I am a 32-year-old closeted lesbian and my partner of two years is not. The problem is that I am terrified of telling my best friend that I am gay. It’s not that I don’t trust her. I am just scared to death of telling her. I think she knows, but I guess I am still afraid of her rejection. She thinks my partner is my roommate! Every time I think about telling her, I have a panic attack. How do I approach this? How do I start the conversation?
Wimpy in Winnipeg
When it only takes a thought to give you a panic attack, I would venture to think that you might be just a tad overly dramatic. Don’t you think? The good news is that what you are feeling is totally normal. Our innate fear of rejection keeps us from giving ourselves fully to others. This is a trap and a distinct form of self-sabotage.
The bad news is you may never actually lose the fear of telling her. The good news is that you are going to push yourself off the cliff anyway. Whether you like it or not (and I gather not), you are going to tell her because the alternative sounds miserable. Sorry, there are no pills for helping you do this, just balls (if you can find any lying around the house, that is).
If fear stopped everyone dead in their tracks then everyone would be dead in their tracks. The truth is that you are not going to wake up one morning having been magically relinquished of your fear of telling your best friend that you are a lesbian. I believe anything is possible, but I also don’t wait around for the second coming of Christ. Again, that’s just me. Although, this is precisely what you are waiting for: becoming fearless.
Waiting for the perfect moment to tell her? There is none. In truth, every moment is considered perfect, so looking for a perfect moment is like looking for air. Have you looked for air recently? The moment you choose to tell her will be considered the perfect moment.
My suggestion is to tell her over a simple cup of coffee. It may go something like this: “This is really good coffee and you know I’m a lesbian, right?” (You’re welcome. I take cheques). But let me guess…it’s easier said than done, right? This is an expression I can’t stand. Of course things are easier said than done! Who said this, anyway? You are not giving your friend enough credit. Care about her enough to tell her who you are.
Thankfully, you have a very understanding partner! And luckily, we live in a day and age when you don’t have to feel fear over who you love. I’m certain you will feel a sense of pride and relief when you decide to tell your truth.
Great strength comes from pouncing on your fear and screaming sweet freedom at the top of your lungs. A whole world can open up to you if you let it. Even if the world around you is crashing down, you can hold your head high and smile because you have been true to yourself. Pride is a gift we give ourselves.
This is the greatest feeling of all.
–Emily Wilcox is a relationship expert and Author of “100 Lesbians Walk Into a Bar…”, available on amazon.com.