When your partner says “I’m coming out”

Man woman dating couch sex
“Coming out” to your partner means being honest — whether it signals a new gender identity or a need for new moves in the bedroom.

National Coming Out Day, which is upheld annually on Oct. 11, is a celebration of sexual orientation self-disclosures. But people “come out” about a variety of sexual matters every day. When someone in a relationship divulges sexual orientation, gender identity or an alignment with certain sexual behaviors or fetishes, it can send the other partner reeling. My friend and fellow sexuality educator Cory Silverberg, M.Ed., is a founding member of Canada’s sex store co-op Come As You Are. I asked him to weigh in on how couples can navigate any coming out experience — whether they’re asking for new moves in the bedroom or revealing a new penchant for people of the same sex.

• Do remember that what is (and should be) an experience of self-expression for one partner could feel like a bomb has dropped on the other. “When someone comes out, they don’t come out alone,” says Silverberg. “For their partner, it can feel like all sorts of things, including betrayal.”

• Don’t assume anyone’s identity— including your own — is static. People are more like dimmers than on/off light switches. “We are always in the process of becoming ourselves,” Silverberg proposes.

• Don’t believe your entire relationship has been a lie. “If someone comes out to you, it may not only feel like things have changed — it could also feel like you have to reevaluate everything that was. It doesn’t have to be this way,” he says. “It doesn’t mean there wasn’t love or commitment. It may not even mean there wasn’t good sex. There may have been all of those things.”

• Don’t assume you can’t talk to other people about it. “This is the kind of thing that’s very difficult to process,” suggests Silverberg. “If my partner comes out, it’s really important for me to have other people I can talk to and express my feelings with. My partner may not want to hear those things. It’s important that both people have someone else to talk to.”

• Do stay together, if warranted. “Be prepared to give it some time,” he advises. “We know sometimes relationships are bumpy and sometimes they’re smooth. This will probably be a bumpy time. Know that the first reaction might not be the best reaction.”

• Do break up, if needed. Relationships are about compatibility, and when someone changes it could signal newfound incompatibility. “Sometimes, it does mean the end of the relationship. If that’s the case, it’s sad, but it might also be OK. This idea that we’re supposed to be in relationships for the rest of our lives is just one idea of [what a] relationship is,” Silverberg says.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Winning $7 million New York lottery ticket sold…

The only $7 million winning New York Lottery ticket for Monday's Cash4Life drawing was sold at a Queens 7-Eleven, officials said on Tuesday.

Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Movies

Review: 'Get on Up' is a war between…

James Brown finally gets his own boring biopic with "Get on Up," but the Godfather of Soul puts up a good fight against the usual cliches.

Movies

Review: 'Child of God' finds director James Franco…

James Franco's 11th directed feature is a noble but sloppy adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's "Child of God," about a feral mountain man (Scott Haze).

Movies

Review: Alex Gibney's Fela Kuti doc 'Finding Fela'…

Prolific documentarian Alex Gibney takes on Afrobeat god Fela Kuti in "Finding Fela," but fails to capture his unique essence.

Gossip

Playing the Field: Valentine's Day coupling edition

  It’s Valentine’s Day, a day created by Hallmark to make couples spend loads and loads of money on candy, flowers and gourmet dinners. Or…

College

Playing the Field: Valentine's Day coupling edition

  It’s Valentine’s Day, a day created by Hallmark to make couples spend loads and loads of money on candy, flowers and gourmet dinners. Or…

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

Career

What do you wear to a career fair?…

Getting that gig starts with presenting the most polished and memorable version of yourself, so refer to our expert fashion advice.

Style

Editors pick: Margiela's finger armor ring

These cool rings from Maison Martin Margiela are designed to overlap over the finger, covering each joint like armor.

Style

Givenchy champions diversity

Riccardo Tisci's uses a variety of ethnically diverse ladies for his spring campaign including Erykah Badu.

Wellbeing

Don't settle for the hotel fitness center with…

Travelers who want to skip the hotel fitness center in favor of local gyms that may offer better equipment, classes and amenities can turn to…