Article written by Maya Vukovska

No one owes anyone an explanation about their sexuality, but dating someone who’s still in the closet makes not only their life complicated but also yours. If you happen to be in this situation, you’re probably already tired of sneaking around, being constantly shushed, and asked to “let go of my hand”. So, what to do? Break it off, stay lowkey, or stick to the guy and help him realize it’s better to finally come out if he’s as serious about this relationship as you are.

Understand his reasons

For you, it may have been a cakewalk to come out to the whole world, but people have different reasons for not being open about their sexuality or gender identity. And you have to respect this! Do not jump to the conclusion that your boyfriend hasn't come out yet just because he's comfortable living a lie. No one really is! Coming out can be an arduous process, and you’d better understand what’s holding him before starting pushing him or judging him for his insecurity.

For some, confronting their parents is the most difficult and problematic thing. Then, it’s the girl they dated in the past (and almost married!), the local community, the colleagues at work, and so on. Once you’ve got the overall picture of the cultural, religious, and social background of your BF, you can start from there, and work together in the direction of a less painful coming out.

Involve him with your family

If you interest him into spending more time around your family, given that it is totally supportive and accepting of your sexuality, of course, will be a clever move. Seeing how little a shit your parents and your siblings give about the fact you’re gay may help your BF realize that his fear of coming out is bigger in his head than it’s in reality. We are not saying that the struggle with his family is not real and distressing, but knowing that your home is a safe place will make him less uneasy about the situation at his own.

Talk him into coming out to just one more person

When it comes to self-disclosing of one’s homosexuality, most people prefer to rip out the bandaid and just get over with it once and forever. For others, however, it is more of a baby-step process. Thinking that by outing your boyfriend you’re actually doing him a favor is so wrong on so many levels. You should realize that you have a small role in your BF’s decision-making affairs. There are a couple of things you can do in order to speed up the process for him without stepping outside the boundaries. For starters, talk him into coming out to at least one family member, the one he trusts the most - some extravagant, Liza Minelli-type of an aunt or a cousin he’s been close to all his life. If it goes well, it’ll make him summon up the courage to be open to more people, and less insecure about the outcome of such conversations.

Talk to him about how YOU feel

What we’ve been saying so far is that you need to show patience and consideration, and avoid giving your closeted boyfriend ultimatums. But tip-toeing around him is not OK, either. You should sit down and talk to him about how you feel about this whole "we-are-just-buddies" situation. Tell him that he’s robbing you of the wonderful sensation of sharing your newfound love with the world. Tell him it’s not fair of him to make you pretend you're just a guy he plays basketball with on the Fridays. And finally ask him if he’s ashamed of you because that’s the impression you’re getting all the time. Making him feel guilty is not a gesture of lack of empathy; it’s just an innocent trick for winning him for your team.

The secretive nature of the relationship with a closeted gay may be exciting at first, but in time, it will grow to be frustrating and difficult. There’s no right answer when it comes to deciding whether to date or not someone who’s still closeted. If you feel it’s too much for you to handle, then you should walk out, and no one’s gonna blame you for that. But if you think the guy is worth the effort, and there’s a strong chance that one day you won’t have to hide just to steal a quick kiss, then go fight for bringing this relationship to light.