Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Mother Won’t Accept My Lesbian Girlfriend”

I’m a woman in my late 20’s who started a relationship with another woman four months ago. I love her with all my heart, can tell her absolutely anything, and she calms me down by just being there. I truly feel like she is the person I am meant to be with forever. I had only dated men before this; however, most of my family (dad, step-mom, brother, sister) have been accepting of her as my girlfriend.

The problem is with my mom. She had a very religious upbringing where same-sex relationships are unacceptable. When I first told her about dating my girlfriend, I said that I understood that she would have issues with me dating a female, but I would not accept my girlfriend not being treated like any other significant other in the family. That would mean I could talk about her and she would be invited to family events where SO’s are invited, which are Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. This was right before last Christmas and at that time I agreed not to invite her since it was so close and I didn’t want to “ruin” the occasion for my family. It was the worst Christmas I’ve ever had. I felt like a leper who couldn’t talk about a huge part of my life and I was definitely excluded from much of the family talk. I vowed not to repeat that.

Easter dinner was canceled this year in favor of my step-brother’s wedding, which my girlfriend was not invited to. This was strictly a small wedding with immediate friends and family only so I understood and did not have a problem with it. However, my mom could not even say my girlfriend’s name, changed the subject when anything involving her came up, and just in general made me feel like she didn’t care. This pattern has been the same through all our phone and email conversations over the last four months. I called her on her behavior and now she says that because of my grandfather, who is my last living grandparent and a 93-year-old stern, depression-era man whom my mom and I don’t want to upset, that my girlfriend will not be allowed at any family event at her house as long as my grandfather is alive.

I talked it over with my girlfriend and she stated that she was willing to act as a friend as long as my grandfather was around because she understands and would have done the same for her own grandfather. My mom is afraid if we do that on a regular basis that my grandfather will suspect something. Also, since my grandpa is so old, there’s a possibility he will move in with my mom soon which would further complicate things.

So I guess my question is this: Do I stand my ground and not go to any family events my girlfriend isn’t invited to? Do I compromise further and try to find an excuse that mom will accept for my girlfriend to go and possibly compromise my right to be who I am? Going without her is not an option because I will not repeat my past misery. I would visit my grandpa at other times to replace that time I don’t get with him at those events. Right now, my girlfriend is so mad that my mom is making me this upset that she doesn’t even want to meet her or go to these events but would for my sake to help me keep a relationship with my mom. — First Time Lesbian

In your letter you state very explicitly that you won’t tolerate your girlfriend not being treated like any other family member’s significant other. And since you can’t control the actions of others — i.e. whom you mother invites and allows to her house for family functions — and can only control your own actions — i.e. whether you accept an invitation to a home where your girlfriend is not welcome — you have to let your actions speak for you. If you won’t stand for intolerance, your actions need to prove that. To not stand for something means not going along with it.

So, yeah, stand your ground, and refuse invitations that exclude your girlfriend when other significant others are welcome. And if that means hosting some family events so that you get to call the shots, do it. If that means making separate visits with individual family members outside events that your girlfriend is excluded from — and that you skip because of that exclusion — do it. And, hell, if it means confessing to your 93-year-old grandfather that the person you fell in love with happens to have a vagina instead of a penis, you might consider giving him one last exciting shock while he’s still around to absorb the news. If your grandfather were racist and you happened to have fallen in love with a man who’s a different color than you, would you make him pretend to be just your friend? Would you hide him from your grandfather? What if you got married? What if you had kids? At what point would you drop the charade and say, “You know, I don’t care how old my grandfather is, I’m not going to keep acting like I’m ashamed of the person I’m in love with out of some strange sense of respect for a man whose old-timey values are so oppressive.”

And if you want your mother to respect your choices and to maybe even one day respect your relationship, you have to demand respect. Don’t kowtow. Don’t make excuses. Don’t tolerate intolerance. Let her know that if she wants a continued relationship with you, it means accepting the person you’re in love with. And if she can’t do that, then she’ll be at the bottom of your list of priorities, well beneath the people who embrace you for who you are and not whom they wish you would be.

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com and be sure to follow me on Twitter.

115 comments… add one
  • Leroy

    Leroy April 13, 2012, 9:20 am

    I agree with the advice that she should stand her ground, and that this will likely entail not going to these events. But I also think that she can do this without abandoning her mother over a 4 month (!) relationship. I wouldn’t counsel doing this for a heterosexual partner, and don’t see why such extreme measures are required for this one.

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      Giancarla April 13, 2012, 10:41 am

      Right?! The hormones are still raging when you’re dating four months. Try, try, try, to think rationally before making rash decisions over a relationship that short. Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transexual or Heterosexual.

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        MsK April 13, 2012, 11:37 am

        Maybe its just me but I would be hesitant to refer to someone I’ve been dating for four month as “love” and it took me seven months to feel comfortable enough to introduce my ex boyfriend to my parents.

        I don’t understand why couples try to integrate their lives together so quickly, when as you said.. at four months its a lot of hormones!

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        GTR April 15, 2012, 11:54 pm

        “I don’t understand why couples try to integrate their lives together so quickly…”

        Amen, sister. And gay couples are the worst for this. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had friends tell me something along the lines of, “I met this awesome guy at the club last night… and we’re having our committment ceremony in Bali!” Perhaps it’s a fear that the relationship will fall apart from the societal pressures against gay people if it isn’t hurried forward?

        But getting back to the letter; the red flags started popping up here within the first paragraph:

        “I love her with all my heart, can tell her absolutely anything, and she calms me down by just being there.”

        Really? What an odd thing to say. The third most impressive thing about this woman is not her intelligence, or her sense of humour, but the fact that she quells your manic episodes?

        and…

        “I truly feel like she is the person I am meant to be with forever.”

        Possibly she is, but aggressively demanding that your family acknowledge the perfection of your love within a few weeks of meeting her (as you mentioned this has been going on for months) just reminds them that when we plunge swiftly and deeply into love, we tend to plunge swiftly out of it too. Your mom doesn’t respect your relationship because it comes across as being all emotion. Given that after a mere four months you’re declaring undying love for a woman who helps reduce your unstable temperament, your mother could be forgiven for seeing this as an outburst, not a relationship. This allows her to cling to her moral objection to lesbianism and give it validity.

        As such, the best thing you can do is stop demanding that the outside world bow to the majesty of your love and simply enjoy your relationship. Spend time with your girlfriend. Get to know her on a deeper, more experiential level. Get some shared history together. Witness how she helps you through the big and small issues of life. Each week you’re together weakens your mom’s position and makes your life more fulfilling.

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      savannah April 13, 2012, 11:10 am

      its not this simple-to the LW her families acceptance of her gf is less about the gf and more about the LW and her new identity. She’s going to feel quite strongly about this because it’s her first step into this new world and so it’s not really about a 4 month old relationship at all, its about her trying to figure out to be a lesbian within her family and how to navigate this new dynamic. should it be like that? idk, but there is a lot more going on here than the average heterosexual relationship dynamics.

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        oldie April 13, 2012, 11:59 am

        You are exactly correct. This has nothing to do with the length of the relationship and everything to do about LW’s Mom pressuring her to change who she is. Don’t give in. If the tactic seems to work for Mom, she will continue to apply it. You are teaching her how to control you. If your Mom can get you to come to family events, leaving your gf behind, and pretending thay you’re straight, what reason would she have to ever soften her stand?

        I think MOm is using gramps as an excuse. Even if she isn’t, LW should not pretend to be whom she is not to allow gramps to pretend the world isn’t the way it is and to inflict his bigotry upon the rest of the family.

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      • Leroy

        Leroy April 13, 2012, 12:50 pm

        But it’s not apparent that she regards herself as a Lesbian or is seeking to take on a new identity. She’s upset that her mom isn’t accepting of her new girlfriend. Though I do think that she’s hoping for her approval of this choice as well.

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      • avatar

        savannah April 13, 2012, 1:03 pm

        That’s not really how identity politics works though. It’s private and public. Is it possible that she just sees this as any other relationship without any reflection on her sexual orientation? perhaps but unlikely. If she’s a women, and shes dating a lesbian for 4 months now she’s probably at least thinking about a shift in identity and is at least publicly considered a lesbian and with that does come a new identity. There is a lot of cultural baggage that gets thrown at a baby lesbian and they can get pretty rank and file about labels and identity, especially as someone coming onto the lesbian dating field in their late 20s. Thats why newly out people can be some of the most vocal activist on these issues.

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      Caris April 13, 2012, 2:36 pm

      Yea well, the problem is that the mom doesn’t accept it because she’s dating another girl. The length of the relationship doesn’t matter.

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    Amanda April 13, 2012, 9:20 am

    Wendy nailed it, but especially this: “Don’t make excuses. Don’t tolerate intolerance.”

    LW, this is a superb opportunity for you to set some boundaries with your mother. Your mother made it very clear that your girlfriend is not welcome at her home while your grandfather is alive. So, don’t go there anymore. Your relationship with your girlfriend is #1 now and you cannot let her nor your relationship be treated so poorly. Don’t tolerate this anymore! Enough is enough

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    kerrycontrary April 13, 2012, 9:27 am

    you know, the funny thing about old people is that sometimes they can still surprise you. We always assumed that my depression-era grandparents would be hateful of gay people, but they honestly don’t care. In fact, my grandmother didn’t even really know about gay men until a couple of years ago. Recalling a conversation she said “and kerry, there was this boy at the party, and he was real handsome, but you know what he dates other boys!” and I said “yeh grandma, they do that” and she goes “oh, I didn’t know, people didn’t do that in my day.” (Obviously there were gay men in the 30s she was just completely unaware). Nowadays she couldn’t give a crap if someone was gay, straight, or covered in polka dots. I think sometimes when people get to their end of their lives they realize that hate is such a waste of time.

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      ktfran April 13, 2012, 9:32 am

      Your grandma sounds awesome!

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      Lydia April 13, 2012, 9:32 am

      I was thinking the same thing! The LW’s mother seems to think the grandfather wouldn’t be able to handle it, but are they really sure of that?

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        Morgan April 13, 2012, 9:53 am

        I don’t think its about grandpa at all. It’s about Mom using grandpa as an excuse to keep from having to address her daughter’s sexuality for as long as possible.

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        Christy April 13, 2012, 10:22 am

        Probably a little of both: grandparents aren’t always the most accepting, but she’s almost definitely also using him as an excuse.

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      • Brad

        Brad April 13, 2012, 9:54 am

        Or she [the moter] just simply can’t handle her daughter being gay now and is using the “fragile” grandfather as an excuse to justify her intolerance.

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      • Brad

        Brad April 13, 2012, 9:54 am

        mother*

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        Natasia Rose April 13, 2012, 1:20 pm

        I think this is exactly what’s going on. Grandpa is 93, the girlfriend coming to events as a friend won’t phase him. The possibility of lesbianism is probably not even something he would think about. It’s a red herring.

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      • becboo84

        BecBoo84 April 16, 2012, 10:21 am

        I agree with you completely! That was my first thought as well.

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      Jessibel April 13, 2012, 10:28 am

      I don’t know your grandma, but I love her! My great-grandmother was the same way; depression era, very into her church, the original Martha Stewart type (she ironed cash before putting it in our birthday cards) and was always impeccably dressed and matching. She died in early 2009, but in Novemer 2008 she piped up at dinner one night and was like “I voted for that Obama fellow, I like him. Don’t you think it’s about time for a black president?” and when someone was talking about gay marriage, “gay” she assumed meant happy, until we explained to her that it meant homosexual. She was like “oh, why do people hate that? People are people”.

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        Muffy April 13, 2012, 11:56 am

        I have a funny Obama story: My grandpa is from the South and he passed away at 94 years old. His parents were Irish Catholic (and so was he). He had dementia and was blind. One day when visiting him in the nursing home a few weeks before he passed, he asked my dad who was the president. And they said it’s Obama. And he said “oh a nice Irish fellow, ’bout time for another Irish Catholic” thinking it was “O’ Bama”. And then he asked “what does he look like” and my dad siad “black Irish”. He never knew Obama was actually a Black president.

        Anyways the point is sometimes we say things to older people knowing it is not worth the argument to tell them otherwise. However in the LW’s case this is about her own identity. My dad couldn’t care less if his dad passed away thinking the president was something he was not – he’d probably forget the next day anyways. But when it comes to who YOU are, I can understand why the LW would want to let her family know. Your grandpa might surprise you LW and be more tolerant than you think. Does anyone watch Downton Abbey where in season 1 the grandma said “Mary has the trump card -she’s family” after Mary did something “horrendous”. I would follow Wendy’s advice and not attend any family events where you are not welcome for being who you are. If you were allowed to bring a boyfriend over after 4 months then you should be allowed to bring a girlfriend.

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    • Fabelle

      Fabelle April 13, 2012, 11:09 am

      This is really true– my grandpa didn’t used to be very tolerant back in his day, but then he met a real-life gay male couple & was literally like “They’re just like regular people!”

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle April 13, 2012, 11:16 am

        Which, I mean, obviously, but things like that aren’t so obvious to some people in older generations so it’s good when those realizations are made.

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        june April 13, 2012, 12:18 pm

        …or to younger generations, unforch.

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  • avatar

    J. Walker April 13, 2012, 9:36 am

    That is the total opposite of what I would have said… But Wendys answer changed my mind.

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  • Kate B.

    Kate B April 13, 2012, 9:41 am

    Right on, Wendy!

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    Christy April 13, 2012, 9:50 am

    You have to give your family time. That is my main message. It appears that there are two specific issues: the coming out as lesbian/bi and bringing your gf around. I’ll start with the coming out.

    If your mother is religious and she’s always seen you dating men, she’s going to expect that you will eventually marry a man and have a nice, traditional household. When you told her you were dating a woman, you shook her worldview on you. You’re introducing a major change into her perception of you and your future. Basically, all of the dreams she had for you will no longer happen as she’s pictured them. It is gonna take some time for her to be able to readjust her picture and idea of you with this new parameter. I understand that it didn’t take a big adjustment for you, but it definitely will/would for her. I understand that you want her to be immediately OK with it, but that doesn’t mean she can just flip a switch like that. It would help if you would try to ease her into the idea and talk about it with her rather than laying down the law and say something like “You need to immediately accept this.” Which is sorta what you did with regards to your gf and bringing her around. You didn’t give your mother any time to adjust.

    Now on to the particulars of bringing your gf around. From your letter, it appears that you started dating your gf basically exactly when I started dating mine, which is to say, right before Christmas. Personal anecdote: I had planned on her coming to Christmas before we even started dating (her family is on the West Coast and we’ve been friends for a while) and then when we started dating right before Christmas, I minorly freaked out (as you all may recall) and didn’t know what to do about introductions and stuff. Turns out saying “Hi, this is _____” is an adequate enough introduction, and my family loves her. But MY POINT is that it was a very quick turnaround from beginning dating to meeting my entire family at Christmas.

    And I’m also not sure how not having her there ruined Christmas for you. How did your family exclude you? Did they keep asking about the men you were dating? Did they just talk about their own significant others the whole time? Surely you have more going on in your life than your gf, especially after not dating for very long.

    And don’t get me wrong, I understand how much it sucks to have unsupportive parents. I have the best parents in the world who have been 100% supportive through everything, but my best friend is a lesbian and her parents STILL have problems with it. (She’s been out for 6.5 years now.) My friend won’t stand up to her parents about it and just goes with it to keep the peace. She’s been very deferential about being gay. (There’s still some latent internalized homophobia left from her own religious upbringing.) And it SUCKS that she doesn’t say “Hi, this is my gf, ______” at family parties, but she still brings her gf with her and says “Hi, this is ______.” Her family eventually figured it out after, oh, 6.5 years of this. Her parents (her father) is the only one with the real problem with it.

    So, advice. I think you need to give your mother time to accept you as a lesbian/bisexual. (BTW blanket apology for potentially mislabeling your sexuality but I wanted to cover both main options.) She needs time to deal with it and accept the loss of the future she imagined for you. (Because it is a loss. Your life is harder now. Congrats. When I told my dad, he was 100% supportive and said he was sorry my life was gonna be harder. Example 1: health insurance.) Give your mother some time to deal with it and talk to her about it CIVILLY. Maybe agree to revisit it on a monthly basis and see how she’s doing. Maybe you let her ease your gf into family situations. After giving your mother, say, 6 months to come to terms with it, THEN stand your ground about invitations and don’t go unless your gf can go as well. But give her a chance to come around.

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    • avatar

      Christy April 13, 2012, 10:19 am

      Wendy, I’d love to know your response to my comment. (You know, if you’re not too busy, what with running a website, maintaining a household, and raising a child.)

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        oldie April 13, 2012, 1:43 pm

        Christy –Weren’t you commenting about your racial-joke telling bf on the humor thread the other day?

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        Christy April 13, 2012, 3:27 pm

        There’s another Christy who is not a cat with a lime on her head who is not Christy-the-lesbian.

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      • katie

        katie April 13, 2012, 8:08 pm

        there is only one Christy the lesbian with the lime hatted cat. only one.

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      ktfran April 13, 2012, 10:42 am

      I’m glad you mentioned the part when the LW said that family events are ruined without her significant other. Especially after only dating a few months.

      LW – I understand your feelings about wanting someone you care about around. And wanting your family to accept that relationship. At the same time, I think you should take a look at yourself to understand why your happiness is based on whether or not you need someone by your side at family events. Can you not have fun with people without a significant other there? If that’s the case, I think you have some work to do.

      Of course, I’m just going by the impression I got from reading this letter. Your family might have been terrible to you at Christmas. If that’s the case, I’m sorry. But you never explained why you were miserable. So, I’m going off what I read.

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      • landygirl

        landygirl April 13, 2012, 11:21 am

        Thank you. The main thing that struck me about this letter is the speed in which the LW is moving. It seems to me that she may be creating drama rather than dealing with the issue at hand. 4 months is a relatively short time to know if you truly want to spend your life with someone. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, I just don’t think it’s the norm.

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      ReginaRey April 13, 2012, 11:05 am

      Really great advice, Christy. Yeah, I think that part of coming out is a general acknowledgement that you have to give your parents time to adjust to it. In an ideal world, they’d welcome this new knowledge with open arms and acceptance…but it’s just not like that, unfortunately. This LW DID spring quite a lot on her family, all at once. And while I understand her desire to be accepted and treated equally, easing the family in to it is eaiser than throwing them into it head first.

      I have a friend who had the official “coming out” conversation with his parents when he was about 18 or so. He’s going on 24 now, and his parents still talk about “when he marries some nice girl, “etc. They’re pretty staunchly Catholic, and attempt to deny it in hopes that it’ll just go away. He’s kind of distressed over it, because he thinks he’ll have to come out to them AGAIN — “Hey, remember that time 6 years ago? Yeah, still gay!”

      So, the point of that anecdote is that the being totally accepted by your family can be a LONG journey, and there’s a thin road to walk between being patient and not accepting intolerance. If your family is downright mean, hateful and rude to your and your significant other, then I wouldn’t tolerate that. But if there’s the chance that you can slowly make your family comfortable with it by some one-on-one conversations, attending a few events here and there, etc., then I think that’s a good way to go about it while maintaining good relationships on all fronts.

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      AndreaMarie April 13, 2012, 12:13 pm

      Great advice. And I was thinking the same thing. Your Christmas was “ruined” because you couldn’t bring you gf of a few weeks?

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        LW April 16, 2012, 1:19 pm

        I don’t know if anyone will read this as I missed this being posted last friday. But as a clarification. Last Christmas, I would not have invited my GF anyway as I knew the relationship was too new for that. It was the fact that my mom would not allow me to talk about her or have her mentioned in the slightest way. I gave her that xmas because like you all said, it’s new to her and I wanted to give her some time. I was actually trying to wait til after Xmas to tell her but she forced the issue since she had found out I was in a relationship. And yes, in our family, you invite SO’s to those events after a couple of months because we try to keep them inclusive. If it was a guy, she would have been estatic and gushing about him and prying me for details. The other thing is that right now, our events are very couple-y as everyone has a SO and my mom is an only child so there’s no aunts, uncles, or cousins to talk to (which would make a huge difference). So my xmas was “ruined” because my brother and sister run off to go do their SO’s xmas after only being there for a short time and I’m left alone with my grandpa, mom and step-dad. Very very uncomfortable. Like Christy and others have said, I have been trying to give her time by just trying to casually insert her in conversations and not asking my mom to even meet her. I wanted her to do that on her own. However, after 4 months, my mom still can’t even call her by name, just “that person that is going to do something for me” and she’ll then change the subject. I can’t even mention the vacation I have coming up in June because my GF is coming with me. And when I mean can’t mention, I can’t even say I’m going to see this specific monument or eat at this restaurant (with absolutely no mention of my GF). So it does actually really impact what I can talk about with her.

        And to those who doubt because it’s only 4 months old, as I said I don’t jump into things lightly. I realize this is a short time for a normal relationship; however, it has just feels so right and I can be myself completely with her. And yes, I know it’s still technically the honeymoon phase though we’ve already worked out our disagreement style, had huge stressors (excluding the family issue) in the last couple of months and other things that would normally break a relationship so yes, I feel like it will last.

        As for me being “manic”, by calming down I mean someone who can make me feel instantly better after being laid off or helping me not stress so much because I have an incredibly important professional exam coming up.

        Thank you all for the advice. I was getting very emotional because I would really like to have some relationship with my mom but I don’t want to compromise who I am, so it’s good to hear some outside perspective. I’ll follow it, special thanks to the lesbian/bi people on here and to wendy, and I’ll give you an update later.

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    TheGirl April 13, 2012, 9:53 am

    She’s your mother. If she loves you, she’ll get over it. Don’t let her guilt you into lying about who you are to your whole family. I too have a very conservative, born and raised in the 50s mother, and she was incensed when she first found out I was having sex outside of marriage. She threatened me, guilted me, yelled at me and did everything she could to make things difficult for me. Here’s what I did. If she brought it up on the phone, I just went silent, waited a few extra seconds after she finished, then told her I was not going to have this conversation with her again and she could either change the subject or I was going to hang up. I told her either she loves me and accepts me or she doesn’t. I am an adult and entitled to make my own decisions, even if she thinks they are a mistake, they are my mistakes to make and get through. It’s time to stand your ground. Just make sure you are respectful and calm about it, but persistent.

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      savannah April 13, 2012, 10:33 am

      “If she loves you, she’ll get over it.”
      if only this were really the case. The difference between having sex outside of marriage and being gay is that one reality is presumably basically temporary and the other is not. Just because you were having sex outside of marriage does not mean your mothers vision for you, for your future had to be altered at all. Where in the case of the LW, it is highly possible that her mother will never get over the idea that her daughter is no longer going to be married with a husband and full bio kids, and being gay is public in a way that sex outside of a marriage is not. It affects their family as a whole a lot more (or it can affect their family if they let it) than simply what you do in your private time. Lots of mothers and fathers love their kids and never got over this issue.

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        TheGirl April 13, 2012, 1:39 pm

        Maybe get over it was a poor choice of words – I’m not saying she has to like it, just learn to deal with it. If she truly loves her daughter, she will for the sake of the relationship.

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    Mainer April 13, 2012, 9:59 am

    I think you just need to give your mother a little time. How did she respond when you “came out?” Did you even come out? Or did you just one day tell her you’re dating another girl? There could be a chance she is just not taking this seriously and may think it’s a “phase” or something, and consequently doesn’t want you flaunting your sexual experiment around the family. It has, after all, only been a few months. I know she doesn’t really like speaking about your girlfriend, but keep trying to explain to her *your* feelings, rather than just trying to get her to accept your girlfriend. I think you need to start slower and make it about you, her daughter, rather than about the person you’re dating. Show her you’re serious about this relationship, and if that means sitting out a few family events then so be it. Have you talked with anyone else in your family who attends these events? You said your father and siblings are cool with it, get them to support you. Speak with your aunts and uncles and tell them about your girlfriend. If everyone else in your family is not bothered by it, your mom may lighten up a little and she make be more accepting knowing this is who you are and you’re not going to change. It’s a tough thing for her to grapple and she’s not going to change her views overnight.

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      Mainer April 13, 2012, 10:00 am

      Or, in other words, what Christy said above. Forgot to refresh before submitting.

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        Christy April 13, 2012, 10:03 am

        No, it’s good to have an agreeing comment that is not colored by personal experience(s). And that’s not an essay.

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      Muffy April 13, 2012, 12:51 pm

      Exactly! Make it about you – if you are truly interested in pursuing either sex to date then she needs to know that. But if she feels this may pass because you haven’t made it known that this is a part of who you are then tell her.

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    MarkD April 13, 2012, 10:15 am

    I have a different opinion. You make your choices, and you take the consequences for them. So does your mother. You don’t get to decide for her that her religious beliefs are wrong. You disagree. You have a choice to make. She has made hers. Maybe she’ll change her mind. Don’t count on it.

    My wife’s from Japan, and my parents, when they were alive, loved her (maybe more than they loved me, but I’m not the most affectionate of sons.) I never expected different, but had they rejected her over racial or religious differences, my choice was my wife and I’d take the consequences.

    It’s called adulthood.

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    • avatar

      iseeshiny April 13, 2012, 10:35 am

      I totally agree that you can’t force someone to change their mind, but I don’t think that’s what Wendy was advocating in her advice. I think she was advising the LW to stand her ground and refuse to come to events where her SO was being excluded.

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  • mandalee

    mandalee April 13, 2012, 10:31 am

    I think your mom is definitely using your grandfather as an excuse here to try to pinpoint some of the uncomfortableness on him rather than her. Both of my grandparents are in their 80s and they are pretty out of touch. My grandfather has made some pretty racist comments in the past, but when a cousin of mine brought home her boyfriend who was Dominican, he was really accepting and it was never an issue . I think we overestimate how “out of touch” the older generations are. They may make comments because they weren’t exposed to something growing up, but they also usually have enough social decorum at that age to be polite at a bare minimum.

    I agree with Wendy. You need to stand your ground. If your girlfriend is not invited when all other significant others, then don’t go. Your mom should eventually understand that you are an adult and who you choose to love is your business and choice, not hers. If she wants you to be a part of family functions, she needs to accept who you are and who you are dating.

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  • avatar

    EricaSwagger April 13, 2012, 9:42 am

    The racist comparison is key here. I was thinking it as I started reading about the situation, and I’m really glad Wendy mentioned it. It’s an excellent point that I think, LW, that you should bring up to your mother, just as one last shot to make her understand how ridiculous she’s acting. I only fear that a person so ignorant about same sex relationships may also have the same “old fashioned” views about race, and that she may say “no, I’d feel the same way if you were dating a black man.”

    But all you can do is try.

    I understand this woman is your mother. But at the same time, a person who doesn’t treat you well is a person who doesn’t treat you well. Mother or complete stranger, if a person is a stress on your life and you have the power to remove that stress, you should do it. It may not be that easy — I have no experience with mother issues, as mine is amazing and has always accepted everyone she meets no matter what. I could be wrong. Maybe there’s something about a relationship with a mother that makes it hard to just walk away, no matter how poorly they treat you.

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    • avatar

      ktfran April 13, 2012, 11:06 am

      Unfortunately, I think my dad would have a problem with both me dating a black man or being a lesbian. He might come around eventually and my mom would come around a lot quicker, but it would take a lot of time. And my dad is only 57. I grew up in a small, primarily catholic and republican city. It’s progressing, but very slowly.

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      • avatar

        Anna April 13, 2012, 12:55 pm

        Yeah, me too. If I told my parents I was dating anybody except a white guy, they would be pissed. They are very judgmental, racist, and homophobic. My dad is 72 and my mom is 57.

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      • katie

        katie April 13, 2012, 8:05 pm

        me too- i actually kinda dated this black guy once, and my mom met him (my dad doesnt live in this state) and she literally told me after he left that we couldnt get serious because “you know what your father would think”. also, my sister was dating a mexican once. my dad knew about that one, but he told her that if she ever married him or had his baby, she was out of the will. seriously.

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  • avatar

    Lindsay April 13, 2012, 10:53 am

    I am totally not cool with parents who can’t accept their children’s SOs like this. But you say you’ve been together for four months, meaning that at Christmas, you had been dating for, what, a month? I don’t even talk about the people I am dating to my parents within the first few months, nog less bring them to holidays or family weddings. It seems your mom does have issues with you dating a girl, and I am sorry to hear that. But regardless of who you are dating, I think it’s good to take a breath. If you regularly talk to your family about new relationships in such a strong way, then I would speculations that maybe they just think this is a whim. I’d say to just give it time and address the situation when your relationship is more serious.

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    • avatar

      Nadine April 13, 2012, 11:13 am

      I agree with this. But I also love your “nog” typo. Very seasonal!

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        Lindsay April 13, 2012, 6:28 pm

        Haha. I’m not even sure where that came from. my computer died, and I am a very bad phone typist.

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  • avatar

    Temperance April 13, 2012, 10:56 am

    I think that LW’s mother is the one with the problem. She’s doing that mother thing where she doesn’t want to be the bad guy, but hey, someone else that you’ll feel bad upsetting by doing this thing SHE hates .. win!

    I never grew up thinking that being gay or lesbian was wrong, because I would see my older cousin with his boyfriend at family events. I’m an ex-evangelical, but I figured out what gay was on my own before the church tried to beat it into my head.

    My ultra-conservative great grandmother didn’t care that my cousin brought his boyfriends to family parties and events. He probably met some resistance in the beginning, but they stood their ground and everyone got over it. Your family will, too.

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  • Budj

    Budj April 13, 2012, 11:15 am

    Your Mom is totally copping out with the Grandfather excuse…

    I agree with Christy and Mainer.

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  • avatar

    sarita_f April 13, 2012, 11:21 am

    Hm.

    For the record, I totally support not accommodating ANYONE with hateful views. So yeah, what Wendy said.

    But, LW, above and beyond the label of relationship (het/homo/poly…etc) – you sound a little angsty about a 4-month(!) relationship. I don’t doubt you’re head over heels in love, but at least in my circle it’s abnormal to introduce your SO to parents (and during the holidays!) after what could only have been a few weeks of dating. Can you please elaborate on WHY you were so miserable at xmas?

    I know you had to pick and choose information to include in your letter, but to me you sound overly invested in having your family validate your relationship. Has it always been this way, with your past hetero relationships?

    I personally think you should slow waaaaay down here. Take Christy’s advice, treat coming out and your new SO as two separate issues. Go listen to some Dan Savage podcasts – he has some awesome advice for the coming out process, including allowing time for your loved ones to come to grips with the new reality of what your future holds. They ARE your family, and they ARE invested in your happiness, and most people have preconceived notions as to how your happy little life will play out. Remove yourself if they shower you with hate or shame you, but just calmly, consistently keep in touch and make sure they know you love them unconditionally. Basically, go all Christ-like on them.

    If I were you, once you give your family a decent amount of time to adjust, then take Wendy’s advice exactly, bring your SO along like normal and don’t sugarcoat anything, or don’t attend if your SO is banned.

    Good luck to you.

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    • avatar

      Amber April 13, 2012, 11:39 am

      YES yes yes yes yes

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    • CatsMeow

      CatsMeow April 13, 2012, 12:04 pm

      In addition to Dan Savage, “Ask a Queer Chick” on the Hairpin. I looooove that column!

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      • avatar

        sarita_f April 13, 2012, 1:37 pm

        oooh, I need to go check that out. As if I have time to add another advice column to my daily list… oy.

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      AndreaMarie April 13, 2012, 12:08 pm

      I thought the same thing. 4 months or less to incorporate your SO into your family is super quick, even if this were just like your other boyfriends. Also, you have been dating men in the past. Maybe your mother feels this is a phase (thats why she’s using the delay tactic of wait until your grandpa dies). Maybe after you have been with your female SO for a significant amount of time will it enforce, No mom this isn’t a phase this is for real. Then at that point she may be more open to inviting your SO in.

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      • avatar

        sarita_f April 13, 2012, 1:43 pm

        AndreaMarie – the whole phase thing – if the LW ends up listening to/reading anything by Dan Savage, I have to put this out there too – he believes female sexuality is way more fluid than male. I believe his line goes something like, “All the lesbians I knew when I was younger are now either married to men, or ARE men.” If this LW is as self-conscious and self-centered (as she’s entitled to, since this is all new to her) about her new identity as I sense she is, that may piss her off. So just fair warning.

        On the other hand, D.S. does say that after a certain period of time, say a year, the now-out person needs to regard their loved one’s homophobia as that person having a problem and they are to be pitied but not catered to. It’s their own issue to get over, but the out person doesn’t need to love them any less. I think that’s a really great mindset to go into it with.

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      • avatar

        Milla April 14, 2012, 4:06 am

        Yeah, Dan Savage has said some pretty biphobic things in the past (like if a 17 year old boy told him that he was bi, he wouldn’t believe him. Um. . . I’ve known I was bi since I was sixteen, and at twenty-eight, I’m . . .still bi and in a relationship with another lady). He can also be pretty transphobic, too, so I’m always hesitant to rec him.

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  • Fabelle

    Fabelle April 13, 2012, 11:23 am

    Wendy’s advice is great, I think. But if for some reason you can’t bring yourself to be like “Mom, as long as my girlfriend is excluded, then I’m opting out of events that you host” maybe you could just…show up with your girlfriend? If the family that’s accepting of you co-mingles with your mom and grandfather, that would help the situation. Although, if that’s not how things are set up, it might be more of a lion’s den scenario…

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  • avatar

    Amber April 13, 2012, 11:39 am

    This letter comes across as really agressive. Like, “Look mom, I’m dating a woman now so you better get over it immediately!!!”

    This is a lot to spring on your family, especially since you’ve always dated men before this. Maybe they think it’s just a phase?

    And the whole “I was excluded from every conversation at Christmas because I couldn’t talk about my girlfriend!” is a bit dramatic. Your girlfriend of all of four months? You honestly have nothing you could talk about other than that?

    I think you need to be patient and wait and see if your family comes around. Good grief.

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    • avatar

      savannah April 13, 2012, 11:58 am

      “I was excluded from every conversation at Christmas because I couldn’t talk about my girlfriend!”
      Its not as dramatic if you rephrase it with “I was excluded from every conversation at Christmas because I couldn’t talk about this huge life altering new thing going on in my life that everyone is just ignoring”
      Again it’s so not about the girlfriend.

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      • avatar

        Calliopedork April 13, 2012, 12:24 pm

        Why is it that important to discuss sexual orientation during family get togethers? how do these conversations go?
        Hey lw have you seen that new show on HBO?
        Well actually I spend my free time sleeping with women now so no.

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      • avatar

        Amber April 13, 2012, 12:39 pm

        Bahahaha!

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      • avatar

        cmarie April 13, 2012, 12:40 pm

        Or it could go:
        Hey LW, how’s life treating you?
        Pretty good.
        Any new beaus?
        Umm….
        Or:
        Hey LW, what did you do last weekend.
        I went bowling with friends
        Which ones?
        Chelsea, Carrie, Marsha
        Who’s Chelsea?
        Umm…
        Or:
        Hey LW, word on the street is that you have a new love. Details please
        Umm….

        There are multiple way to ask someone one if they’re in a relationship but not too many ways to answer honestly if you’re trying to keep a secret.

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      • avatar

        Christy April 13, 2012, 1:50 pm

        Luckily, my family was always much more direct: “So, how’s your bee eff?” (back when I was single) “Don’t have one.” My favorite, from my grandmother to my mother “So when is Christy going to start bringing men around?” “Probably never, she’s a lesbian.” Oh, mother.

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        cmarie April 13, 2012, 2:20 pm

        My sister had my family partially convinced I was a lesbian long before I came out so there was always the raised eyebrow, trying to be subtle but not really “Did you meet any new friends?” holiday questions. They wanted to know but didn’t want to push me in any direction. I adore my family and all their obviousness. 🙂

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow April 13, 2012, 2:44 pm

        I’m not a lesbian but my mom still refers to my romantic interests as “friends”. Except she says it in this weird tone that I can’t convey through typing. Like, “Oh, Joe… is he your…’friend’…??”

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle April 13, 2012, 2:49 pm

        Omg ha, I know EXACTLY what tone you’re referring to. I can hear it in my head; my mom does that too sometimes.

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      • avatar

        Jessibel April 13, 2012, 3:56 pm

        Haha, my fiance’s mom called me his “friend”, even when we were shacking up, even after we were like “This is the wedding date, bank on it”. It wasn’t until the ring was permanently on my finger she started calling me anything different. It’s so funny.

        Christy, I laughed so hard at your quote from your mom, it just sounds so sassy!

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      • avatar

        Christy April 13, 2012, 3:28 pm

        That’s nice. When I was 19 and thought I was bi (and completely closeted anyway) my dad flat-out asked me if I was a lesbian. I said no. Woops.

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        savannah April 13, 2012, 12:46 pm

        well in a supportive family, one might talk with their family about strategies to cope with being a lesbian in our heteronormative world. The idea that queer folk should stop talking about their sex lives as a means to shut them up about the struggles they face is a pretty old strategy. The fact that it’s not at all about the sex they are or are not having but rather the world they now have to operate in is something that might be good to think about. For some, sexual orientation is not about sex, but rather an identity. I’m not saying I agree with every gay who shoves their sexual activity in other peoples face, but that argument has often been used by the right to get queers to shut up and not be openly gay in public aka no lesbian hand holding which will invariably burn the eyes of small children everywhere.

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        Calliopedork April 13, 2012, 1:44 pm

        I guess, but my point was that a person you’ve only known for 4 months should not be so ingrained in your life that you can no longer have conversations with your family without bringing them up. I know its not all about the person but it really seems like because her new life is so important to the LW (not that it shouldnt be) she might have made not having the gf there a bigger deal between her and the rest of the family than was needed.

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        savannah April 13, 2012, 2:08 pm

        I’m sure she did, because she felt like it was about her and not the gf, and it kinda is to her family. I’m not saying that her actions are not a little dramatic but they are certainly totally understandable and predictable. Also when you are in a new relationship, don’t you want to talk about it nonstop? A lot of people do and while it might be annoying for friends, she’s probably been able to gush about boyfriends to her family forever. I mean yeah straight people dont talk about there sex lives but thats not what she wants to talk about, she wants to talk about her new relationship and no one else does. Add baggage in there about them accepting her, the LW, and not even the gf and its a whole mess.

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        cmarie April 13, 2012, 2:15 pm

        So if you’ve only been dating someone for a few weeks and your aunt asks if there’s anybody new in your life, what would you say? I can hold a conversation without bringing up my girlfriend but considering that I spend a lot of time with her, if someone asks me what I did last weekend it would be difficult for me not to mention her. Sure I can call her a friend but my family pretty much knows all my friends so bringing a new face into the picture would definitely get some questions. Also, why should she have to lie about her relationship with this new “friend”. My aunt introduced my partner as my “special friend from Oregon” at my mom’s funeral but if someone asked how we knew each other I didn’t lie to make someone else more comfortable. Unless the LW lied, or tried to hide (which she made clear she wasn’t going to do, rightly so) about what she had been doing the past few weeks it would be hard not to mention the new girlfriend.

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  • avatar

    Thunder_Power April 13, 2012, 11:45 am

    Another lesbian here. I kinda scrolled through the responses so I apologize if I accidentally repeat advice given before.

    Christy is 100% right. You’re in your late twenties and until now you’ve only ever dated men. That means for 25+ years your mother has been picturing you with handsome prince charming, naming her biological grandbabies, and picturing a life for you that is heteronormative. It is really naive to think that she should just accept this change of heart from you on the fly after so long if you’ve never so much as hinted at your different sexual orientation before. You’ve shocked her. And frankly (at least in the part of the country where I’m from) it’s a friggin’ miracle that she’s the only relative you’re having issues with on this subject.

    On another note (gay or straight): Christmas was 4 months ago. You started dating about 4 months ago. Therefore, you two only dated for 2ish weeks maybe and expected to spend Christmas together? With your family? I guess I can’t judge because I don’t know if this is how your family works with SO’s, but that seems a little soon to try to integrate them. Had it been a “come over and watch a football game” scenario, that might be different, but Christmas is a major family holiday and I wouldn’t think you’d invite someone to a family holiday unless you had a well established, read:longer than 2 weeks, relationship (so many lesbian UHaul jokes in my brain right now. Must….resist!).

    In any case, there is a fine line between standing your ground and forcing your relationship in your mother’s face and down her throat. I would start by simply just talking about your wonderful girlfriend conversation. Get her used to the idea that you have somebody important in your life. Tell your mother how happy you two are together (casually!) Tell funny little stories, let her slowly warm up to the idea. She’s not rejecting you, but it’s kind of like trying to get a cat into a bathtub full of water: you can’t throw her in and expect her to be happy about it. Ease her into it.

    My friends have been advising me on this same issue recently: you don’t have to make this a big deal. Having “gay” conversations don’t need to be monumental, life-changing conversations, intervention-style inquisitions. Just chat while doing dishes, name drop the gf while you’re grocery shopping or mention that your girlfriend is really handy while doing yardwork. Make her a part of your casual conversation and your mother will slowly realize that your relationship with a woman is no different that it would be had you been dating a penis bear-er. Given some time, she will be more willing to invite your girlfriend to family events.

    Forcing the issue will just alienate her further. Best of luck to you!

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    • avatar

      iseeshiny April 13, 2012, 1:10 pm

      When I read this through the first time I thought: Aaah! A penis-bear! And then I pictured what one would look like. So thanks for that.

      Good advice though 😛

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    • avatar

      Christy April 13, 2012, 1:53 pm

      Nicely done! (And PREACH about the U-Haul jokes. So much willpower.)

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      • katie

        katie April 13, 2012, 8:18 pm

        what are the Uhaul jokes? i have never heard of lesbian Uhaul jokes. i wanna hear them!

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      • avatar

        Thunder_Power April 14, 2012, 12:57 am

        “What does a lesbian bring on the second date?”

        “A UHaul!”

        http://youtu.be/R0MxsQnWRX0

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  • avatar

    AndreaMarie April 13, 2012, 12:03 pm

    Your mom is using the Grandfather thing has an excuse. This way she can deflect the fact that SHE has the issue with it. And by saying “not until he dies” she can delay dealing with the fact that you are a lesbian.

    Stand you ground.

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  • avatar

    cmarie April 13, 2012, 12:04 pm

    I came out to a wonderful, accepting family. My relationship with my family didn’t change one bit, except to maybe a little bit stronger. My mom never once made me feel like I was abnormal or what I was doing was wrong and when she (and the rest of my family) met my girlfriend, she was treated like any other significant other (maybe a little better because they wanted to make sure we knew we were accepted and wanted there). If anything, my family had more trouble accepting her being Chinese than being a woman. I come from an itty bitty coal-mining town in rural Pennsylvania so diversity is a foreign concept there. When my mom died, we had only been dating about for a couple of months but if she hadn’t come with me, I don’t think I could have handled it as well as I did. Our relationship may have been new, but having her there helped me stay strong. On the other hand, her parents are very traditional Chinese parents. When she came out they tried to have her committed, they tried to talk her out of it, convince her it was just a phase, convince her to go back into the closet for the sake of her elderly grandparents, and finally just ignored any indications that she was dating another girl. I was not invited to any family events, even after being together for 5 years, if she mentioned me that ignored it. She would be telling a story and they would completely block out the fact that I was there too. She just went with it and stopped trying to get them to come around. She would go home for some holidays and visits without me and while she was there, would barely speak to me for fear of “rocking the boat”. She waited 6 months to tell them we were dating. We lived together for a year before she told them. We have 2 cats that they don’t know about. All because she can’t stand up to her parents. I resent her for that and even though I try to forgive her for it and understand why she does it, it hurts and makes me feel like a dirty secret. I know she’s not hiding our relationship, but she’s also not being completely upfront about it.
    Long rambling point short; don’t hide your relationship to make someone else happy, all it will do is hurt you and the person you love. 4 months isn’t that long to be dating but I’m guessing this has more to do with your new identity as one who dates women than the actual woman you’re dating, at the moment. I understand how difficult Christmas would have been having just came out to your mother, unable to share this new, exciting relationship news; it feels like you have to hide a big part of your life now and nobody feels comfortable pretending to be something they’re not. If your mom was afraid you’d say something and let it slip, she might have steered the conversation away from you. It’s easy to feel alone when someone is trying to make you feel ashamed. Your mom is using your grandfather as a crutch to deny your relationship and your identity. That’s unacceptable and you definitely should stand your ground. However, I agree with Christy in that you also need to give her time. It’s a pretty big bomb you’ve dropped on her and it’s going to take some time for her to adjust to this new reality. Certainly don’t give into her but still be kind about it. If your girlfriend isn’t invited to family events say that you understand but you want to include her in your celebration so you will not be attending this year. Maybe make a quick visit to just say hi to everyone else. If most of your family has been accepting don’t exclude them to get back at your mother. If you bring your girlfriend I would recommend to simply just introduce her as “__” and leave it at that. If people ask about the nature of your relationship, be as open as you are comfortable, just make sure to not be aggressive about it. When we want the people we love to accept us and the partner we’ve chosen it easy to get “pushy” and try to force others to accept it. Some people will, some people won’t, and others will take some time but don’t forget that respect is a 2-way street. You can respect somebody but not give into their wishes if it goes against what you want. Respect that your mom needs time but don’t accept her disrespect. If she says something negative just tell her that you don’t agree and that it’s hurtful and move on. This is your new life, your new identity and you should be completely comfortable and feel accepted. If your mother is unable to give that to you, then don’t put yourself in a position where she can hurt/anger/disrespect/dismiss/etc you. You can’t force her to accept it but you can be the bigger person and still be the new woman who happens to love another woman.

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    • avatar

      Christy April 13, 2012, 12:53 pm

      I think this is really good advice: “Respect that your mom needs time but don’t accept her disrespect.”

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark April 13, 2012, 1:17 pm

    Your mom is using him as an excuse. Yes. That said, you really did spring this on her out of left field. Having seen you with only men before this, it probably came as a real surprise… Give her time… Funny, it can take some of us years to figure out we are gay — but then we expect those around us to just instantly accept it and be supportive… I actually think Wendy was a little harsh on this. Dan Savage says you have to let your parents throw tantrums for a good year. Then you get to play hardball. But that first year? Patience. Of course your religious mother was completely thrown for a loop. Pretty much ALL religions seriously suck on this issue. Actually, that’s putting it mildly. Church teachings do all they can to fuck up our parents heads! Hey, they fuck up our heads so much that a good portion of us WILL try to kill ourselves. (With way too many succeeding!) Yay Jesus! Praise the Lord for relentlessly FUCKING our lives for centuries!!! …Okay, end of rant. Give her some books to read on this subject… listen to Savage Love podcasts for possible titles that will help you two sort this out…

    Meanwhile, I am curious as to exactly when you realized your were first attracted to women? I mean, yeah, it’s great that you feel like this will last forever — but, um, so does pretty much everyone in every relationship at the four month mark…

    PS: As far as your ruined Christmas. As others before me have stated — What? You started this relationship four months ago… Wouldn’t that be like mere days or maybe some two weeks before Christmas? Frankly, that is way too early to be introducing any one to the family — regardless of your sexuality. That whole aspect of your letter just screamed drama queen.

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  • SweetsAndBeats

    SweetsAndBeats April 13, 2012, 3:20 pm

    Since this is a brand-new revelation for your mother, I think that going gung-ho about making her accept you is a bad move. Like people have said, you used to date men, so she is probably going to hope for a while that this is just a phase for you. Becoming a hard-ass about having this brand new girlfriend of yours immediately legitimized and accepted by your family is probably to your detriment, right now. From their perspective, you found a girlfriend and are experimenting, probably trying to discover who you are. Such a radical change, coupled with a lack of compassion for their paradigm shift, probably makes it look to them like you’re just testing societal limits as part of a rebellious attempt to “find yourself”.

    Give them time. Sit down and talk to them — have a formal coming-out BEFORE you shove this girlfriend down their throats — while deliberately not getting mad or arguing (DO. NOT. ARGUE, it will get you nowhere), no matter what they say. Maybe even go to family counselling with your mother. This sets the stage for her to learn, at the very least, to “hate the sin but love the sinner”.

    Also, here’s an article with talking points when your mother brings her argument back to the Bible’s laws:

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  • katie

    katie April 13, 2012, 8:31 pm

    so, i wonder if this stems from a more deep issue of your mom not accepting you and your decisions. to me, personally, it seems that you decided very quickly to start dating women. i am not at all trying to say that “its just a faze” and you will “grow out of it” or whatever -i just wonder if trying so hard in the first 4 months of this new life is just trying to get some validation from your mom about your life in general… as in, its not really about you being gay or not being gay, its more about you being able to say, “mom, this is me” and she accepts it.

    i really dont mean that to be offensive at all if anyone takes it that way. and i dont mean at all that when people decide to be gay that they cant try to get their parents to accept their choices. for me, and i will willingly admit i do not have a lot of experience and contact with gay people and specifically with them coming out, it seems as though it is a decision that is arrived after much internal thought and struggle… so this seems all rushed to me. but, there is also the fact that she could have had all those thoughts and struggles and not mentioned them.

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  • fast eddie

    fast eddie April 13, 2012, 7:33 pm

    My depression era parents were mortified when my GF and I moved in together. My response was to ignore both of them which wasn’t difficult as I didn’t like them anyway. Dad died about a year later and mom came to accept it. These issues work themselves out when the “injured” party(s) recognize that they can’t change the situation. Standing your ground is good, but burning the bridge isn’t the best approach.

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  • avatar

    Milla April 14, 2012, 4:17 am

    I’m another queer/bi lady, long-term relationship with my partner for the last six years. First of all, congratulations! It’s always amazing when you find yourself in a new relationship, so don’t feel like you have to lose out on that joy just because of the sexuality issue.

    That being said, I would recommend you take some time to enjoy just you and your girlfriend. Yes, your family will need to accept her and you both (I think the advice about giving them some time is good, so I won’t reiterate it). But you’ve been together four months, and much of the rest of the world will be giving you crap about it. In a lot of ways, you and her will be each other’s homes, especially as your family adjusts. In the meantime, consider getting involved with the local queer community, maybe attending some events and making yourself a queer family (close friends who are queer or queer-friendly). When my sister was less than supportive (not so much a homophobe as she was a jerk), my best friend gave us tons of love and support. We’ve been supporting her while she has a long-distance relationship with a woman in Canada. My queer family is much better able to relate to some of my problems and questions, and while of course I love my biological family, it’s just a different experience.

    As far as long-term acceptance goes, it’s tough. My mom has pretty reluctant at first to accept my partner. My dad could have cared less. Her parents were lovely and welcomed me into the family with open arms. My girlfriend and I are still not out to grandparents, neither of which we are even that close to. My partner’s grandfather recently passed away— he was suffering from dementia and likely would not have understood anyway, so we never told him. Sometimes you want to come out to everyone. Sometimes you don’t want to bother. But you and your relationship deserve to be acknowledged. You can decide to cut your mom some slack or not, but regardless, I would really urge you to seek out a community where you can be seen.

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  • fast eddie

    fast eddie April 15, 2012, 8:13 am

    A private conversation with grandpa about your girlfriend would move this situation out of the fog. Your mom is anxious about your coming out and using Gramps as a puppet to express her feelings that she can’t say out loud.

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  • avatar

    Brad April 15, 2012, 1:56 pm

    Well, the situation does not involve a person of another race. I think to equate the situations of African-Americans and gays as suffering the same type of discrimination does great disservice to the history of racism in this country. Moreover, like it or not, alot of older folks attribute a religious significance to homosexual relationships in a manner that was never employed in regard to black racism.I agree with Thunder Power. Why does someone in their 20’s have to throw her relationship in the face of her grandfather? Geez, let the guy live out his life in bliss. Who appointed you the arbiter of truth for someone almost four times your age. Yes, I think the original advice was a bit too confrontational. If ultimately, after your grandfather passes and your mother is not accepting, fine, reassess at that time. Judging from your age and relationship status, chances are greater than 50% you won’t be together in five years anyway.

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    • Brad

      Brad April 15, 2012, 4:21 pm

      impostor! lol

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      • avatar

        rachel April 15, 2012, 5:39 pm

        Lol, don’t worry, we weren’t fooled! Do you notice that all the crazies tend to comment on the articles a couple days after they’re posted?

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      • Leroy

        Leroy April 15, 2012, 7:52 pm

        That’s when Instapundit links the articles. I suspect that he deliberately waits a few days so that he doesn’t flood the forum.

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      • Brad

        Brad April 16, 2012, 7:59 am

        Man why is it that the types of people that are super into politics are so often compltely nuts? How does one’s world view get so skewed as to actually believe that things are black and white, such as republicans are to blame for all our problems??? How does it escape them that politicans on BOTH sides have been screwing Americans for decades? Are they really naive enough to believe that the next clown running for office is going to be any better? Just boggles my mind.

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      • Leroy

        Leroy April 16, 2012, 8:20 am

        I think that guy’s post is a parody. It’s too pat.

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    Greg April 15, 2012, 2:52 pm

    Well, if you feel your intolerance for your mom’s beliefs is morally right and your mother’s for yours is morally wrong, refusing to attend family events without your SO is probably the only tool you have available to enforce your morality on your mom. With limited options, you use what you have available.

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  • avatar

    datechguy April 15, 2012, 4:01 pm

    So let me get this straight.

    Your mother is a devoutly religious person (I presume Christian) who professes a faith where Jesus specifically states: “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” (Matthew 10:37) and you are upset that she doesn’t accept your decision diametrically opposed to this command? Am I missing something?

    And not only that but you want to pressure her and punish her for being faithful to said faith instead of your violation of it? Would you complain if a Jewish or Muslim friend refused to have Pork at the table?

    It is your choice to live with or love whoever you want, that’s what free will is all about, if you can’t handle the fact that your mother apparently actually believes her faith and is willing to stand for it, then that’s on you.

    Her actions are intrinsic to her faith, your actions are intrinsic to your choices. If after four months you are willing to choose this woman over your mother then so be it. But make sure it is a permanent relationship, otherwise you are throwing away the woman who raised you for a fling.

    Good luck.

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  • avatar

    Brian G. April 15, 2012, 5:21 pm

    It is patently obvious the mother is a Republican, because those scummy people hate gays, along with women and minorities, and they really hate lesbians. George W. Bush made it a personal war on gays that loved each other and wanted to get married, forcing them back in the closet, and having people like this mother think it is OK to gay-bash and to destroy the lives of gays, just like they destroyed the lives of political dissenters by putting them in Guantanamo Bay and by outing undercover CIA agents hoping to get them killed. In this upcoming election the Republicans say don’t vote for Obama because he is black. Don’t forget a vote for Romney is a vote for Bush, a vote for bigotry, homophobia, and for the interests of Big Oil and Wall Street.

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    • Brad

      Brad April 16, 2012, 7:55 am

      LOL! Bush has been out of office for 4 years now so let it go. All you’re doing with your ‘republicans are evil’ rant is broadcast to the world that you’re an idiot. Truth is all politicians suck in different ways—the only difference is where. This isn’t a political forum so take that crap somewhere else.

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  • avatar

    JWnTX April 15, 2012, 6:06 pm

    Brian G–you’re a nut. There are nearly as many gay Republicans as there are gay Democrats these days–check the stats (close to 60/40). And I’ll guarantee you that liberal gays who behave (ie, don’t wave their sexuality in your face) are far more welcome in Republican circles than conservative gays would be welcome in Democrat circles. Democrats look at anyone who doesn’t toe the party line as a traitor, less than human, and evil to the core. Republicans look at opponents as people who disagree with them. Not even close.

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    • bittergaymark

      bittergaymark April 15, 2012, 6:27 pm

      That’s a lie. I know thousands of gays and like maybe two gay republicans… I do know a huge number of gay independents though…

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  • avatar

    joel April 15, 2012, 9:46 pm

    Well, if you are going to dump your mother for your current fling (and that is what it is), bad choice. And the people egging you on are not your friends.

    Since you are so sure of the validity of your relationship, you don’t need your mother to validate it. Just leave your girlfriend out when you visit your mother. After all, its her loss, not yours.

    You realize, of course, you are an idiot.

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  • avatar

    Nadine April 16, 2012, 7:12 am

    Am shaking my damn head at the last few comments… jeez.
    Must…not…involve….self.

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    • avatar

      Christy April 16, 2012, 7:59 am

      I like don’t even know… who ARE these people? Where did they come from?

      I mean I do welcome a fresh perspective. And imposter-Brad’s point about religion and the history of racism does have some merit. Or is at least worth considering.

      But like they came out of nowhere!

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      • avatar

        Nadine April 16, 2012, 8:24 am

        I know! I love reading the comments, and even when I disagree, I am still interested. But when you start talking about Republicans and Democrats in a site for advice regarding personal relationships…. eeeep.

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      • Leroy

        Leroy April 16, 2012, 8:35 am

        Wendy’s advice articles are often linked by Instapundit, a popular libertarian / conservative political blog. That’s where these guys are coming from, and why they’re full steam ahead w/ their politics.

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      • Dear Wendy

        Wendy April 16, 2012, 9:05 am

        …You should see the comments I don’t approve…

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      • Brad

        Brad April 16, 2012, 9:16 am

        Well I’m not stopping you from showing them to me 😉

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  • avatar

    Another Mom April 16, 2012, 10:53 am

    If I may weigh in as a fundamentalist Christian mom of many adult children … with a disclaimer that yes, I did link from Instapundit (who is a personal friend, whom I know to be very tolerant and accepting of LGBT, btw … and apologies if I don’t get all the current and acceptable vernacular correct here)

    First, I think a lot of Christians get it very wrong when it comes to dealing with gays and related issues. I know that as soon as I identify as Christian, I am equated with Fred Phelps and his “church” by some. At the least, anything I say is called hateful, bigoted, and I am called homophobic. In that regard, I do bear some responsibility as I have not done enough to denounce the truly hateful, and promote how I believe Christ would want us to respond – and I make no special claim to know anything more than anyone else, it is just what I take away from Scripture and prayer.

    The passage that should exemplify how Christians should respond to not just gays, but every one – as we are all sinners, we all fall short of Christ’s glory and perfection, and no sin – save one – is any worse than any other, is John 8: 1-11, the story of the adulteress. The woman was brought to Jesus by the scribes and Pharisees, and they informed Him that she was caught in the act of adultery. They wanted to stone her death, as commanded by the law. Jesus responded, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”

    Many use this passage to respond to Christians, throwing Scripture in our faces to tell us to back off. And to a point, they are correct. But then consider what Jesus then said to the woman, after the crowd dispersed and they were alone – “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”

    Go … and sin no more. What you are doing is wrong and by continuing, you will be excluded from the Kingdom of Heaven (Gal 5:19-21). That is what Christ told the adulteress. He did not condemn her, and neither should we condemn anyone for their sin. We are all already condemned for our sins, for we are born sinners. Me, you … everyone.

    That should be the message we bear, and it should be the same for ALL sinners. Including – ESPECIALLY – ourselves. And we should keep well in mind that, in God’s eyes, no sin is any worse than any other (except for blaspheming the Holy Spirit – Matt. 12:22-32). Our actions should be to pray for everyone – that the light of the Spirit come upon them and they come to know and accept Christ, and follow Him to eternal life in the Kingdom of God.

    So why all the controversy, debate, arguing and name-calling on both sides? Well, we Christians are basically being forced to accept homosexuality as normal, natural and OK. When we don’t, we are called homophobic (might want to check that definition there – we are not scared of gays), hateful, bigoted, intolerant … those who state their views publicly are shunned and blacklisted (re: Kirk Cameron – who by the way was appearing on Piers Morgan’s show to talk about the documentary, Monumental, which has nothing to do with homosexuality or gay marriage, but he was questioned about his beliefs anyway). We are faced with intolerance of our beliefs and bigotry by those who assume that because we are Christian that we are by definition hateful by those who demand tolerance and denounce bigotry. We are being forced to accept our children being taught that “It’s OK to be gay” in public schools, with books like “Heather Has Two Mommies” on school library shelves, and they are bullied into accepting this lest they be tagged as bullies.

    Scripture tells us not just that committing certain acts is sinful, but that it is also a sin to condone others to sin.

    And that brings us to where a lot of Christian parents find themselves when confronted with their sons and daughters being gay. Or living with a partner without being married. Or living a life that is sinful in other aspects. How do we love and accept our children without condoning their sin?

    If I were to advise this young woman’s mother, I would encourage her to love and accept her daughter as she is. She can keep in her heart that what her daughter DOES is wrong and still love the person she is. She can accept and love anyone in her daughter’s life without condoning what they DO.

    While I have not had to confront the issue of a child who is gay, I have had children who have chosen to conduct their lives in ways the Bible says are sinful. Between my husband and I, we have 9 children. A daughter who got pregnant at 16. A son living with his girlfriend and their baby. Another daughter got pregnant during a brief fling, post-divorce. Another daughter lived with her boyfriend before they married. So did a son, with his girlfriend before their marriage. They were all raised being taught right from wrong, they all made their own choices in life. But we still love them all, accept them as they are, accept their partners and their children. We pray for them, that they will cast sin from their lives and form closer relationships with Christ, and live in obedience to Him. If one of them had turned out to be gay, we would love them and pray for them just the same.

    It is not hate in our hearts when we believe that certain activities are wrong. It is love. But love and acceptance of the person does not – CANNOT – mean acceptance of their behavior. If we truly love people we will do all we can to show the the Truth of God’s Word, so they too can come to know our Savior.

    It is my prayer that you all have read this with open hearts and minds (with an apology for its length!) and not respond with anger or hate, because it was not written with either. I am just trying to bridge gaps in understanding, with the hope that we can all live in peace with our personal beliefs.

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  • avatar

    R.C. April 16, 2012, 11:48 am

    For the purposes of the following, be aware I’m starting from the assumption that everyone falls somewhere on a continuum of bisexuality from a genetic perspective; that is to say, that there is no one who wouldn’t have wound up gay or straight in their habits given the right configuration of developmental (including hormonal), environmental (including relational), and chosen formative experiences. The tendency to fix on one extreme of this continuum or another is a consequence of human sexual habituation: Biological parent bonding is preferable for childrearing; psychological bonding with the source of one’s orgasms consequently has an evolutionary benefit; this together with childhood experiences and hormones influencing the development of the brain’s “gender wiring” can produce a pattern which one typically seeks for romantic fulfillment (so-and-so is your “type”). This view is supported by all existing science on such topics and has the benefit of making sense of cross-cultural data rather than only focusing on the very atypical sample set of college-aged children of mostly above-average income parents in 21st century America and Europe…a myopia of many studies on the topic.

    Anyway, with that out of the way…,

    Republican/Democrat/Libertarian is irrelevant to all of this.

    But someone being an orthodox Christian (or orthodox Jew) is very relevant. (Muslim even more so, not because the religious prohibition is any different, but rather because there seems in the more orthodox and traditional implementations of Islam to be a religious obligation to impose criminal penalties for homosexual acts rather than merely a declaration of their intrinsic sinfulness. Those specifically political and legal implications are not at issue in orthodox Christianity and Judaism, where the criminalizing of that which is non-violently immoral is viewed more as a prudential matter rather than a religious obligation.)

    One has to “walk a mile in the other’s moccasins,” so to speak, to understand this.

    Let us assume (in the U.S., the odds are pretty good) that the mother is a Christian, and not merely culturally, but someone who really believes.

    In that case, she has probably prayed for her daughter’s well-being daily for the last several decades. She is conscious of the moral obligations of that faith, and that there are some moral obligations which presumably make sense to God but don’t necessarily make immediate sense to a mere human, and that this doesn’t let the humans off following them on the basis that they can trust God to know better.

    The Mom is particularly conscious of the ephemeral nature of this life: A mere 70 or 80 years’ duration for most, and often painful…and she’s probably more than halfway through that period already, herself. The Mom is therefore “storing up her treasure in heaven, where moth and rust can’t destroy it,” as Jesus taught: While she is a temporary “steward” of the things she can influence around her in this life, her permanent homeland is Heaven and getting there for her eternal reward is the main thing that matters.

    To put it more succinctly: This woman was planning on inviting her daughter to her four-millionth birthday party…and it’s going to be a hum-dinger of a fun party, since it’s going to be taking place in Heaven, and despite having so many candles on the cake she’ll be showing no signs of age. (Not a bad deal!)

    Now her daughter comes and says, perhaps not in so many words but pretty clearly in actions:

    1. I don’t believe in any of that, Mom;
    2. I’m choosing to live my life in a way that’s boldly and publicly antagonistic to your religion;
    3. If God exists I want no part of Him, and He can just f*** off.

    Mom is therefore contemplating that, whoever she’ll share eternity in the company of, her daughter likely won’t be among them. She’ll have another few decades in her daughter’s company, if she’s lucky. After that, the daughter’s in hell, having effectively ceased to exist (sort of — the Christian view of this is rather complex due to the trans-temporal nature of the question and thus seems to incorporate elements of both final destruction/nonexistence and miserably despondent and painful eternality) after rejecting the kind of living and union with God that would have made her able to exist and have a real life in Heaven.

    Mom either has to become an atheist now, so as to repudiate this view — and she may have had religious experiences which prevent her from doing this — or accept this view with all its implications — or else be willing to live in denial and cognitive dissonance.

    The latter is probably what most folks do, but that doesn’t make it psychologically healthy. The Mom may be the kind of person who is firmly attached to the notion of Objective Truth and can’t lie to herself that way.

    Anyway, we have two different views of what matters. Indeed, the whole matter hinges on whether God exists (and His moral laws are what our ancestors thought). If He does exist, then the Mom is right: Better (far better!) to get over one’s attachment to a same-sex romantic interest now, for the sake of a billion-times-a-billion years of perfect bliss, than to get one’s romantic jollies now for at most a few decades, and then enter a state of either non-existence or perpetual pain or (confusingly) both.

    What’s a Mom to do?

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  • avatar

    cheeflo April 16, 2012, 5:31 pm

    Standing your ground and refusing to participate in family activities because your girlfriend is not invited is a decision with consequences that you’ll have to accept as the price you pay for the things you want — whether that price is worth it remains to be seen. You are also imposing an ultimatum on your family — sounds more like a tantrum to me. Tolerance is a two-way street. A little patience would serve you well.

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  • avatar

    FTL's GF April 16, 2012, 7:46 pm

    Hey everyone, FTL’s girlfriend here. I just wanted to address a few points here: first, FTL is absolutely not a “drama queen” or anything similar. You guys see a tiny sliver of her life, which is then edited down by someone who isn’t her. Now I’ve dated a lot of women who were attention-seekers and problem-starters, some of whom *did* use their relationship with me to pick a fight with their family. I don’t put up with that – I’m not a weapon to be wielded – and I’ve ended relationships for just that reason. She’s a beautiful, calm-if-driven-to-wits-end, stubborn, brilliant, funny amazing woman. When she has problems like this, she discusses them with her siblings, her close friends, me, or all of the above before acting. That she solicited advice here is part of that that process.

    Second, regarding the idea that four months is necessarily an impermanent relationship. I’ve been in a dozen relationships, and there is a qualitative difference between those that last and those that don’t, regardless of how much time is involved. I knew almost immediately that I was going to marry this woman, and every day I’m with her I feel lucky enough to know that she’s going to choose me again and again. My aunt and uncle got married eight months in, my parents have been living together since their fifth month dating (though marriage was much later), my cousin and his wife knew they were getting married three or four months in… when it’s right, it’s just right. Neither of us are children – I just turned 30, she’s not much younger than me – and we’re not stupid. I just never believed in love at first sight until I met her, and I’m very happy to think that I’ll never love another woman the way I love her.

    Third, I wasn’t invited to Christmas. Nobody expected that, nobody wanted that. I’m Jewish anyway, so I don’t give a crap about that holiday. Honestly, when I met her dad and stepmom at New Years, even that seemed intimidatingly soon. Christmas with her family was the first family gathering where experienced her mother’s hostility. I was the catalyst to that issue, not the issue itself.

    Fourth, FTL’s an atheist and never participated in religion… ever. This much was never a surprise to her mother. I, on the other hand, am a believer. My faith says very strongly that my relationship is potentially problematic only because it’s interfaith, not because it’s a lesbian relationship. My rabbis and I are very clear on that, and I would very strongly suggest that the Christians who claim the right to sit in judgment over us mind their own damn business. Proselytizing is a sin in my faith, after all. Being preached to live by Christian standards and values offends me not just as a lesbian, but also as a Jew.

    That said, I’d like to thank everyone for offering my girlfriend some perspective on the matter. Some of it she’s ignoring, but she’s read everything and is still debating how she wants to handle the matter.

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