What I’m concerned about is not her – but my mother, and possibly my father. I came out to mom as homosexual about five months ago. And actually, I didn’t come out to her. She found out because she went through my Facebook since it was left open on her laptop (I thought I logged out but apparently not).
My mother is very critical. So when she found out that I was lesbian and I have a girlfriend, she had a lot to say about it. I wouldn’t really have an issue if I was completely on my own and independent of her, but I’m not. I am 18, and she is helping pay for college.
I want to stand up for myself and not have to feel bad that my girlfriend is part of my life. But I feel very guilty when I resist her because she does so much for me as a mother.
She guilts me when I don’t spend time with her, but I don’t want to spend time with her when she constantly criticizes me. I’d rather spend it with my girlfriend. That doesn’t help the situation either. I try to avoid confrontation and I try to make it seem like I’m not spending as much time with my girlfriend as I really am, but I don’t wanna do that for much longer. My girlfriend understands but I feel powerless and it sucks.
My parents are getting used to the idea that I’m gay, but I know for a fact that my brothers had more leeway with their girlfriends at my age than I do now. Dad was all pissy and said he didn’t want to see hugging or kissing in the house. I wish I was older, you know? I want to be independent. That way I could make my mother low on my list of priorities as a result of disrespect. But I don’t feel I can do that because I need to stay on HER list of priorities. — Under House Rules
I hear what you’re saying. You want your mom to respect you and respect your lifestyle. You want the same benefits that you saw your brothers enjoy when they were your age, like showing affection for their girlfriends in front of your parents. But, unfortunately, you don’t have that right now it sounds like. And because you need financial help from your parents, you can’t risk offending them and pissing them off. And it must be very frustrating that the thing that offends them is simply you being you. That must hurt.
And here’s the thing, they may never come around to fully accepting you and your relationships. That part might not ever change (though it does sound like there’s certainly potential that it will), but what you know will change is that eventually you will be independent of them. At some point in the not-too-distant future you will no longer live with them or need their financial help. And I know that it feels like that day can’t come soon enough, but it will be here sooner than you think, and with it you will get some freedom you don’t currently have, like the luxury of kissing the person you love in the home you live in. You’ll also get some headaches you probably don’t have now, like paying rent and dealing with roommates. You’ll trade your college career for a real career and along with that will come the freedom to be independent of your parents, yes, but so with it will come bosses and co-workers and deadlines and pressure.
My point is, life is always going to have challenges. And, sadly, this probably won’t be the last time you feel marginalized because of your sexual identity, and it won’t be the last issue your mother finds to criticize you about. But if you respect yourself and don’t rely on the validation of others to feel good about yourself, then you’re ahead of the game at the tender age of 18.
While you’re still living with your parents and dependent on them financially, follow their rules. Don’t kiss and hug your girlfriend in their home if they’ve asked you not to, just as you might not have a boyfriend sleep over if you were straight and it made your parents uncomfortable. Surely, there are lots of places you can show affection until you have your own place. Spend some time with your mother even if she’s critical. Most mothers are critical, whether they have gay kids or not, and dealing with a mother who picks on you more than you’d like is a rite of passage most of us go through. It makes the freedom we feel when we no longer have to deal with their rules that much sweeter, which helps balance some of the crushing disappointment we feel when we suddenly realize just how many assholes we have to deal with in adulthood.
Hey, life isn’t always easy, and you’ll have more challenges as a lesbian who is still marginalized and often treated like a second-class citizen in this society. It sucks, but in the words of Dan Savage, it does get better. Just hang in there a few more years, keep your eyes on the prize, and remember that regardless of what anyone says — including your mother — your romantic relationships are every bit as valid as anyone else’s and if you want to hug and kiss your girlfriend, go right ahead… anywhere but in your parents’ home for now.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.