Being in the closet is hard enough as it is, but being in a relationship at the same time can create quite a cluttered closet. Here are five tips to help you stay in the closet…and your relationship!
1. Help your partner understand why you are in the closet
Your partner may not understand the reason why they are your “secret.” They might feel like you are ashamed of the relationship, or are not interested in them. Explain the reasons why you feel it is necessary to stay in the closet. Talk to them about your family, religion or friends. By opening up to them, you can gain their trust and help create a healthy relationship.
2. Create times when you can be “out”
Finding special times that you can be “out” with your significant other is necessary if you want them to feel loved. It can be hard at first to hold hands in a public place if you are nervous about being seen. Go somewhere no will know you or your partner. Go to a movie theater where it’s dark. Take a day trip to a secluded beach. Creating romantic moments goes beyond just bonding with your partner. It becomes the time when you can just be you.
3. Establish boundaries
While it’s great to find time to spend “out” in public, your partner needs to know what your limits are. Maybe it’s ok to hold hands downtown but not at school or work. If you are not comfortable with something, it is your responsibility to let your partner know.
4. Find confidants
Being in the closet while in a relationship can be very stressful. Lying to loved ones can take a toll on your mental state. Find a friend or mentor who you can come out to. If something goes wrong in the relationship, you need to have someone to vent to, or a shoulder to cry on. At the very least, a good confidant can cover for you when “going to the movies with friends” is code word for date night.
5. Decide if being in the closet is a long-term solution
Hint: It’s not. Being in the closet is not just stressful to you, it is stressful for your partner. Talk to them about how long they can handle being your hidden secret. Let them know if being in the closet is just a temporary fix until you find the words to come out, or if you plan to make a home in your closet. Relationship are built on trust and communication, so being honest to your partner goes a long way.