You've seen celebrity clinical psychologist Dr. Sherry Blake, author of The Single Married Woman: True Stories of Why Women Feel All Alone in Their Marriages, keep the Braxton sisters calm on the hit show Braxton Family Values. Now it's your turn to sit in her chair...
Q: I am a closeted lesbian, and I’m not proud of that fact, even though I haven't had the chance to be open about it. I am struggling because of my culture and my religion. I feel as though my sexuality will disappoint my family and friends, and that it will change their perception of me. I love my girlfriend. In the beginning, she was fine with me hiding who I really am, but now she is starting to feel as though she is my “dirty little secret.” I am finding it difficult to make her understand my situation. She is demanding things I cannot give her. I cannot be open; it wouldn't be fair to my family. This is putting a strain on our relationship and we have been arguing more frequently over petty things. I’m not sure how to go about this, but I do know I want to be happy, and that she makes me happy. I love the being in her presence. What should I do? -- Anonymous
A: Get real. You have not had the chance to be open about your sexuality? Really?! Every moment of every day you have had a chance to be honest, but you choose not to be. That is more about you and your feelings of shame and embarrassment. When you say you are not proud of being a lesbian, you are saying that you are not proud of who you are and whom you have chosen to love. Your secret may not really be a secret after all. What is the likelihood that the door to your closet is already open? It is highly likely that others already suspect, and possibly even know, that you are a lesbian.
The problem is not with you being a lesbian, but rather, it is with you accepting who you are and your own sexuality. You have allowed yourself to live a lie without being true to yourself or to others. It appears that you are living your life through others’ expectations. As long as you live a fear-based life where you are always fearful of what others think or how others feel about you, you will never be happy.
Everyone has the right to make their own decisions about how they want to live their life. You are no different. You deserve love and happiness. Yes, some of your family and friends may be shocked or disappointed once you share your lifestyle, but they will get over it. If they truly love you, they will love you regardless of who you are sleeping with. They may never agree with your choices, but that is OK as long as they respect them and you. You can never please everyone or meet everyone’s expectations. So, why keep trying to do so? Coming out of the closet is never easy. It only becomes easy when you find the strength to be honest with yourself. It is at that moment that you will no longer be concerned with what others think and become truly happy with who you are. You and your girlfriend deserve to have an honest and open relationship, and right now, you are the only one that can make that happen. Drop the fear and find your voice! -- Dr. Sherry
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