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Hiding and masking
I feel as though I am constantly hiding myself from others. I am gay and am terrified of telling those around me. Some friends know I am bi and family have suspicions (cousin saw me on a dating app) however it’s not something I have been able voice. I am in my 30s and don’t date. I mean I want to but the fear has been real for soo long
i joke with friends about my lack of dating and mask my insecurities when jokes hurt
I feel like I don’t deserve to be happy and don’t know how to change this thought process
So sorry you are struggling with this, I cannot give you any advice but I can tell you that you are enough. You are good enough, worthy enough, and important enough to have happiness in your life. I am sure there are people on this forum with experience in dealing with this issue and I know that each time you find a message here it will be someone who has struggles too, by reaching out here you have made the first step. Be safe.
Oh Cate26, you 100% deserve to be happy. Your sexual orientation is a natural part of who you are and you deserve to live authentically and be loved and accepted for who you are.
Hiding this and masking for so long must be so hard and exhausting. I didn't come out until I was in my thirties because I was SO scared of what everyone close to me would think. The fear would often manifest as self hate and negative thought which was incredibly hard to turn around (and sadly at times, it continues to be)
What I found really helped was connecting with other LGBTIQ+ people in social groups (I used meetup app or just facebook events) and found activities I liked that were open to new people. Being around others who love and care about you, as you are, is incredibly powerful (and silences the negative thoughts). Maybe there are some groups you can find nearby? It took me a few tries to find the right one. Even turning up was incredibly difficult the first time because i am very socially anxious (I'm not sure if that affects you too) but I'm sure you will find rainbow groups are very inclusive and understanding. I hope it can help you build the confidence to later go on dating apps and talk to family.