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Coming Out To Parents  
User currently offlineplanejamie From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2011, 576 posts, RR: 0
Posted (2 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 2355 times:

Ok, so I posted something similar 6 months ago or so and there was a lot of great advice but if I'm honest I wasn't completely ready. I feel ready now and the timing is all perfect since my brother is out of the house for the weekend, she seems happy/not stressed. So my plan is to tell her later on I tonight.

The one problem with this is how do I start the conversation/what words do I use to tell her?

28 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinevarigb707 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (2 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 2355 times:

"You should just do it like a Band-Aid. One motion, right off!"

User currently offlineLostSound From Canada, joined May 2012, 257 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (2 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 2357 times:

When I came out I really followed the "beat around the bush" approach with it. I definitely suggest not doing that.
I said "I have to tell you something" then probably took a good 5 minutes before I actually followed that with "I'm gay".
My parents got really worried because they thought that either A: I had crashed the car, or B: I got someone pregnant.   

Basically what I should have done was be a bit more straight up and said "May I chat with you about something important?" then once settled down just come out with it and say "I'm gay".

You'll find once you say those words, the rest of it will just come. Your parents might try to tell you otherwise, ask you questions, some may need time to digest, etc... You can't really plan an "outing".

But a huge weight gets lifted off your shoulders when it's all over.
Just be prepared that her reaction to this is completely unpredictable.

With my parents, I just got a lot of questions and a lot of denial disguised as doubt.
They are fine now and very supportive.  

I wish you luck, and I hope any of this rambling helped you in at least a small way!



"Our hands are full, our lives are not"
User currently offlineDocLightning From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 20365 posts, RR: 59
Reply 3, posted (2 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 2358 times:

"Mom, you got a sec? I have something important to tell you."

It will be some of the hardest words you've ever spoken.

Now, if you reach down into your underwear, you'll notice you have balls (I hope   ). Yup. Time to use 'em.   I'm afraid it's the only way.

Good luck.


User currently offlineAeroWesty From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 20822 posts, RR: 62
Reply 4, posted (2 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 2357 times:

Eh, she knows already, you aren't telling her anything new. Don't approach this like you're gonna drop a bombshell, because, sweetie, you ain't!


International Homo of Mystery
User currently offlineDocLightning From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 20365 posts, RR: 59
Reply 5, posted (2 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 2357 times:

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 4):

Eh, she knows already, you aren't telling her anything new. Don't approach this like you're gonna drop a bombshell, because, sweetie, you ain't!

Don't be so sure. My parents were blown away. There are none so blind as they who will not see.


User currently offlineAeroWesty From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 20822 posts, RR: 62
Reply 6, posted (2 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 2358 times:

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 5):
My parents were blown away.

I guess it takes all kinds, doesn't it?

Jamie, didn't we go over this whole thing in your last thread? Everyone suspects, yadda yadda yadda?



International Homo of Mystery
User currently offlineLostSound From Canada, joined May 2012, 257 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (2 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 2356 times:

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 4):
Eh, she knows already, you aren't telling her anything new. Don't approach this like you're gonna drop a bombshell, because, sweetie, you ain't!

Only one person I came out to suspected and that was friend of mine who realised I would not talk about girls. Haha
It's hard to judge whether she already knows are not because we don't know the poster personally.
(unless you do then that's different lol)



"Our hands are full, our lives are not"
User currently offlineAeroWesty From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 20822 posts, RR: 62
Reply 8, posted (2 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days ago) and read 2356 times:

Quoting LostSound (Reply 7):
It's hard to judge whether she already knows are not because we don't know the poster personally.

I'll tell you my viewpoint on this whole coming out thing. It's useless. There's no need for it. I've known that I'm a homosexual since about the age 5. Almost 50 years later and I've yet to come out to anyone. Not a single soul. You want to know? Ask. I'll be honest with you. Most people don't ask because it either doesn't make any difference to them or they already know. Almost every female already knows because I don't talk to their tits! How easy that is for them. And you know something ... I've never once asked anyone if they're straight. I wonder why it's so important to go around blabbing that I'm gay. I'm comfortable with it and you should be too.



International Homo of Mystery
User currently offlineplanejamie From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2011, 576 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (2 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days ago) and read 2357 times:

Quoting varigb707 (Reply 1):
"You should just do it like a Band-Aid. One motion, right off!"
Quoting LostSound (Reply 2):
When I came out I really followed the "beat around the bush" approach with it. I definitely suggest not doing that.
I said "I have to tell you something" then probably took a good 5 minutes before I actually followed that with "I'm gay".
My parents got really worried because they thought that either A: I had crashed the car, or B: I got someone pregnant.   

Yeah, at first I was planning a sort of long drawn out process but you have a good point there - the last thing I said with "Can I have a word" was to tell her that I scratched my car against a brick post and then a week later the same brick post fell down as I was reversing off the same drive (it was a tight drive, I don't park on it anymore). So she'll probably assume the same thing happened again thinking about it (she has a theory things happen in 3s)

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 3):
Now, if you reach down into your underwear, you'll notice you have balls (I hope   ). Yup. Time to use 'em.   I'm afraid it's the only way.

I do, just they'll probably shrivel and pop back up inside me again!

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 6):
Jamie, didn't we go over this whole thing in your last thread? Everyone suspects, yadda yadda yadda?

Yeah I think we did, I'm not sure you know... she does joke sometimes but I think that's it - she's joking


User currently offlineLostSound From Canada, joined May 2012, 257 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (2 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days ago) and read 2356 times:

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 8):

I understand your point and whatever makes you the most comfortable is always the best choice.

For me I was very uncomfortable when my family members asked if I was dating 'Insert Girls Name Here' and when my straight friends would talk about girls to me. It felt like I was hiding. I definitely feel coming out was the best choice for me.

I don't flaunt about stereotypes or introduce myself as being gay. It's not something I arbitrarily toss out there to everyone I meet. But to my closest friends and family who had been by my side for years and always will, I had to be honest and open. I only tell new people I meet I'm gay if they ask.



"Our hands are full, our lives are not"
User currently offlineAeroWesty From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 20822 posts, RR: 62
Reply 11, posted (2 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days ago) and read 2356 times:

Quoting LostSound (Reply 10):
For me I was very uncomfortable when my family members asked if I was dating 'Insert Girls Name Here' and when my straight friends would talk about girls to me. It felt like I was hiding.

Why didn't you just talk about the men you were dating instead? Really. That would have avoided the whole 'hiding' thing.



International Homo of Mystery
User currently offlineLostSound From Canada, joined May 2012, 257 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (2 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days ago) and read 2356 times:

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 11):


I wasn't dating any guys for starters haha. I really didn't admit to myself I was full fledged gay until a few months before I came out. I had grown up believing the attractions I had were just normal things everyone goes through. So for the most part I thought I was straight therefore would go a long with everyone telling me that I'd marry a girl etc..

[Edited 2012-11-09 12:03:02]


"Our hands are full, our lives are not"
User currently offlineplanejamie From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2011, 576 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (2 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days ago) and read 2359 times:

Quoting LostSound (Reply 10):
For me I was very uncomfortable when my family members asked if I was dating 'Insert Girls Name Here' and when my straight friends would talk about girls to me. It felt like I was hiding. I definitely feel coming out was the best choice for me.

I don't flaunt about stereotypes or introduce myself as being gay. It's not something I arbitrarily toss out there to everyone I meet. But to my closest friends and family who had been by my side for years and always will, I had to be honest and open. I only tell new people I meet I'm gay if they ask.

I agree with you there, I want to come out and I don't just go "I'm gay" to everyone etc, I'm not very "camp" if camp at all... but I do feel uncomfortable when family members ask things like that or friends ask if I'm interested. I'm an awful liar so it must be obvious that I'm uncomfortable.


User currently offlineAeroWesty From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 20822 posts, RR: 62
Reply 14, posted (2 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days ago) and read 2359 times:

Quoting LostSound (Reply 12):
I didn't know I was gay at that point so I had been talking about girls thinking I must be straight.

That's an entirely different situation than Jamie's then. He already knows he's gay, and his mother "jokes" around with him about it. Trust me, no parent jokes around with one of their kids about being gay if they aren't already very, very sure that he or she is a flamer. That would just risk alienating and insulting their kid. You'd have to be fairly psychotic as a parent to wish for that kind of outcome from your actions.



International Homo of Mystery
User currently offlineLostSound From Canada, joined May 2012, 257 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (2 years 1 month 2 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 2359 times:

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 14):

Funny enough when I came out to my parents they were shocked and told me they were sure my brother was the gay one.   I guess that's why my parents never joked around with me being gay haha.



"Our hands are full, our lives are not"
User currently offlineLostSound From Canada, joined May 2012, 257 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (2 years 1 month 2 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 2357 times:

Quoting planejamie (Reply 13):
I agree with you there, I want to come out and I don't just go "I'm gay" to everyone etc, I'm not very "camp" if camp at all... but I do feel uncomfortable when family members ask things like that or friends ask if I'm interested. I'm an awful liar so it must be obvious that I'm uncomfortable.

I felt I was a bad liar too, but clearly everyone I know is oblivious lol.



"Our hands are full, our lives are not"
User currently offlineplanejamie From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2011, 576 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (2 years 1 month 2 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 2357 times:

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 14):
That's an entirely different situation than Jamie's then. He already knows he's gay, and his mother "jokes" around with him about it. Trust me, no parent jokes around with one of their kids about being gay if they aren't already very, very sure that he or she is a flamer. That would just risk alienating and insulting their kid. You'd have to be fairly psychotic as a parent to wish for that kind of outcome from your actions.

I don't know, she's only done that in the last 2 years or so, she could be genuinely joking because she thinks I'm straight

Quoting LostSound (Reply 15):
Funny enough when I came out to my parents they were shocked and told me they were sure my brother was the gay one.   I guess that's why my parents never joked around with me being gay haha.

Wow haha, I do wonder if that'll be her reaction - having said that I knew I was gay or at least "different from the rest" at 13, my brother is 14 now and seems to have a secret thing going on with some girl from school that he things me and my mum don't know about! I mean come on... "I err need to go to her house to fix her Computer" - "again?" is the same excuse he's used... However I got a bit off topic there!


User currently offlineAeroWesty From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 20822 posts, RR: 62
Reply 18, posted (2 years 1 month 2 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 2357 times:

Quoting planejamie (Reply 17):
I don't know, she's only done that in the last 2 years or so, she could be genuinely joking because she thinks I'm straight

I had something else typed out, but discarded it when I read this.

My suggestion: The next time she does it, ask, "Mom, why do you keep joking around with me about being gay?"

I'll save my rant about 'gay shame' for later.  



International Homo of Mystery
User currently onlineStarAC17 From Canada, joined Aug 2003, 3410 posts, RR: 9
Reply 19, posted (2 years 1 month 2 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 2355 times:

Quoting LostSound (Reply 2):
I said "I have to tell you something" then probably took a good 5 minutes before I actually followed that with "I'm gay".
My parents got really worried because they thought that either A: I had crashed the car, or B: I got someone pregnant.   

To add some unrelated humour  .

Bart and Lisa: Mom and Dad we have something to tell you.
Homer: Did you crash the car?
Bart: No
Homer: Did you raise the dead?
Lisa: Yes!!
Homer: But the car's ok??

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 4):
Eh, she knows already, you aren't telling her anything new. Don't approach this like you're gonna drop a bombshell, because, sweetie, you ain't!

He may, not all gays are obvious stereotypical images of what people think of when they think of gays.

At your age I would think that your parents would be really receptive of it especially in the UK but I understand that backgrounds vary and unless your parents are very traditional and/or religious it should be fine.



Engineers Rule The World!!!!!
User currently offlineplanejamie From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2011, 576 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (2 years 1 month 2 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 2356 times:

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 18):
I had something else typed out, but discarded it when I read this.

My suggestion: The next time she does it, ask, "Mom, why do you keep joking around with me about being gay?"

I'll save my rant about 'gay shame' for later.  

Hmm, seems like a good plan - though I'd rather me tell her that I am rather than her ask "are you gay" and me say "yes".

Quoting StarAC17 (Reply 19):
He may, not all gays are obvious stereotypical images of what people think of when they think of gays.

At your age I would think that your parents would be really receptive of it especially in the UK but I understand that backgrounds vary and unless your parents are very traditional and/or religious it should be fine.

I'm not an obvious stereotypical image, I sometimes wish I was but once she knows I won't do much different. I was thinking about getting an ear pierced and possibly straightening my hair but that would be it.

My mum is definitely not religious and not really all that traditional, though she can be a little bit at times. As for telling my Dad well, once my mum knows she'll probably also know how best to tell him.


User currently offlineAeroWesty From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 20822 posts, RR: 62
Reply 21, posted (2 years 1 month 2 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 2355 times:

Quoting planejamie (Reply 20):
though I'd rather me tell her that I am rather than her ask "are you gay" and me say "yes"

Then you're going to have to face that you're perpetuating gay shame. There's no other way to put it. You're the one playing games here. Either you're comfortable being gay or you're not. Sooner or later you're going to have to deal with people in the workplace and general society as an adult. What will you do then?

As you know, I'm not a proponent of this whole coming out thing, because I don't believe it solves anything. Yeah, you may feel better temporarily about one situation, but it doesn't solve the reason why you felt it necessary to come out in the first place.

You've got a lot of big decisions in front of you for how you're going to choose to handle yourself as a mature, adult gay man for the rest of your life. Start now. Ask mom why she jokes around with you about your sexuality. Put that shame on her, where it belongs. You, just be proud and move on with your life.



International Homo of Mystery
User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3372 posts, RR: 12
Reply 22, posted (2 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 2354 times:

So, did you do it? What did she say?


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User currently offlineplanejamie From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2011, 576 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (2 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 2355 times:

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 22):

Nope, I didn't get the chance, if I'm honest I'm going to wait until she mentions or asks then I might just tell her then, will ease me into the conversation. Or bring a boyfriend home, let her meet whoever that may be and go "what did you think of __?" - "oh he was nice" - "Ahh good, because he's my boyfriend"


User currently offlineczbbflier From Canada, joined Jul 2006, 984 posts, RR: 2
Reply 24, posted (2 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 2354 times:

Quoting planejamie (Reply 23):
Nope, I didn't get the chance, if I'm honest I'm going to wait until she mentions or asks then I might just tell her then, will ease me into the conversation. Or bring a boyfriend home, let her meet whoever that may be and go "what did you think of __?" - "oh he was nice" - "Ahh good, because he's my boyfriend"

I just came across this thread. Jamie, this is just drama now.

Two things. First, be 'straight up'. If you were going to tell your parents that you were going to get married, you wouldn't beat around the bush, would you? You'd probably take each aside and say, for example, "Mum, I have some news to share with you. I have asked so-and-so to marry me." You'd probably do that regardless of her feelings to your fiancée. It's a fact she will have to adjust to- you're signalling that her little boy is getting married.

And so it is when you declare that you 'play for the other team'.

As for involving your potential boyfriend: that, I must say is a terrible, terrible idea. Do NOT involve other people- innocent people- those you care about. Using your potential boyfriend as a crutch is not respectful of him, of your parents and frankly, of yourself. How would you like it if your closeted boyfriend used you as a pawn in his coming out drama? Supportive? Meh- get REAL. Used, or worse, abused? Quite likely.... and then with reflection, definitely.

Waiting for an opening that presents itself in casual conversation isn't really a good plan either. First, you are not in control of the timing. And second, you will not be in control of the tone of the conversation. Consequently, you will likely be defensive and hence overly aggressive.

That happened with my aunt who joked with me about the hoops in my ears. She asked sarcastically if I had "finally figured out that I went both ways". I replied, more forcefully that I would have liked that no, in fact I only preferred men.... in a tone of voice as if to say, 'it's none of your sweet f***in' business. And once you've put it out there, you can't put the genie back into the bottle: the tone you set will determine the reaction and later the response. She and I have not gotten along terribly well since.

So you need to be in control of the timing and the tone of the conversation. You need to, as Doc puts it, grab your bollocks and raise this 'out of the blue' (pun not intended) so that this conversation receives the attention the special nature of the subject deserves.

The best way is to find a quiet moment, 1/2 an hour should do for each parent (although the conversation will likely last no more than 10 minutes, max- the rest of the time is for you to go and emotionally recover from a very brave action) and with little lead-up, tell them directly.

Here's the tack I'd take. For example, "Mum, I have some news to tell you that is very important to me. There is no easy way to say this so I'm just going to say it like it is. I'm gay." Then give her time (1 or 2 minutes) to absorb what you've just told her. But let her answer without prompting. You don't need to justify yourself and you have nothing to apologize for. So babbling isn't going to soften the blow, if there is a blow dealt. They're adults. They can take it. (But one caveat: they're human. They may not be capable of taking the news well. Forgive them for their limitations, for their frailties, and allow for their own insecurities. For a brief moment, this will be about them. That's why you're sharing this in the first place, so that what is about you becomes what it is for them.)

Here are two extreme reactions:

If she falls into complete silence, wait a few minutes and then say, "I get the sense this has come as a bit of a shock to you. I understand this will take some time to absorb. What you need to know is that this is the way I am, and I am happy this way. I am also happier that you know. Here's a list of resources for you if you need them.

You will have prepared this list in advance: local PFLAG websites and contact information, titles of a couple 'what to do when you kid comes out' such as The Rest of the Way; A coming out story for parents and gay children. Enid Duchin Jackowitz. BookSurge Publishing: Charleston SC, 2009. as well as any other resources you can think of.

Slide the list toward her and then close with, "I love you. I am the same person I was before, only now you know I am growing healthily into the adult I was meant to be. When you're ready, I'll be happy to talk more about this." and then walk away. No hugs, no kisses, no apologies. Don't be mushy. She won't be terribly receptive in the moment anyway if she reacts like this.

On the other hand, if she comes back with, "No surprise there, sweetie. It was just a matter of time. Thank you for telling me. Just be safe." The next thing you do is also very important. DO NOT INVITE HER OUT TO THE CLUBS THAT NIGHT.  

The odds are you'll get something in between. My bet is on a reaction that is neutral to tentatively positive. (Neutral won't feel great because it will hardly be an instant resounding endorsement of your "choice". But in reality, they're just holding their cards close to their chest while they do what is called in business a SWOT analysis in their hearts and minds and sorting out the messages from both.) Regardless, it will take about 6 months for the shockwave of undeniable Truth to ripple through the family. After a couple of years it will all be old hat. Tentatively positive will be an affirmation, but little else. A reassurance that you are loved and that it's important that you're happy. Anything more would be great but it would be over-the-top.

My dad cried and told me that it would take him time to adjust. My mum went stone-cold silent and rarely spoke of it again but simply adjusted in time.

One last possible reaction- and you'd know if this was going to be the reaction years ago. If you get the Hell-fire and brimstone, "God is going to make you burn in Hell" stuff, then the die are cast. Leave. Leave them behind in their hatred and live your life in love and light. Your parents got you this far but it would be time to move on and grow in other ways. The traditional family would not be in the cards that were dealt to you when you were born. But somehow I doubt this will be the case, otherwise you would have mentioned this aspect already. So put this worst-case scenario out of your mind. It won't happen.

Just don't expect them to understand everything all the time and be patient with them. I remember my mother admonishing my sister for "playing house" with her boyfriend while a week later asking me if I was going to move in with my boyfriend. A double standard if ever there were one, no? Her boyfriend became her husband of now 15 years and my boyfriend and I broke up about 6 weeks later.

But enough of this dipping your toe into the tepid waters of A.net.

Speaking for myself here I have to say I feel you've had enough advice. The next time you mention this to us, tell us that you've done the task. Git 'er done, as we say on this side of the pond. Carpe Diem. But you have to feel strong and safe to do it. It's okay to psyche yourself up for the task but on the other hand, you may be psyching yourself out. So find that 'sweet spot' and let loose. The Truth will set you free.

This is the first of a thousand steps you'll have to make where you put your mark down in the sand and be counted for who you are- in all aspects of life. Some will be big, some will be small. In retrospect, all will take the same courage. Sexual orientation, in the grand scheme of things is only one of them- and only you will be able to assess whether it was a big stand or a little one once all your stands have been taken and you are ready to leave this place.

Now make yourself proud. If this important enough for you, if the time is right, Respect yourself; respect your parents. Go and do the job you were meant to do.

And then go out into the world, regardless of their reaction, and be the person you were meant to be.


25 Post contains images luckyone : I concur with this. Don't beat around the bush. Say it, and step back. Let her react. Chances are she already knows, and a bad reaction is a reaction
26 flood : I don't know you, your mother, or how close you are. As a straight guy it's also rather difficult to put myself in your shoes - to say the least. Tha
27 Maverick623 : Oh, you haven't had any contact with your mother since your last post? Stop being a baby about it. Seriously.
28 ScarletHarlot : Dude, this is getting boring. Just do it, and let us know when you have done so. Quit coming here asking us for help when you don't have any intention
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