I’m 24, male and had my first gay sex at 19. It took me five more years to come to terms with my sexuality.
I out-ed myself to friends and some co-workers, but I never told my family. I’ve wanted to tell them for some time (even extended family) and thought of doing so through email but friends and co-workers said it’s like dumping the person you’re dating over the phone. I considered doing it at family get-togethers, but chickened out.
My dad has said he’ll disown me if he found out.
My uncle was gay, and died from AIDS.
I want to keep the love in the family, even if they don’t talk to me for a while.
- Family Secret
Treat this as personal news, to be doled out in private chats with those who matter, and not as a public service announcement.
Given your father’s attitude, you should first tell your mother, and ask for her help in getting your father to deal with you as his son, not as a reflection of your uncle.
Tell each sibling, then close cousins, on their own.
You may be surprised that some have already surmised your sexuality.
By telling everyone separately, you show you care about them, want to discuss any worries they may have, and are comfortable enough with who you are to even counter any negative reaction with your own firm conviction.
I caught my 13-year-old son surfing for porn on the web. My first instinct was to scream, but held back and asked his father to have a talk with him.
I know and understand the hormonal changes and adolescence angst, but what’s the best way to deal with this and help him?
- Concerned Mom
Be practical, instead of punitive.
First and foremost, explain to your son why watching porn is against your values, and why it’s particularly unhealthy for an immature, inexperienced viewer.
Second, be absolutely firm that it’s simply not allowed in your home, and that you’d be equally upset if you found that he watched it elsewhere.
Then, move the computer he uses to a place where you can see what he’s doing and limit his use to times when you’re around.
Arrange for installing Parental Controls, which are available through your Internet Service Provider; or you can buy the software, which blocks inappropriate websites and monitors your child’s time online, from major retailers; examples are Safe Eyes, CyberPatrol and Net Nanny. Such controls also allow parents to restrict kids’ access to Internet applications like chat, file sharing or web browsing.
My husband’s parents are drunks, and his drug-addicted sister had her daughter taken away from her by children’s services. But when she ran away from the foster home, we won custody over his parents (who were furious). She eventually ended up on the streets, and we lost contact.
My adolescent children never see his side of the family, and sometimes I feel guilty. Should we visit them, but say we disapprove of their lifestyle?
If you and your husband have avoided them this long, it’s for good cause. Adolescents are very impressionable, so this isn’t the best age to expose them to relatives who’ve made such bad choices.
Have your husband make contact on his own, and see if they’ve mellowed at all. The time may come when you both visit, but if so, wait to introduce the children until they’re older.
Two years ago I slept with a friend’s husband over several months. He started asking for more, even though we’re both married with kids. I slowly put an end to it, but it’s tarnished our family friendship though no one knows about this.
But it has an effect on me when I’m intimate with my husband. Once I called that man’s name and managed to make excuses so he didn’t suspect.
How can I stop thinking about him?
- Mindless in York
You knew enough to stop the train wreck of being discovered, so turn off your fantasies and think of your family.
Since you clearly don’t have the desire for divorce, scandal, angry children and a betrayed husband, you need to wake up and realize that’s what’s facing you, if you don’t force yourself to forget him.
Get busy, and avoid risking everything for someone who, like you, offered nothing but cheating.
Tip of the day:
Outing yourself to family is a personal story, to be handled with respect for them as well as for yourself.