Coming Out Over The Holidays

Dear Too Real Women:
How do I break it to my family that the significant other that I am bringing to Christmas dinner is actually a man. They don’t know that I am gay.

ANSWER

JILL:
I cannot help but wonder why you want to use the family holiday dinner to ‘come out’; it seems a bit dramatic. It would be much better to get together quietly with your parents before hand. You want to be listened to and treated with respect and I suggest that you give them the same courtesy.
Maybe you should also consider that although your partner is going along with this because he cares for you, perhaps he would prefer not to be the centre of a family discussion.

You are feeling vulnerable and nervous but I urge you to take into consideration the other people involved and by doing that you allow for more honest interaction. The outcome of which will provide you and your partner a more authentic foundation to build a future on.

VICKI:
Congratulations! Just asking this question says that you are ready to come out to your family and that you have someone so special in your life that you want to share him with your family.

I would love to tell you that there’s an easy way to tell your family, however I can’t do that. I can tell you that from my friend’s and client’s experiences most of their parents already knew intuitively, and the difficulty for everyone involved was more just being able to finally say it out loud.

You don’t mention your age and whether or not you’ve had girlfriends, which your family knew about, in the past. Yet certainly the older you are the more the odds say that your family does know deep inside that your gay. After all there are always clues. Past girlfriends can be a great argument for family members that chose denial over seeing the clues for what they really were.

The bottom line is that the only way to tell someone something is just to telling the family. I do suggest telling them before Christmas dinner.

One suggestion that I do have is if you have specific fears about their reactions I would let them know first thing that you have been worried about ____, _____, and _____.

On a spiritual note most people forget that as souls we have no sex/gender. Male and female are part of the duality that is an element of our existence here on Earth. Most importantly we are all one. Because of that there is beauty in every loving relationship that exists.

I wish you and your partner every happiness.

Too Real Discussion:

VICKI:
Uummmm Jill – aren’t you being just a bit hard here?

JILL:
I have a problem with people wanting to use the holiday season to bring up things that may cause a disruption – it’s just not the right time.

VICKI:
Where I do agree with you that bringing it up before the holidays would be beneficial to all, I’m pretty sure that it isn’t Anxious’ intent to cause a drama. I would bet that he’s presently not thinking about the others and more just his own fears around this is the right time to come out.

JILL:
Assuming you’re right and he did ask us how the best way to break to the family at this time – let me say this, first he should make every effort to arrive at the gathering early, before everyone else, so he can talk to his parents as privately as possible. Secondly he should ask his partner if he wants to be there or not. Anxious has to remember that this is going to affect his partner too.

VICKI:
I think that’s sound advice. And for all we know that was his intention. What’s difficult is that in the e-mails we don’t usually get all the information. As a spiritual psychotherapist I just really want to honor Anxious’ feelings.

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3 Responses

  1. I just found this blog and have already fallen in love with it. Being a gay man myself who has been through the coming out experience, I would say that both Vicki and Jill have given great advice loaded with good common sense. Although part of a person coming out feels like they should do it in a manner that says, “Hey! I’m here, I’m gay! Now let’s celebrate!” kind of liberated drama one could imagine but it’s like Jill said:

    “It would be much better to get together quietly with your parents before hand. You want to be listened to and treated with respect and I suggest that you give them the same courtesy.”

    Well said. I also agree with Vicki stating that (depending on your age) your family probably has known deep down for some time as it is. Mine always knew when I came out to them at the age of eighteen and, yes, it was just the shock of finally hearing it from the horses mouth that threw them for a loop. It did turn out just fine though and those who may not accept it at first sometimes come around to it later. She (Vicki) also makes a great point in saying that you should tell them what reactions you’ve been afraid of.

    This is some of the best advice I’ve seen given on the net to someone who is in such a delicate situation because it’s all about showing respect on both sides. You guys are great and it has been a pleasure reading this.

  2. Sound advice. Unfortunately there’s no quick fix or sure way to come out because everyone’s experiences and upbringing are different. I hope Anxious lets you know how it all turns out.

    If he wants my perspective, I wrote about my own coming out journey last year and republished it as a separate page on my blog. I told my mother, but had her tell my father. I was too scared to do it in person. I’d have never dreamed of doing it over the holidays, but we come from a very religious family. It took a while for my father to come around but now we get along better than we ever did. Anxious may have a very accepting and affirming experience, and I certainly hope that’s the case.

    I’ll certainly be coming back here to check things out. Nice concept for a website, ladies. Bravo.

  3. Hello ladies! Bless your hearts for what you are doing here!

    Nine months ago, I spent a week with one of my dearest and closest friends. We live 2000 miles from each other, and are both gay, 30’ish. We had the time of our lives.

    Some background- we had been friends for 12 years, and through much of that time talked on the telephone many hours every day. Although I was in a relationship with someone else, the last year seemed quite, well, hard to explain. My friend and I spoke by phone every day, often 4 hours or more. It could be described as “hanging out” but long distance. We both had things to do- he would talk on his way to the gym and then call me again later. If I was busy, I would call him as soon as I was done. In fact, one week I noticed we had talked almost 40 hours by phone.

    Obviously, as my trip to see him came closer we were both very excited. I realized that my feelings for him had become stronger than mere friendship, and he too started dropping “hints” that lead me to believe the same. He mentioned he did not believe (pls forgive the adult nature of this) doing certain sexual things would be considered “cheating” during one of our pre-trip conversations. I disagreed strongly, and said anything sexual would be cheating. Please understand, he did not outright say “I want to do these things with you” but during my trip we were in his bedroom and he was opening some file on his computer and said, “my personal photos are in here.”. I made as though I was uninterested (not a true reaction) and he changed the subject.

    Now I know this all may sound a tad highschool, but I absolutely love this man. In fact, I was happy to hear him tell me “I love you” when I was leaving his home one night.

    I flew home after my wonderful week with him, and immediately noticed he was not returning my calls. 2 then 3 weeks went by, and we had spoken only briefly perhaps 4-5 times. He always had something to do (although he had called me) and promised to call back later but would not.

    After the 3rd week, I was so distraught I sent him an email late one night asking “why are you being such a *bad* friend lately! Life is short!” Bad was nort the exact word. The next day I received his furious response, “how could you call me a bad friend after 12 years of friendship!?” He went on to say I was NOT to contact him, and to basically go away. I did, soon after, email him apologizing and explaining like an adult that my feelings for him had become stronger, I could never think of him as a “bad friend”, and that I was really just confused and worried about our whole situation.

    It has been 9 months now, and I have never heard a word of response from him. It took 6 months before I did not think of him every hour or two- afterall, I was accustomed to him playing a huge role in my everyday life, albeit by telephone. I am having a hard time coping with this, and it does come up in my heart and hit me quite hard at times still.

    It’s strange, but the hardest part is the fact that he never – ever – said “goodbye”. Do you know how many “goodbye songs” there are out there on the radio!? It is brutal! Talk about trying to stop being reminded!

    I am travelling to his city in a few weeks, and wish so much for some closure on this. Please, I am really hoping for some serious suggestions here. Thank you so very much in advance! Sincerely, T.

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