I had flashbacks of my previous relationship when I read the subject line of About.com’s Lesbian Life weekly email today.
I have been with my current girlfriend for the last year. We’ve been best friends for three years. I have always been comfortable with my sexuality, and been pretty open about it. On the other hand, she’s from an EXTREMELY religious family, and I am only her second girlfriend. (She’s almost gotten married before, and regularly dated men.) We’ve been living together for the last six months, but I’m her "roommate". I want take our relationship to the next level, we’ve discussed it and agreed, but I can’t be okay with it if I’m just going to be a little secret locked up in her closet. What do I do? I love her deeply, but don’t know if I can go on much longer with out being able to even look at her with love without her getting upset at me. Please help, I need some advice.
Secret Lover, let me be the first to tell you, if your girlfriend is in the closet, that’s where she’s going to stay until she makes up her mind to come out.
The Ex, was in the closet too. Well, she thought she was in the closet. I say that because anyone who knows who The Ex is, knows that if you put me and in her in a line up and asked a group of people to pick out the lesbian, let’s just say all eyes would be on her. And like I said in my post about Queen Latifah, we tell ourselves many lies that we hold onto for dear life. When I looked in the mirror I saw 150 pounds, when she looked in the mirror she saw herself as a fem of sorts.
Her reasons for staying in the closet had to do with her being a teacher, so she said, but like I said it was not a secret even from her students who as cruel as it was, taunted her about it. And that shit really hurt her, it did.
I was always the friend. There was no holding hands in public. I was forbidden to go to the tennis courts where she played tennis with her heterosexual friends.
If I dropped her off at work, I had to do so a couple of blocks down the street because she didn’t want people to see me dropping her off.
And for the record, she emailed me about an article she read in the L.A. Watts Times and that’s how we started dating, so she knew that I was out.
Her parents are religious, but both of their children are lesbians. Her mom seemed more at ease about than her dad and I suspect that’s probably what fucked with her the most, so much so that I’d say she suffered from internalized homophobia that was only compounded by the fact that I was out and was trying to drag her out…kicking and screaming.
I remember once I got so mad that I threatened to out her. I knew it was wrong and I knew I’d never go through with it, but I used to get so damn mad at her and her antics that were slowly dragging me back into the closet with her. And outing her wouldn’t have solved a damn thing, but it would have made her hate me even more.
On the last day that I saw The Ex, I went up to the forbidden zone, the tennis courts. Why? Because that was the one place I knew that I could find her aside from her job. It was the day of the Oscar’s and I went up there to try and salvage some part of our relationship. I quietly sat down on the bleachers and watched her play. When she saw me she came over to me and I asked her if we could talk. We stepped out of the area of the courts and onto the sidewalk, and before I could utter a word she goes into a tyrant about how I am trying to embarrass and out her by coming to the tennis courts. I tried to explain that I was up there to talk to her and try to salvage the two and half years we had, but that didn’t matter. I was at the tennis courts, her home away from home with all of her heterosexual friends. I asked her if their opinion of us was more important than trying to save our relationship and she basically said yes. I ran away from those tennis courts to my car crying. I cried all the way home and got in the bed and cried some more. I have never spoken to her since that day and from what I hear, she’s still in the closet and still playing tennis. Next month will make a full year.
During the weeks that followed, I went through so many emotions, anger, more anger, and more anger. At one point, I had made up my mind to go back up to those tennis courts and post a flyer that said she was a lesbian. I even made the flyer and all. I never did it, but that’s how upset I was. I was so hurt that her being in the closet was more important than our relationship. It took a while to get over that but when I did I swore that I’d never date anyone that was in the closet again, and I won’t. It was too late for me. By the time I fully realized how deep in the closet she was, I was already in love. But like Kelis says “you might trick me one but I won’t let you trick me twice.”
Secret Lover, good luck but that’s a losing battle. Even when we have everything, money, fortune, and fame, Golden Globes, Grammy’s, and contracts with major cosmetic lines, the closet is a hard thing to come out of. Even when we’ve been in there getting dressed for years, it still is hard to finally come out of it.