March 8, 2018 at 6:06 pm EDT | by Michael Radkowsky
ADVICE: Lesbian lover resents being shoved back in the closet
closet, come out, coming out, gay news, Washington Blade

Back in the closet?

Hi Michael,

 

Based on our vibe, I asked a gal I met out to dinner. She told me that she was dating a man but added that she’d been attracted to women in the past. Soon, she left her boyfriend and we started dating. 

 

I spend most of my time (including nights) at her place. This is problematic because her family lives nearby and frequently come over without notice.   

 

She has shared how they engrained in her the importance of marrying a man and she is battling internally. So when I first started staying over, I would have to hide in closets when her family would show up unexpectedly so that I wouldn’t be seen.  

 

I’m still hiding some of the time because she does not want her family to see how often I am there; but I am hiding less, because I don’t like hiding. And once, she even took me over to meet them briefly. So now her family knows I am her “friend,” knows my name and that I am a potential roommate, as we are talking about moving in together. 

 

We have a kitten, but she denied me the opportunity to contribute half to purchasing her in case we ever broke up. 

 

My girlfriend has told her sister and a few friends about us. Regarding her parents, she tells me to trust her, be patient and supportive, that she will tell them but needs time. But how much time is enough time? 

 

She means everything to me and has been the first person I have been with that I truly feel is the one, but I have doubt that she feels the same way because she is not honest about who I am to her.

Michael replies:

This letter is all about your girlfriend and the ways in which you think she has been making your life difficult and painful. You are focusing on the wrong person.

You knew from the get-go what you were getting into, given that she told you when you met that she was dating a man. Yet you chose to pursue her. 

Since then, you’ve agreed to literally hide in the closet so that her family won’t suspect that she’s in a relationship with you. You’ve even tolerated her buying a kitten without your contribution so that ownership will be clearly hers if you break up. And you’ve continued to stay in this relationship.

The answer isn’t for you to figure out how long you can wait for your girlfriend to change, it’s to figure out why this situation has been so alluring from the beginning and to decide if you really want anything different than feeling like the helpless victim of your closeted girlfriend. While you report that you’re hiding less frequently, you still are getting into that closet.

I wonder what you’re looking for, and what you feel you deserve. What makes you want to stick around in a relationship where you are largely hidden away and downplayed?

What are your own feelings about being gay? Does it somehow work for you to be in a down-low relationship? Is your own family less than approving of your sexual orientation?  Do they even know? 

If the gay issue is thorny for you, as I suspect it is, you have some work to do on yourself before you can have a healthy relationship with another woman.

Another important question: What has contributed to you accepting such low standards for a relationship?

I wonder what your past relationships were like. Open and loving? Or somehow seeming like a challenge to get the other person to be interested in you or really treat you as a partner?  You don’t seem to feel you deserve much, despite your being offended by your girlfriend’s behavior. You would do yourself a favor to figure out why this is.

Not incidentally, I am wondering what about your girlfriend makes you feel that she is “the one.” She’s making it loud and clear where she stands, and it isn’t in a visible, committed relationship with you.

If you want something different from what you have, don’t count on your girlfriend changing. True, most everyone does change over time, but we don’t get to dictate the changes others make. Nor can we make them adhere to a schedule

So take your focus off your girlfriend and put your focus on yourself. You’ve got some work to do if you don’t want to continue to play the victim in this or any other relationship.

 

Michael Radkowsky, Psy.D. is a licensed psychologist who works with LGBT couples and individuals in D.C. He can be found online at michaelradkowsky.com. All identifying information has been changed for reasons of confidentiality. Have a question? Send it to Michael@michaelradkowsky.com.

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