Don't ask, don't tell, please
December 6, 2005 1:30 PM Subscribe
I believe my dad is gay (but still in the closet); I'm curious about how other families/children handle this situation.
posted by anonymous to human relations (20 answers total)
My parents married many years ago; I am their only child. Their marriage "broke" when I was about 6; they didn't divorce until I was in college. Mom and Dad are still extremely close.
We are an eccentic, intellectual, and extremely private family. Emotionally close, but fiercely protective of our own secrets, and each others'. My father is the most guarded of us all; he has never tried to "come out" to us, and I don't believe he wants to, even though Mom & I are about the most open-minded, liberal, tolerant people in the world. She and I know my father's "friend," and have tacitly understood (at least we think we understand) the true nature of their relationship for years.
I'm grown now, and I have no problem with my father's sexuality. The secrecy (and uncertainty) is a bit unnerving, but I respect his right to privacy and to conduct his life as he prefers. I talked about the whole issue with a therapist several years ago, and hardly think about it anymore.
My only area of difficulty lies with other people, specifically my in-laws. They've asked me often whether my father is dating anyone, and my breezy, "I don't know, we don't talk about it" answers have led them straight to the closet door. Recently my MIL asked my husband, "Does anon's Mom or Dad have a new boyfriend?" I know this shouldn't bother me, but the protective child inside just wants to scream, "It's none of your fucking business, bitch!" I'm not ashamed of who my dad is; in fact, it'd almost be easier if he were a rainbow-flag waving leather daddy. But I feel duty-bound to maintain his veil of secrecy, especially to judgemental people like my in-laws, and even if they see right through it.
I'd appreciate hearing about any experiences you've had with similar situations. If you don't want to post here, you can email me at email@example.com.