing life. I don't have to tell everyone that I'm gay and I do not have to keep it a secret from everyone. It's completely up to me. Accepting that I really am in complete control over that part of my life has helped me so much. There have been a number of times when the circumstances around a particular person and/or a conversation have lead me to think: "Should I come out to them?". That is when I can take a few moments and think over my relationship with that person. That is when I am thinking: "is it important that they know I'm gay?", "are they someone who I think will accept me and treat me the same after they know I'm gay?". Some times the answer is yes, more often it's no...but I am still in control of whatever choice I make. The important thing here is that I have broken the power that the secret of my sexuality had over me. I no longer live in fear. So much of my self-hate, shame, and depression was linked to that secret always hanging over me. I'm not out to everyone and I don't need to be. However, because I am out to a few, the secret is now dead. I am free from its power over me and for the last five years, I have been living a life that is so much happier than before! Even some people who I am not out to have commented on how much happier I seem to be now! Melody, I hope this makes you think a little that perhaps you are not really "trapped"! Change takes time...but change is possible! Remember that you are a part of our LGBTQ+ Family and that we do care! Please keep us updated on how you are doing.
    .....David :gay_pride_flag:
     
  4. Melody36

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    Yes, it is 100% my choice and that is not on anyone else but me. But is more complex then just I am making a choice to live a lie. If it were that simple, I would have chosen differently a long time ago.
     
  5. Melody36

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    Thank you for such a thoughtful response and warm welcome. I appreciate it. My therapist has extensive experience (both personal and professional) with LGBTQ issues. There was never any doubt in my mind that it was safe to "come out" to her. I didn't tell her because I secretly hoped that if I didn't say it, it wouldn't be true. Obviously that is impossible. Just me registering for and participating in an anonymous chat group is a huge step. It took me several months to work up the courage to join and post.
     
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  6. Really

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    Hey @Melody36

    Welcome to EC! I hope your time here will help you incrementally inch towards being able to live as you want to. We’ve all had some variation of not being able to come out, wanting to and/or needing to for our mental health. No matter which, EC will definitely be here for however much help you need and hopefully, you’ll start to feel more optimistic soon.

    Whether it’s concrete steps or simply ways to start processing all this, you’ll find lots of similar stories and help. Feel free to pop over to the LGBT Later section and post whatever is on your mind.
    We’ll do what we can to help you. :}
     
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  7. Melody36

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    Thank you! I appreciate it!
     
  8. BiGemini87

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    Hello Melody, and welcome to EC.

    I'm sorry you feel trapped in your situation. It really can feel like a Catch-22, trying to decide whether to sacrifice the real you in order to retain what you have, or risking what you have to be the real you.

    I can't tell you what you should or shouldn't do. I just hope you reach a point where you feel strong enough to be the real you, regardless of what others might think. It seems a terribly lonely life, only having your therapist know this about you. Are you so certain that others in your life would never accept you? I thought the same about certain friends and family, and by some weird chance, they didn't choose to disassociate--and these were people I'd heard make homophobic or borderline homophobic comments beforehand.

    I understand if you're not ready to take this particular plunge, but maybe you can start small? Start with one friend, whichever one you think is the most accepting, and work your way up from there? I don't know if everyone has experienced this with coming out, but I've found each time I've come out to someone has been a little easier than the time before it.

    I think it's also worth considering: If your parents can't love you for who you truly are, then do they even deserve to be in your life? I know that's not an easy call. I get it, especially when you otherwise have a good relationship (or what you think is a good relationship) with someone. But it is something to think about.

    What you do is totally up to you. All I can say is, staying in the closet for the rest of your life sounds like a pretty awful thing to go through, and one I'm sure will have more than its fair share of regrets. I sincerely hope you'll overcome this hurdle. :frowning2:
     
    #8 BiGemini87, Oct 18, 2020
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2020
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  9. Melody36

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    Thank you for such a thoughtful response. I actually don't think the majority of my friends would be at all bothered (or honestly surprised) if I told them. I live in an extremely liberal and accepting area and while my family is very close-minded, my community at large is one of the best places a person who is not of the majority could hope to live. I have two concerns with being "out" to friends. 1) I have a very public profession in my community and I don't know what the professional ramifications would be. I also worry that word could travel back to my family. 2) Although my friends wouldn't have a problem with my sexual preferences, I worry it would change the dynamics of certain friendships and that some of them would then worry that I "like them like them" and would hold me at arm's length. If that makes sense? I definitely see the obstacles with telling others outside of family as much more conquerable then being out to family. That might be able to happen one day....but not yet....I even know who the first person outside of my therapist I would be comfortable telling is. Thank you for such a helpful response. After typing all this out it does give me a small hope that even if I can't see myself being totally out with everyone ever, maybe I could one day, when I'm ready, take some smaller steps to be more authentic.
     
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  10. BiGemini87

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    I do get where you're coming from, there. I worried about the same thing, to be honest; I didn't want any of my female friends to think I was attracted to them, because of those who live in my town, I'm not. It's good that you're giving some thought to this, though, observing which aspects might be easiest to overcome first.

    I hope you find that day and that it proves to be a most positive, liberating experience. And no worries at all! I'm happy to help if/when I can. :slight_smile:
     
  11. Frankie46

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    Hi Melody36.

    I completely understand where you are at. I am 10 years older than you and rather than ease, the vicious cycle of living a lie is start to take its toll. I know I am gay and have wasted years of my life dodging the ‘coming out’ bullet. I feel sad that I’ve wasted so much time even though it had meant in have two beautiful children. I just want to be loved and happy and feel like now is the time to start sorting my life out.
    We are only here once. Don’t regret not taking what you really want for fear of others.
    Good luck. Frankie x