Entertainment Dating
Entertainment Entertainment Dating

My girlfriend won't come out to her parents...again

I'm a lesbian who's been in a committed relationship with the same woman for four years. We've recently been talking about marriage and starting a family. My one concern—she hasn't told her family about our relationship. She came out to her parents a decade ago, but they've never really accepted it. I think they're convinced she'll "end up straight" and marry a man. Basically they're in denial. But I don't think that means she shouldn't confront them and be honest about being in a long-term relationship. Any suggestions on how to deal with this?

—Tired of lies

Four years? I'm exhausted just thinking about all the lying those years must've taken. There are a few compelling reasons to stay closeted, even in 2012—threats of violence, homelessness, getting fired, not wanting to be associated with the likes of Rosie O'Donnell, etc. But a parent's refusal to believe you when you say "I'm gay" is not one of them. And her parents will stay that way if she chooses to continue lying about your relationship.

I can't tell your girlfriend what to do, but it seems pretty obvious to me that she should come out. Again. She already did most of the work. The hard part is, in many ways, over. Sometimes it takes a few more nails to hammer the point home. I remember one time I was at a party talking with some girl. Dating inevitably came up, and I said something about my girlfriend at the time. "I'm sorry," she said. "Do you mean boyfriend?" I had to repeat myself twice before she understood I wasn't gender dyslexic or merely a wayward hipster.

I don't think your girlfriend's parents will be terribly surprised by her second coming out. I imagine you live together? I imagine she talks about you an awful lot? I imagine you're a stellar "roommate" to their daughter. I also imagine that it will be somewhat awkward.

You're sharing that closet with her. It's not easy, I realize, to face the possibility that her family could reject her on the basis of who she fundamentally is, but it's a risk she must take. The alternative is to live a life of shame, fear and covering up, none of which form a solid foundation for creating a life together or "starting a family." (And how does she plan on explaining THAT to her parents, by the way?) You have to decide for yourself how long you're willing to be complicit in her lies. Tell her how important this issue is for you, that you want to share her whole life, not only a fraction of it. Tell her you will support her no matter the outcome. Tell her that she'll be OK (she will). But that the current conditions of your relationship are not sustainable in the long-term if she doesn't come out. Ask her to commit to taking the plunge and hold her accountable.

You can't force her to come out, but you can be clear about your own needs. In life there are seldom right or wrong answers, only honest ones. Here's hoping you and your girlfriend make it to the other side.

Want to ask Anna an anonymous question about love, sex or dating? Email your quandary to redeyedating@gmail.com.  Need to give your dating life a boost? Sign up for RedEye Dating. Pick dates, not people.

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • Lollapalooza style portraits

    Lollapalooza style portraits

    Concertgoers pose at the three-day fest in Grant Park.

  • Lolla day 2: Best and worst, plus superlatives

    Lolla day 2: Best and worst, plus superlatives

    And just like that, there’s only one day left of Lolla. Here’s what stood out to us from day 2. Best: The Tallest Man on Earth: Maybe it was just a right-mood, right-set situation, but boy this was the perfect mid-day act to take a breather, sit in the sun, and just chill and listen to and enjoy....

  • 50 Cent at Parliament and Wyclef Jean at The Underground

    50 Cent at Parliament and Wyclef Jean at The Underground

    Shots in The Dark at Parliament Nightclub with 50 Cent and The Underground Nightclub with Wyclef Jean and Joey Fatone July 31st

  • Lolla day 1: Best and worst, plus superlatives

    Lolla day 1: Best and worst, plus superlatives

    One day down! Here’s the best and worst we saw at Lolla on Friday, plus a few superlatives from day 1. Best: Anyone who knows me knows I was bound to pick Paul McCartney as my favorite act of the day. The Beatle came out and gave it his all with more than two hours of hits, tributes and jokes about...

  • Lolla day 1: Let's just rename it Paul-apalooza

    Lolla day 1: Let's just rename it Paul-apalooza

    What can you really say about Sir Paul McCartney, the former Beatle, pop music pioneer, worldwide cultural icon, and all-around great guy, that hasn't already been said? I mean, seriously. With the Beatles changing music for the better, becoming a pop culture institution and being "more popular...

  • Aldermen looking to stop stores from getting around plastic bag ban

    Aldermen looking to stop stores from getting around plastic bag ban

    Chicago's ban on plastic bags starts to take effect at many big stores Saturday, but an alderman who helped craft the law already is talking about changing it in order to thwart a few large retail chains that he says are trying to skirt the new rules.