Looking for you ideas. What's my next move?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 21, 2011 3:41 PM GMT
    So I'm looking for reasonable ideas for how I should handle an email I received from my brother yesterday.

    Quick background is that I've been out for a little over 3 yrs from a marriage to a woman for 22 yrs. Our divorce was a shock to everyone. My wife and my kids fully accept my being gay. I have never told my brothers (4) I'm gay because I wanted to do it in person. Small town and so education is a must. I live on the west coast, they on the east. I've heard through other family (the one person I did tell) that there is speculation I'm gay. So here's the story:

    My brother and his wife came west to within about 3 hrs of my place. I haven't seen him in several years (since my dad died) and would gladly have taken a day off work to drive up and spend time with them. After sharing how his family was doing, here's his response to my question about having come west for a vacation:

    "Yes, we went to Reno for a few days of R&R. Seems like our lifestyles are so different so decided it was better to not say anything to you about our trip."

    I was heartbroken. This is the first person that appears to have rejected me based on my sexuality. Although I suspected in my heart that he might have issues with it, I guess my hope was bigger. I want to respond in some fashion but decided that I needed to think this through since whatever my response, it's likely to chart a path for the future.

    My thoughts are to NOT email him but instead call him. I don't plan on returning to the very small and rural area any time soon, although I could. I also am considering an email to my other 3 brothers to inform them now that it seems to be out there anyway.

    Thoughts and comments? And no, writing him out of my life at the moment is not an option I looking for, I know I could do that if I desired, but I don't desire that, I love him and know his struggle is based on ignorance and stereotypical impressions. Thanks!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 21, 2011 5:37 PM GMT
    your next move is to discuss it with me on IM right now....... . LOL
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    Apr 21, 2011 7:45 PM GMT
    A phone call explaining a few things could suffice... but don't be expecting to be met with open arms. They're going to resist your truth because it doesn't make sense to them. I'd say shoot him an e-mail explaining some things, but that's not direct or personal.


    Leave it open ended... be like, "Well, you're still my brother and even though we've grown apart I'm still the same person I always was. I'm just honest with who I really am now." The truth of it is he's probably not going to accept you for who you are, your feelings are going to be hurt but with time... it will change.
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    Apr 21, 2011 11:18 PM GMT
    @ lvs: done

    @ TrevorMark: Thanks for the input. Some good ideas and I think you're absolutely correct on how he will react.
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    Apr 22, 2011 3:15 PM GMT
    Wow, disappointing response here. icon_cry.gif
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    Apr 22, 2011 3:20 PM GMT
    I think you're not getting a lot of response because this isn't something you can manage or control. Your brother's feelings aren't likely to be changed quickly, only by watching you over time and seeing that you are still, in the ways that are important to him, the same person he's always known. Email, or phone call, when or how, probably won't change the ultimate end game.

    You seem like you have a good handle on yourself and this situation - you love your brother, you're hugely saddened by his reaction, but you are not taking it as a reflection on you. That's all good.

    Here's what I can do: Hugs.
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    Apr 22, 2011 3:24 PM GMT
    I wish I could help you here but am coming out to my family in next few weeks and its driving me nuts on how to do it. So no matter what path you choose it will be tough and it will be met with resistance but be strong and hopefully things will only get better from there. Wish you luck and hugs.
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    Apr 22, 2011 3:25 PM GMT
    I think discuss it with your brother- you seem very mature and very in touch with your emotions, and like someone about me said, you are not taking it as a reflection of yourself, rather than something your brother must come to terms with.

    I think if you discuss it with your brother it will give you peace of mind- the closure on that issue, because once you talk to him about it, it is in his hands and you can continue living your life how you want knowing that you tried to continue that relationship with him.

    Best of luck
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    Apr 22, 2011 3:40 PM GMT
    eb925guy saidWow, disappointing response here. icon_cry.gif



    Slow response is probably because you chose to put this in the Dating & Relationships category. Things too far down from 'All Things Gay' often seem to get little posts or views. Too bad, because some of the more serious topics can get overlooked.


    I agree with you that you should call him. My advice was going to be to give it some time and reestablish your relationship with more frequent contact than you have had recently before you spring on him, but if you are going to tell other members of your family it is likely that it will get back to him so you probably don't have a lot of time. So just give him a call and get it over with and then just give him time to come to grips with it.
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    Apr 22, 2011 3:54 PM GMT
    eb925guy saidWow, disappointing response here. icon_cry.gif

    I just saw this thread. Contrary to popular belief here, I'm not online 24/7, though sometimes I forget and leave the computer running with me logged on until it shuts itself down. I'm in and out all day long.

    First, this is a family matter, and family matters are always difficult for outsiders to judge. You know your family, we do not. What might work for OUR families might not work for YOURS.

    Second, and also depending on family attitudes, a telephone call is often the best way to handle delicate and very personal matters. E-mail is seen by some as impersonal & cold, or at least inappropriate to certain situations, especially where family is concerned. This may be one of them, but again, you should know your family best.

    Your choices seem to be to let the issue ride for now, and sometimes that's a good strategy. It's based on the family dynamic, which I can't guess or judge. Or your other choice is to throw it out there quickly, make it official, and let them think about it. Either one can work and be best, depending on the people involved.

    A few years ago there was a gathering of my partner's family, where I'd be meeting the oldest brother for the first time, the elderly "patriarch" of this large & traditional Italian family. My partner really made him out to be a homophobic ogre, who hated his younger brother and all gays.

    Nothing I like better than a challenge, and nobody scares ME. But I also wanted it to go well, for my partner's sake, and family peace. So I did my research, found out older brother's likes & dislikes, his own history, etc.

    At their sister's house, who was hosting the party, I immediately figured out who he was after we arrived, sitting there enthroned like the Godfather. Not waiting to be sheepishly introduced, I went right over and introduced myself with one of my "Vise-Grip" handshakes. I sat down with him and we had a great conversation on many topics I knew would interest him.

    I made it obvious I wasn't afraid of him, like everyone else there was, glad to meet him whether he liked me or not. And throwing in lots of subtle butch references that conveyed the message that I wasn't some pansy-ass gay stereotype like he might assume.

    To this day he really, really likes me, my partner telling me his brother likes me more than he does him. Well, that was never my goal, of course. But last Fall Older Brother put us up at his house for 12 days near Boston, which he'd never done for his younger brother before. And provided a bed for the 2 of us to share together, no questions asked or comments made.

    And he privately told me how glad he was his brother & I had met and were living together. Imagine my partner's shock when I told him that. "My BROTHER said that???" BTW, we're both having Easter Sunday dinner with Big Brother, who's down here again at his place in Florida.

    Moral: families can change. Not always, but it happens. The key to each family is different, as no doubt is the key to yours. Plan it carefully, but it could well be doable. If not today, then perhaps tomorrow.
  • HndsmKansan

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    Apr 22, 2011 4:06 PM GMT
    Pretty unfortunate situation considering what you've gone though over the last several years... and thanks for sharing alot of it with us. You've gone thought a lot of turmoil and I know you've been in a better place.

    To begin with, you always need to be positive about who you are, what you've achieved, your honesty with your wife and children and their acceptance. You have the most important part solved. You said yourself that you haven't talked to your brother since your father died. You must accept that face that your brother(s) may or may not accept it... and that you are OK with either scenario.

    Your brother probably meant that as a reference to your being gay, but you also aren't married anymore and have a different point of reference than he does (regardless of whether you are gay or straight). I would call and let him know that regardless of whether you are married or single, you would have made time to visit with he and his wife and would like the opportunity to do so next time. If you want to talk about your sexuality, he is likely to make the first move, if he knows and I'd be pretty matter of fact about it.
    It is who you are, your wife and children know and are OK with it. If he isn't, I'd be sure, in a positive spin to indicate that he is the first one who isn't and he is entitled to his opinion and you are happy with your life. Try and keep it as positive as possible. You've been responsible with your family and he is negative and tries to spin it that way, I wouldn't stand for it.

    You have come a long way... do not... do not, let this derail you.
    You're an awesome guy, don't forget it..... and great profile pic too.
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    Apr 22, 2011 4:13 PM GMT

    Are your siblings very religious? Could the divorce be problematic for them as well?

    I think them having heard through a third party, potentially your wife and kids, might add to the reluctance to contact you. It is very easy to condemn, but a call to ask what the issue is would be in order.

    I assume they asked why you were getting divorced, if you didn't tell them at that time there could be feelings of being lied to once they did learn the real reason.

    Its a challenge to understand the motives of others, even after asking them.

    If anything, your brother's response showed a lack of class.
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    Apr 22, 2011 4:23 PM GMT
    Thanks guys, some great ideas, affirmations and suggestions. I appreciate them all.

    Showme is right to some extent on my brother's feelings but I do think that educating him will help his ignorance on gays in general. Thanks for the input and the hug!

    Good luck asnextdoor! I know how hard the coming out process is, it hasn't been long for me and here I am going through another phase of it.

    running, ice and art, thanks! I appreciate the suggestions and reflections. They help put it all in perspective and give me more confidence to make the move to reach out. I appreciate that very much.

    Handsm you're just always such a positive encouragement. It's postings like yours (and the others) that keep me grounded to make intelligent and sound decisions that will result in more positive responses! Thanks icon_smile.gif

    Canuck, no not all that religious. They've almost all been divorced. Perhaps someone did tell them but I honestly don't think they know, I think it's all speculation. They didn't really ever know why we divorced and I'm sure that is one reason for the speculation. Being the 'Leave it to Beaver' family left many wondering what happened. Thanks for the suggestions and support.

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    Apr 22, 2011 4:28 PM GMT
    I have a big family too (6 brothers and sisters) so Im waiting to have the opportunity to see them one on one as they all live in different cities. I suggest you do the same. I dont think an email or phone call is a respectful way to tell someone you are gay.
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    Apr 22, 2011 8:13 PM GMT


    ""Yes, we went to Reno for a few days of R&R. Seems like our lifestyles are so different so decided it was better to not say anything to you about our trip."


    Hmmm...he didn't come right out and say 'because you're gay', or 'because you're BI' . It sounds more like he was fishing for a response of some kind that would confirm a suspicion, or that he thinks you're living a swinging singles lifestyle that he and or his wife wouldn't approve of.

    Oh lol, I would have been so tempted to ask,
    "What lifestyle?" in my best and most innocent of voices.

    -Doug
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    Apr 22, 2011 8:31 PM GMT
    meninlove said
    Oh lol, I would have been so tempted to ask,
    "What lifestyle?" in my best and most innocent of voices.
    Doug, that's actually something I'm considering if I call him, which I think I will. I'd like to give him a chance to explain that and see if he comes out and asks me. Either way, by the end of the conversation he will know (in a nice way) and the mystery will be over icon_smile.gif Wanted to tell them in person but that's hard to do when we're 3000 miles apart. Thanks for the input Doug!
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    Apr 22, 2011 10:09 PM GMT
    The problem with an e-mail is that there can be too many thoughts and they may become convoluted. If you choose an e-mail, make sure to keep it short and one idea. Follow up can include more when you get a reply. If you write pages, it may seem overwhelming to him.
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    Apr 22, 2011 11:11 PM GMT
    I would type out a letter, and mail it out USPS to all your brothers at the same time. Once you drop the letters in the mail, you may want to send them an email, telling them you just sent them a letter detailing something important that you have to say...or something to that effect.

    A letter is more personal than an email. Most importantly, unlike a phone call, it gives you an opportunity to say everything you need to say at one time to all four brothers. Don't make it too long....no more than one to one and a half pages at most. Tell your story, that you're the same guy, etc. If you believe they're anti-gay, you probably want to mention about all the misinformation spread by religious groups, etc...and how it may be in your family best interests, to get information from unbiased sources that don't have a political or fund raising angle. You can address the letter to all of them, so they know they all get it at the same time.

    Don't rush writing it. And do it only when you are ready to. In the meantime, let people speculate all they want.

    A phone call is a bad idea. It will blindside them, and they will most likely react before they have a chance to think things through. If you catch them on a bad day, they may say things they don't intend to say.

    After the letter, the ball is now in their court. They will call, email or visit when they're ready. Best case scenario is the ones that know already or accept, will call and tell you they love and accept you no matter if gay or straight. Worst case scenario is they don't accept and you don't hear from them...but even then...you will have thrown their ordered world into crisis. You can bet your life they'll pay rapt attention to all gay issues in the news. They will see all the accepting family members of gays. If they are conservative, they will take note of people like Dick Cheney accepting his gay daughter..and probably wonder why they're not doing the same. Unless of course, they're bigger assholes than Dick Cheney...in which case, you're better off without them. ;-)



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    May 18, 2011 3:58 PM GMT
    Since many of us post for advice, I thought I would share with you what exactly I did and the results as of today.

    I did compose a letter. After my posting and reading the replies I thought this made the most sense. Write a letter and let them digest it. This would keep from 'cornering' any of my brothers and having them say something that they really weren't sure they meant (good or bad).

    I wrote a letter, re-read it many times, edited it, got input from my bf and then edited it again before printing 4 copies with each of their names to personalize it.

    I told them that after many years of struggle, I came to terms with the fact that I was gay. I've always been gay, knew I was different growing up, didn't become gay by something someone did to me and am no different than I've always been. I shared a few other things but very positive and very factual.

    I concluded that I loved each of them and would do anything for them and that I hoped that they felt the same. I also added that I hoped they would not shut me out of their lives for being gay and invited them to contact me any time via several means.

    It's been about weeks since I know the letters arrived. Since then I've heard from one sister-in-law. She was very supportive and loving. For that I'm thankful. My brothers have not contacted me at all. I'm a tad bit hurt about that, but not surprised really.

    The one really positive side of all this was my ex-wife telling me that although she feels bad also, I must remember that my family here (she and my kids) are the really important ones and that they love me and accept me just as I am. Along with the tremendous support of my bf, who could ask for anything more. I'm at peace with it all and really appreciate the input from the guys on here. It really is nice to have a place to share thoughts and get very constructive (and sometimes contradictory) advice. Thanks!