Posted by: Mary | 2008/06/06

either / or

Thanks for the replies. My son is now 34. I noticed when he was a teenager that he did not seem attracted to girls but it was only about 6 years ago that he broke the news to me.
I don't think I am such a great mom cause to be honest I would prefer it if he were straight - I think life would be much easier for him and, my own selfish reasons, I would love grandchildren. But he is my son and I love him tremendously.
Unfortunately my husband is homophobic and we have not had the courage to break the news to him. My son left home about 14 years ago and now lives in London. I am dreading the day my husband finds out.
My other son, who is younger and an oversexed straight, knows about his brother and also accepts him. They have a good relationship and tease each other endlessly about straight and gay relationships.
What worries me is that I don't think my son is happy, he can't seem to form a long term relationship, falls in love and stays with his partner for a year at most. I know he wants to come home but his father is the fly in the ointment.
We live in Cape Town and my husband is constantly "shocked" by the gay comunity. Seems to think you are all wierd and fancy little boys. I have tried to point out that more "straight" men mess with kids than gays to but I am afraid he is very out of date with his ideas.
I think people are people, some I like and others I don't, some are criminals and generally not nice people, it has nothing to do with straight, gay, black, white.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageGay, lesbian and bisexual expert

Hi to you Mary and a very warm welcome to the forum - I think you're aware by now that this is a very welcoming space.

Your post has generated interesting responses - Cornflake_boy suggests (quite rightly) that you can't assume responsibility for your husband's response and Gareth offers tons of valid advice.

A suggestion: don't set yourself up as the intermediary between son and father. Don't form an alliance with either - it sounds as if you'll need to be there to support both. Your husband needs to challenge his own demons and you are not responsible for his prejudices or his homophobia. It is possible that your husband suspects your son is gay - he needs to go through his own process related to this.... Like everyone else he'll have to resolve his own sense of failings, of wondering where he went wrong and his own sense of shame and guilt.

Complements to you (as Gareth points out) for trying to get the facts about your son being gay. Please keep posting.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Gareth | 2008/06/06

Excuse the spelling mistakes, I had to type very quickly...

Reply to Gareth
Posted by: Gareth | 2008/06/06

Hi Mary. How wonderful are you to care about your son this much to rather try to find out, and educate yourself, before making any assumptions. And you are not a bad mother because you want him straight. I think all parents (or most at least) with gay children would prefer their kids to be straight. But the fact that you still accept and respect his life and still love him this much makes you a great mom. My mom also accepts me , but every now and again she would also say something like she would have liked grandchildren from me, even though she already has 4 from my siblings.

Being gay is not something that you decide to do one day. Can you remember a day wher you conciously chose to fall in love with men? And like Nikkits said, being gay is really not, as the popular belief is, the fact that you have sex with men. Sex play as big and as little a role in our lives and relationships as it does in yours. And it is totally possible for a gay man to have sex with a woman. It is deeper than that. It is about who you feel emotionally, spiritualy and physically attracted to. I don't hate women, in fact, I love them, and yes I do notice a beautiful girl. But I cannot "fall in love" with them in that way. And believe me I've tried. The fact that your son has slept with women says nothing but he was probably trying to work it out in himself. It took me years and years of internal struggle and tears to admit that I am gay. I hoped that if I force myself to be with a girl, it would all go away, which it didn't because it cant. It is part of your nature, part of you as much as your eye colour.
And it is sad that your son cannot find a steady partner, but also good in a way for him to keep looking for his soulmate.
You have to understand that the dynamics around gay relationship works a bit different. Men are hunters, sexual beings. And you know how difficult it is for some men (straight men) to really commit to a relationship. But again, there are thousands of gay couples that have been together for many years and are very happy. It all depends in what space you are in your life. What you really want.
And unfortunately yes, you get gay men that like many straight men are just out to get into someone's pants. But again it has been warped by society. Because in the older days gay men had to keep their relationship secret, and do everything in secret (you could get arrested) it boiled down mostly to quick meetings or just sex in secret. These days you see more gay couples, because they are free to express who they are. There are not more gays than there was 20 years ago, just more openly gays. And because we couldn't commit in our relationships, as it was never legal, gays did not even take their own relationships serious enough. Nothing stops you to bail at the first sighn of difficulties. I mean, even if you have been together for 20 years, you could just pack your stuff and go. When you are married and have to go through a divorce and settlements etc etc. it is rather an inspiration to try and maybe work things out. So I hope that this will change in future.

As for your son, he might be unhappy, but not neccisarily because he is gay. Maybe it's because he wants to come home, or maybe because he is scared. Keep that communication open and try to understand what he is feeling. And one day he might just meet "the one".

As for your hubby. It is difficult to change people's perceptions that they grew up with, and I have to agree that the media mostly put gay people in a very bad light, you always only see the extremes. No wonder people think all gay men are perverted nancy-boys, because that is what they are being fed with. But things change when it hits closer to home. I was dead scared of telling my dad, and thought he would disown me. But you know, in the end, he just about took it the best of them all. Now I am not saying out your son, it might be disasterous if your son is not ready. rather discuss it with your son and help him work to a place where he are ready to tell his dad. And education and knowledge is power. I don't know hoe, but try to start preparing your husband (like you are doing already) by pointing out the good side about gay people to him. Try and get some books and info on what being gay is and really means. Talk to your church minister perhaps if he is open to it. But subtely try to educate him too. And when the day comes that he tells his dad, be ready for it. Then have it all together. I gave my parents numerous books that can change their way of thinking too. We are programmed from a very small age that it is wrong, but that is because we do not fully understand what it is all about.

Anyway, please keep on posting here and talk about your fears and successes, and let off some steam, and ask the questions. We will for sure try to help where we can.

Reply to Gareth
Posted by: cornflake_boy | 2008/06/06

hail mary,

i have had the same problems with men as your son does. this was obviously reflective of a dysfunctional relationship with my father figure.

the underlying issue with the matter is making your son subcintiously choose relationships that will NOT work out as an actual cry for help.

his father needs to face the facts, and you need to stop worring if he is going to like it or not. obviously, he is going to be shocked/angry/hurt. you know this. so, what is then the worst that could happen? what seems to have been the worst thing is keeping it quiet all these years...

it is easy to talk as i am outside of your world, but this is the truth and no passing of time will change that. so do it now.

good luck

Reply to cornflake_boy

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