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Should I come out to my dad's side of the family? (Lesbian, 22)

Discussion in 'Coming Out Advice' started by Em G, Jun 10, 2021.

  1. Em G

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    Hello, everybody. I literally just created this account because the following issue has been bothering me for quite a while now. I'm a 22 year-old lesbian.

    For the sake of comparing and contrasting, I should say that I have a great relationship with my dad. He's been a doting, present father throughout all my life, and we have a great dynamic. His side of the family... is not that great. My cousin is a borderline fascist, the man my aunt (dad's sister) married is loud and disrespectful, and my 89 year-old grandmother holds views that are characteristic of the time period she was raised in and openly expresses them when discussions arise.

    Even though my immediate family and friends know I'm gay, my dad's family does not. He hasn't told them in order to respect my privacy wishes, but I've grown tired of dodging questions about who I'm dating, whether or not I'm in a relationship, and why I haven't introduced them to any guys yet. Part of me feels like I should just come out to them and get it over with, but I'm iffy about what their potential reaction will be. I wouldn't be in any danger (gay marriage is legal in my country, and these people are rude but not physically violent), but I'm still in doubt.

    Has anyone been in a similar situation? If so, how did you deal with it, if at all, and what was the outcome?
     
  2. quebec

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    Em G.....Hello and a great big LGBTQIA+ welcome to Empty Closets! :old_smile: I haven't been in that situation (glad I haven't!) but I can see the difficulty! Have you thought of talking to your dad about it? He may be able to give you some insight on how they will react. They might be fine or they could disown your and stop speaking to you...which in some cases is not a bad thing. A lot depends on just how close you are to your dad's side of the family. Of course it's really a matter of weighing how irritating their attitude is compared to how much trouble they could be if the news causes an "explosion" in the family that would put you and your dad in a difficult position. :old_frown: Perhaps if both you and your dad approached them together it might work better? Remember that you are a member of our LGBTQIA+ Family and we do care! Please keep us updated on how this works out! :old_big_grin:
    .....David :gay_pride_flag:
     
  3. LostInDaydreams

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    Hi and welcome to EC. :slight_smile:

    I’m sorry to hear about the situation with your dad’s family. Are you and your dad close to them? Do you have a lot of interaction with them? I assume yes as you mention having to dodge a lot of questions. Is there anyone on that side of your family that would be more accepting and supportive?

    I like @quebec ‘s suggestion of talking to your dad about it. Has your dad not told them at your request or was it his idea to not tell them?

    As you’re worried about them being rude, if that were to happen would you be able to easily limit your contact with them and is that something you would be willing to do?
     
  4. WindyMom

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    Talking to your dad is the best course here.
     
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  5. eismeister

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    Hey there! Welcome to the forum, I hope you find it helpful.

    Since you don't appear to have a particularly close relationship with that side of the family, I would approach it thusly (if I'm wrong about this, then disregard). I wouldn't make a big coming out effort for them. Seems as though they are quite stuck in their ways and opinions. As such, I would act as though your life is as normal as theirs is -- because it is! If they ask whom you're dating, just say her name. Let it be as natural as it would be otherwise. That way you've removed their power from them and haven't caused any huge stress. I'm sure they will give you a negative reaction, but you haven't wasted any energy or angst on figuring out how and when to tell them. And based on what you've said, you don't largely care anyway.

    I've come to find in coming out that the ones I expected to have the worst reaction have had either a neutral/positive one, and those who I expected to be okay with it had the hardest time.

    Either way, your life is yours and their opinion/reaction doesn't matter. Sounds like you have an amazing dad as well anyway.
     
  6. Em G

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    Hi, David, thanks for the warm welcome!
    The only thing I've told my dad regarding this problem is that I'm not keen on telling his side of the family at all. He respects it, but lately they've been throwing random questions his way about how it's 'so strange' that I'm not dating any men, and why am I keeping them in the dark about who I'm seeing. It creates an uncomfortable situation for both me and him that neither of us want to answer.
    If I do end up coming out to them, I'll keep you guys updated. And I'll definitely consider your suggestion about approaching the matter alongside my dad. Thank you!
     
  7. Em G

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    Hi!
    My dad's close to some of them (his cousin and his sister, for example, who are both fairly easygoing). My aunt and I get along pretty well, but I honestly don't know what her reaction might be (definitely not rude, but other than that I'm not sure). It's not so much that I care about what they might think of me - I really don't; the problem is that I'm worried about a potential fight erupting that could cause my dad unnecessary problems and confrontations with these people. Some of them reaaaaaaally like to pick a fight.
    If I do come out and they decide to be rude or overly judgemental, then I would have no problem cutting ties with them completely. It would pain me because I know my dad would take my side and potentially damage his relationship with his family, but it's something that I'd have to do for the sake of my own wellbeing. I doubt his cousin and sister would react harshly, though. They'd probably be confused at first, but gradually come to terms with it. And that would be fine by me - they're part of the "worth getting along with" bunch.
     
  8. Em G

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    Hi, thanks for the response!
    I honestly hadn't thought about approaching the subject casually, as ridiculous as it may sound. I tend to be a realist/pessimist in stressful situations, so the possibility hadn't even crossed my mind. Thanks for suggesting it, though! I haven't really been open to dating since the Covid pandemic started (mostly limiting myself to chatting and FaceTiming), so I'm not seeing anyone currently. When I do start dating again, and if things get serious, casually mentioning I'm dating a girl would probably be the easiest way to go about it.
     
  9. LostInDaydreams

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    Hi :slight_smile:

    From what you’ve said, it sounds like your gut feeling is that the people your dad is closest to would react the best. However, I can understand your concerns about not wanting there to be any confrontation or arguments.

    Have you considered how you might approach telling them? Perhaps via text or email so they have time to process it before any family gatherings? I’m assuming that any confrontations would be in person here. Are they likely to get confrontational via text or email too? Or, would you prefer to tell them in a different way entirely? Would something more causal work better?