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Is it a good idea to come out to parents by introducing them to a boyfriend?

Discussion in 'Coming Out Advice' started by Joe2001, Jul 6, 2020.

  1. Joe2001

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    I don't actually have a boyfriend, however, I'm now at 3 years in the closet and at this point, I don't see any chance of me bringing myself to tell parents through the average sit down conversation. If I was going to do that, I would have probably done it by now.

    It freaks me out in many ways, the possibility of a negative reaction is the worst one, the awkwardness is another and even if it was a positive reaction, I would just feel uncomfortable.

    I've devised another strategy as I can't really keep it a secret for all of my life. What I want to do is introduce my first BF to them rather than making an official announcement. That's what most straight folks do, right? They introduce their partner to their parents and that's it. No fuss over coming out. Why should it be any different for me?

    Is this a good idea or will it make things worse?
     
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  2. musicteach

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    That’s how I did it! Yes go for it.
     
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  3. HM03

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    If you know they will take it well, then sure.

    It SHOULDN'T be any different introducing a partner gay or straight, but it is and that's just the way things are. If you aren't confident that your parents will take it okay, than I wouldn't. It would be so easy for your parents to project their feelings and ignorances (eg he made you gay) onto your future bf or get mad at him, and that isn't fair to him.

    It was SO much easier for me to come out family/coworkers etc by bringing up my bf rather than telling them I'm gay. But definitely would not have told my dad with him there. I came out to my to my dad, brought up my bf, and introduced them all several weeks apart.
     
  4. rktonks

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    They may be shocked but I think that is a wonderful way to do it!! Go for it!!
     
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  5. Joe2001

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    Yeah, I'm not 100% sure if they would react well. But as I said in the original post, I can't really see myself doing it in the traditional sit down sense.
     
  6. musicteach

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    I really didn’t know about my parents either. Wasn’t sure about what they’d say. And I figured they wouldn’t kill me in front of my boyfriend. So I just went for it.
     
  7. La Corbeau

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    That's how I'm planning to do it, and it's how my bfs gonna do it with her siblings. I see nothing wrong with it and I think it's easier to avoid an awkward conversation.
     
  8. Chip

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    I'm going to be the contrarian here.

    You're taking a risk, and you will almost certainly really upset your parents in the process. First, you're bringing someone who is an important to meet them, which will have some meaning to them. Second, you're telling them at the same time that you're gay. You're giving them two emotionally complex pieces of information to process at the same time. Basically, you are gambling that they will show appropriate social graces and not explode on you in front of your boyfriend. That's just peachy for you, and potentially really shitty for your parents.

    I invite you to try and put yourself in your parents' shoes. How would you feel if your kid did that to you, and you had absolutely no idea your kid was gay? You'd probably be confused, angry, hurt, feel left out... at a time when you should be having positive feelings about the next step in your life.

    Now... there is a qualifier here: If you are pretty sure your parents actually know, but it's one of those unspoken-of-things, then this can and probably will work. The key is whether your parents have had time to think about this and go through the stages of loss (denial-anger-bargaining-depression-acceptance). Example: A friend of mine, let's call him M, was in a relationship with his boyfriend, J, for probably 18 months. J regularly showed up at M's house and was there for occasional family gatherings, but was introduced as "my friend" and his parents (one of whom was deeply religious) paid no attention and thought nothing of it. But... somewhere over that 18 months, they apparently thought about it and put 2+2 together, and likely had their suspicions, because when M finally told his parents, his mom's response was a happy "I knew it!" and it was no problem.

    Joe, I may not be remembering correctly, but I thought that a couple years ago you'd actually told your parents, and the reception wasn't warm. Is this not the case? If you told them,(even if you later took it back) and you haven't obviously bringing girls around and talking about girls and so forth... then they likely already know (unless they are dense as rocks, and most parents are not.) So it may be a non-issue.

    Last point: A sit-down conversation is far from the only way to tell your parents. Some that I actually know of that have worked:
    - An email, sent at a time when you aren't home, but you know they'll read it before you get home
    - A text message
    - (my favorite) Leaving a note that said "I'm going out to play basketball, back around 6. PS: I'm gay."

    So there are additional options if you choose.
     
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  9. OGS

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    I'm with Chip on this one. Unless they already know and have genuinely accepted it, as in not even trying to convince themselves it isn't so, I think it's a bad idea.

    First off, I think it's kind of a terrible thing to do to your boyfriend. I mean I understand I can't always keep my husband out of terrible, awkward situations but I certainly don't intentionally invite him into them. Also, you're using him as a prop. You're literally making him as an individual virtually irrelevant at the occasion of meeting your parents. And frankly almost the best he can hope for in this interaction is tense politeness and the worst, well the worst is pretty bad. Given that he is presumably a great guy who enriches your life meeting people who care about you deeply I just think that's a sad range of outcomes.

    I also think it undermines some of the point of coming out to your parents. Most of the points in favor of doing it this way seem to revolve around the notion of limiting your parents' possible reaction, sort of like taking someone to a crowded restaurant to break up with them. The problem is you're not breaking up with your parents; you're starting a new relationship based on honesty. I think giving them anything other than free range to have the reaction they actually feel is just kind of disrespectful. This is, after all, something that's happening in their life too. When I came out twenty eight years ago it was awful and awkward and tearful and my Mother was physically ill. I think it was quite possibly one of the worst days of her life. But we got through it as a family and they came around and eventually there were tearful apologies and it was all very honest and raw--and it remade our relationship stronger. I just can't help but feel it would have been a disservice to everyone to bring someone else into that mix. And later when they met my husband they adored him and it was a wonderful event, the meeting we all deserved.

    Anyway, just my two cents...
     
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  10. Joe2001

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    Hi @Chip, I never told my parents although I'm sure I made a few threads around 2 years back about coming out and the issues surrounding it. I have wondered for a while if they do know, my mum has hinted at something a few times and at 18, it may seem odd to them to have never even spoken about girls let alone brought one home. I'm also pretty terrible at keeping secrets and lying so it wouldn't surprise me if they have picked up on something.

    Thanks for the other suggestions of ways to do it, I would honestly do anything to avoid that dreaded sit down convo.
     
    #10 Joe2001, Jul 9, 2020
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2020
  11. Lyman

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    You can wait until you have your first bf to come out to your parents, and then use that information to motivate your coming out, without him being present. No matter if you write a letter, do a sit-down or compose a note about basketball, you can do something like: "Mum, dad, what would you say if I told you that I've met a very special person? And what would you say if I told you that I'd never been this happy before? Well, his name is Mike, he's 18 and we met at a coffee shop. I'd love to introduce him to you, so that you can get to know what a wonderful young man he is."

    My plan is either doing that or waiting until the day after I definitively move out from my parents' house. But I'm still fighting confusing thoughts, so I'm only that guy the days I'm sure I'm gay. :/
     
    #11 Lyman, Jul 10, 2020
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2020
  12. rktonks

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    I think that is a cool way to say it. Just casually. ‘This is the really amazing person I met. HIS name is...’.
     
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