Relationship Advice Inspired by National Coming Out Day

October 15, 2009 by

The relationship advice in this article is not set in stone.  Rather it is something for you to consider.  Relationship troubles of all kinds may involve one person keeping a secret from the other.  Sometimes the secret may be minimal (what you got a person for Christmas) and sometimes the secrets can be more insidious (affairs, a person in the family being diagnosed with a mental illness).  We may have heard the statement, “We are all as sick as our secrets.”  However, how do we decide when and to whom to tell?  What criteria do we use to make our decision in which to tell another person?  It seems that the decision about whether or not to tell someone else something about ourselves that they did not previously know should be made with great care, so that we get the results that we want.  Some relationship advice from many experts is to never keep a secret.  Other experts say that some things should “go to the grave”.  These people are not living your life.    You have the right to make decisions that will benefit you in your life.

National Coming Out Day is October 11.   While this is a day set aside to honor the decision some GLBTQ persons make to come out to others, it also seems that this can be a day for all of us to look at what things we may be keeping secret from others (or maybe from ourselves) and whether or not that is something we can make a decision about whether to tell another person.  It may be that GLBTQ people can offer some perspective and maybe some relationship advice on how to make this decision.  Certainly this is a road almost every GLBTQ person has traveled—and maybe their journey has value to others in their decision-making process.

Relationship Advice versus Guidelines

What I have here are some guidelines to consider along the way:

1.    Obtain support, if possible.  It may be that you are in the beginning stage of this process and you may be telling this person hoping to obtain support but, as much as possible, try to find people who may have gone through something similar.  A relationships counselor or therapist (especially with relationship training) can offer an objective perspective to assist in the decision-making process.

2.    Do a pros and cons list of coming out with this piece of information to this person.  What are the benefits?  What are the risks?  Write them down.  This can make things much more clear when we write something down and get it out of our heads.

3.    Decide what it is you want from the person.  What, specifically, do you want them to know? Why is it you want this person to know?  Do you want emotional support?  Financial support?

4.    Whatever your decision is, decide on a reward befitting the decision.   No matter how it goes, give yourself some reward, whether a very positive pat on the back or going on a hike or buying a book you have been wanting to buy.  If nothing else and you decide not to tell the person, at least you can put it behind you.

5.    If you decide to tell the person, decide what you will do if it does not go well.  Call a friend?  Call your relationship counselor?  Have a safe place to go?  Have this planned out well in advance so that you don’t have to make this up at the last moment.  This is very important relationship advice.

I hope that this relationship advice  in the form of these guidelines are helpful in assisting you in making your decision and keeps you from relationship troubles.  There is no right way to go about this although others that you may talk to may tell you that what happened to them (positive or negative) is your destiny too.  You can take the relationship advice in these guidelines and apply them to your life as you see fit since ultimately, the decision is yours.

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