I’m 28, gay, and pretty much in the closet. I want to tell my mum I’m gay but every time I try, something bad happens. First, my dad cheated on her and they broke up, then our car was stolen and more recently our house caught fire. I feel like I’ll never fall in love – each time I’ve thought it was happening, it turns out the guy was never that into me. I’ve never even had a gay kiss. I’m bringing up my nephew so I don’t get out much. I feel like finding love is out of my reach and that I’ll never be able to come out and feel free.
Nick, by e-mail
The Guyliner replies: First of all, and most importantly, bad things are not happening because you are trying to come out – the two aren’t linked at all. Your family has experienced a run of bad luck, and that must be tough, but you mustn’t think that your decision to come out would be a negative event. There’s never a right or a wrong time to come out – so long as it’s not during an argument and feels like the right thing to do for you. It’s understandable you’d be worried about your mum’s reaction, but compared to everything else she’s been through, her son coming to terms with who he really is and sharing that with her isn’t necessarily going to be so traumatic after all. I’m sure she wouldn’t want you to be unhappy.
As for wondering whether you’ll ever find love, you’re suffering the same insecurities everybody else does, gay or straight. If you’ve not had a proper relationship, it’s hard to imagine yourself ever being in one, and to think: “Why would anybody be interested in me?” The first step, I think, is to come out; you might look at dating and relationships in a different way. We’ve all thought somebody was more interested in us than they actually were. While it can be mortifying, it’s only through experience that you get a sense of perspective.
The more interactions you have with different people, the easier they become to read. Only when you are truly comfortable with yourself – which I appreciate can’t happen overnight – will you be able to have the confidence to ‘get yourself out there’. If looking after your nephew is taking up a lot of your time, why not try finding support groups for gay parents in your area? (The London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard has a national database that could help – switchboard.lgbt.) Start involving your nephew in your social life, do things as a family, meet new people. It’ll help build your confidence and ready you for the next stage – meeting men. Dating or hookup apps get a bad rep, and perhaps aren’t for the faint-hearted, but they’re a good way to meet people just like you, who may not be able to get out ‘on the scene’ very often. Not everybody is just looking for sex. Your first job is to forget the notion that coming out would be a bad thing. Only then can you get to working on that first kiss…
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