There are many reasons guys choose to come out, or not to. This month we’re going to explore when to come out, I hope I can shed some light on this important and very personal decision.
What does being out mean?
Being out means different things to different people. The questions you need to ask yourself if you’re considering being more open about your sexuality are “How out do I want to be, with whom, and in what contexts?” It’s a decision that only you can make. Once you have an idea don’t forget that you don’t have to come out all at once.
Why do you want out be out and to whom?
The second thing to consider is why. You need to be clear about what you’re hoping to gain from the process in order to figure out who you want, or need, to tell.
When you start to figure out who you want to be open with remember that it’s possible that other people in your circle might find out through them. You want to retain control of the situation and be the one who tells people as much as possible. Whether it be your circle of friends, or your family, try to let people know at around the same time.
Find an ally.
It can be really helpful to have an allies who would be the first people you come out to in any of your circles. An ally is someone you can trust. They will let you take the lead and can help give you some perspective on the other people in the group. That perspective will be critical at this very emotional time. Coming out is a tough thing to do, even in an accepting environment, don’t go it alone. Don’t forget that there are coaches and counselors our there who specialize in helping people figure all this out.
The most challenging time during the process is when self acceptance is just dawning and you find yourself getting uncomfortable that the people you’re close to don’t know. After years of confusion, and maybe even hating yourself for who you are, coming out will always feel risky. Try as best you can to separate the real risks from your fear.
The longer you wait, the harder it gets.
It gets harder to do the longer you wait. When what used to be hiding something you weren’t ready to share becomes lying to your friends and family you create even more challenges. The lies make it harder to finally tell the truth and the longer it goes on the more you risk damaging some of your closest relationships. People may be hurt that you weren’t able to tell them sooner but, may feel betrayed if they find out you’ve been lying.
Also remember that if you’re sneaking around it means at some level you believe you’re doing something wrong. If you happen to be involved with someone it might send them a message that you’re ashamed of the relationship.
What if my guy is in the closet?
If you’re in a relationship with a guy who’s still in the coset try to be understanding. Your role is to support him, not create pressure to do something he might not be ready for. If he asks you to lie about yourself, or your relationship with him, in order to maintain his secrecy, then it’s time for a serious chat. How you handle that is up to you. If you can tolerate heading back into the closet to support him that’s great. Just make sure you aren’t building resentment. If you’re not alright with it then you should explain that to him.
Coming out is a difficult and deeply personal thing. Only you can decide when the time is right. Don’t forget that there is support out there. You don’t have to do this alone.