I will be 40 in a couple of months. I have a good job, my own home and a cat. I divorced a couple of years ago and I have no regrets about that. It was the right thing to do. My ex has since remarried and seems idyllically happy and we now get on better than when we were married. When our only daughter married just before Christmas he gave her away and we were all able to have a really enjoyable time. So why am I writing to you? I have recently formed a relationship with a woman at work and I think I love her. She has told me she feels the same. She now wants to meet my daughter and my friends but I'm not sure I'm ready for that. She acknowledges she's gay and she's been out since she was a teenager. Her family accept her and she has lots of gay friends. But me, everyone thinks I'm heterosexual. I can't even begin to think of the impact on everyone. I think my family will be mortified. I don't want to sacrifice the relationship but I am so scared. I don't know what to do.
I read your message thinking how clear thinking and together you were until you started speaking about your current relationship. I won't be disingenuous and make out everyone is cool about sexual orientation because that's not the case. However, you say you love each other and that your partner is comfortable with herself and her sexuality and is serious about you. Isn't the question then, how are you going to share your relationship with those close to you? My suggestion would be to start with someone you trust, perhaps one of your close friends or a member of your family and then when you're comfortable proceed in an orderly fashion. However, I find it interesting that you haven't disclosed to anyone before? Perhaps your fear speaks of your own discomfort rather than anyone else's? My feeling is that those who are close to you will eventually come around even if they are initially shocked. My experience tells me that your daughter will probably be more preoccupied with her new relationship than yours. I'm assuming your parents are still living and are probably in their 60's and again could possibly see you being happy as more important than the gender of your partner. Of course I could be wrong you may come from a family who are less accepting and will struggle with the situation. It seems to me that the end of the day that if you want to keep the relationship perhaps you will need to feel the fear and do it anyway.
As a postscript my observations are not a substitute for counselling and that whilst it seems pretty clear to me you may find it useful to speak to someone about coming out