Dating in the closet when you’re not ready to come out

Published: September 1, 2021
Updated: November 29, 2022
vector art showing crowd of people with several LGBTQ persons

Anyone can face challenges while dating, but it can be especially difficult for people within the LGBTQ+ community. On top of possible issues within relationships such as disagreements, bad timing, and lack of chemistry, some queer people are worried about trying to date while being in the closet.

In this article, we will discuss what it means to be in the closet, the challenges of dating while queer and in the closet, and some advice that we have if you’re trying to come out to family members and friends.

Table of contents [ Show Hide ]

What is “the closet”?

The term “the closet” is used by people in the LGBTQ+ community that means not being open or public about your sexual orientation or gender identity. Usually, the reason a lot of people are “in the closet” is due to the fear of losing support from their family, being bullied at school, or facing any other negative and discriminatory actions based on other people’s beliefs.

Read up to learn about how gay Christian dating is possible and how you can blend both your beliefs and sexual orientation together!

The most common people that are in the closet are transgender and gay people who are also usually under the guardianship of their parents or other family members. However, other people in the LGBTQ+ community can also be in the closet, including adults especially when it comes to their jobs.

dating in the closet

Risks & problems of dating in the closet

​​​​Being in the closet is an uncomfortable and stressful experience, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t deserve to hang out with and date other people. However, it’s undeniable that it can be difficult to remain in the closet as you navigate the world of relationships.

So, what are some of the risks that come with dating as a closeted person?

illustrated group of people with pride flags and heart

Tips on dating in the closet

If you’re looking to date someone while you’re still in the closet, how can you navigate that challenge? Here are some of our tips:

You’re dating a transgender person who’s still in the closet and you’re wondering whether it can work? We’ve got the answer to your question!

Should you come out?

Coming out is a very personal choice that should only be made on your own terms when you feel the most comfortable to do so. It’s important to always take your own safety and well-being into account when you decide to come out, as that should be your priority.

You can always come out of the closet when you want to, but it would be the best option to make sure that you have a safe place to be when you do.

If you are interested in coming out but aren’t sure how your family might react, you could try to talk to a close friend. Usually, best friends share similar interests, values, and are much more likely to keep the secret of you being in the closet if you haven’t told your family or job.

Queer dating recommendations

These are our top picks for dating sites that cater to queer singles. Join now and sign up for free today!

Most Popular Choice
Dating in the closet when you're not ready to come out
  • Connect with eloquent singles ready to have fun
  • Numerous signups daily
  • For finding your real connection
Dating in the closet when you're not ready to come out
  • Best platform to find your intended partner
  • Have fun with no limit
  • Consider a trial now!
Dating in the closet when you're not ready to come out
  • Great relationship platform
  • For singles ready to mingle
  • Zero membership fee
  • Prompt reply
Dating in the closet when you're not ready to come out
  • Easy interface
  • Discreet
  • Genuine users
Dating in the closet when you're not ready to come out
  • Large database of verified & attractive Asian and European singles
  • Efficient communication and instant messaging 
  • Top-level safety and professional support
Dating in the closet when you're not ready to come out
Meet and hook-up with neighbors. Search and view specific profiles in your area. Male profiles needed.
  • Free and easy registration.
  • Largest verified database in the US.
  • Thousands sign up every day.
  • Male profiles needed.
  • Guaranteed matches.
Dating in the closet when you're not ready to come out
Meet Kinksters is an open-minded dating app where you can match based on romance and compatibility in the bedroom. Join our community of like-minded singles who know what they need, both in and out of the bedroom.
  • Match based on both taste and romantic compatibility
  • Stop wasting time on vanilla dating sites
  • No swiping here: Find who and what you're looking for
  • Show your face only when you're ready
  • Be yourself with dozens of genders and kink identities
Dating in the closet when you're not ready to come out
  • Free sign-up!
  • Easy-to-use interface, optimized for all devices.
  • 100% match guarantee.
Dating in the closet when you're not ready to come out
  • Receive curated matches in just 15 minutes
  • Send and receive pictures in private chats
  • A high-security chat with two-factor authentication
Dating in the closet when you're not ready to come out
Christian Filipina is perfect for people who are looking for a serious relationship.
  • 24 hrs customer service
  • One on one Romance Consultations.
  • 100% real users.
Dating in the closet when you're not ready to come out
  • Meet real asian, european, and latino singles
  • Real-time communication with efficient tools
  • Professional dating services

How to come out of the closet

If you want to come out, we’re proud of you for making that courageous step in your life! There are many different ways that you can tell the people in your life about your identity, but what are they? Below, we’ll share with you our thoughts on how you can come out of the closet.

illustrated queer person coming out of the closet

Why people might want to stay closeted

There are many reasons why people stay in the closet rather than immediately coming out to family, friends, and coworkers the moment they come to terms with their sexual orientation or gender identity. One of the main reasons is for their own personal safety. People that are close to the closeted person could have negative views on people in the LGBTQ+ community and even become violent.

Especially for youth, coming out to parents can be very scary and a threat to their safety as some minors can be kicked out of their house or even sent to harmful locations such as conversion camps for trying to come out to their family.

Another reason someone may still be in the closet is the fear of rejection, harassment, and bullying by colleagues and other people at school. A place like school is where you can spend the majority of your week, and it can be an intimidating place to be.

Dating in the closet – can it work?

Whether or not being in a relationship while one or both people are in the closet can work or not depends on each individual person, but the short answer is yes, it can work. This depends on communication between both people and if the person that isn’t closeted is willing to date someone that is closeted.

Being closeted can mean that you don’t act like a couple in public, including sharing posts or photos about your relationship on social media or inviting each other to family events that you may otherwise be able to go to without the fear of being accepted.

However, if both people are willing to date while one person is closeted, there are ways that it can work. The main thing to keep in mind is that when someone is in the closet, other people shouldn’t find out about the person’s identity unless it’s on their own terms. No one else should ever “out” the other person as it could put the other person’s safety at risk.

In regards to dating, there are many things you can still do that doesn’t involve posting it on social media or sharing your relationship with other people.

Some ideas of activities that you can do while dating a closeted person is:

Of course, these are just a few ideas and you can always come up with your own!

vector art of hands holding up LGBTQ pride signs

Are there safe apps for people dating in the closet?

If you’re interested in looking for someone to date using apps, are there safe places for closeted people to use?

Here are some of the most popular LGBTQ+ apps that you might want to try. They also feature a variety of gender identity and sexuality options for your profile if you decide to display yours openly.

It might be that you have to pay for a service to be completely safe, but even free LGBTQ+ dating services offer a safe space for you.


This app was originally made for gay men but now advertises itself as being open to other people in the LGBTQ+ community. On Grindr, you are not required to upload a photo of yourself and you can also customize your own display name, so you don’t have to use your legal name to use the app. However, this app is still primarily used by people that are looking to hookup, so keep that in mind if you are looking for a long-term relationship.


This dating app has a unique feature that allows you to change your privacy settings to not allow people that identify as “straight” to be able to view your profile. This can help protect closeted people from being attacked by anyone that is hateful towards the queer community. 


They used to use only your Facebook account to make your Tinder account, but you can now sign up using only your phone number. Even if you want to use a Facebook account, you can always make a separate, more private Facebook account as well.