Advice: How Do I Deal With My Closeted Girlfriend?

Ask a mental health professional the difficult questions

Dear Dr. Darcy:

I’m a 21-year-old open bisexual dating a 24-year-old closeted lesbian. She led me to believe she wanted to come out when we started dating. A few weeks later, she said she had no intentions of ever coming out—ever. Her best friend has no idea, nor does her family or our mutual friends. She’ll come out to people, they’ll be supportive of her, and then she never wants to see them again because she’s uncomfortable. I don’t want to let her go, but I’m emotionally exhausted and don’t think a cyclical relationship like this will work.

—Can’t Do It Halfway

Dear Halfway:

You, my bisexual friend, need to have a very honest conversation with yourself and analyze what she said to lead you into thinking she would come out. I think you missed the mark on that one. I think you heard what you wanted to hear.

If you’ve been following my column, you’ll know my position on dating closeted people: They belong with other closeted people. A closeted partner does not work with a partner who is out.  The difference between being out and closeted sets you at two different developmental phases and therefore you are incompatible.

The specifics of your story put a unique slant on this very common issue because it’s typically the bisexual who is ambivalent about coming out—not the gay-identified person. It calls many things into question. But it’s not my job to analyze her and whether she’ll ultimately identify as gay.

It’s my job to give you sound advice—which, by the end of your question, you had already stumbled upon by yourself: This relationship is a mess. Cut your losses. Let her come out in her own time and find yourself someone who is more comfortable in her own skin and can embrace who she truly is. And start reading my column, dear twenty-something, to avoid a million other rookie relationship mistakes.


Dr. Darcy Smith is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Her practice, Alternatives Counseling, specializes in LGBT issues and is located in New York City. Dr. Darcy’s clinical style is very direct, goal-oriented and pragmatic. For years, the media has been drawn to her unique personality. She has provided expert commentary for networks including E! Entertainment and has worked with television producers throughout the nation. Her blog,, provides free advice to members of the LGBT community. Email questions to or call 212-604-0144.

*This column is not a consultation with a mental health professional
and should in no way be construed as such or as a substitute for such
consultation. Anyone with issues or concerns should seek the advice of her own therapist or counselor.

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