Out on the Job

Posted on 08 Jun 2006 at 6:50pm


Dear Candy,

Since most of my family knows I’m in a same-sex relationship, I consider myself out. But I’ve never had The Big Talk with my conservative boss. At work, I still refer to my husband as my “roommate.”

I feel like I’m ready to be out at work, but I need help: How can I avoid making it appear awkward or contrived?

Non-confrontational Joe

Dear Joe,
Coming out is a courageous act especially in the workplace. There’s a possibility of experiencing discrimination and rejection. But living openly is a process of incremental steps.

Instead of calling your partner your “roommate,” use his first name. Say “we” when you talk about saving money, making house improvements or what you did last weekend. At your workspace, display a photo of y’all as a couple.
You may never have that monumental conversation with your employer when you announce, “I’m gay.” That doesn’t mean your boss won’t put two and two together. And by hearing your use of “we,” he’ll get the message. Good luck.

Dear Candy,

I recently lost my mother. Through grieving, I realize that my partner and I do not share the same goals. I want to have a family, and she isn’t even ready for us to live together.

She’s also younger than me, which may be why she wasn’t very supportive during my mother’s lengthy illness and death. Now I realize she just doesn’t get it.

Time is so precious to me that I simply want to move on. It won’t be easy, but I’d rather break up now and look for someone more compatible. But I wonder if I’m inappropriately reacting to grief.

Wondering

Dear Wondering,

The death of a parent is a foundation-rattling event. The tremors we feel from that impact may not only be about grief, but can also be about freedom.
Upon the death of a parent, people often decide to live life differently because they wouldn’t allow themselves these decisions while their parent was alive.

Your mother’s death sounds stressful. Now is the time to turn your focus on you. Ask yourself, “What would make you happy now? What do you want to do with the rest of your life?”

If your answers do not include your partner, then do what you need to do in order to make yourself happy and whole. You no longer need to please your mother you need only please yourself while being respectful of others. Good luck.

Candy Marcum is a licensed professional counselor in private practice in Dallas.

E-mail DearCandyLetters@aol.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, June 09, 2006.

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