Basically, I was still in the closet when I met my boyfriend, meaning only some friends knew and that was about it. (My family did not know I’m gay). Well, within the month of meeting my boyfriend, I grew some balls and I told my mom and then later my brother and sister. My mom isn’t too keen about it; she grew up old-fashioned and she said it would take time for her to get used to it, but that she still loves me and wants me to be happy. My brother accepts me but doesn’t really want anything to do with that area of my life, and my sister accepts me and knows about my boyfriend but doesn’t really want to meet him at this moment. My dad does not know (or at least I think he doesn’t) and I don’t plan on telling him anytime soon.
Anyway, after hanging out with my boyfriend’s friends and before we went our separate ways, my boyfriend was being cold and not talkative. I asked him what was wrong, and he told me that it’s already been over a year and he hasn’t met my parents–I have met all my boyfriend’s friends and family except his dad, by the way–and he also asked me if I wanted a long-term relationship, which shocked me.
I know it’s been over a year since I told my brother and sister and mom that I’m gay, but I don’t think they’re ready to meet my boyfriend. I don’t know how to handle the situation since my boyfriend is reasonable for feeling the way he does. But I’m upset because he knows that it takes time for my family to be comfortable with my being gay and it’s only been a year since I told them. He, on the other hand, has been out to most of his family for years and they are all comfortable with it. Plus, his parents are younger than mine and he also has a gay brother.
I’m also upset that he brought up the long-term thing. I understand that it’s customary to bring someone around after a certain amount of time has elapsed. But, honestly, I don’t know how to talk about it with my family or bring up the idea with my mom up that I have a boyfriend. Eventually, I would like to invite him over for dinner with my family, but I don’t know how to navigate this situation. I love my boyfriend and he is amazing to me, but I don’t want issues like this to affect our relationship. Please help. — Lonely Gay
You may not want this issue to affect your relationship, but it already has. And it will continue to affect it. I’m not sure what your problem is with the “long-term thing” — if you are avoiding the discussion because commitment scares you and you aren’t ready to have that discussion with your boyfriend yet, or because you feel like it’s already been established that this is a long-term relationship and you’re offended that your boyfriend doesn’t seem to trust your intention. Either way, as long as you continue keeping your boyfriend in the closet, at least in regards to your family, he will continue to feel confused about your intentions. And the “When are you going to tell them?” question will hang in the air like the proverbial other shoe waiting to drop.
I’ve never been in your situation and I can’t pretend to understand exactly what it feels like, the delicate position of trying to honor your family’s needs as well as your boyfriend’s needs, especially when the mere existence of one is at odds with the other. But you know you have to tell your family eventually, and it’s been a year, and your boyfriend is growing weary. You may think your family isn’t ready to meet your boyfriend — or to even know he exists — but your relationship is ready. And the fact is, your family may never be. What do you think is going to change in the next six months or year? As long as you keep them in the dark about your love life, they can stay happily put in pseudo ignorance. They may know you’re gay, but as long as they don’t have to actually think about you with another man, then they don’t have to confront what your being gay means.
And what DOES your being gay mean? That’s the question only you can answer when you begin living out and proud. You have the power to show your family — and any other ignorant person — that your loving a man is no different than anyone else loving someone of the opposite sex. Unfortunately, you still have to face bigotry, discrimination, and unconstitutional laws, but YOU have the power to help reduce that bigotry and to change the laws by coming all the way out of the closet and showing people — people like your family, whose minds clearly stand to be opened some more — that your relationship is every bit as real and genuine and legitimate and deserving of the same respect, regard, and rights as a relationship between two straight people.
I’m not saying it’s going to be easy. Your family may not react well. You may feel rejected and lonely. But by hiding part of your life for fear of these things, don’t you already feel rejected and lonely? At least if you come totally out to your family and share your relationship with them, there’s a chance you’ll be accepted, if not immediately, then hopefully eventually. And beyond that, you’ll no longer be waiting for the proverbial shoe to drop — for your family finding out without you telling them, or your boyfriend getting fed up by remaining a secret and leaving you. Telling the truth will set you free. And that freedom may not be enough to offset what could potentially be an unwelcome reception of your news, but it can certainly help. And you know what else will help? The love and pride and gratitude of your boyfriend. And of your friends who love you.
Do it. Tell your family about your boyfriend. Tell them about what makes him special and how happy you are with him and also how much you love them and want them to know this person who has become such a big part of your life. And tell your boyfriend you’re going to do it, not just because he wants you to, but because it’s important to you to live your life authentically and fully and proudly (and to share him with all the important people in your life). I bet the support you get from him will be enough to counter most of fear you have. Do it. It’s time.
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Lyra November 17, 2014, 8:49 am
I have to wonder if the boyfriend is pushing this issue because he’s older (27) and probably is out to his family and is starting to become impatient with the LW. I’m not sure he understands just how difficult this situation is for the LW and personally I think that is an issue. I get that he doesn’t want to be a secret, but at the same time is it really fair for him to push the LW to tell his family sooner than he is ready? That doesn’t sound like a good scenario.
My uncle “officially” came out to my dad and my dad’s family (11 kids, Irish Catholic farm family) last year when he announced that he and his partner were going to get married and have a fancy wedding in July 2014. I could tell he was nervous because even though we all KNEW — the partner had been to family functions for 2 decades by that point — but I think it was terrifying for him as a 50-something to kind of face it and talk about it. The family was VERY supportive and nearly everyone was there — his siblings, nieces, nephews, and even my grandpa who smiled ear-to-ear the entire time.
My point here is that though coming out may be freeing for you LW, you can choose to come out on your own time. If your boyfriend is not supportive, maybe he’s not the right fit.
Kate November 17, 2014, 9:32 am
Yeah, I was going to say something similar. I think Wendy’s advice is solid, but LW, if you just can’t bring yourself to tell your family right now, I’d listen to your feelings. Your bf isn’t wrong for feeling bad that your family doesn’t know about him, but I think he also should have some consideration for the short period of time you’ve been “out” and your family’s reaction so far (your mom said she needs some time to get used to it, and your dad may not even know yet that you’re gay). If you just can’t tell your family right now, your boyfriend may find he needs to move on, but like Lyra said, maybe you guys aren’t meant to be together forever. I’ve found that a supportive partner will understand the unique ways in which you, personally, need to interact with your family and won’t push you on those. In this case it sucks because the way in which you need to interact with your family manifests in not being able to tell them about your boyfriend right now… I think it would be good if you COULD at least just tell them, maybe not setting up a meet-up just yet, but if you can’t, you can’t. I think it will come with time.
RedroverRedrover November 17, 2014, 9:32 am
I might agree with you if the LW hadn’t come out yet, but the fact is, he HAS come out. And I might agree that the boyfriend is too pushy if they’d been together for a couple months, but they’ve been together for over a year! And his family hasn’t been all that supportive, so now he’s just sitting in this grey area of waiting. But nothing’s ever going to change if he doesn’t change it. So he can either keep having a life of secret boyfriends (who will all probably break up with him over this, like this one is probably going to), or he can start living as a normal person who doesn’t have to hide their significant other.
One of my brothers is gay, my family is Catholic, and it was similar to this. My parents “accepted” that he was gay, but they didn’t want to see it. But it’s like, tough. Just because they have some homophobia doesn’t mean it’s the gay person’s job to tiptoe around them. The more my brother brought his boyfriends around, the easier it got for my parents to see. I think they still don’t particularly like it, but it’s not going to change, so they accept it and make the best of it.
Basically he can lose this guy or he can bring him around to meet the family. Maybe start with the sister, then the brother, then the mom, then the dad. It’s hard, but otherwise he’s going to be just stuck in this limbo for the rest of his life.
Kate November 17, 2014, 9:39 am
Yeah, I can see that… but I don’t think he’d be stuck in limbo the rest of his life. He may lose this guy, but maybe that’s ok. I think sometimes these things legitimately do take time, especially when you’re really young, as far as letting your family know who you are.
Lyra November 17, 2014, 9:45 am
Exactly. I’ve seen enough people come out to their families to see that it can be really emotional coming into your truth…and it can be draining when your parents react less than ideally to it. Sometimes it takes a while and that’s ok.
ktfran November 17, 2014, 9:54 am
See though, I think there is a compromise to be had here. So, the LW isn’t comfortable bringing his boyfriend home to meet his family and wants a little more time. Yes, maybe his boyfriend should respect how the LW interacts with his family, BUT, the LW also needs to think about his boyfriend’s feelings and concerns. So, the compromise could be something more along the lines of LW talking to his family about being gay, what that means, and telling them he is seeing someone. Then, a few months down the road maybe introducing the sister, and so forth. The longer the LW keeps his family in the dark, the more it’s going to hurt him and the people he chooses to love.
Lyra November 17, 2014, 9:59 am
I do agree with that.
RedroverRedrover November 17, 2014, 10:38 am
Exactly. It doesn’t sound like the boyfriend’s been harping on this. This is the first time he’s gotten visibly upset, after more than a year of being together. It sounds like he’s probably been pretty supportive, but is starting to feel like he’s always going to be a secret. Which isn’t fair. And that’s probably why he brought up the long-term relationship question, because really, how long is the boyfriend expected to live like this too?
Lyra November 17, 2014, 9:42 am
I think this is his first serious boyfriend though. I agree that he shouldn’t have to tiptoe around his family but if he’s not ready to bring a boyfriend home right now, he’s not ready. It sounds like he wants to maintain a relationship with his family too. I’m not advocating hiding boyfriends forever, for the record. I’m advocating that he takes the time that he needs. I have many gay and lesbian friends whose coming out process was less than ideal like the LW. Many took their time introducing a boyfriend or girlfriend to their families because they simply weren’t ready to bring a significant other home.
ktfran November 17, 2014, 9:49 am
Quickly off topic, but RR, your order of telling people made me chuckle a little. When my littlest sister was 19 and pregnant, the order she told our Catholic, conservative family was: middle sister, mom, me (I was 24 and living in another state) and finally my dad, then the rest of the family. My dad was none too pleased, but he adjusted.
I realize this isn’t the same as coming out, but I do like the idea of telling (or in this case, meeting) certain people first and getting the support you need.
RedroverRedrover November 17, 2014, 10:40 am
Yep. 🙂 This is similar to the order my brother told us in (I was first!). Basically you tell whoever you think will be most supportive first, and go on from there. And if the LW does it this way, he might not even have to “break the news” to his mom that he has a boyfriend, because she might hear it from the siblings. That would make things a little easier too.
ktfran November 17, 2014, 10:54 am
Yep! It always helps to have an ally in family affairs. I know the middle sister defended our other sister when my dad made some ignorant comments.
Pamplemousse Rose November 17, 2014, 12:06 pm
Seriously Redrover, twins! In my Catholic family, my gay brother came out to me first, then other brothers, then parents. His coming out to our folks was a huge all at once, I’m moving out, I’m gay, I’m moving in with my boyfriend, he’s a lot older. From my perspective, the LW’s family has had it really easy, with a year to “get used to it” without letting them know there is a boyfriend in the picture.
RedroverRedrover November 17, 2014, 12:12 pm
Get this. My brother’s first “boyfriend” was a guy he met online. I guess at his Catholic highschool he didn’t meet many suitable guys. 🙂 So he meets this guy online, they decide they’re totally in love, and he invites him to come STAY at my parent’s place for a week! It was pretty insane. My parents handled it fairly well, I’d say. They weren’t happy about it, but I’m sure they’d prefer that, to him going looking for guys in disreputable places (we didn’t have a gay bar, so the gay men in town hang out in this forested area in the park… not really suitable for a 16-year-old, I’m sure).
Anyway, yeah, as soon as they met they realized they didn’t even like each other. That’s why I put “boyfriend in quotes like that. I think the guy ended up leaving early, I don’t really remember. My poor brother was so disappointed.
Pamplemousse Rose November 17, 2014, 12:24 pm
Hahaha I don’t think my brother would have ever done something like that. He was so sure my parents would react poorly that he spent his teenage years being preemptively angry with them. He came out once he was almost done university and didn’t need their help with tuition anymore. I think it also helped that he went and lived in Switzerland for a year (on co-op) and came out when he got home.
simonthegrey November 18, 2014, 8:59 pm
I think of it this way – I can’t stand the guy my sister is dating. It’s always a crapshoot that we will disapprove of the person our child/family member is with. as you said, we make the best of it and deal. The family can do the same for a boyfriend as they might for a girlfriend.
call-me-hobo November 17, 2014, 9:44 am
It’s great that your uncle had a great coming out experience, but I’m sorry, Lyra, that’s not everyone’s experience. I think it’s a little condescending to say, “Oh, my friend came out and everything was great!” Coming out is scary, and honestly, I think the bf DOES have an idea how difficult it is to come out, considering that he has done it himself.
Lyra November 17, 2014, 9:47 am
That wasn’t my point at all. I get that not everyone has a good coming out experience. I get that it’s not the norm. My main point was that it took him 20 years to “officially” come out and it was still scary for him despite the fact that as his family we had already silently accepted him and his partner. I’m guessing it’s pretty terrifying for almost everyone.
Lyra November 17, 2014, 9:49 am
My intent was not at all to be condescending.
Laura Hope November 17, 2014, 9:53 am
My father had a huge problem with my boyfriend because of religious differences.But when he met him, he liked him. And when he met his parents, he loved them so much that he started participating in their religious practices! Of course every story doesn’t have this kind of fairytale ending but if your family meets your boyfriend, he goes from being a concept to being a person.
Diablo November 17, 2014, 10:26 am
As long as your gayness and the existence of your boyfriend remain “concepts” for your family, they can be “against” a concept – an idea that doesn’t fit with their worldview, their distaste at the very thought of two men having sex, the bible says, blah blah blah. Once you introduce them, they will be forced to cope with each other as actualities, actual living people who brought apple pie and made that funny joke about the therapist and the lightbulb (spoiler: lightbulb has to want to change). It’s a lot harder to be dismissive of a person. I’m not saying that this will be easy to face. But unless you are planning to turn straight sometime soon (didn’t think so) then you are just prolonging your own fear and anxiety of that moment, but you’ll still have to face it someday. Or not. I have a friend who i am pretty sure is gay (he certainly has an unhealthy fascination with Jake Gyllenhaal), but who has never allowed himself any adult relationship, I think for fear of being disinherited. Dude is 50 years old. He waited too long. I would suggest inviting them out somewhere for brunch. It’s casual, easy to leave if there is an issue, harder for anyone to make an issue in public. You could even start vaguely: “Dad, this is my friend Tom.” Talk about your lives, 98 percent of which ain’t gay sex, not that i go into any great detail about my straight sex life with my parents, though my Dad does sometimes give me pointers on technique (NOT!). Work has been fine, you went to the movies, shopped for Christmas presents, you’re looking for a couch, and by the way, it’s for the apartment you share. Give dad space to decompress. Also, as long as you keep this a secret, it remains your issue, and you reinforce that it is a big one. As soon as you come all the way out, the issues become theirs. They can either deal or not, but you are as Wendy says, free. Good luck.
Steph November 17, 2014, 11:24 am
I was my last boyfriend’s secret for our entire relationship. We had mutual friends, played on the same coed sports team and I met his family. He introduced me “This is Stephanie” With no descriptive word of who I was … friend/girlfriend.
I lived with him and shared a room. The “secretness” took a great toll on my self esteem. I felt as though something was wrong with me that he was ashamed of and didn’t want to let people important to him know what I was to him. After he broke up with me (go figure, right!) I found out from his business partner that ex boyfriend was telling him I moved in to help him with rent and I wanted to get out of my dad’s house. I shared the room with him because the extra room in his/our house was by the garage and it was unreasonable cold in there.
Anyway, my point is being in his boyfriend’s shoes you start to question things about yourself you probably never did before. To the boyfriend this probably has nothing to do with him being a GUY and has something to do with him. This is how he is going to feel – it’s how I felt for much longer than I should have.
If you introduce him to your parts – start by introducing him as a person. I like everyone else’s advice of starting with ONE person who will be most supportive. You sister it sounds like and she already knows he exists. He isn’t hypothetical o her. Then talk maybe over dinner talk to your parents about having a boyfriend and how he makes you feel, maybe have your sister at this dinner so she can vouch that she’s met him and he seems like a great person.
Eventually you’re going to have to introduce a boyfriend to your parents. Or you’ll always have this issues in relationships, why not start sooner rather than later.
Steph November 17, 2014, 11:26 am
Please excuse typos, apparently I can’t type today.
FireStar November 17, 2014, 11:25 am
I agree with Diablo – it’s easy to be against a concept – but much harder to be against a person making your child happy. But each family has a different dynamic. Some families meet boyfriends/girlfriends from jump – and others not so much. My family never met any of my boyfriends – with the exception of one because he was picking them up at the airport for me when I was out of town but if that pick-up didn’t have to happen, they wouldn’t have met him either. They had met my husband when he was 17 and a friend of mine at the time but was only told I was involved with him when I told them I was getting married – almost two decades later. So, LW – what is your family culture? Do your siblings introduce your parents to their boyfriends/girlfriends? If so, then I do think you need to start making motions in that general direction. Mention that you have a boyfriend; Have him pick you up from your sister’s house and have a quick meet and greet. It doesn’t have to be a whole ” MEET THE PARENTS” deal – but casually make your parents aware of him and then in a little while invite him along somewhere where your family can get to know him. What do you do as a family that is inclusive of others? Does your sister’s boyfriend come help string Christmas lights? Invite your boyfriend out to come help. Is there a skating party? Tell him bring his skates. (I like activity meetings – less pressure than a sit down dinner) If your family culture is that your parents don’t engage in any way with the significant others of their children then explain that to your BF. It isn’t because he is gay – it is just how your family rolls across the board.
I never had a boyfriend have issues with me when I explained that we just don’t do that in our family even though their parents had met me. My commitment wasn’t ever contingent on family acceptance.
Steph November 17, 2014, 11:29 am
I agree with having some kind of activity planned. Whenever I’ve introduced any boyfriend to my parents it’s been on neutral ground. Going to your parents house gives the parents the upper hand. I think it needs to be an even playing field.
bittergaymark November 17, 2014, 11:55 am
My family have never met any of my boyfriends. (A combination of hilariously failed short relationships and one batshitcrazy mother’s epic psycho reaction upon reading love letters penned to me by a lovelorn frat/boyfriend in college.)
Not everybody gets the happy ending with wonderfully supportive parents. They just don’t. Maybe the 27 year old and his vapid friends are simply too young and stupid to know that.
bittergaymark November 17, 2014, 11:59 am
PS: For every warm and fuzzy coming out story — there are two where teenagers find themselves kicked out on the street and wind up homeless prostitutes. It always astounds me how clueless so many straight people truly are about the perils of coming out just because they know one fucking happily ever after ending.
RedroverRedrover November 17, 2014, 12:07 pm
This guy already came out though, and his family hasn’t disowned him or anything. If he were talking about coming out, I would agree with you. But he’s already done that, things went ok-not-great, but they didn’t go right down the shitter. That’s why I think for this guy, in his situation, he’s “safe” to keep going and start meeting the more supportive members of the family. Not that it’ll be happily ever after, but at least he’ll be able to live his life without it being some big shameful secret.
Dear Wendy November 17, 2014, 12:12 pm
He’s also not a teenager. He’s 24. Pretty big difference.
bittergaymark November 17, 2014, 12:28 pm
I am just talking in general. There is so much pollyanna “My acquaintance’s life turned out just swell” on here today. It needed to be countered. Yeah, he already came out to his family — yes. And they have absolutely ZERO interest in meeting his boyfriend. A fact they have made abundantly clear in oh so many different and loving ways. To think that for him to force this meeting down their throats is going to make everything come up roses… Well, it’s wishful thinking at its most hilarious. That said — I guess, if he does so and his family immediately acts like fucking assholes… well, then, at least the LW can say to the BF — “See? This is why you haven’t met anybody from my family.”
Diablo November 17, 2014, 2:38 pm
So, what’s your point, BGM? That the LW should refuse to intro his bf to his family and lose that relationship due to lack of trust and confidence in each other? I highly doubt anyone here thinks this is some fairytale world. But, one, he’s gotta decide how he’s going to address this with the bf and himself, even if it is to say that his family are homophobic idiots and he doesn’t speak to them anymore. Or he’s gotta decide that he can never have a lasting relationship because of this hurdle. But it doesn’t sound that way to me. It sounds like Dad may have trouble accepting, but the others are getting used to it, and the LW is simply, and as you say, understandably afraid. But he conquered that fear once, and can do it again. So, two, if you see only the negative and play only to the negative, you WILL get a negative outcome. If you give people a little credit and trust to their better nature, it CAN go badly, but it also can go well. Or somewhere in between. It’s not pollyanna to attempt to get a good outcome. It’s not pollyanna to have a strategy and try, even though the strategy may fail. And the utter cynicism with which you approach life doesn’t seem to be making you wildly happy either.
bittergaymark November 17, 2014, 5:21 pm
Oh, for fuck’s sake. Give it a rest. Some people are fucking bitter and negative precisely because they spent DECADES trying accentuate the positive and expect only sunshine and lollipops only to abruptly learn in the end that it’s all fucking shit.
NEWSFLASH gays and lesbians have been having successful longtime relationships for CENTURIES without expecting to be accepted by their fucked up families. My point is that it is healthier to simply accept that rather than to go on beating your head into the fucking wall.
Considering how straight people everywhere (here especially) seemingly do nothing but bitch endlessly about their horrible inlaws, I remain curious as to why so many of you hilariously expect this kid to go on, take the rise, and foolishly expect his fucked up family to accept his male lover with open arms. They won’t. And he it right in thinking… eh, why the fuck bother.
Lyra November 17, 2014, 1:18 pm
Dude. I didn’t mean that in my post above. I mentioned my uncle because he was SCARED AS HELL to come out to his family officially. I have many friends who have had a hell of a time coming out to their parents. Just an example, one of my roommates in my apartment my senior year of college is trans and in high school she came out as a lesbian to her very conservative very religious parents and family. She had a bag packed and ready to go in case she had to run away from home because of it. I had many talks with her about it and I can’t imagine just what she went through.
No I don’t get just how difficult it is to come out to one’s family, and I’m not pretending that I know how difficult it is! Yet…I’m not as clueless as you just made me out to be.
cinnamonwhiskk November 17, 2014, 7:19 pm
Wendy_not_Wendy November 17, 2014, 12:59 pm
I definitely concur with BGM on this one. The warm fuzzy may just not be in the cards, and the 27 year old and his friends may be in a bubble and not see that, or conversely, may not have families that are that important to them. I’ve been in the position; I think it was just over a year before my parents met my eventual wife, longer for some of my siblings. And my (now ex) wife didn’t really get it. All of her family was okay with it, and I think that’s all she really understood. I didn’t want to lose those of my family members who weren’t okay. And sure, it’s easier to dislike a “concept” than a “person”, but if your family is still just as unhappy with a “person”, it’s a lot sadder to have your family rejecting the person you love and your relationship outright than to know, abstractly, that your family isn’t cool with you being gay.
I say, if you want to address the issue, introduce him to the family member you think has the most likelihood of not being weird about it, and be open to maybe leaving it at that. Just because he meets your sister doesn’t mean he has to meet your parents, but maybe you’d both start feeling better.
Steph November 17, 2014, 1:48 pm
I do see yours and BGM’s side ad I’m not at all trying to act like I know the LWs situation, but I do have a question. I know you don’t want to lose family members (who does?), but where is a line that you finally cross and start living who you are and letting those people who care so much about you see you for that 100%?
I do see both yours and BGM’s side of this, but genuine curiosity wants to
I understand being scared and afraid of losing your family members, but right now they’re only loving the LW for 95% of who he is and not the full 100%. What if he never tells his family and all of his relationships end after a year or so because they don’t want to feel like a secret?!
bittergaymark November 17, 2014, 5:28 pm
At some point you have to just accept reality. Look, my mom is simply NEVER going to welcome a male lover of mine with opens arms. She just isn’t. Hell, sometimes she completely appears to have forgotten I am even gay — which is hilarious. (To a point.) Oh, sure. I suppose I could push the issue. But really? Why bother? I am tired of all the endless drama. Besides, speaking frankly, at this place and time the point is beyond moot anyway — as that ship sailed long, long ago. I’ve long given up on relationships simply because… Surprise, surprise. Nobody in the LA gay community is exactly clamoring to date aging failed writers/washed-up improv actors. Just NOT much in demand these days. Period.
Classic November 17, 2014, 6:07 pm
I agree with this. State who you are. Then deal and carry on.
SasLinna November 17, 2014, 2:12 pm
Yeah, the “concept vs person” thing can really cut both ways. Plus, the family already knows a gay person – LW – and they don’t seem to have adjusted very well, so it’s understandable if he’s not too optimistic.
mylaray November 17, 2014, 2:07 pm
Unfortunately few families are completely loving and accepting of a child coming out. And it’s pretty fucking sad. I think too often people equate the increasing marriage equality with ending homophobia. Not even close. My family is not anti-gay, supports same sex marriage, etc, and I was not the first in my family to come out. Yet I would not say they are supportive. They are “accepting”. And unfortunately I’ve met way too many people who “accept you and don’t judge you” but don’t want to hear about it. A classic case of love the sinner, hate the sin. I’ve even found a lot of so called allies who have no idea and aren’t that supportive either. And that’s not good enough. I’m at a point in my life where I have no patience to tiptoe around these people. But, I understand because I have been there.
And I also remember with one girlfriend who was not out to her family and most friends. And she didn’t want to hold my hand in public (because well it’s the south) and a lot of other reasons that affected our relationship. Because I was so out and open by that point I made a decision that I could only date others who were also out. And I think for the LW, it’s difficult to be pushed by a SO to do this. It needs to be on his own timeline. It may cost you the relationship if you don’t, so maybe you can decide you will tell some of your family. I think it’s one thing for a family to hear you’re gay and another thing to hear you are now dating someone. There isn’t a one size fits all approach and you have to do whatever is comfortable for you, but I suggest you push yourself to be more out to others. Being out and proud is a great feeling but unfortunately for me, and many others, being out to your family is not what you hoped it would be.
SasLinna November 17, 2014, 2:10 pm
I feel like it’s just not a good idea to put too much pressure on another person to accelerate their coming out process. LW has only come out to some family members and maybe there’s a potential for family conflict when he tells his father he’s gay. He should be free to move at his own pace. I understand that the boyfriend would like to be introduced to the family, but what’s more important – for the boyfriend to meet mom and dad or for LW to feel safe in the interactions with his family? I was also thinking that maybe LW can find a way to make his commitment to his boyfriend clear in other ways. Maybe he needs to state explicitly that he sees a long term future with him (if that’s the case), but doesn’t know how much contact with the family there will be in the near future. After all, there are plenty of relationships that don’t involved a whole lot of integration in the family, for various reasons. It’s not like knowing the family well is THE marker of a committed relationship.
FireStar November 17, 2014, 2:42 pm
I like this.
SixtyFour November 17, 2014, 3:28 pm
How about as a compromise, you start with writing a letter to your mom that you have a boyfriend. A letter or email would be a lot easier to write out all your thoughts neatly and less stressful than having the face-to-face conversation. Tell you mom about how you met, what kind of things you like to do together, what he bought you for your birthday, how he took care of you that time you were sick, and so on. And how you want to have a full relationship with your mom because you love her, and therefore, you want her to know the other people in your life that are important to you.
If she’s not responsive to it and has no interest in meeting him, then at least your boyfriend will see that you tried, and that your family just isn’t ready. He’ll see that you take your commitment with him seriously.
And if they are ready to meet him, then jackpot.
Classic November 17, 2014, 6:01 pm
Just talk about your boyfriend in the conversations that you normally have with your family. Just be yourself in your usual way and talk about your life. State the facts, talk about the events, whatever you want. You are an adult, and you can live your life as you choose. Your family are adults and they can deal with their “discomfort” or whatever. And you can deal with their response or ignore it as you choose. Establish your life, be true to yourself, take actions and deal with the consequences, and carry on.
Sunshine Brite November 17, 2014, 9:44 pm
My parents, mother especially, are of the type that prefer that the gay people in their lives just quietly go about their business without kissing or whatnot. My mom tends to get worse as she gets older and now she’s retired so she sits there with her thoughts all day not doing any of her hobbies. She’s gotten ridiculous in the things that she’s willing to say to other people. If I were gay I wouldn’t be bringing people by to meet her unless I knew that they weren’t going anywhere. Plus, for me I didn’t bring my perfectly reasonable now-husband around for quite some time because I find my family to be their own brand of nuts. I think everyone has that to some extent.
My family would probably feel cold towards someone new who is gay. I know my cousin finally blocked my mom from social media given the ridiculousness she perpetuates and she says that she blocked him because she didn’t want to see any of his “gay life”. Yes, all the going on work trips and out to eat with his husband and a friend. She hasn’t really supported any of the long-term relationships that she knows of gay people and we’re talking decades long. My brother and his friends always throw out gay jokes as challenges to one another’s masculinity. All of it combined wouldn’t make for a very good family gathering as you’d have to just sit there and take it or not go at all.
It’s really a lot what your boyfriend is pushing you to do, but you should communicate on this more. What would it mean to him about meeting/not meeting your family? What to you signals commitment and are you all into this relationship? Is there an ally in your family that you can start introducing your boyfriend to in a less tense situation than a full family gathering? Is there a way to tell your dad or do you fear your safety? There are more questions here that come up as a result of your question and I think that increased communication between you two may help in coming to a result.