I am 21 and I have known I am gay for almost 6 years now but am too scared to tell anyone. The first 4 years of my questioning I was pretty much in denial. I have been raised in a Christian home where homosexuality is a sin. My parents have always encouraged individuality from me but I’m not sure how they will react to me telling them. I am more scared of telling my friends who might think of me differently. Homosexuality is more or less a joke to them. They kid with each other about gay sex and so forth. I know they wonder about me, i am relatively attractive but have never had a boyfriend. i will date someone for a month or so just to cover myself knowing i shouldn’t lead people on like this. It has gotten to the point that i can’t stand men anymore, even some friends. I really want to come out but i am way too scared.
3 years ago i fell in love with a friend who was 3 years younger than me. We said i love you to each other but just like friends would. And i thought maybe she felt the same way as i did but it was extremely unspoken. She would tell me about guys she’s dating and i would watch as she held hands with them. She would tell me about sexual experiences and i sat there acting like a friend while it ripped me apart inside. She once told me she had never felt about anyone the way she does me. i wasn’t sure how to take that. i think maybe she was just young and just had a “girl crush” as they say to a very good friend. She started dating a mutual friend and i distanced myself as far as i possibly could for living in the same town. Last week she texted me saying she’s engaged and she wants me to be a brides maid! Well hurray. Although i thought i was pretty much over her, my heart broke.
The reason i am including this into the letter is that i want to start dating other women but i am extremely self conscious and have a low self esteem because of this relationship. i have also had feelings for other friends but not to the extent of this one. Of course i will never expect them to reciprocate these feelings because i have never had that. I need to get over the fear of coming out. i just want to embrace myself. i don’t even know who i am anymore i have been pretending to be someone else for so long. But then the fact still remains that i have low self esteem due to the fact that i have never had these feelings reciprocated. i hate myself so much sometimes i decided to take anti-depressants. i feel like no one could love me and i will always fear that. Even if i did come out i would have that fear lingering. i want real love. At this point I’m desperate for encouragement.
A: I agree that it sounds like it is time to come out so that you can be open with your family and friends, but more importantly, so you can be who you are. It’s hard to find a girlfriend if no one knows you are looking for one. Coming out is a process and can be different for everyone. Some people only come out to a few people and others tell everyone that matters to them. Some come out all at once and others may take years. You will have to find your own way but there’s a lot of help out there. There are many books on coming out. One of the classics is called Coming Out to Parents, and there are many others. I’m sure there are many educational and support networks online as well.
Most communities have GLBT centers as well as PFLAG (Parents & Friends of Lesbians and Gays). You might also consider finding a therapist to help you with the process but also to help you improve your self-esteem. As for your friend, it sounds like she was your first love (even if it was unrequited). You will eventually find someone who returns your feelings and she will just be a memory — or a good friend. Good luck with everything. It will get easier.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Oct 2007
Counts, H. (2007). I am scared to come out. What do you suggest?. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 14, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2007/10/21/i-am-scared-to-come-out-what-do-you-suggest/