Common challenges of coming out later in life

Although coming out later in life is typically a huge relief for the individual who chooses to do so, it sometimes causes additional trepidation as well.

If you’re trying to decide whether or not to do the same, most who have come before you will tell you that the act of finally being able to live your life to the fullest will soon outweigh the nervousness of telling the world how you really feel.

Meredith Baxter is just one example of a well-known celebrity who came out later in life and admits to being nervous about it. She was 55, when she announced it on the Today Show. Married three times and the mother of five, she told Matt Lauer, “I am a lesbian. It was a later in life recognition of that fact.”

Baxter also stated that she was extremely afraid to tell her step-father. She finally told him, “I date women.” He replied, “I do too” and that was that.

At the time she came out, in 2009, she was told (by many people) that doing so was a political act. Today, it seems, that generally isn’t the case.

Many times, coming out as an older adult means having to tell a spouse of many years. This can be quite devastating, at first, but it isn’t the end of the world.

In addition, there are oftentimes in-laws to consider. A common concern, especially when there are children involved. In-laws can already be difficult to get along with, even without throwing the bombshell revelation of coming out into the mix.

Some people wait so long because they are deathly afraid of starting over, especially if they have never experienced any type of same-sex intimacy. It’s almost like being a teenager all over again. What these folks need to remember is that even if they had decided to come out at an earlier age, chances are high that they would feel exactly the same way. Plus, it all becomes a bit exciting when the nerves settle.

Friends. How will they feel, when they find out? No one wants to put themselves in a position where a friendship may be in jeopardy. The answer to this question is a simple one. Non-acceptance is an indication that it was never a true friendship from the start, or that the friendship wasn’t strong enough to endure differences in outlook.

There is never a right or wrong time to come out. In the words of Comedian Tom Glass, “Everyone comes out at exactly the same time… when they’re ready!” This is actually wonderful advice. Remember, coming out late in life is MUCH better and more fulfilling than never coming out at all, and never forget you’ve got more support behind you than you could ever imagine.