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Someone else's 'Open and honest relationship' vs Coming out

Heather Nicole

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This is something I've been wrestling with in my own mind for awhile, and I'm not entirely sure where to even start with this, but I'll try...


At some point, I want to come out to my little sister (the mother of my two super-adorable little neices!) Part of me wants to be out asap, and part of me (as someone who hasn't even started hormones) feels it's just too early.


But that's small potatoes. My bigger concern is this: When I choose to come out to my sister...well...she has a husband. I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that he would be accepting, but the problem for me is, my sister and I both know full well that he has problems with impulse control. No matter what his intent, we all know that no matter how well-intentioned he is (and he really is), he just doesn't have basic impulse control. (We're all pretty sure he's "spectrum". Not lgbt spectrum, but autistic spectrum.)


At the same time (and for all I know, maybe I'm naive in this since I've never had a relationship of my own) but I beleive very strongly in open and honest communication in any romantic relationship.


So I feel stuck at a crossroads: When the time comes that I do come out to my sister (and part of me wants that to be ASAP), how do I navigate my own personal need for discression and not being ready to be "outed" outside of my own control, versus my sister's right to be fully open and honenst with her own spouse?

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To summarize, I don't feel like I have a right to tell a person (my sister) "I have something to tell you, but you have to keep it a secret from your spouse." But circumstance dictates that he not be in on it, or else, no matter his best intentions, he's guaranteed to be a ticking time before he loses control and outs me to people I'm not ready to be outed to.


But then, keeping my sister in the dark until whenever I'm finally able to be fully out also feels like a betrayal to her, and also robs me of what I feel to be one of my top prospects of a much-needed support figure.

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No easy answer for this but if you have a great relationship with your sister, which it sounds like you do, then I think you have to be open with her about this concern when you do tell her. I had a similar challenge in that no one in my family thought my dad was ready and it sucked for the whole family trying to keep it from him for a couple weeks. However, my sisters and I formed a plan to help support him with it and that worked well in helping my sisters keep the secret for a while because they were part of the solution, not just being asked to keep quiet.

Flip side: Once you come out to 1 person, you lose control of the process. lol.  That person, especially if it's someone really close and or important to you needs to be able to "process" this change in their relationship with you and chances are, they need to talk about it to someone else to do that.  

Once you decide to come out, it's like a leak springs in a dam. It becomes very hard to stop and opens itself up to more flow. Get yourself ready. Be prepared to tell others shortly after the first person.  You are going to find that once you tell your sister and see how great it makes you feel to not be hiding this secret, you are going to want to keep telling people.  

Anyways, I wish you luck

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   I remember being in the spot of having some folks know while i hid from others.  For me it became a time of alternate excitement at being myself and fear that i could be completely outed.  I had traveled out to go to a meeting one evening and had to stop for gas.  I was seen and approached by a man who had done some work on the farm.  I knew he was a gossip.  Perhaps that was just what i needed.  I decided to simply bite the bullet and come out everywhere.  

    Maybe this is a good time to decide if or when you want to live full time as yourself.  Maybe speaking to your sister will help with that decision even if there is a risk that that decision may be out of your control.  

  What ever you do i hope it works out well for you.  






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Only you know when you want to come out but... well, like they say, "Two can keep a secret if one of them is dead. When I came out, I made sure people knew that it wasn't a secret. That helped, because I didn't have to tell everybody in person and I didn't have to worry about forgetting anybody.


Personally, I'd just bite the bullet and go for it. Deal with the fallout as it comes raining down.



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2 hours ago, Jackie C. said:

"Two can keep a secret if one of them is dead"

I don't really know if you can come out to some people, and not others.

At best you'd just be delaying things, and having to live in a complicated place.


This doesn't mean you need to take out a notice in the local paper though.

But sooner or later…


Do you want to be out or not?

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Thanks for all the input. I appreciate it, and it does give me a lot to think about.


Like I alluded to, I haven't been feeling like this is the right time to come out to any of them just yet, but that was one question that was still weighing on my mind for when I do.


Part of me definitely wants to have someone close in the family I can talk to about this stuff asap, but the timing just doesn't seem right. My family is still in the greiving process over my mom's passing just like I am (not to metion all the work settling the estate), and besides, I feel like, heck, if I have a hard time reconciling a female gender identity with the image of a "man" I see in the mirror even though I'm the one who's been knee-deep studying the lgbtq+ world, it's that much more to ask of them. So for awhile now, I've been leaning towards the position that when I do come out to them, I want to have already started medical transition and to also know that "Ok, yes, HRT does seem to be working out ok for me."


It does leave me in what feels like a somewhat odd situation - I was already out (kind of, more or less) to one person, my mom. So with her gone that actually puts me back in the closet again! (Don't get me wrong though, I'm a big fan of irony, and so I find that quite amusing in a weird way, being un-outed ;)

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9 hours ago, Heather Nicole said:

the timing just doesn't seem right. My family is still in the greiving process over my mom's passing just like I am

Yeah, there is a lot going on right now.

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