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Thread: Parents-in-law likely homophobes - but you still have to meet them

  1. #1
    Alt Universe CliqueMember Spikey's Avatar
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    Parents-in-law likely homophobes - but you still have to meet them

    Anyone any experiences?

    Am freaking out a little. After a little over two years of building a relationship and hearing about them, he finally wants to bring me over to his family to "have coffee". My bf is 45 years of age and has never introduced anyone to his parents before in his life. I know that he hasn't only because he has been actively shamed - and as a result thereof been ashamed of himself - for the most part of his life. People can change of course, but they are the type of family that never ever talks about it. They don't ask him if he has a special person in his life (like ever - my mom asks me almost every single day when I'm singel). It kind of makes me feel extra honoured, but also extra pressured. I now realise that NOT having to meet them was kind of a safety blanket for my selfish self, sort of an easy way out.
    "Replies are a combination of nonsense, unrelated comments and inside jokes"‎

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    Crimson Liberator Faust's Avatar
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    I met my in-laws over a dinner where their son came out to them. They’re both southern United States baptists. The initial meeting itself went fine, though it rebounded as soon as I left their house the next morning. It took time, patience and an ultimatum from their son for us to meet somewhere in the middle. Nearly four years later and we’re family. It can go any which way and it’s tough to predict how someone will react when a loved one is involved, so my best advice is to just try and steady your patience and nerves. Since you’re not dealing with a coming out scenario (correct?) you might have a slightly easier time of things.
    'Tis better to bend with the wind than stand tall and be broken. Therein lies hope; therein lies freedom.

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    Gone Andromeda grapefruit_is_winning's Avatar
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    If they are non-demonstrative family who doesn't talk openly about the hard stuff, then I predict it will be a polite if awkward meeting, with no fireworks. Good luck!

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    megaphone to my chest MikeEP's Avatar
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    Good luck @Spikey - I do think there’s a good chance that meeting you and seeing their son with a loving partner could help open their eyes. I am not saying the change would happen overnight but I do believe in giving people the chance to grow and change. Growing up, there were definitely times I know I assumed people in my own family would be disapproving or uncomfortable and avoided those interactions. But over time as I opened up to them and they’ve come to know us, they love and welcome my husband and our relationship to the point that it now seems hard to believe I was ever worried. And I realize not everyone has that experience and know that sounds kind of Pollyanna-ish, but I try to assume good intentions while knowing if they respond negatively, you gave it a fair shot.
    Last edited by MikeEP; 02-27-2019 at 12:03 PM.

  5. #5
    Alt Universe CliqueMember Spikey's Avatar
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    Thnx guys it helps to read about it from others. Oh, I do assume good intentions, they now extended the invitation from afternoon coffee to dinner lol, and included his brother as well. So it must be all good. And yeah he had his coming out 12 years back, but that left his family in absolute shock. They just had never could have guessed. The rejection of the gays was just so very deeply rooted in the family psyche, so to speak, it never crossed their minds - which is also why it took him that long to come out I guess. The ambiguity here is that he is very close with his family on all other fronts, which includes his brother, sister-in-law and nephew. They help each other build houses with bare hands, and are there for each other physically, financially and emotionally - my bf simply never shared that part of himself in all that.

    I know how contact hypothesis works: it doesn't really. All contact with gays does is seeing those you like as seperate entities from the stereotypes. His father literally calls him a fake gay, because people obviously want their social environment to be predictable, and have a delusion that "you can always tell". I guess that is my real anxiety; what if I confirm stereotypes? It has been so long since I have had to think about it. But maybe the real problem is that I really don't have a desire or goal to change anyone. Especially not someone else's opinions or world views (like, at all), and definitely do not actively seek approval of my lifestyle and life choices from others. However, by simply being present, I will challenge these peoples on all fronts and ask for acceptance by default. But I know it is important and it is NOT about me at all, it is not my battle after all - this is a HUGE breakthrough for my bf in terms of self-acceptance, self-actualization and rejecting all the shame. And for me, I feel honored and validated that I can be part of it.
    "Replies are a combination of nonsense, unrelated comments and inside jokes"‎

  6. #6
    Senior Member Nick's Avatar
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    My boyfriend, whom I love dearly, has what I find to be a very weird coming out experience (if you could even call it that). I don't really talk about personal stuff with my parents, so it was really hard for me to open my mouth to come out, but one day I just eventually told them because seemed like it had reached a point where they needed to know (e.g. I'm moving in to a one-bedroom apartment with a boy and oh and by the way can you guys drive the moving van?). They suspected for a while, of course, but had never pressed me on it, etc. etc. It all seemed like a pretty generic coming out story overall (with the positive benefit of my parents not being particularly phased or upset about it).

    My boyfriend never actually "came out", though. Like, he knows his mom found his porn stash 25 years ago because she threw it away (yes there used to only be physical porn that you had to hide under the floorboards). And he never brought home a girlfriend, whereas he has brought home a few guys over the years. But, literally, for 25 years I'm not aware of any of them ever actually having <i>acknowledged it</i> in any way. I felt a lot of pressure the first time I met his family, but now - 8 unacknowledged years later - it's turned more into... "Ummm do they actually know we are dating? Like we sleep together and hold hands and aren't just friends and we don't date girls?" His mom is super quiet and I don't know the first thing about her general politics. I don't think my boyfriend is confident that he knows either. I would guess she is totally fine with the gays just based on her entertainment "likes" and her general demeanor, but who knows?

    It's funny, because it's probably the way it should be. "Coming out" hoopla will one day be not-a-thing, so I should be happy. But for now it ends up feeling a bit like the Twilight Zone when we visit them.

    (And sorry, don't mean to divert the thread, but Spikey's upcoming adventure definitely reminded me of my first trip to the in-laws. I hope your visit goes well!)

  7. #7
    Alt Universe CliqueMember Spikey's Avatar
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    you're not diverting, you are sharing exactly the stuff I was looking for when I started this thread! so thanks. - there are so many facets and wildly different stories to this, it could fill an encyclopedia.
    "Replies are a combination of nonsense, unrelated comments and inside jokes"‎

  8. #8
    Alt Universe CliqueMember Spikey's Avatar
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    It went really well! They were all very friendly, there was no trace of any of the past rejection or disapproval. His mother even talked for a bit why she has stopped asking about his lovelife; not that she is not interested, but mostly because she doesn't want to pry.
    "Replies are a combination of nonsense, unrelated comments and inside jokes"‎

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