Everyone wants to be loved. We make a mental note of the qualities we want in a partner and use it as a sort of guide when we’re dating. Looking for that person is a long and arduous process and sometimes people find themselves adjusting that list of qualities to fit the girl with the great lips or the guy with eyes of misty blue.

But there’s danger in compromise, and while we may not find someone with every detail of what we’re looking for, when does it become settling?

I never knew that dating someone in the closet would affect me so much. Sure, I’ve lived openly gay since adulthood and I’ve been entirely comfortable doing so. However, I’ve dated several women who had never been with a woman before, some of which were in the process of divorcing men.

I absolutely believe that coming out is such a personal choice and a big step that I would never demand of my partner.  That being said, if you do choose to date someone that’s still in the closet there are things that you must be willing to endure for the relationship.

  1. Prepare to be the silent part of someone’s life. There won’t be any family introductions unless you are introduced as a ‘friend.’
  2. Holidays may be lonely if your partner spends that time with family and close friends. Or – be the friend that they introduce as being so needy and lonely that they crashed the family get togethers.
  3. Know that you won’t be chosen to accompany your partner to company parties and they may end up taking someone of the opposite sex as a diversion.
  4. Be prepared to feel like the ‘dirty little secret.’

I made so many excuses for the women I dated as to why I would put myself through this.  And yes, I was partially responsible for my feelings of rejection. I knew going into these relationships what the rules were and the stakes. “But it’s worth it just to be with her”, I would tell myself, or “Someday she’ll tell people how happy I make her.”  Sadly, in most cases, that someday never comes.

Eventually, resentment builds and the relationship begins to break down. There’s now a slight wedge between you that grows bigger every time you are introduced, if at all. Everyone deserves validation. Everyone deserves to feel like the most important part of their lover’s life.

This is where I would end up. With a broken heart and slightly deflated self-esteem.

There’s no substitute for the feeling of pride when your girlfriend stands beside you, her fingers laced with yours as she proudly says, “I’d like you to meet the wonderful woman in my life, the reason I’m so happy,”

Everyone deserves this.  Everyone.