There is never a “right time” to come out. Instead, coming out depends on when you feel safe enough to trust the process.
Recently, I was working with a client who wants to come out.
He is not out to his wife of many decades, or to his grown children. He has been struggling for years trying to figure out when is the right time to come out. Rhetorically, I had to ask him, “Is there ever a right time?”
Coming out is not an issue of right or wrong, right time versus wrong time. It’s simply about choosing the time to come out and experience the freedom of living fully who you are.
There are many helpful questions to ask yourself as part of the process of coming out.
- What will you gain by coming out?
- What might you lose or have to give up by coming out?
- What would the best-case scenario for finally coming out look like?
- What would the worst-case scenario for coming out look like?
Coming Out Is NEVER Your Fault.
A big fear many people have about coming out — besides their physical safety — is who might blame them for their decision.
This might sound like, “Why didn’t you tell me?”, or, “Why did you wait so long?”, and, “How can I trust you now that you’ve been lying to me all these years?”
Deciding to come out or not is always your choice.
Protecting yourself is about taking care of your needs first, which is not selfish or self-centred.
Instead, deciding not to come out is rooted in many ideological conditions, social frameworks, beliefs, and values that you were taught growing up. It takes time to reframe and break down how you have been influenced and indoctrinated by social norms. With greater understanding and confidence in your identity and self-mastery, you can make a more informed choice to be the person you are without having to hide any part of who you are.
When you freely love who you are, you can freely create a life you love.
Coming out is about acceptance, connection, and care for yourself. It’s about feeling safe freely expressing who you are, how you feel, and who you want to love. If you do not feel comfortable with these core emotional drives, you will experience tension and stress. You’re not going to feel like you can freely be or do what you want.
To feel accepted is to feel loved.
I believe we have to accept ourselves first, especially as adults, to let others fully accept and love us for who we are. This is the freedom of having peace of mind and feeling safe when we belong and when we are accepted for whom we authentically are.
You only have one life.
Only you can decide how to lead yourself. Who you want to freely love starts with yourself first. For me, this is what authenticity really means: freely loving who you are, so you can freely create a life you love.
If this article and episode resonate with you, or if you know someone who has been talking about coming out and is struggling, let’s talk.
As a coach and an out gay man, I understand and have compassion for the coming out process. Let’s have a conversation about what you’re struggling with and what might be your next steps forward.