1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

My 20 year old son just came out to me and I feel....

Discussion in 'For Parents and Family Members of LGBT People' started by JakersMom, Nov 14, 2017 at 5:47 PM.

  1. JakersMom

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Tuesday
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Gender:
    Female
    Sexual Orientation:
    Straight
    Out Status:
    A few people
    I’m sure Im one in millions to have began a statement like this, so in that I know I’m not unique, which is why I’m here. I’m hoping to find some support and understanding, not only on what is the best thing I can do for my son, but support as I go through the process of understanding my own emotions, reactions and challenges.


    I’ll begin with how he told me. It was random and unplanned. We were talking and catching up after working through a little tiff we had recently had. It was a great conversation and like any typical Mom, I asked if he had a girlfriend yet (insert forehead slap). He ofcourse said no and did his usually shake his head and smile. I told him what Ive told him before, about how I didnt get it because he was such a good looking young man that I was sure there were girls out there making themselves known (insert second slap). Then I went to laugh and say, “ok boyfriend?”, and the look on his face pushed the words “are you gay?” Out of my mouth. You now know his answer.


    My reaction was “Are you kidding?”, and he shook his head no. I immediately got teared up and said “OH MY GOD”, throwing my arms around him. He said “please tell me those aren’t tears of sadness”. I told him they were absolutely NOT from sadness, but from surprise and the joy of knowing the truth. They weren’t false words. I meant it. We then went on and chatted through my surprise and he opened up about someone he had been very attracted to and hopeful for. My heart honestly beamed to see his face as he talked. I had never seen him talk like that before about any potential love interest, male or female, but now he openly could and I was thrilled but still reeling in shock, wanting to say the right things. All ended well there...


    The days since that revelation have been such a mixture of emotion. After the initial numbing shock wore off, the flood gates opened. I literally became a scene from a movie where the person in the shower yells out, then laughs to the point of heaving sobs. It was emotionally all down hill from there. My husband, who is not his father, was gone hunting for a few days. I didn't know how I was going to tell him or if I even should. It wasn’t my story to tell yet as my son has not come out officially, except to his room mates. I had just been experiencing several other sources of stress that were, at the time, manageable. This put me over the edge and I felt ashamed that it did. The night my husband came home, I tried life as usual. I did tell him. I needed to... I needed him. He was of course surprised but went along with my light attitude about it and the night went on as usual. Then the damn broke. I broke. I suddenly couldn’t distinguish my different stresses and it all came out in a major breakdown. Although I’m still crying intermittently and isolating myself to lick my wounds, I have at least made progress as to what I know my wounds really are.


    I am NOT upset or disappointed in my son. I am thrilled for him. He can live his life as real as it can be and that is a wonderful thing for him! He is, and always be the same Jakerman I love and respect. I’m the one who has to change and accept that the movie reel that played in my head was just that.... a movie and not real. I had NO CLUE. I'm so disappointed in myself that I didn't see it, and that I could have helped him through his own confusion years ago. The guilt was, and still is heavy. I also had put a lot of pressure on him in my head to be the one child out of my three to fall within the bell curve. I've struggled with his two older sisters for completely different reasons, and in my head he was going to be the one that came away of my parenting struggles unscathed. Now, I know I didn’t cause any of their issues, or my son’s sexual preference, but my lifelong picture of Norman Rockwell completely died a few days ago and I’m grieving.


    I know its ok to grieve, not the loss of my son, but the loss of what I thought I knew and believed and the fact that I completely missed the mark. I know I will figure this out in my own head and the process of grief will give way to something better, however I will still need support for those break through emotional times as well as the how to deal with the rest of my world now and after he decides to come fully out. I hope to find support in all of that here, along with supporting others down the road once my experience is a bit more ripened.


    Thank you if you chose to read this whole saga. It felt good to spell it all out slowly in front of my own eyes.


    JakersMom
     
  2. Creativemind

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2015
    Messages:
    4,790
    Likes Received:
    327
    Location:
    United States
    Gender:
    Female
    Sexual Orientation:
    Lesbian
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    You gave him a good reaction, and your sadness is not at all uncommon or wrong either. It's pretty normal, especially if you had different expectations!
     
  3. silverhalo

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2008
    Messages:
    10,359
    Likes Received:
    1,755
    Location:
    England,
    Gender:
    Female
    Sexual Orientation:
    Lesbian
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    Hey JakersMom you have absolutely come to the right place to let everything out, ask any questions you have and find some support.
    I would like to congratulate you first for being an amazing Mum, I know you might not think you are but the fact he came out to you and you find yourself here mean you absolutely are. You might not think you said the right things but he obviously feels comfortable talking to you and knows he can tell you things and that's massive.

    You are right you have absolutely every right to grieve for the straight son you thought you had and the dreams you had for him but as you know he can still be a great son, it just won't be in the way you thought it was.

    Don't be too hard on yourself you are doing great :slight_smile:
     
  4. LittleMouse

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2016
    Messages:
    124
    Likes Received:
    26
    Location:
    UK
    Gender:
    Other
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    Some people
    I’m not a parent, but I did come out to my parents in a somewhat similar manner in my twenties. You gave a good reaction at the time which will have meant the world to him. Sometimes the shock reaction (‘you’re kidding’) comes out before the true feelings but you made it very clear to him that you accept him. I wouldn’t worry much about asking about girlfriends, he will know that he has been assumed straight and whilst it can be irritating the reality is that straight is most common.

    Personally, if I was your son, I wouldn’t have minded you telling your husband, but I would mind if you went on to tell other people. Definitely have a conversation about who it is/isn’t ok to tell, especially as he isn’t out to many people.

    Also, he may not want to talk about it immediately, give him some time if he needs it. I was actually planning to come out to family around the time they found out and the lack of control of the situation caught me off guard. I had things I wanted to say to them but in the immediate aftermath I just didn’t find the words. It wasn’t how I had planned it at all and that threw me a bit with how to talk about it.
     
  5. JakersMom

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Tuesday
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Gender:
    Female
    Sexual Orientation:
    Straight
    Out Status:
    A few people
    Thank you,

    It bothers me that I had different expectations. I just cant believe I was so clueless....
     
  6. JakersMom

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Tuesday
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Gender:
    Female
    Sexual Orientation:
    Straight
    Out Status:
    A few people
    Thank you!

    I am most grateful he felt he could be honest with me in that moment and that he then felt comfortable enough to talk a bit more about how he came to accept it himself, which was the feelings he had for another man.
     
  7. JakersMom

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Tuesday
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Gender:
    Female
    Sexual Orientation:
    Straight
    Out Status:
    A few people
    Thank you!

    I so appreciate the advice! I'm definitely unsure of where to go with him on the topic from here. I'll have to wait until he brings it up again or wants to talk, but I really do need his guidance on who is and isn't ok. I would assume its not many, but because this is not only a huge revelation for me, it is also more fresh for me. I have a huge need to talk about this but feel a bit gagged. I'm glad I found a place to talk about it. I wouldn't want to take any chance of outing him before he chooses. It would most likely damage our relationship, even if unintentional, and I would never want that.
     
  8. silverhalo

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2008
    Messages:
    10,359
    Likes Received:
    1,755
    Location:
    England,
    Gender:
    Female
    Sexual Orientation:
    Lesbian
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    It's just society. I am a gay woman but it took me a long time to figure this out because society just leads you down the straight and narrow so to speak. Don't be too hard on yourself.
     
  9. Biguy45

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2017
    Messages:
    149
    Likes Received:
    33
    Location:
    United states
    Gender:
    Male
    Sexual Orientation:
    Bisexual
    Out Status:
    Not out at all
    You can take comfort in the fact that he decided and cane out at a young age. I didn’t accept I was bisexual til my 40s. I could have ended up in the same place, who knows. But I’m sure I missed out on some experiences I’m happy for your soon. I know it is bittersweet but it sounds like you will be fine with everything
     
  10. JakersMom

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Tuesday
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Gender:
    Female
    Sexual Orientation:
    Straight
    Out Status:
    A few people
    Thank you!

    Bittersweet is a perfect word!!
     
  11. Biguy45

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2017
    Messages:
    149
    Likes Received:
    33
    Location:
    United states
    Gender:
    Male
    Sexual Orientation:
    Bisexual
    Out Status:
    Not out at all
    You are welcome. I wish you all happiness
     
  12. Quantumreality

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2016
    Messages:
    5,431
    Likes Received:
    253
    Location:
    Detroit, MI
    Gender:
    Male
    Sexual Orientation:
    Bisexual
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    Hello JakersMom! Welcome to EC!:slight_smile:

    Thanks for being such a wonderful and supportive mother of a gay son!

    As @Creativemind said, what you are going through - the grieving process - is completely normal. Check out this EC Resource page. You are grieving the loss of some of the 'normal' expectations for your son's life and you are, no doubt, concerned that being gay will cause him to have a harder time in some aspects of his life.

    Right now you are trying to understand and adjust to this new (to you) situation in your son's life. It will take time and he knows it. He's had his whole life to come to an understanding and acceptance of his sexuality. You've only known about it for a short while.

    I would also recommend that you check out the PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) website. If there is a chapter near you, you might want to contact them. They normally host support groups, which may be of interest to you. Also, I would strongly recommend that you download and read their pamphlet Our Children. It can give you some good perspective at this point.

    As others have said, it is very important that you not Out him to anyone else without his specific permission. His sexual orientation (not sexual preference, since preference implies a choice, which sexual orientation is definitely not) is his own personal and private information until/unless he decides to be completely open about it. Telling your husband is completely normal, though. You rely on him for emotional support and help in understanding how your world has just seemingly changed.

    The main thing that you can do for him is to just continue to show him your unconditional love. If you have specific questions or want his help in understanding more about his homosexuality, ask him. It's not a taboo subject. He has Come Out to you and even felt comfortable enough to confide in you about a crush he had on a guy, so don't treat this like the elephant in the room or always wait for him to initiate any conversation about his sexuality. If he's not comfortable talking about something specific, he'll obviously tell you. In fact, he will most likely feel better if you just returned to your normal habits of occasionally asking him if he has a love interest - only now, you'll simply be asking if he has a boyfriend yet.

    Just my thoughts.
     
    Biguy45 likes this.
  13. JakersMom

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Tuesday
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Gender:
    Female
    Sexual Orientation:
    Straight
    Out Status:
    A few people
    Thank you as well!

    The understanding is helping so much. I wouldn't want my son to know how difficult this is for me right now. Not until we are a bit farther ahead. If he asks me, I'll explain things as I have to you folks. I'm not mourning the loss of HIM. It's hard to explain "it's a mother thing" to someone who has never been a parent. We are so not perfect people. We have our own past experiences and issues that shape our thoughts, lives, behaviors and choices. Mine are definitely playing a role in my mourning.

    My son is an incredible young man. That didn't change for me one single bit. My mourning is not about him... its all ME and I will work through it.

    I appreciate the mention of the difference in "preference" and "orientation". It makes absolute sense and probably a big difference in how my son hears me if I use more correct terms. I'm looking to learn more...
     
    dreamingfreely likes this.
  14. Quantumreality

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2016
    Messages:
    5,431
    Likes Received:
    253
    Location:
    Detroit, MI
    Gender:
    Male
    Sexual Orientation:
    Bisexual
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    I understand, JakersMom. You just have to give yourself time. From what you said, you didn't ask your son and he didn't describe how he came to understand and accept his sexuality. Perhaps the next time you talk to him face-to-face, you might want to ask him about that. It could help you to understand that this was not a simple process for him to work through any more that it is for you. However, ultimately, each of us has to take that journey of understanding and acceptance on our own and at our own personal pace.
     
  15. Ghost93

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2014
    Messages:
    667
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Male
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    Despite the hard time you are going through, I think the fact that you accept your son means you are already on the right path to coming to terms with his sexual orientation. Just give it time.
     
  16. johndeere3020

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2016
    Messages:
    710
    Likes Received:
    14
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Gender:
    Male
    Sexual Orientation:
    Bisexual
    Out Status:
    A few people
    jakersmom Don't beat your self up about not knowing or seeing that you son was gay years ago. I suspect he put a lot of effort into not letting you see who he was on the inside. I would also suspect he has reached appoint in his life come to terms with his sexuality and he felt ok answering your question with a "yes." Wish I had his courage at his age! No you didn't say the wrong words buy any means.

    There is always PFLAG, Outfront Minnesota and if you are down SE like I am, the Seven Rivers LGBT Center in La Crosse Wisconsin that can help with all sorts of questions that can and probably will arise.

    It sounds like you raised a fine young man, always stand by him no matter what!

    Take Care Dean
     
  17. PatrickUK

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2014
    Messages:
    10,459
    Likes Received:
    158
    Location:
    England (Lincolnshire)
    Gender:
    Male
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    I'm pleased you created this thread and I hope you will stick around and keep talking to us in the weeks and months ahead, even if it's to tell us how things have moved on and how proud you are of your son. We love and need good parental allies and that's what you are.

    You may feel disappointed in yourself for not realising sooner and asking about girls instead of boys, but I would urge you to put all of that aside because he'll bear no grudge against you for it. As soon as it became apparent to you that he is gay you hugged him, you accepted him and in the process you offered him validation and complete respect. He will never forget that. In that moment, you did something very special and he will love you for it more than words can ever say. You made your relationship stronger and just look at how the conversation moved on when he realised that you are on his side. As you said, yourself:
    Don't beat yourself up for not realising. There's no reason why you should have known sooner. If he doesn't fit any of the stereotypes about gay men it's entirely possible slip under everyone's radar. Hell, it's sometimes hard for gay men to spot each other, so there's no objective reason why our parents should pick up on it first.

    Do check out PFLAG if you are struggling. There's a lot to be gained from talking to other parents about the journey, but let me assure you that you are doing just fine. We understand that it's an emotional rollercoaster and not one you planned to ride.
     
  18. JakersMom

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Tuesday
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Gender:
    Female
    Sexual Orientation:
    Straight
    Out Status:
    A few people
    I so appreciate the words of support in how I handled the moment with my son. It really has helped alleviate some of the guilt I’ve been feeling. I will check into the PFLAG groups as I believe there is one under an hour from here.

    I am so sorry that other parents react in such a negative way. I can’t imagine the pain and rejection that is felt by those who have had the courage to be honest and then abandoned. If there is anything that I could say negative about this and my son, is that I wish he wouldnt have to go through such prejudices from others. I know it isnt an easy life to live because of it. Right now he hasn’t experienced any and he seems unconcerned about that, but he also hasn’t come completely out. He may have a false sense of security because of the acceptance by the very small number of close people who now know. It will happen unfortunately but I hope to be supportive if and when.

    Again, thank you everyone. Im sure I will have more to say. I’m starting to come together a bit more every day.
     
    PatrickUK and Biguy45 like this.
  19. silverhalo

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2008
    Messages:
    10,359
    Likes Received:
    1,755
    Location:
    England,
    Gender:
    Female
    Sexual Orientation:
    Lesbian
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    No worries.

    I doubt that your son is unaware of the prejudices he may face, but it's possible. The important thing is that he has support from his friends and from you, with that he can get through anything.
     
  20. Islanzadi

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2017
    Messages:
    199
    Likes Received:
    59
    Location:
    Quebec
    Gender:
    Female
    Sexual Orientation:
    Lesbian
    Out Status:
    A few people
    Hi! You are a wonderful mom for accepting your son as he is! And don't feel bad for asking if he was joking, when I came out to my mom, she looked at me with a very surprised look and just bursted out laughing (ok I actually came out to her in a very inapropriate time and place and in a much funnier way than I intended to so I understand her reaction). But yeah, this is a very common reaction, and in the end he knows you accepted him since he opened to you about his crush later on! If you had expectations about your sons' future, then the grieving is normal, your vision of his future life suddenly got destroyed and now you have to make a new one.

    As for telling people about it, you should let him come out to whom and when he decides to, unless he tells you otherwise. It would be good for you to talk to him about who knows already, who doesn't, and who can or can't know, etc. Right after I came out I was very shy to bring up this subject with my mom, and I was really glad when she did come up to me to talk about it. Your son is probably going through a rollercoaster of emotions at the moment and might feel embarrassed to bring up important discussion subjects like these.

    I'm glad you came to share your story here! Keep on being a great mom for your son!