Ask Aryka | How do I deal with dating someone who’s closeted?
Question: I am an openly queer woman who has been in an exclusive relationship with a closeted partner who legitimately fears disownment and harassment. I have been compassionate and patient. I have been understanding when date nights have been cut short or plans changed. I tolerated the awkwardness and humiliation of witnessing her deny being romantically linked to anyone publicly, while in my circle she proudly maintains the status of my gf. I haven’t demanded any ultimatums but things are not progressing after 2 1/2 yrs. And I find myself giving all of my heart to someone who admittedly doesn’t know what to do. When things get tense, she feels guilty and suggests separation and I usually object because I can’t imagine being without her. But this time I realized that the pressure of being in a committed relationship is too much for the both of us so when she fed me her usual speech, I didn’t object. She’s always feeling like her best isn’t good enough and I hate being the source of that pain but to be honest it isn’t enough for me.
She has taken the stance that casually dating isn’t an option. She is so involved in her own hurt that she is basically saying I have 2 options. Continue being stagnant in a relationship filled with love but no clear signs of a promising future or let go of romantic ties completely. I’m experienced enough to know my worth and know that I may be getting emotionally manipulated but she isn’t as experience she is behaving like she is the only victim in this situation. How do I let her see that she is hurting me without seeming accusatory and insensitive?
Answer: I understand where you’re coming from and I completely sympathize with your situation. It’s difficult to be someone who can’t offer what you need emotionally. Even if being with her makes you happy most of the time, there will always be a little part of you that isn’t completely satisfied with your relationship.
I think the real question here is can you see yourself with this girl forever? Do you feel like she’s the one? Is she a gay girl who hasn’t come all the way out or is she a straight girl that just happens to like you? Aside from that, do you feel like she will ever be on the same page as you? Do you feel like you deserve someone who is on the same page as you? If two years has gone by and there hasn’t been any progression, it’s hard to say whether you should even bother trying to resolve things and satisfy both parties.
The easiest way to talk to her about the situation is to just be honest. Explain how the challenges you have felt throughout your relationship have hurt you and made think about where things are going between the two of you. Let her know that you appreciate her efforts but that you desire a deeper relationship for the two of you. If she really wants to be with you she has to be willing to compromise and at least try to take steps towards creating a healthier future for the two of you. It sounds to me like you’re near your wits end. You should definitely talk to her before you start to resent her. I hope this answer is of some use!! Good luck and let me know how it goes.