Dr. Anna Huff and Dr. Teresa Reyes Castillo
Being Centered Psychological Services, PLLC
The holidays raise a lot of emotions, in general, among families and friends. The time of year can be stressful and pressured for several reasons, including struggles within relationships whether they are intimate or not. Adding another layer of discomfort is coming out to family members or friends or simply inviting a new partner to the holiday gathering, which could be a feat of its own. The stigma is often present and the related shame of hiding who you innately are can be strong. Also, the process of coming out can happen in layers - telling certain people first and easing your way into being openly out.
There is no right or wrong answer, and this truly depends on your own comfort level, as well as, and maybe unfortunately so, keeping yourself safe. The holidays may also raise pressures from your partner or demands that may seem unmanageable. In these times, you matter: your thoughts, your feelings, your opinions matter. This time of the year can bring people together and be joyful. This starts with your acceptance and comfort within yourself.
Interestingly enough, a recent conversation arose between myself and my wife and partnering psychologist, Dr. Reyes Castillo. How do you tell a new group that you’re married? Do you say it up-front, so that everyone knows? Or do you wait until the topic arises sometime in the future?
Really, it is up to your own comfort level. Communication on this topic with your partner is important, so that you are both on the same page. A word of caution - do not expect those around you to support the timing of your decision. Remember their response to you is about them and their own insecurities. It is possible you decide to tell a group up-front, and they find it odd and discomforting that you would need to make an announcement. It is possible you tell a group after you have known them for some time, and they may feel hurt or injured in some way that you did not tell them sooner. What is important in these scenarios is to do what you feel comfortable doing and to understand that you will likely receive a response from your disclosure.
Remember to love and support yourself, no matter what happens. And remember to reach out to those who support you, because you deserve the love and support.
Dr. Anna Huff and Dr. Teresa Reyes Castillo specialize in psychodynamic psychotherapy and psychological testing. They offer support to the LGBTQ community.