I think it's time to jump out of the closet to family....nervous. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 06-28-2012, 01:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh, Jeez Louise. It has to be done. I know this....BUT I am so scared!! My husband died April 2011. Our relationship was a great friendship bonded together with our children but there was nothing there sexually because I don't dig men that way. He never knew. Heck, I didn't know for the first half of our marriage. It wasn't until I was thirty years old that I began to figure it out and now three years later I know it's time to move forward. My close friends know I am attracted to women but my family does not. I know my mother will be supportive she loves her lesbian neighbors like daughters and treat their ten year old son like her grandson but I foresee my husband's family being difficult. Ultimately, I really don't care what they think but I do have to deal with them still because of my children. On a good day they are snarky to me but mostly they are straight up rude. I pretty much can't do anything right in their eyes and they feel the need to tell me....all the time. My mother in law is the chief offender - WASPY and a close minded woman who has never pumped her own gas or scrubbed her own toilet. Seriously. Cloth diapering and extended breastfeeding just about put her over the edge when my kids were babes. winky.gif I dealt with her crap-ola far better when  DH was alive then now. My MIL is going to find out for sure because it came out yesterday to a patronizing soccer mom trying to do me a "favor" by setting me up with a male doctor friend. I told her three times nicely, "Thank you but I'm not interested," and she kept at it and finally I took my sunglasses off and looked her square in the eye and said, "I am not interested. In men. Period." Her response was priceless. I'm still laughing about it but I didn't mean for it to come out like that but she cornered me and I snapped. Our community it fairly small and the mom runs in the same church circle as my MIL. She'll know. 

 

The kids and I are going tomorrow to my mother's for a week and I will talk to her then and deal with my husband's family when I return. I suppose I will have to. I haven't thought out how I am going to tell my children either. I'll sit on that for awhile. I am not seeing anyone special right now so there isn't, I feel at this moment, an immediate need to tell them. I imagine it's going to be very confusing for them. 

 

Any advice is truly appreciated.


There are three things I learned about life. It goes on. -Longfellow

 

stillheart.gifRIP DH DJ Delicious but mucho gracias for our children and all I have learnedstillheart.gif

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#2 of 9 Old 06-28-2012, 03:00 PM
 
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Oh boy!  That is a doozy.  First, I'm sorry that your husband passed away and that you have to deal with that MIL.  She sounds like she has a hard time with boundaries to say the least.  Second, I love the story about the soccer mom!  Sometimes you have to be really blunt with people.

I don't have experience with your situation but I support you in your efforts to live a more honest life.  That is what coming out is about to me.  Coming out is a process.  You don't just do it once, you do it over and over again.  You may be surprised at some people's reactions.  They may have had an inkling but not let on to you. 

I would suggest finding other women in a similar situation, coming out later in life, after having kids, etc.  I think there was a thread on here a while back about that.  I think it is a pretty common occurrence.  We ladies are sometimes a little slower to find ourselves.  Maybe some other folks on here will have better advice.

With you MIL you may have to be as blunt as you were with the soccer mom.  Let your mama lion instincts kick in to protect yourself and your kids from her rudeness.  And if you tell her first, make sure she doesn't say anything to the kids before you do.

 

Good luck! And welcome!  Your toaster oven is on the way.




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#3 of 9 Old 06-28-2012, 04:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It's unfortunate I can't send out a mass email to all the people who want to set this young widow up with their nice single cousin/son/brother/nephew that I'm really not interested and I REALLY mean it this time. orngbiggrin.gif


There are three things I learned about life. It goes on. -Longfellow

 

stillheart.gifRIP DH DJ Delicious but mucho gracias for our children and all I have learnedstillheart.gif

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#4 of 9 Old 06-28-2012, 05:19 PM
 
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I came out when I was 30 and even though I feel very lucky with my family, it was hard and it caused some major damage. I hope for you that your mother is understanding and takes it well, but keep in mind that supporting and loving your next door neighbors who are lesbian can sometimes feel different than supporting your daughter.I think you have an advantage in that you already got married once and had children so the whole, "Oh my god! She won't have a wedding. She won't have children" drama may already be mitigated. But I highly recommend talking to a counselor or therapist if you can, mostly to help yourself deal with how you'll respond or feel about what they say. I think overall you have the right presence of mind, but it still really hurts when they lodge something at you -- even if you've said to yourself ahead of time that you don't care. Or maybe a therapist will help you and you'll realize that for now, they don't need to know and you can wait until you've talked to your children first and squared away with them or you have someone you want to introduce in your life. The benefits to this too is that you establish and understanding with your kids first and then it won't matter so much what your in-laws might say to the kids about you in the process. Or at the least if they do, you can help deal with some of the confusing messages your children might get as a result. What if you tell your in-laws first and not your kids and then your kids blurt it out to your kids? I understand wanting to be yourself and finding yourself in your husband's death is a part of that process. But I think you can honor your process and your kid's well-being all at the same time as you get it figured it out. Keep us posted!


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Short luteal phase, septum resection in Sept 2011
Jan 2011 a BFP! Try #11 angel.gif 8w2d (blighted ovum)
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#5 of 9 Old 06-29-2012, 07:47 AM
 
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Pokey and Krista make a lot of good points. It seems like, based on your sig, that your kids are around 10 and 11, so I think they are old enough to hear it from you before time goes by and they start feeling like you have a secret. That age may have been too young 20 years ago, but now that gay people are more accepted and more visible in popular culture, I think the kids are not too young. Also, if you think the MIL will hear from the church gossip and then make remarks to the kids, it seems important that the kids hear it from you first. You might even explain to them about how you want them to hear it from you first, because the MIL might know because you stood up for yourself when someone was pressuring you to get set up with a man. Coming out to your parents can wait until after your kids are squared away. This reminds me of when a divorced parent considers bringing a new partner into her life --- if she has school-age kids, the kids are the first priority, and she has to make sure she has really good communication with the kids before bringing in the new person. (I understand you're not seeing a woman yet, but in this case the "new person" is the other people you'll come out to.) Of course, the kids may have some sad feelings of, "Didn't you love Dad?" and a counselor could really help them deal with that.

 

Re coming out to parents, I have one thing to mention: Bear in mind that even people who are "good" with it will go through a period of shock and adjustment in which they will probably say a few hurtful things that they will later regret and hope you forget about. As the saying goes, you will not forget, but you can forgive. But it may take some time. You should be at peace with your parents' reaction before you start seeing anyone seriously, because if not, your parents' negativity and your hurt feelings will be transferred onto the relationship.

 

Re your MIL: Of course you want to have a decent relationship with her for your kids, but it doesn't sound like you're ever going to be friends. Be civil, but don't exhaust yourself trying for more.


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#6 of 9 Old 06-30-2012, 09:59 AM
 
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I'm going to jump in on this one and say way too much because my mom came out to us the WRONG way when I was about 14. That is, she met a woman, dated her for about 15 minutes, and then had her move in with us and tried to let her coparent. Not. OK. It caused all kinds of drama and hurt feelings that we are even now still dealing with (though I love her and we have tons in common and she's been a great mom except for whatever the hell was going on that one year).
I think you have two options.
The first is to wait until you do have a girlfriend--a serious one, someone you're thinking about long-term stuff with--and then tell your kids first. That might be easier because it's more concrete to have an actual person for them to meet rather than just the idea of one someday. I think this is the way to go, personally. You can answer lots of questions that they and your MIL might have by saying that you weren’t expecting to find your girlfriend, but she came into your life and you are in love and happy for the first time since your husband passed. It’s harder to be nasty about that (though she may try anyway). I bet your encounter with the soccer mom can be interpreted as you saying that you are not interested in dating, since if you haven’t been seen as queer not everyone jumps to that conclusion, so you can still wait if you want. Once you’re out to them and they’ve met her GO SLOW. Slow. Wait a long time to have her move in. Spend more time with just your kids than you do with her or with all of them. Make sure they see you repeatedly choosing them and their happiness over her and yours (you obviously will still make choices to keep your relationship happy and healthy, too, but they need to see that when push comes to shove they win almost every time, over and over and over again). Anyone you date might become part of your life for the long haul, but your kids will always be there. They’re old enough to be watching you and they will remember things that you have forgotten long ago, especially if it’s tied to something this major in their lives. Like Outdoorsy said, a counselor might come in handy here, but don’t push them if they don’t want to go—it’s not for everyone.
Your second option is to tell your kids now that you want to date women. If you go this route, be careful. They might get more flak from their dad’s family and the greater public if their mom is a lesbian but they have nothing positive to say to feel good about their family. No stepmom means no good memories or fun times to hold as an example of how it is a positive thing. I understand needing to be true to yourself, but in this case, I think that the time for it may be when to deny yourself means hiding an actual relationship, not just a feeling. Your kids having a happy childhood (and by that I mean one where they don’t hear a lot of nasty comments about their mom from their paternal relatives) should outweigh your need to be true to yourself until you have someone special and want to be able to be together openly. Then I think the balance shifts and it is more important for your kids to see you being brave and honest even if it gets hard sometimes than it is to try to protect them from the world. It’s a fine line, unfortunately.
Whichever way you choose to go, when the time comes be honest with your kids about your present situation, not your past. What I mean is, tell them that you are interested in women or in a particular woman. You don't need to tell them that you weren't hot for their dad--you can just say that you loved him very much and that you miss him and so on, but that now you are looking for someone else (and of course all the comforting things you need to say about his always being their dad, etc). It's not going to help anyone for you to explain that your marriage was just a friendship at the end, and since he's passed away, I'd go ahead and leave it until your kids are older (like, out of high school) and start asking you more pointed questions. They will, it just takes a while to get there. Stick with how much you loved him until they're at least mostly through college.
Finally, keep in mind that whenever you tell your kids you are telling everyone you know. It’s not good to ask them to keep secrets for you (and they won’t anyway). If they ask you to keep it a secret, refuse. My sister tried that route and it made her high school experience much more difficult because she had to keep lying. Once you are out, be out, even if quietly.
I’m sorry this is so long, and so opinionated. I never minded that my mom wanted to be with women—actually I think it may have been easier for me, since I’m such a daddy’s girl, to not have to let another man step in and try to be fatherly towards me. I did mind very much that she put her happiness over mine and my sister’s, and that she wasn’t able to see how upset were. She sees it now, and we’ve made amends, and I love her wife. I think you can find a way to do this and be happy and get through your MIL’s comments without too much trauma, but only if you make sure your children have lots of good experiences to buffer any nasty comments that come their way.

She's here!
And so are the boys!
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#7 of 9 Old 07-12-2012, 01:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for the great responses. Nothing came of the church lady. I am not actively seeking a partner in any capacity at this time so I don't feel it is now a pressing matter. I am hoping patience will allow for the right time to open up. I don't have anything to offer a gal right now. All my energy is going to my kids. I'm moving out of my late husband's home town in May. I'm not happy here and I need a fresh start. We will be a couple hours away from my MIL. I'm going back to school. 


There are three things I learned about life. It goes on. -Longfellow

 

stillheart.gifRIP DH DJ Delicious but mucho gracias for our children and all I have learnedstillheart.gif

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#8 of 9 Old 07-12-2012, 02:33 PM
 
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Good luck with everything!


babyf.gif... due in late June.

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#9 of 9 Old 07-13-2012, 02:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you.smile.gif


There are three things I learned about life. It goes on. -Longfellow

 

stillheart.gifRIP DH DJ Delicious but mucho gracias for our children and all I have learnedstillheart.gif

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