My partner and I have been together for 20 years and are very much in love. We are both very successful. I am out with friends and family. He is not out with his family – or at work. We have a house together. When he is on the phone i have to remain silent so as to not be heard. He often gets dragged out to events after work because nobody knows he has someone waiting for him. When his family comes to visit – I move into a hotel for a night or a few days.
I realize he is operating from a point of fear. I want to be supportive. However – I am in my 40's now - and well I am starting to feel “invisible” – like I am choking. We have limited our friends to just a few. He hates to leave the house for fear of being seen together.
I have tried to make him see that we need to “come out ” at least a little , but he can’t take the humiliation. He has spun such a web now that to “come out” will be devastating for him and his ‘friends” that do not know.
I still love him – but I am suffocating ! How do I make him see this and “HEAR” me?
You are definitely in a difficult situation and your struggles are commonplace for men in your particular relationship style. Generally speaking, it has been observed that men of similar “levels of outness” tend to experience less stress and conflict and tend to report higher levels of relationship satisfaction than those couples in discordant identity arrangements.