“GIVE THEM TIME”

I’ve had a few more requests for coming out advice in recent weeks, and I’m noticing one thing I’m saying over and over again:

Give them time.

I had to give my parents time.

I came out to my mom and didn’t immediately tell her I had a girlfriend. After a few weeks when I thought the waters had calmed I said, “I’m dating an incredible woman now. I’d love to tell you about her when you’re ready.”

She wasn’t ready for a long time but that gesture built trust. 


When Olivia and I were planning our wedding, my parents stopped contributing financially to the wedding because I hadn’t given them enough time. 


When I asked my dad if he would walk me down the aisle, guess what he asked for?

Time. 

He had to think about it.

As if a father holding their newborn doesn’t think to himself, one day I’ll give her away. One day she will be grown and in a white dress so I’m gonna hold this little one tight now while I can.

He needed time when there wasn’t much more to give. The wedding was in two weeks.

He took three days and said yes, he would walk me down the aisle. Did he think of me as a newborn? Did he imagine me marrying someone else?

All I know is that I was out of time.

My advice to those coming out to give the people you love time is valid. I had to do it. So many before me have had to do it.

But the “give them time” narrative is an antiquated construct that keeps the fearful in power and the vulnerable in discouragement.

I found that the time I had to give was clearly finite. I put a date on it and by October 8th, 2016, we would be married and be our own family.

My patience ran out and I was out of time.

The beauty was that everyone knew it. My family knew the wedding was happening so they would be there or not.

My advice to those coming out of the closet is not to start booking your venue and photographer but it is this:

Know your limits.

Yes, give them the time that you have.

When it’s run out, make that known. Graciously and kindly is best, but no one will judge you if that doesn’t happen.

They may need time, but that time is yours. Know the depth of your own well. 

More on my coming out journey here.

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