Home / Latest  / Relationship Advice: Breaking The Ice

Relationship Advice: Breaking The Ice

Do you find it hard to make gay friends? You’re not alone…
 
By Adam Segal
 
Dear Adam,
I came out three years ago to a few close friends and family; it was pretty rocky at first but is getting better as time passes. The thing is, I’m having trouble meeting other gay people. I’m 32 and more on the masculine side. I recently started a job at a startup with lots of cool young people (some of whom are LGBTQ), but they all just assume I’m straight. I don’t really feel like anyone there knows me well and I end up feeling left out. I’ve tried the dating apps, but it just ends up being sex and nothing changes in my social life. I thought coming out would make things easier, but I don’t feel that different from before. What gives? — Phil
 
Dear Phil,
We often get sold this idea (especially in TV and film) that coming out is a singular event that we work our way towards, and once it happens everything will change and the world will open up for us. It’s a harsh wake-up call when we realize that coming out is an ongoing process that in some ways never quite ends.
 
It’s great that you found the courage to come out to your close circle. The thing is, you seem to be leading a double life where the gay part of your identity is fragmented off – only expressed with close friends and online. This isn’t to suggest that you need to centre your queerness in every thing you do, but keeping it relegated to the sidelines is only going to worsen feelings of loneliness and keep people from truly knowing you.
 
There’s no doubt that heterosexism makes everything harder – it forces us queer folk to have to perpetually remind others that their assumptions are wrong. While this is a kind of emotional labour, it might set you free from having to participate in a tiresome charade.
 
I also wonder if, in some ways, there’s some comfort for you in these assumptions – it kind of lets you off the hook from having to own your authenticity and face some of the risks that come with that. You gathered strength to do the initial leap of coming out, then retreated to catch your breath – you might need to gear up for another round.
 

 
ADAM SEGAL, writer and therapist, works in private practice in downtown Toronto. Ask him your relationship or mental-health questions at @relationship@inmagazine.
 

NO COMMENTS

POST A COMMENT

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.