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It happens to all of us at some point.

You’ve found a really amazing girl: smart, funny, talented. Everything is going great until one day you’re out for a walk and she suddenly pushes you into the bushes when she sees someone she knows. Enter: the closet case.

Though it can be frustrating to date a lesbian-in-hiding, the fact remains that the choice to come out of the closet is a very personal one, and it truly bears no reflection on you or your relationship. It doesn’t mean she’s embarrassed of you. Or not that into you. Or waiting for the right girl to come along in order to pronounce to the world she’s gay. It just means that she’s not ready to show her real self to the rest of the world – though she is ready to show it to you.

While you wait for her to come into her own, here are the best things you can do for your sake, her sake, and the sake of your relationship. Here’s how to date a closet lesbian:

Be Patient

It’s not your job to force her out of the closet. Don’t be offended if she’s not ready to introduce you to her mom and dad, Uncle Tom, and her best friend from Catholic school. And don’t turn every date into a psycho-therapy session, trying to convince her it’s time to come out with who she is. You’re not her mentor, you’re her girlfriend. Know your boundaries.

Find Balance

You still need to be you. There might be times when you need to go out by yourself if she isn’t comfortable with it. That’s okay, so long as she realizes you have to be open about your sexuality, even if she isn’t.

Communicate

Just as you might be irked by her refusal to come out, she might be annoyed by your obsession with being “so lesbian.” Talk about it before things fester.

Keep Dates on the Down-low

Be willing to stay in once in awhile if you have to, even just to calm her anxiety. She’ll appreciate that you didn’t make her hang out at Lesbians ‘R’ Us.

Remember You

If time goes by and you find that the relationship truly isn’t working for you, that’s okay, too. Your feelings are just as important as hers, and if you feel you need to move on to stay true to yourself, that’s fine. It’s possible that you’re just in different stages of your lives, which happens to everyone, gay, straight, or otherwise.

If you’re really into a closet case, the best thing you can do is try to be supportive of her while keeping yourself in mind. You already know from experience that it’s not easy to come out and such a huge life step shouldn’t be taken by force or obligation. Just think of what it was like for you and everything should become a lot clearer.

Let me know what you think in the comments section below. Also, please don’t forget to “like,” “tweet,” or “share” this blog post. I’ve been blogging for only a little over a month now and I am blown away by your support. It encourages me to continue writing and hopefully providing you with valuable content. Lastly, don’t forget to check back next week for new posts from your favorite blog :)

Rock On,
SLUSH

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Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi, everyone. I am currently closeted but when I get a girlfriend I plan on being open about it. The problem is that my family is very homophobic and will not like the idea of me dating a girl. I don’t think I’ll want to introduce them to her or if we get that far, have them at our wedding. When I find her what should I say to her? I know if I meet an amazing woman, I’ll want to show her off, but if I bring her home once her back is turned, they’ll make fun of me and her. On the other hand, I don’t want her to feel like I’m ashamed of her. What would I do?

  2. My girlfriend and I have been dating for over a year now. I’m proud and comfortable with who I am. My girlfriend hasn’t dated any other girl but me, so this makes me her first girlfriend. I understand that she isn’t ready to come out and tell the whole world she is gay. This isn’t my issue. My issue is that she denies the fact that we even know each other or that we even talk! Her friends always ask who I am. She denies me and says “oh idk”. All I asked was for her to just say we’re friends. I won’t get hurt. But when she Denies that we’re even close or that she doesn’t really know me it hurts. I’m sad. But reading this really grounds me and makes me feel better.

  3. live.laugh.love. says:

    Okay so I’ve been dating my girlfriend for almost 9 months now. She is my first girlfriend and she made me realize that I need to be true to myself. So I have come out to my whole family except for one of my grandmas (which im coming out to her in the next couple of weeks when I finally get a day free). My girlfriend has known she is a lesbian for 3 years now and never said anything to any of her family. She finally told her mom about 4 months into us dating. It turned out good and all of my family has been okay with me so far except for one of my aunts but thats besides the point. She hasn’t told ANY of her family members except for her mom. I know I am stronger willed than she is, but I feel like she is ashamed of me or something… I’ve talked to her about telling anyone else and she says she doesn’t want to because she likes the way things are going and always says how “its not a good time right now…” I dont know what to do because on one side, I love her so much, but onthe other side, its already affecting our relationship so much. I hate being known as just her friend around everyone. And yet she expects me to take her to my prom (which im going to do anyways), and come out to my whole senior class… AT PROM… but she wont tell anyone in her family… I dont think thats fair. She doesn’t see how much this is affecting me because I dont want to force her to do anything, ya know? But at the same time she wants to avoid it forever and I dont know what to do anymore… can someone help me figure something out or give me any advice?

  4. Hi all,
    Wonder if anyone can help me. Im 43 yrs old, yes a rather late developer… I think Ive been closeted for quite some time and Ive known and hid it. I only let myself explore my lesbian desires when i was in my mid 30′s, and even still I am still very slowly coming out of my shell. I live in the Mid East where society religion and social norms are not that gay friendly to say the least. Thats no excuse but its still a weighty burden from under which to come out of… Im happy telling my friends but not obviously showing it so it makes it harder to attract and date girls… Its ok. Ive accepted that living in the closet for a while longer maybe just the way it goes b/c I can not alienate or rather choose not to rock the boat with my conservative family – at least for now. When the time is right i.e. I do not want to put my mom into any more stress for now and she is definitely homophobic. So Ive dealt with that for now. But my issue is that Im falling for a girl who’s 26 and seems to me to be even more in the closet. I see myself in her, and I totally could be wrong i.e. she could most definitely NOT be gay but my gaydar is so strong. The problem is she definitely does not seem to know it yet. I remember that stage. I do not want to scare her or push her above and beyond her comfort level, and yet how to show her Im there for her if she wants to explore this side of her self, if it is indeed a part of her that she wants to explore even? She is very sweet and tender with me and always says very endearing loving words, which could very well be overly friendly, but we are slowly getting to know each other though we live in different cities and we both know we will be spending more time as I move there soon. Im just worried on how to act… is it ok if I feel the need to reach out and hold her hand to do so? I feel tremendous energy around her- would it be safe for me to say that? Or is that too much – should I wait on her to say something? arghhh that might take forever… She still talks about cute boys at times, but then says things like he’s like a brother… she goes out with her sis and in groups mostly… We’ve only been on one date, she invited me for drinks and since we’ve been in contact via Fb and mail…. How to play this? Thanks in advance!

  5. I am a open lesbian of about 3 years and been dating my girlfriend for 1 year. She is Bi and in the closet. She she has done stuff with one other girl before me. Also dated men but they all left her oor broken heart and cheated on her. But she is the first person I have had sex with or got intimate with. She never believes me when I ong. She always tells everyone she is sis nothing of it. But when I tell people I’m single when they ask me she gets all pissed. I’m confused why is it ok for her to say she is single and I can’t say it to.

    • Im in the same boat, iv been seeing a girl for 5 months, I asked her are we official and she said we are seeing each other so I said im stil officialy single then, and she says no so I said so we are in a relationship and she said why do we have to label it. When shes drunk she tells some of her friends im her gf but others shes single yet im nt single. Its hard work and hurts. Im at a crossroads with it. My gf is 33 and im 25 we only see each other once a week coz she has 2 kids that dont know shes gay so I feel like her weekend secret yet I av to akt the rest of the week like im in a relationship. Duno wat to do

  6. I am in a serious relationship with a woman. We are both openly gay– for the most part. She keeps her orientation a secret from only certain people, but most people who are close to her know. I am one of the most open and confident people there is. However, her wanting to keep us a secret from certain people makes me feel terrible. I love her, and I want to tell the word how happy she makes me. The person that bothers me the most is her high school best friend who now lives 700 miles away. They talk every day, all day. The fact that after a year of us being together, she still doesn’t want to tell her best friend about me… Makes me sick to my stomach. I dont know how to be supportive about it while also protecting my feelings. I feel stuck and lost because I love her so much, but being stuck in her closet makes me question how much she really loves me back. Any advice?

    • oh my god, that can not be nice at all. especially as you say they talk every day? my main guess is that because she and her friend have known each other for so long, she is finding it hard to suddenly come out with something that she really should have said years ago….
      the main advice i can give is talk to her about how you feel. she must be scared that her friend would be shocked by the fact she is gay and it could ‘ruin their friendship’ but as we all know, if her friend is not happy with it, then she isnt worth knowing. this is the sad, harsh truth. also.. ask your girlfriend what would happen if you wanted to get married one day. surely she couldnt not invite this friend, who she talks to all the time, to the wedding?

    • oh my god, that can not be nice at all. especially as you say they talk every day? my main guess is that because she and her friend have known each other for so long, she is finding it hard to suddenly come out with something that she really should have said years ago….
      the main advice i can give is talk to her about how you feel. she must be scared that her friend would be shocked by the fact she is gay and it could ‘ruin their friendship’ but as we all know, if her friend is not happy with it, then she isnt worth knowing. this is the sad, harsh truth. also.. ask your girlfriend what would happen if you wanted to get married one day. surely she couldnt not invite this friend, who she talks to all the time, to the wedding?

      • Oh the wedding thing… She wants to elope. I can’t help thinking that the reason she wants to elope is because she doesn’t want to come out to her friend. I am being as patient as I can and I have told her how I feel. I just dont think she hears me or has any intention of telling her. I dont know how far its acceptable to push her. Where do I draw the line? How do I balance her feelings and mine in this situation?

  7. My 1st instinct is to lie and to take on a persona that says “I am a Lesbian” because in my heart I know what I am attracted to, women and this is anonymous, you would never know. But I am married to a man, I have children and I care about him and them. I can’t turn off my attraction and I tend to think that I’ve made my bed, that is a conflict of its own. I often feel like, if I dated a woman it would be such a relief for me but she would feel the frustration of a closeted relationship and I don’t want to hurt anyone. I feel like I am hiding everyday of my life. I don’t want to be a player, I would never hunt women for sex, I would love to at least have lesbian friends so I can be part of that world and maybe someone close enough to tell my secrets. So how do you meet lesbians for friendship when you are in the closet?

  8. I’ve just started going out with a girl for the first time, its also the first time i’ve been out with anyone, and its like that for her too (we’re still at school). The thing is we’re both still in the closet apart from a few mutual friends (we’ve been friends since before we dated). I really like her and care about her, but i’m worried about people finding out about us… will we be able to keep our relationship a secret?

    • Intimacy will be a problem. I am guessing there aren’t too many places for privacy so your relationship may suffer. You may give up and call it quits because it becomes too hard. Just holding hands can get you caught and the reprisals might be too much to handle. Talk to her a lot if you want to survive to a place where you will both be strong in your relationship and your sexuality.

  9. If your lover does not want anyone to know they love you……they don’t. People who are unable to accept themselves are unable to accept, thus love, others anyway. They are too concerned of what others think, because they are likely engaged in judgment of others – the role reversal is terrifying. In order to be loving, we all have to take clear aim at honesty, self love and acceptance. If we can achieve this – there will be no “other” that we did not feel love for

  10. So I started dating a girl who has never been with another girl before. She’s comfortable showing affection in public and tells her friends about our relationship, but not her parents. Which isn’t a problem for me. The problems start happening in the bedroom. She’s comfortable letting me do things to her but she hasn’t tried what so ever to make any move on me sexually. She’s expressed to me that she’s nervous that I have a lot of experience and she hasn’t so I might not think she’s good. I’ve told her that I dont care about that, I just care about her. Yet she still hasn’t tried anything. What do I do?

  11. I am dating a girl for the first time. It’s the first time for me and her we have been together for over a year now and I thought things were going great but I’m very jealous but she is also. We have fought on and off for a few months now and it’s because she talks to other ppl.. No one knows that we are a couple she doesn’t want no one to know until she is 18. But two months ago she decided to tell me she wanted to be separated for a while because she wants to have a boyfriend so no one will think anything of us!! They have made out and I’m afraid she is going to have sex with him! She tells me it’s all a show that she loves me and she wants to be with me. I bought her an engagement ring that she wears everywhere but in front of her parents. She only wants to see me one day out of the week because she is spending all her time with this boyfriend and I’m not really sure what to do? Please help!!!

  12. I am dating a girl who is the closet and I could understand due to her family. However, she doesn’t even tell her friends. What sucks, she cant seem to tell her friends that she is at least “seeing” someone. She claims she keeps her love life private which is not the case for me. I am happy with her but I feel something is missing. I am adjusting to her too much and she does not know why I feel insecure. With her ex gf, she wanted her gf to tell her family about their relationship because her ex’s sister was gay. But she doesn’t seem to care if I tell anyone about us. I hate her ex gf, she cheated on her with a man treated her like shit but she kept trying to make it work. Yet with me, I am total opposite and I am not getting what I want.. I guess I want out but I am afraid to leave… the more I think about it the more I realize is it worth it to be with someone who does not respect your decisions?

    • I left her yesterday and I feel good. Just coz she lives in the closet it does not mean I need to live that way with her. I am not a closet person and I feel such a relieve leaving her. I want her to realize what life is like without me and living without her is weight off my shoulders. Honestly, its hard living with someone in the closet unless you are the same… I will not change myself for her needs when I have mines that she can’t fulfill… Good luck everyone

      • Wow! I am going through the same thing. Living with a girl that is not out of the closet. It’s driving me crazy but she tells me that her ex girlfriend programmed her to lie and just say they were roommates. I don’t want to hide anymore.
        Proud of you and good luck!!!

  13. My 4 year girlfriend recently broke up with me because of lack of affection in public. I’m open to friends and family about relationship with her. I’m just not comfortable with affection holding hands and kissing in front of others. I wish i was i can’t seem to her past it and she can’t seen to understand our accept it. I don’t wanna loose her. We lost our home together because of our arguing and differences and wer both forced to move in with out ex husbands, ouch. I mud her sooo much and not happy at all i want this fixed.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I’m 30 and I dated a female for 5 years. I’m a closet lesbian but I don’t know if she is a lesbian or bi but she ended things last year because she thought we were making it harder for us since we were never going to come out and tell people about us.

    I haven’t been able to move on and I don’t think I’ll ever be happy the way I was with her :(

  15. Thank you for this blog. It is really helpful. I was married for 27 years and am now divorced and seeing a woman. I have been seeing her for almost a year and am deeply in love. I am very open about the relationship with everyone I know and in public but she is not. despite the fact that she came “out” more than 30 years ago, she seems to avoid introducing me to friends, etc. I often felt as if she were embarrassed by me and that perhaps it was because I was married to a man. I still think that is part but I was mystified by her lack of comfort with being a lesbian openly despite being “out” for 30 years. I am learning that she is out with other lesbians but shamed in front of everyone else. Your blog helped me to understand where to be for her (my militancy makes her uncomfortable) and that her issue are her issues. It normalized the feelings I sometimes have that I may have to move on in the future if she cannot move past shame because I someday would like to live openly and freely because that is who I am.

  16. Dating a lesbian is gud bt at sumtymz it cn realy hurt u esp wen ppl stat judging u teling both of u how cn 2girls kiss nd claim 2 b inlove. . I usd 2 gt hurt wen i hear all dat nw am usd 2 their c0mments sinces we both knw that we lov ech othr. . Da prbl says:

    Mpho nd kiki in mfk

  17. Journey64 says:

    Thx for this article. I’m a 48 yr old closet case. Sometimes I think I’ll never find that special someone. Is there any hope for me… (:

    • I am the same way. I’m 33 and found a “some-what closeted” woman who is 19 years my senior. We dated off and on for 4-5 years. Although it ultimately ended, she understood what I was and still am going through. Just be patient. You’ll find what you are looking for.

    • Where are you located by th way? I’m in north Jersey

  18. Found this article so useful because it helped me reflect on my last seriouse relationship with my ex and how we both felt. That was the main reason we broke up and reading this help me understand that I did right because I didn’t want to go back into the closet just to be with her. Thanks!

  19. I’m currently dating a “closet girl” it’s been going on 2 years but I actually don¡t mind… We are very happy together and I understand her reasons for her to live like this, maybe if I was her I’d stay in the closet too… I just know that we love each other and she makes sure to let me know…

    • It’s great to hear that she “makes sure to let you know” how much she loves you. That aspect is crucial and is probably a big reason that your relationship is successful.

  20. Nicky Cooper says:

    my mom is like compeletely against lesbo/gay/bi people…. i want to come out but i dont even want to think about what she’d do if she fund out…. so yea idk what to dooo >.< HELP!!

    • Don’t do it unless your out of your parents wing. And if you r prepared for their rejection

    • My mom was too. I came out to her , even despite her telling me before that she would throw me out if I ever dated a girl. She didn’t end up throwing me out like she said, but told me she still loves me unconditionally even though she wasn’t overly thrilled about the “choice” I was making. Before I told my mom, I had a plan already set if it did come to me moving out. As it turned out, a lot of my family and friends would have been more than willing to let me live with them had it come to that. While my mom is still coming to terms with it all, she has gotten better. It’s not an easy thing to do, especially if you live in a conservative household and town like I did, but at least for me, it was freeing. I could finally be who I felt like I really am.

  21. Lildevil says:

    Of course you’re amnorl! Coming out, acceptance, social stereotypes, dealing with this all is not that easy.Although I’m not that feminine, when I first started to come out my friends joked I needed to get it tattooed on my forehead, because I could very easily pass as straight. My girlfriend used to say I don’t trigger her gaydar even knowing I’m gay. Being a very feminine lesbian can be even more frustrating, as many people misunderstand you for a straight alley, or put your queer-ness in doubt due to the way you look. This is all rubbish, obviously.If gayness depended on appearance, alot of straight people would be gay and the opposite, so we can happily forget about all this you have to look gay to be gay . The passage from being a proud gay rights supporter to coming out is not easy as well. It’s different to support gays and their rights as a alley or as a gay yourself. Assuming you totally accept yourself for what you are(do you?), maybe the fear of the opinion of the outer world stops you. I will give my example (real examples tend to be good in these situations).I am now out to all the people that matter to me: my friends, my parents, my brother. Also I am out at university and with new people, if the situation requires it. However, I am often bugged by the idea that some of the people I will meet in my life will disapprove or disrespect me for it, even when I like them. If I were still closeted that problem would never exist. My future employer, that maybe won’t fire me but won’t like me, some friend’s parent, friends’ friends, coworkers, the neightbours. We tell ourselves that our loved ones’ opinion is the only opinion that matters, but it’s not that simple, is it? The looks of people in the streets, of people that surround us in our life, it can hurt.Society can influence us alot in our feelings and decisions, it can be harsh on minorities and force us in a closet we don’t fit in. It can make us think that we are wrong, innatural, and then we become the major enemy of ourselves. There is nothing weird with your feelings, different individuals experience this particular situation in very different ways, and it’s fine. You just need to find your own way out, even out of the closet, if that’s what you need/want. Take it easy, nobody is after you, it’s a delicate matter. My advice is to take it slow. Reflect about it carefully, but don’t get obsessed with it or your anxiety will rise. Do what you feel, gradually, there’s no rush. You are okay, just the way you are. You will be fine ps. Well done about the aids ribbons and the support to gay rights! Too little gays (and even straight alleis) care about that! Be proud of yourself!

  22. If you’re dating someone who was born female but is now male, wouldn’t it be considered a straight relationship? I personally don’t think that it’s gross, it’s just that from what I’ve learned of people who change their physical gender, they consider themselves to be whatever gender they are changed to inside and out. So if your boyfriend-who-was-once-a-girlfriend were to hear that someone was calling him a woman, wouldn’t he be offended? Please don’t think that I’m being hostile, I am probably ignorant to many things in the f2m/m2f world, and I also don’t know your boyfriend. He may still consider himself to be a woman in some ways.

    I hope this helps and again, please don’t take offense at anything that I might have said in ignorance.

  23. How about a blog for a lesbian dating a f2m trans some think its gross I dont maybe you can bring a different perspective or about younger and older im 22 and my man is 53 who is a f2m

    • Hmm… I have no personal experience whatsoever in both categories. But I’d be interested in finding someone that can cover those topics for you. Sorry I can’t be of much help at the moment :P

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