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Some people say that if you’re still in the closet, then you’re not ready to be in a relationship. I disagree. There are a lot of different circumstances which might lead you to being in a relationship before you have fully come out, and that’s okay. It’s actually quite impressive. But don’t be fooled. Just because you now have at least one person who knows the real you, doesn’t mean this will all be plain sailing, or like any other regular relationship. The secrecy that comes with a closeted relationship can stir up all kinds of emotions, but if you’re aware of them, it can make it a little easier to handle.
Whilst your relationship might be a secret, you may start to develop some jealousy towards couples whose relationships aren’t. There is nothing worse than seeing other couples holding hands and posting soppy anniversary pics on Instagram and yearning to do the same with your secret lover. We all secretly love to hate those couples, but it sucks when you don’t get to be one. To help with this, I strongly recommend finding yourself a group of people, or a place where you do feel comfortable being yourself. Whether that be a group of gay friends, gay accepting friends, or a gay bar. If, for whatever reason you aren’t out to your family, that doesn’t mean you can’t be out in other aspects of your life that don’t involve them. If this isn’t possible, then make sure you and your partner have plenty of alone time to be your true selves with one another.
Secret relationships usually involve stringing a long web of lies to the people around you about where you are, who you’re staying with, and why you’re dressed so fancy to meet just a friend. At the start, this can all feel pretty overwhelming. I consider myself to be an honest person, so lying to the people closest to me really weighed heavy on my heart at the beginning of my closeted relationship. When I was meant to be in puppy love phase, I was haunted by the guilt of all the lies I was telling. But the truth is, the lies are there to protect you, and twenty years from now no one will be mad at you for saying you were going out with your work friends, when really you were seeing your s/o. But it can also get complicated trying to remember what story you’ve told to what people. Be sure to take time to yourself so that you don’t end up feeling overwhelmed. These are supposed to be some of the happiest moments of your life, building the foundations of your relationship, and strong people build strong relationships. So, take time for yourself, and talk to your significant other if things start to get heavy and you need a release. You are both in this together.
It can be hurtful when the love of your life refers to you as their ‘friend’ in front of other people. The two of you should have a conversation about what you will introduce each other as in public, so no awkwardness occurs in the moment. It is important to remember that even though you are being referred to as a friend, it is not at all a reflection of your relationship. The way I like to think of it is, yes, we are friends, but we are also in a relationship. We just happen to keep that part private. All great relationships have an element of friendship in them too, right? So, embrace it. You know you are more than friends, and that’s all that matters.
The truth is, being in a closeted relationship is hard. But the good news is, you’re not alone in it. You and your partner can support each other through this. God forbid you have to go through a closeted break up – because that BURNS. I hope that if you’re in a closeted relationship, that you are happy and one day are safe enough to come out.