Monday, August 04, 2008

Dating Someone In the Closet

UPDATED: Some readers state that they know semi-closeted gays who are perfectly happy that way. I agree that there are those who may find happiness living that way. I just cannot do it myself nor do I think I could survive in a relationship where I had to appear to not exist, etc., and could not be acknowledged by my partner. Each of us must follow the path that works for us.
I have been chastised at times by some readers for my stand that I do not want to get involved romantically with any guys who is not totally out. It's not that I am unsympathetic to where these individuals might be in their process of self-acceptance or that I do not want to help them. The fact is that I am contacted by guys in the closet all the time seeking advise or my reflections on my experiences. Moreover, even after coming out socially and to family, out of fear I remained closeted at my former law firm for well over a year to the constant irritation of my former boyfriend. Truth be told, I hated it and it messed both me and my relationship up living that way. I believe that only when one has come out totally is it possible to achieve a full acceptance of yourself and finally live your life as who you are. No apologies or permission required. Thus I found it interesting that Matt at Debriefing the Boys said something very similar on his blog on this topic while recounting meeting someone he had been involved with previously who is still not out:
I learned a valuable lesson, though. As strongly as I sympathize with guys who are struggling to figure out whether they're gay, and as much as I want to help guys through that process (and you know I do, because I've talked to hundreds of you over the years), and as much as I want a boyfriend, I know now that I can't date a guy who doesn't know who he is and isn't ready to be proud of himself. As wonderful as a guy may be in every other way, I can't be somebody's dirty little secret.
That sentiment explains it all in my view. For those still in the closet, I believe that for me, being out in all facets of my life has been/is incredibly empowering and liberating. I truly do not believe that I could ever return to the closet. It would be totally suffocating at best.

1 comment:

OtownEsq said...

My first time reading your blog, but I wanted to say I appreciate your stand on this issue. I'm the out-and-proud one in my relationship (I'm also a lawyer) and I'm having a hard time being patient with my closeted partner. He's okay going out to the bars, etc, and some of his family know, but he just hasn't made that final leap to tell the parents or his sister - though I'm sure they all suspect and would be fine with it. He and I are a really good match and so I hope this all works out. If not, I'm taking your position from now on - understand that coming out is difficult and slow (hell, I've been there) but not interested in dating someone going thru that process.
Sorry if this isn't the kind of response you're interested in, but your words hit home and I wanted to let you know. Thanks!