It’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing now. Today, we hear from “First Time Lesbian” who was dating a woman for the first time and was disappointed that her mother wouldn’t allow her to bring her girlfriend to family events. Keep reading to see how they’re doing today and whether the girlfriend is welcome to the family Thanksgiving table this year.
Thanks to everyone for your advice — it has helped keep me strong. My girlfriend and I are still happily together and she has been nothing but supportive to me. I do have a couple of comments on my original letter because it wouldn’t be a Dear Wendy update without that, right? No, I did not want or ask to have my girlfriend present last Christmas. That would have been way too soon. Also, yes, I am incredibly grateful for the loving family that I do have. They’ve been nothing but supportive to me. I’ve been essentially out as bisexual to them for years but hadn’t been dating anyone for the last several years because of other circumstances. So, yes, my mom knew of the possibility, and she just chose to pretend it didn’t exist. Her first words to me after I told her I was dating my girlfriend were, “I was afraid of that.”
I wrote in so early because I was afraid of what ended up happening. I have only seen my mom twice since I wrote in and those were for events for my brother’s engagement that she had no control over. She canceled all family events for occasions like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, etc., and she also did her best to hide information about my grandpa from me. I did go to see my grandpa on my own and eventually did tell him for a number of reasons. Mostly, because after writing in and seeing everyone’s responses, it helped me come to the conclusion that he had a right to know and because I also couldn’t justify lying to him with the addition of the pre-wedding events. His response was, “It’s your choice” though he was rather uncomfortable with the situation. At least it’s out in the open now.
As for Thanksgiving itself, my mom asked for my girlfriend to not come, saying that my grandpa would not be comfortable having her at such a “formal” event. In response, I asked her to respect my choice to not attend. It was fine for a couple of days when she then sent me an inappropriate email which led to a fight which eventually denigrated to us not talking. So that’s where we stand right now. I’m sad and angry that it led to that, but I think that, for now, it’s for the best.
As for my plans, I would love to host Thanksgiving for my family, but logistically it’s just too hard for my siblings as they have their finaces’ Thanksgivings to go to as well. Instead, we’re going to host a Friendsgiving on Thursday and then do the regular events at my dad’s later in the weekend. So I will be spending the long weekend with a lot of really great people.
I’m sorry your mother hasn’t come around to accepting your girlfriend, but I’m happy to hear the other members of your family and circle of friends are so supportive. Often, that’s the best most of us can hope for, regardless of our sexual orientation. And if you have a Thanksgiving that includes a lot of great people who love you, including a wonderful girlfriend, then it sounds like you have a lot to be grateful for this year. And kudos to you for not hiding your girlfriend from your grandfather.
If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at email@example.com with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.
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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ktfran November 20, 2012, 1:18 pm
Awesome update. Thanks LW!
Grandparents, especially the older they get, tend to surprise once in a while. Or course, that’s not always the case, but I love hearing when it is!
lilybell December 4, 2012, 12:21 pm
How was this awesome? Grandpa is uncomfortable and her mom is not speaking to her.
wendykh December 14, 2012, 2:45 pm
well grandpa is above mom then, no? Considering her fear of how Grandpa would react, this was pretty good.
jlyfsh November 20, 2012, 1:20 pm
I’m sorry your Mom has not been more accepting. It’s good though that you have such a solid support system still!
painted_lady November 20, 2012, 1:22 pm
Oh LW, I’m so sorry. I know it doesn’t feel like it, but you’re doing the right thing sticking up for yourself. Hopefully your mom will realize how horrible she’s being (keeping things about your grandfather from you? WTF?!) and will come to you soon with an apology and invites for you and your girlfriend to the next family gathering. But till then, if it were me, I’d take a holiday with people who acknowledge the person I love as legit and whose company is fun and comfortable over a family who’s still throwing a tantrum over who I fell in love with.
And I would bet some money that a chunk of your family is either going to give your mom some static over this or ask you where you were. If they ask, tell them. Don’t trash your mom or anything, but be honest. Chances are if your mom sees the rest of the family isn’t the problem – she is – I bet her attitude will adjust.
Good luck! Have a wonderful Friendsgiving!!!
Eve Harrison November 20, 2012, 1:28 pm
You are extremely brave.
Christy November 20, 2012, 1:35 pm
Oof, that sucks. Sorry to hear about all that. Glad to hear your grandfather was semi-supportive, at least.
Diablo November 20, 2012, 2:39 pm
I have a 48 year old gay male friend (who I have known for 25 years) who has not yet come out to his 87 year old father, for fear that he will be disinherited. True, a lot of money is at stake, but my argument has always been what is the cost to him to be afraid to be who he is for what is essentially his WHOLE LIFE. What good does it do you to wait until your youth is over, until you are in your 50’s, and then finally cash in, but have spent years denying who you really are? He hides his tattoos and piercings when he goes home, and generally plays the “bachelor” card.
So I applaud you for two reasons. First, for having the courage to be who you are despite the risk and challenges that come with owning it. Second, for giving your family the CHANCE to respond well. You can’t assume that people can’t handle things. It sounds like your g’father was relatively able to deal. as with the recent gay marriage votes, you won’t know who your friends are until you give them a fair chance to support you. It’s too bad about your mom, but she may get used to the idea if the choice is to lose you over it.
Best of luck.
oldie November 20, 2012, 4:48 pm
I’d like to think your friend’s real rationale is more about avoiding the pain of an emotional total break with his father than it is money grubbing for Dad’s loot. Either way, I share you sentiment that he will have thown away the best part of his life living a complete lie. I’m assuming he at least lives a happy life of a partnered gay guy in some city far from Dad, in which the greater emotional toll may be on his partner.
Diablo November 20, 2012, 6:04 pm
City far from dad – Yes, 4 hours away. Partnered, no, possibly bcs sister lives here and could communicate this to Dad. Money vs emotions – sadly, he has this vision that once his parents are gone, he can live this exotic jet-setting gay blade kind of life, if only he doesn’t ruin his chances. We’re talking about 2 to 3 million here. My view has been that you can’t trade the best years of your life for money when you are older, but let’s face it, we all know workaholics who do this (not that he is one). I’d rather be poor and happy. Actually, that was relatively easy for me to arrange! To borrow an old Groucho Marx joke, I’ve worked myself up form nothing, to a state of extreme poverty!
wendykh December 14, 2012, 2:46 pm
Prince Charles might caution your friend he could wait a hell of a long time.
McLaughlane November 21, 2012, 11:08 am
I’m sorry your mom is so hateful. Hopefully she will come around eventually and realize that the person she is hurting most is herself, destroying the relationship with her daughter over her bigotry.
I have serious respect for you, though, for standing up to her intolerance like that. You are very strong!
Emily November 21, 2012, 4:13 pm
I come from a VERY dysfunctional, judgmental family so I can relate a lot to the LW. You are smart and wise to hold out for a healthy relationship with your mother. I never know what I will do for the holidays since I choose not to attend my “family” holiday celebrations. At first it was a little scary but now I relish doing something different every year. Last year I was in Tampa with my best friend and went kayaking for my first time ever on the Gulf at sunset Thanksgiving Day. This year I am in Denver with my best friend and tried downhill skiing for the first time. My point is that my family’s intolerance for me has opened up some amazing opportunities for fun, stress-free, adventurous holidays I never would have experienced otherwise.
I do recommend setting up your own traditions whether it’s a certain dish you make every year, a gag gift you give, certain people you spend the holiday with, a Christmas tree, or setting up a ceramic Christmas village every year. Nothing can replace the love of a parent but I find developing my own traditions to be a fun, healthy way to ground myself while celebrating the holiday. I also have a network of adopted family, people who fulfill certain emotional roles but are not biological family. My mother might not be able to love and accept me as I am but I have some amazing mother figures in my life. I would also focus on doing something really nice for yourself (and maybe your girlfriend) as these holidays get closer too. Good luck and happy Thanksgiving!