Has your mother, father, son or daughter recently come out of the closet? Here's what to do after a loved one tells you he or she is gay:
- Take a Step Back Before Reacting
It may come as a shock when a child, husband, brother, friend or other loved one comes out of the closet. You may be overcome with fear, anger or regret. Take time to think before reacting to the news. The situation may not be as bad or life-changing as you may think. By avoiding emotional first reactions you can better work through any issues that may arise.
- Write Down Your Fears and Emotions
It's not unusual to experience a number of emotions after a loved one has come out. You may feel anger, guilt, resentment or fear to mention only a few. Before confronting your gay loved one, write down how him or her being gay makes you feel. Express these feelings on paper. Write in free form without worry of grammar or structure and keep in mind that these thoughts are only for you. Be sure not to share this with your recently out loved one. This exercise is for you to sort through your emotions and thoughts before reacting to the situation.
- Take Advice From Others With Caution
Unless a neighbor or friend has experienced the same situation directly, take caution in the advice they may give or the comments they make. Keep in mind that they may be expressing their own discomfort or projecting their own feelings onto you. This does not mean you shouldn't seek support or find someone to confide in, just be sure your communication with your gay loved one is rooted from you and not someone else.
- Talk With Your Gay Loved One
Ignoring or avoiding the situation will not make it go away. Your gay loved one's biggest fear is your rejection and can take rash emotions or distance from you as a sign of abandonment. Now that you've sorted through your fears and emotions, sit down and talk with him.
- Comfort His Insecurities
Your loved one's biggest fear is losing your love and acceptance, which could be the reason why he waited so long to tell you. This is a very emotional time for him. What he needs most is love and understanding. Talk through your issues and remind him that you love him.
- Remember, You Loved Him Before You Knew He Was Gay
Set aside any fears you may have of your loved one's changed lifestyle and remember your relationship before he came out of the closet. Think about what you love about him and remember those qualities are still present. Being gay is not who he is, it's a part of what he is!