Relationships are hard work. They’re especially hard when your family doesn’t support them. For many LGBTQI people, they have to endure the ups and downs of long-term relationships in spite of family who might be rooting for the relationship’s demise. They often have to rely on friends for advice instead. And when that relationship ends, it’s often the perfect opportunity for your family to become an even bigger enemy than your ex. They might use your failure as proof that gay relationships never work. They may even use your breakup as a way to cling to hope that you’ve just gone through a phase; that you’ll still be their heterosexual child. But when you find yourself in the midst of a painful breakup without family support, you still have options.
Reach out to your network
Your family may not be there for you. But you’ve likely built a circle of people you can trust. Whether it’s a group of 20 or just two close friends, it doesn’t matter. These people are your confidants, and they’ll play a key role in your life as you work through your emotions. Use them as sounding boards to get your emotions out. The faster you deal with your feelings, the faster you can move on. If you are in the closet with friends, reach out to the LGBTQI center in your area to attend a support group, or call me to set up an appointment so you can process your loss.
Keep loving yourself
When you end things with your partner and you don’t have family to turn to, you can feel unvalued. During this time, it’s important to remember that you are loved. You’ve simply experienced a misstep. It’s a misstep that you’ll learn from and recover from. You have to work on the most important relationship you’ll ever have-the one with yourself.
Don’t seek your family’s approval
Even though you know your family doesn’t support your relationship or may not make an effort to understand your pain, you might find yourself trying to explain things to them. You might feel that if you can just get through to them, they can help you. But during a time in which you need emotional healing, these conversations can cause you more stress. Your breakup isn’t a time to engage in family politics. You should be focused on yourself. Now is a time when it’s perfectly fine to be selfish.
Write down your thoughts
Often, a diary or journal is the best type of confidant. You can speak truly and without limits. You don’t have to hold back. No matter how angry or sad you are, you can say whatever you want without a filter. Writing everything down is a great way for you to process emotions. More important, it’s a way to be honest with yourself without seeking approval or understanding from others.
Often, we want the kind of family relationships we’ve seen on TV. We want our parents to give us relationship advice and guide us through difficult emotional times. However, that’s often not that case. Still, that doesn’t mean we can’t build solid support systems to get through difficult times. Family or no family, there’s always a way to pull through. If you need support from someone your parents age, reach out to your local PFLAG group. There you will find people in your situation as well as parents there to offer that parental support you might crave.