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I feel like my family doesn't take my coming out seriously

Discussion in 'For Parents and Family Members of LGBT People' started by savethewhales, Apr 14, 2019 at 11:18 PM.

  1. savethewhales

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    In particular, my aunt has been bothering me. She was the second person I ever came out to because I tell her everything and she has always been pretty supportive and since she identifies as a liberal I thought maybe she'd be the most accepting. The caveat to my aunt is that she needs to attach her opinion to everything you tell her, whether you asked for it or not.

    So when I told her about 2 months ago that I was interested in another girl at work (that's how I was coming out to people at that point when it was still very new to me), she said "that's okay."
    If only she'd left it there it would've been great.
    Then she went on to tell me how its "totally normal for women to experiment with other women and to seek out the company of other women because we're sensitive" and something that basically implied that I've dated shitty men so now I'm trying it out with women. She also kind of interrogated me because I never really gave indications that I had same-sex tendencies growing up (to be clear, I purged it to the Earth's core for 20+ years...but I've loved boobs from a young age :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:) Basically I didn't leave the conversation feeling very good and like I had to justify everything, which was uncomfortable.
    A couple weeks ago when we talked again she asked me if I'm "still feeling that way?" to which I updated her saying I very much do, I identify comfortably as bisexual (though I actually have a preference for women right now) and that I'd asked the girl from work out, we'd hung out twice, were hanging out again and I think she likes me back (update: I still like her but I think we're just gonna be friends.). I got the speech again about women seeking other women for comfort and experimentation blah blah blah. Decided I probably won't update her on this any more unless it gets very serious.

    Tonight she texted me asking how my "new friendship" is going. And that really pissed me off because I know for a fact if this were a guy, she'd treat it like we were dating or call it dating. This accumulation of responses has me thinking she thinks I'm going through a phase and/or is not taking me seriously. I have over justified with her begrudgingly because I'm afraid of confrontation, and because she's the only one in my family apart from my mom that I trust and felt close to. If this is how she's responding to it, how will the rest of my family (who I'm already a black sheep with for many other reasons) handle it?

    My mom knows, and she's cool with it, she's just a little uncomfortable with talking about it right now. Which is fine, I can work on her with it because at least she accepts that it's part of who I am now, even if I never date a woman. But even she said when it comes to other family members I should just not tell them or "only share what I need to share" which I think is unfair because it's like saying I shouldn't be open about who I am, which would't be the case if I still identified as straight.

    To backstory, I'm 27 and I just came out 2 months ago as bisexual. I repressed that part of me for a very long time but now that it's out it feels right. I haven't been interested in dating a man for over a year now and I honestly see myself ending up with a woman or non-binary person. But I still identify as bisexual even if I do end up with a man. I know I don't have to justify my feelings, but that's all I've really been doing lately and I realize my situation could be a lot worse (I haven't been ostracized or shamed) but when my family members aren't taking me seriously I feel like I might as well be.

    I don't know what to do, and I don't have a lot of friends who truly understand what I'm going through.

    Sorry for the long rant.
     
  2. Love4Ever

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    I’m so sorry about how your aunt and your mom have been treating you. Honestly I think you were very brave to be open about this to them, that’s not an easy thing, and they should respect that and your feelings. I honestly relate to what you wrote because I’m not out to anyone but my mom and sister and I fear the same reactions from the rest of my family when I tell them. I’m afraid they won’t believe me because I also showed no signs of being anything other than straight, and I used to be boy crazy. So yeah, I understand that. The only thing I can suggest is to keep reinforcing your identity every time it comes up and make sure you address it. Which I know is exhausting but may be necessary unfortunately. So if your aunt says something about it being a phase say something like, “This is not a phase. I’m dating (fill in the name of the chick your dating). I know your mom said not to talk about it and I got that same kinda response from my mom so I’m basically still in the closet. Which sucks because I’d rather not be, but eventually I’m going to be open about it if I’m directly asked or when they finally meet my girlfriend. It’s not perfect but it is where I am right now. I wish I had better advice. I really do sympathize with your situation.
     
    #2 Love4Ever, Apr 15, 2019 at 8:43 AM
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019 at 8:44 AM
  3. smurf

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    Really sorry for the confusion and pain you are going through. It is in fact so frustrating that we have to teach people how to talk about our lives. Its exhausting so I feel you.

    Okay, now for some advice that you might not like but I think you need to hear.

    So this is frustrating. Those feelings are totally valid.

    That being said, your aunt is checking in on you. Instead of ignoring it, she is continuous that this girl means enough to you that she thought "I wonder how all of that is going?" It doesn't feel like it right now, but that is acceptance. That is an honest attempt by your aunt to be supportive even though she missed the mark. She wants to be involved, she wants you to tell her about it all and she wants to know about your life! She wants you to be happy even though she doesn't know how to support you correctly.

    Does that mean that you shouldn't be annoyed? No, be annoyed. Its annoying. Come here and vent and we will all tell you its annoying as fuck.

    BUT it also doesn't mean that your aunt isn't taking you seriously. It means she has no idea how to support you and the good news is that you can teach her.

    "Hey aunt, I love that you checked up on me and that means a lot. But do you mind next time using [insert however you want her to address your friend]"

    "Hey aunt, not sure how to say this but I feel like you don't fully believe that I'm bisexual and that is hurtful. I would love it if you can be more supportive by believing me when I say that I know I'm bi. I really need your support because this has been hard"

    You have to let people know how to help you. No one knows how to support a family member that comes out. Even if a cousin of yours came out, you probably won't know exactly what that cousin needs unless they tell you or you ask.

    So tell your aunt. Tell her that she is hurting you with her doubts and tell her exactly what you would want from her.
     
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  4. Inlife88

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    I agree she should have handled it better, but then again your aunt grew up in a different time most likely. My mom is not very open to the way things have changed over the years. She has explicitly said how she doesn't get ge der fluid, why parents get gray clothes for a baby girl amd why not pink, and how two people of the same gender can get married. She is the type that, whenever she comes into town, always goes to the same restaurants, complaines how the area is not the same, and how the roads have changed. She has calmed down a little, since my brother in laws are both gay, so it makes it hard for her to complain about that, especially in front of my wife.
     
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  5. HisMom

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    Your aunt is probably my age - and for us there was straight, gay, and bi. And there's always that joke about how everyone is a lesbian their sophomore year of college. The reason for that joke is because so very many women did experiment in college. I don't know what the guys did. It sounds like she's doing her best to stay in touch and figure out how to communicate with you about your relationships. She sucks at it. We all sort of do but if there's an absence of malice maybe you can just keep moving forward, roll your eyes, and share "my family is so dopey" stories? I'm pretty sure that's what my kids do.