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He Won’t Come Out to His Family

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Ellis:

I’ve got a problem: my boyfriend refuses to come out of the closet to his family. We’ve been a couple for nearly four years and his refusal to open up to his family has really driven a wedge between us. I’m sick of sneaking around and pretending to be the roommate when his family comes by (which is often because they live just a few blocks away.)

I feel like he’s denying our relationship; like he’s ashamed of me and I’m increasingly finding myself feeling resentful of him. How do I get him to finally come out to his family?

~Sick of Sneaking Around

Ask Ellis

Sick of Sneaking Around:

You’re facing a fairly common issue – one that impacts many same-sex couples.

The decision of if and when to come out is a very personal one. Coming out can be a very transformative experience; one that can impact nearly every aspect of your life. So it’s important to respect your boyfriend’s decision to withhold this information from his family.

I would try to view the situation from your boyfriend’s perspective. Don’t assume that he’s refusing to come out because he’s ashamed of your relationship; instead, he may fear his family’s reaction. There is a big difference between shame and fear.

I suspect that your boyfriend believes his family won’t be accepting of his sexual orientation. This is usually the case for individuals who haven’t come out to their families.Sadly, many parents cannot — or will not — accept their gay children. So your boyfriend may be facing a situation where he’s confronting the possible destruction of his relationship with his family. That’s no small thing and it’s not something to be taken lightly.

I would focus on providing support to your partner as he grapples with the decision of when and if to come out to his family. If you fear that he’s ashamed of your relationship, then it’s something you both need to discuss and address together as a couple.

But don’t focus too much on who knows about your relationship; after all, his parents’ awareness of their son’s sexual orientation will likely have a minimal impact on your relationship. So try to focus on things that do have a direct impact on you as a couple. Focus your efforts on growing your relationship.

Ask Ellis is authored by LGBT advice columnist Ellis Keller. Click here to follow Ask Ellis on Facebook or submit your Ask Ellis question here.

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