I have been with my current girlfriend for the last year. I have always been comfortable with my sexuality, and been pretty open about it.
On the other hand, she's from an EXTREMELY religious family, and I am only her second girlfriend.
(She's almost gotten married before, and regularly dated men.) We've been living together for the last six months, but I'm her "roommate". Being out and proud and having a partner in the closet isn’t easy.
Others, like your girlfriend, have a lot of baggage from their childhood that keeps them from being truly open about who they are.Of course you understand there are a lot of reasons for this.Besides the messages we get from our families and our churches, it also takes us some time to truly accept ourselves as a lesbians.Our culture does not show us many examples of happy/healthy lesbian relationships.First, support her and try to understand what coming out might mean for her.
Could she lose the support of her family and all her friends?Although she shouldn’t put her family before you, it is still going to be quite a loss for her.Try not to put pressure on her or make her feel guilty for not coming out. Let her know why it is important for you that she acknowledge your relationship. Either of these are very public events and she should know that doing either of those does, in fact, out her.What does taking your relationship to the next level mean for both of you? Third help her take the steps necessary to come out.Like I would advise anyone, come out to someone you know is going to be supportive first.Let her have a good experience, something positive to carry her through the potentially difficult conversations she will have with her family. You have every right to be out and proud in your own life and you shouldn’t have to hide who you are to your family and friends, but don’t out her to her work, family or friends. Show her how freeing and great life can be when you are an out and proud lesbian.