Proud Love: Confidence in Sharing Your Same Sex Relationship


Proud Love

Confidence in Sharing Your Same-Sex Relationship

Let’s Get Down to Brass Tacks:

Confidence in Sharing Your Same-Sex Relationship

Why Does This Even Matter?

You may lack confidence in sharing your same-sex relationship if you keep it private. If so, then you are all too familiar with the ins-and-outs of keeping your life skillfully divided.   To do this, you have to wear ‘masks.’ We all wear them. There’s the mask for work, a mask for neighbors, a mask for distant relatives, and masks for friends (depending on the friend circle – don’t get me started here, that’s for a different blog). When you’re in the habit of hiding a relationship (in this case, a same-sex relationship), the negative effects of doing so can become compounded over time. 

When we hide a loving relationship, we devalue its relevance and significance in our lives which can erode the relationship over time. 

Couple conflicts are generally made worse when a relationship is hidden out of fear of what may happen if it is shared. This means that “regular relationship problems” are generally more difficult to navigate between same-sex partners who otherwise would not be facing this issue in the first place.

The Fear in the First Place

There is often good reason to be afraid.

Let’s face it: most of us (all alone) are no match against the negative messages that suggest same-sex relationships as inferior or unacceptable.

Society requires that individuals fit into binary gender roles of masculinity and femininity. This can lead to discrimination against those who do not conform to these roles.

Folks generally make assumptions about sexual orientation.

Many people assume that everyone is heterosexual until proven otherwise. This can lead to queer individuals feeling like they must come out to everyone, which can be a daunting and anxiety-inducing process. I often hear the phrase: “I feel like I’m constantly coming out”…whether it be at work or the grocery store. And no, this isn’t because you feel the need to let people know ‘what you like,’ but in response to a person assuming that your partner is the opposite sex.

There is still a pervasive lack of LGBTQ+ representation in media.

LGBTQ+ individuals are frequently misrepresented in mainstream media, leading to a lack of visibility and real understanding. This can perpetuate harmful stereotypes and negative attitudes towards the LGBTQ+ community. Worse, it can reinforce stigma for a person who does not relate to the commonly accepted stereotypes about LGBTQ+ people.

Legal discrimination still exists in many places.

In many countries, same-sex relationships are not legally recognized or protected. This lack of legal protection can cause individuals to fear discrimination, harassment, and violence from others who do not accept their orientation or identity.

Fear of how your family relationships might change is a legitimate concern. Whether you are someone in your family who plays the role of:

  • the hero – the person who represents the family ideal, or the “golden child”
  • the scapegoat – the person who receives the most blame or disappointment
  • the mascot – the person who deflects tension or conflict with distractions such as humor
  • the lost one – the person who chooses to avoid difficult family interactions by engaging in socially acceptable outlets (i.e working an extra job to avoid what’s happening at home, but justifying it based on the need to earn more money).

…you stand to be affected by the reactions and responses of those you love. People in same-sex relationships frequently worry about how their family’s perceptions of them might negatively change, loss of relationship trust, and the fear of being seen as more dishonest than they did prior to sharing their relationship.

Did I Mention There Was Good News?

The best part about sharing your same-sex relationship with others is the positive impact on the relationship itself. It can eliminate the barriers to addressing problems that need to be worked on between same-sex partners.

Sharing your same-sex relationship can lead to improved mental health and well-being. Keeping secrets or living a double life can be emotionally exhausting and lead to anxiety and depression. By fully embracing your identity and sharing a healthy relationship with others, you can reduce stress and feel more authentic. Sharing your same-sex relationship can also lead to stronger relationships with family and friends alike. It can help foster communication, trust, and mutual understanding, which can ultimately lead to more fulfilling relationships. By sharing your relationship, you also challenge societal stigmas and promote acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community, one relationship at a time.

Your honesty and authenticity can inspire others to do the same and create a more inclusive and welcoming environment for everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

5 Tips for Building Confidence in Sharing Your Same-Sex Relationship

So, you might be wondering: “What can I do now to build more confidence in sharing my same-sex relationship?” I would suggest reflection in the following areas:

  1. Think about who you want to share your relationship with and why: consider who you might feel safe sharing your relationship with and what the benefits would be to you and your relationship.
  2. Know your boundaries ahead of time: the thought of negotiating your identity, speaking on behalf of the entire LGBTQ+ community, or the need to be prepared for a debate can feel overwhelming and produce undesirable feelings. Consider the limitations you will allow yourself if/when people ask questions about your experience. You have the right to say “I’m happy to share some of my experiences with you, but I’m not comfortable having a debate.”

3. If you don’t trust many people, consider therapy as a starting place. Therapists are sworn to secrecy so that they can help their clients get the most from therapy. Therapy is also a great place to practice being who you are so that it can become easier over time to create other healthy relationships where you can ‘show up’ authentically.

4. Take it one step at a time and celebrate small victories: for countless LGBTQ+ people, coming out is not a one-time event. Sharing your same-sex relationship with a stranger can be as significant to coming out to a sibling. Yes, it feels much different, but it still accomplishes the work of willingness to be seen more fully by others. So, celebrate those wins too!

5. Learn to cope with lack of acceptance: learn to accept the fact that not everyone will understand or accept your same-sex relationship. Be okay with considering what this might mean for your choices in the future and boundaries in those relationships if needed.

If you are navigating a same-sex relationship in private, you are not alone. We would love to hear from you. Reach out to us today for a free consultation!

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About the Author:

Devaney is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Supervisor who specializes in working with people of color, couples, and the LGBTQIA+ community. She works with adults ages 18+. She also offers supervision in the state of Texas.

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