Much needed advice about my dad and gf.

Discussion in 'Relationships' started by erica4314, Jul 30, 2015.

  1. erica4314

    erica4314 New Member

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    So my gf and I have been in a relationship for about a year and half now. My family is accepting of me being gay, with the exception of my dad. Her family is not. Very few people in her family accept our relationship. My family is fine and then accept her. The only one is my dad. She thinks me being gay is a choice and spent accept it. He doesn't treat me different we just don't discuss that part of my life much. My gf comes to my house and mostly all family events. Even though my dad isn't ok with it I still have her come. There is however a few things that I have her not come to out of respect for my dad. One event was my bday yesterday. My parents wanted to take me to dinner. I wanted my gf to come but my mom thought it might be nice to have it just us is and not her. Plus with my dad it would make the dinner very uncomfortable. Today she tells me how upset she was and that I don't put in enough effort to push my dad to accept this. Mind you I never pressure her about meeting her family. We got into a huge fight. She feels I don't care about her feelings and I don't think she is being respectable that there are certain times it's just easier to not have her there. I don't know what to do. Am I wrong? I feel this matter might even break us up. Any advice would be so appreciated.
     
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  2. lorienczhiu

    lorienczhiu Well-Known Member

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    The thing about being a grown-up, and having grown-up relationships with other people - whether romantic, friendship, or family - is that you are the only person you control. (My mother refers to this as the "your own sh*t" principle: You can't give yours to anyone else, and you can't let someone else make you responsible for theirs.) This is very hard to accept, and navigate, but it is pretty much the only way to keep yourself safe, honest, kind, and non-crazy. I say this because I think the question here is: who's sh*t is this? And is it actually yours to change? It sounds like you are dealing with two sets of Other People's Problems, TM: your dad's homophobia, and your girlfriend's desire for acceptance. Neither of them are in your control, and what you have to decide is whether you want to exert your influence and control towards changing either one. Even if you want to wade in, you did not cause the issue and you cannot singlehandedly engineer a solution to either one - only your dad or your girlfriend can do that.

    Your dad's homophobia is his sh*t. So far, you have let it be his problem and not taken it on as your project, and have also refused to let it keep you from bringing your girlfriend into the family. You can decide to take on less of his problem, if you want, and bring your girlfriend more into the forefront, demand his acceptance - but that can backfire, and ultimately the thing you control - how much you challenge him about it - is not the cause or the solution. The cause is his homophobia and belief that you are making a wrong choice. The solution is him changing his mind and his behavior.

    Your girlfriend wanting to go to every family event is... you guessed it... her sh*t. If you think about it, you can understand the desire, I'm sure - she feels important to you and wants to be included, and believes that as your significant other she deserves to be at significant events in your life. You can invite her to everything as part of the demanding-dad's-acceptance thing, but it can easily backfire too - make it super awkward, make your dad angry so that he alienates her even more, and possibly make it harder for her to comfortably attend family events. The thing you control - challenging your dad - is not the cause or the solution. The cause is your girlfriend feeling left out, and, I would bet, wanting to feel like you as a couple 100% belong somewhere. She already has to play that game with her family, and it sucks; I bet she is pushing you because she thinks its a winnable fight and then she could feel comfortable in at least one of your homes. The solution is her not feeling left out anymore, and while one way to solve that is to invite her to everything, or not go if she can't go too, she doesn't get to make that choice for you or your dad (she only controls herself, remember; this cuts both ways.)

    So, short, answer, I don't think you're wrong. I get where she's coming from, because I also super don't like hanging out with homophobic in laws or feeling unwanted at family gathering or having to stay home. But she should recognize that you are not the person creating the condition, and you can't end it without jeopardizing your relationship with your father. If you want to take the step because his acceptance is important to you and it's worth the risk, that's a good thing to do; if you don't because you want to stay safe and supported right now, that's also a good choice. It's a choice that only you get to make, and no matter how unhappy it makes her, she doesn't get to force you to make it.

    Now, she probably totally disagrees with me: she thinks that she should get to ask you to do this, and that it's your job to change your dad's mind and make her comfortable. But in healthy relationships, you don't make your emotional well-being someone else's responsibility. You can ask for their help, and they get to say yes or no. What partners don't or can't do for you becomes your job to do for yourself, and in this case that means facing the discomfort that being left out makes her feel, asking for other kinds of support, and finding compromises that meet both of your needs. (Example? I can't come out to my grandfather, because he would probably disinherit my mother, and that's a pretty huge consequence for my financially struggling parents. So I didn't invite him to the wedding, and I don't wear my wedding ring when I visit him or other members of that side of the family. My wife doesn't love this, but she knows that the cost is too high, so I make sure to text her when I'm at family events, spend a little extra time with her afterwards, and she's asked that I wear my ring on a chain instead. I can do those things, so I do them; they help her feel safe and acknowledged, which is what I take away from her when I have to pretend she doesn't exist.)
     
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  3. Eloise

    Eloise Well-Known Member

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    You should have asked your mother if your sister or brother had a boyfriend or girlfriend if they would have been invited their their birthday parties. I bet she would have said yes. So, your girlfriend should have been invited to yours. You are doing exactly what your dad wants by pretending that your girlfriend really isn't that important to you. Why should your birthday dinner be only your immediate family if you have a girlfriend who is important to you? You need to stand up to your parents and tell them that your being gay isn't going away. They need to learn to accept your girlfriend the same way they would accept anyone your brother or sister would bring home. You may just lose your girlfriend over this. She should have been invited. If your parents insist that she isn't welcome to family events you need to tell them you won't be going to any more family events. If you don't you'll be spending the rest of your life pretending like your girlfriends don't really matter. Why would you do that? If going solo to every family event is better for you than bringing a girlfriend with you, you should plan on going solo for a long time because most women won't put up with that.
     
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  4. Emmarose

    Emmarose Active Member

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    Hi Erica it sounds like you are handling the situation really well - u were honest to your family which is brave - you inc your gf and take her to things and u also respect u family and doing things with just them .
    All sounds healthy whether u are gay or not
    Re your dad - u can't push him he has to come to it himself ( or not
     
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