It hurts me when she is unable to admit to her family that she loves me. I feel like she must not love me enough.” The most common complaint of partnered lesbians today. Does not coming out to family really indicate a lack of love, commitment or emotion?
Coming out to parents is probably the most daunting aspect of being a lesbian for all of us. For some, the thought is so terrifying, they will not even consider doing so. For others, the need to come out is more powerful than the fear, so they hold their breath and drop the information without so much as a warning. Sadly for some, it is the breach that results in the horrifying end of any continuing relationship.
Of course, it can be all the more terrifying to those women who know their parents are homophobic or condemning of lesbians due to religious beliefs; but even those parents who have always professed acceptance for lesbians and gays can react in unexpected ways when it is their own daughter who is declaring she is a lesbian. And imagine the difficulty for those who have parents who have never voiced an opinion either way. It would be like opening some ticking box — is it a clock or a bomb?
I suspect that most of us who have been out for any length of time have forgotten that fear or, if faced with the pain of familial rejection, overcame either the pain or the rejection.
Recently, a post I read in a forum included the question, What would it take to make her admit to her family that she loves me? It hurts me when she is unable to admit to her family that she loves me. I feel like she must not love me enough.
In the case of this woman, her lover is first-generation Japanese-American with a family who has very traditional beliefs and ideas. The fact that the woman was so afraid of coming out to her family that she ended the relationship for almost a year seems to be immaterial to her lover — all she can see is she must not love me enough.
This is not a new thought, nor is it the first time ever uttered by a woman. This is a reoccurring theme from lesbians. Somehow, it is not enough unless it is shouted to the world.
Why is it we give little or no value to the quiet love? A love so deep and personal that it binds two individuals together seems so much more meaningful — more inspiring — than any banners or pronouncements could ever be. Yet the accusation is still in the eyes — she must not love me enough.
Coming out is a political statement, not a statement of love. We do not need to declare our relationships in order for them to be real. It is not about shame or embarrassment — love knows no shame. We do not need to declare our love in order to love.
The need to come out is not about love — it is about legal issues that have nothing to do with love, but everything to do with what we expect from our relationships. Not that holding expectations from a loving relationship is a bad thing — because it is not. Rather, expectations are negotiable, whereas love is not. We must stop confusing the two. We need to be clear in our own minds what is a feeling and what is a need.
We feel love. We need our expectations to be filled. If we cannot have both, we must decide for ourselves that is more important.
Would you rather be loved, or do you expect…?
Until next time…