Come Out or Get Out!

Q: My girlfriend of 2 years, wants us to come out. To EVERYONE, family, friends. A select few know about us being together, and me being a lesbian. But the idea of telling my mom that her daughter is homosexual makes my stomach turn to jello-instant-pudding. I love my girlfriend a lot, and I can see being with her forever. And then 1 week, 2 days, and 6 hours ago, she gave me a very hard choice. Come out, or break up. I cried, begged pleaded.. to no avail. She is ready to tell everyone shes in love, and she thinks that because I’m not, I don’t love her or something. 2 years and I’m still not ready? I’ve known I was a lesbian since forever.. just havn’t gotten the courage to tell most people. What do i do??? I love her a lot. But I’m just not ready to come out yet.

Diva Says: Ouch! This sounds like a huge communication gap, darlin’. It’s one of those situations when your girlfriend feels that your actions represent something that, in your mind, they do not. She’s reading between the lines, applying her own form of logic to your actions, and she’s, more than likely, not fully aware of how your own thought processes work. All she sees is you, her girlfriend, the woman she loves, unwilling to stand up and say out loud that you’re proud to be with her.
The opposite side of this coin is the fact that she’s so caught up in her hurt feelings that she can’t really stand back objectively and see that your fears are more a protection of yourself and of your families feelings, and really don’t have anything to do with either your level of commitment to her or your pride in being her partner. The best thing you can do is pour your heart out to her, tell her that the importance she places on coming out isn’t the same importance you place on it, and that your unwillingness to do so at this point isn’t, in your mind, a disrespect to her… that it’s something completely separate. Explain that you love her very much, and that you can’t imagine being without her, and that eventually, you’ll be ready to take that step out of the closet. But that, for now, for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with her, you’re not ready.
You also need to be sensitive to her feelings. If there are certain people that you feel that you are ready to trust with it, begin the slow process of coming out to a few more people who, perhaps, aren’t so key in your existence. Show her you’re willing to start making some progress in this area, and ask her for some sensitivity.
Ultimatums are a sign of hurt feelings, and they’re not an effective tool for communication. People who give ultimatums seldom get their way, and when they do, they usually end up suffering for it in built up resentment from their partners and loss of trust and respect.
She’s scared and she’s hurt, and rightfully so. She has a right to expect her partner to proclaim from the highest hilltop that she’s in love. But you also have the right to do that in your own time. Communicate, be compassionate to her and open yourself up to her to allow her to regain some compassion for you. This problem isn’t unresolveable if you both want to work it out.
Good luck!

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