Really frustrated recently...

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    Oct 27, 2011 11:44 PM GMT
    ... with my father. (I don't know if I'm really asking for advice here... maybe just venting)

    Dad has known I am gay for about a decade now. He found out when he found my gay porno under my bed when I was 17. He acted pretty weird for a while there, but after a month or two just started pretending like it never happened or it was a phase or something... Maybe he thought I got over liking dudes? Who knows. I didn't care: at least he wasn't bothering me about it in high school and college.

    Earlier this year, I forced my parents to face facts. Told mom I was gay, told dad (again) that I'm gay. I expected a pretty harsh reaction: my parents are very conservative Christians, which is fine, it's just that I half expected to be another one of those "my parents disowned me for being teh ghey" stories. Mom actually was very open about it, said "I have to read some books I guess". All dad said was, "I love you no matter what" then didn't bring it up again.

    Now, I appreciate my dad's reaction. God knows there are a ton of guys out there who wish their father had reacted the way mine did. So I really am thankful that, though muted, his reaction was more supportive than I really expected and much more so than most people get.

    But I know my sexuality bothers him. Precisely because he won't talk about it, I know it bothers him.

    What is frustrating me right now is that, while it bothers him, and I can tell it does, he won't actually talk to me about it. Dad doesn't know how to engage me at all, really. When we do talk, he asks me how my "walk with the Lord" is... And that's fine, I'm a believer, I have a walk with the Lord, but that's also such a generically Bible School thing to ask that all it says to me is "I don't know what to say to you." The same thing happens if I"m having a problem... especially a "gay" problem, or a relationship problem. I can go to my dad and he'll listen, but the advice he gives is basically "get more Jesus"... again, awesome advice for anyone at any point in their life. But it's also awesome advice for anyone at any point in their life: so generic that all it says to me is "I wasn't really listening."

    I know he just doesn't know what to say to me... Or even what to ask of me. I don't know if it's just that he doesn't want to know any more than he does, or if he really has such a strong moral stance against my sexuality that he can't engage me, or if he really is just struggling theologically with how to deal with what he sees: that I'm gay but I'm not some radically different person than the one he knew. I can tell in some instances he's falling back on stereotypes and assumptions... When my boyfriend and I broke up and I was devastated, he kept thinking I was sad about being gay until about six months ago I finally told him, "Dad: we're not on the same page here. I'm sad because my BOYFRIEND dumped me. I'm not sad about being gay. That ship has sailed. I was upset about being gay for 10 years, but I'm over it." The fact that I'm not upset about being gay at all I think really confuses him.

    I don't know... I just wish there were a way to help him get past this. Right now I'm incapable of talking to my father. Not because he's hostile to me, or that I think he loves me less, but literally because he has nothing to say to me and doesn't know how to begin talking to me. There are times a man needs his father - many times - and right now it's frustrating, and very discouraging, that I don't really have my father to turn to.
  • comical44

    Posts: 723

    Oct 27, 2011 11:57 PM GMT
    Hey Larkin

    If I was in your situation I think I would be frustrated too.It seems like hes not moving forward and not really moving backwards either but just sitting in the same place and not progressing when it comes to accepting your sexuality and that you are gay.

    Maybe can you arrage a serious sit down with him? where he kind of has to talk and express his feelings and where you can get all of yours out(even though it seems like you have) and try to move forward.

    I give to a lot of credit that you have told your parents...I still havnt told mine and im pretty scared to do so but I plan on it sometime soon. I just told another one of my best friends so that was a big step.

    Im always here if you need someone to talk to
  • Import

    Posts: 7185

    Oct 27, 2011 11:57 PM GMT
    OK,
    with all due respect..

    why do u feel the need to talk about ur "gayness" with ur dad?
    Can't u talk about other stuff going on in ur life? Perhaps work? school? hobbies u have? why do the conversations have to be about ur sexuality? since when are parents supposed to conversate about their children's sexuality so much??

    I dunno. but my dad does not really talk to me about "being gay" or my "boyfriend problems" because to him, its foreign, he cant relate that well. He doesnt hate me cuz of it, he's just not familiar with it....and that should be fine.

    I talk to my dad about lots of stuff, work related stuff, common hobbies (we both like fishing, beach, ocean, outdoors) stuff...life in general. My sexuality never comes into play, thats my own business. I have agreat relationship with my dad... he'll hug me tells me he loves me, shakes my hand... we talk, joke, etc... I'm his son...not his gay son....but his son who happens to like other guys...im his son who happens to be gay.

    I kinda feel like saying "dude, you're a man. dont expect ur daddy to come coddle u everytime u and ur bf have a fight..." or "don't expect ur dad inquire about ur love life"

    perhaps ur mom....but ur dad? i dunno. .

    did ur dad go to his dad when he fought with his gfs? doubtful. Maybe he did, i dont know.
    Give ur dad some credit. He said he loves u. His Christian background and his way of thinking is obviously completely different than yours. Perhaps talk about ur future goals in life with him, maybe u wanna own a house one day? buy a vacation spot in the mountains? maybe u wanna get that awesome job? maybe u wanna move to a new city?? things that he can talk to u about... makes u more approachable and less foreign to him.

    maybe ur dad just sucks at showing emotions and lovey dovey stuff, its hard to say.
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    Oct 28, 2011 12:01 AM GMT
    Import saidOK,
    with all due respect..

    why do u feel the need to talk about ur "gayness" with ur dad?


    I don't talk about my gayness with my dad... I try to talk about other things. But my gayness is keeping him from engaging me in any other way. Since coming out, he has nothing to say to me... about any topic. I don't really care to talk to dad about my boyfriends or gay sex or anything like that, but it feels like that is a giant elephant in the room keeping him from saying anything to me apart from "get more Jesus"...
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    Oct 28, 2011 4:05 AM GMT
    I think you deserve a lot of praise for be relentless on trying to have a relationship with your dad. Can your mom tell you anything about why he's not talking to you? Shes talks to him every day, after all this time she should be able to connect all the dots.
    Maybe you need to sit him down and say to him (your words) "There are times a man needs his father - many times - and right now it's frustrating, and very discouraging, that I don't really have my father to turn to".
    Could you suggest mom, dad and you see a counselor together? The counselor might be able to draw something out of him. Good luck guy
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    Oct 28, 2011 4:07 AM GMT
    if I was in your situation, I would be thankful he even talks to you in the first place. sometimes I wonder why people complain about things others can't even have.
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    Oct 28, 2011 4:30 AM GMT
    tell him, if he wants to discuss it, that you will always be there to listen, and leave it at that.... don't go looking for trouble... maybe he REALLY is ok with it...keep telling him ( well dont bug the guy) that you will always listen if he wants to talk... and hug him, and be thankful you have him.. (hopefully) icon_smile.gif
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    Oct 28, 2011 4:33 AM GMT
    Thanks for sharing. This is just my humble opinion, I think he is trying but does not know the language. You are both coming from different points and perspectives. In a sense, your parents (Father) is coming from a different generational point of view, he can not relate, he does not understand, because in his universe it was presented in a certain manner and this is his cosmos, language, anything outside this realm is foreign of being gay. He reaches back to his comfort level, his understanding, and sometimes even phrases like ..'get more Jesus, or how is your walk', is the only thing he can say.

    Your Mother, on the other sense when you mentioned...'I need to read some books..." is willing to explore that her cosmos is not what she thought it was in terms of being gay, to challenge her beliefs, her interpretation. Your Father on the other hand, might not have reached that level, he is struggling to talk to you because he does not know how. In essence, he is still speaking X, and you are in Y, their is conflict because their is no medium of interpretation of understanding.

    The only thing I can say is keep reaching out to him without expecting something in return, but understand that he might need your help, by not judging him and just loving him. Try to find something else that you still share and can talk about..is there still a common language in hobbies, sports, etc. that you share. Start there..you might be surprised that he might initiate more deeper conversation in those terms, giving him time.
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    Oct 28, 2011 4:38 AM GMT
    Larkin_PLR said
    Import saidOK,
    with all due respect..

    why do u feel the need to talk about ur "gayness" with ur dad?


    I don't talk about my gayness with my dad... I try to talk about other things. But my gayness is keeping him from engaging me in any other way. Since coming out, he has nothing to say to me... about any topic. I don't really care to talk to dad about my boyfriends or gay sex or anything like that, but it feels like that is a giant elephant in the room keeping him from saying anything to me apart from "get more Jesus"...


    You seem to have a lot of compassion for this issue, when a lot of other guys would simply take advantage of the neutral situation and allow the relationship with their dad to slip away. I have a lot of respect for you because of this.

    I would first sit him down privately- maybe outside of the house or on an afternoon drive somewhere, and really just ask him point blank how he feels about it. Also express to him point blank that you are concerned that it is interfering with your relationship with him. I think those are very valid points, but of course I could not predict how he will respond! And I know this sounds a little corny, but the two of you do seem to be on civilized terms, and you at least want to instigate communication- so you might suggest a session or two for the two of you together to talk to a counselor. A counselor might do a world of difference to break the ice, and that seems what you two really need.
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    Oct 28, 2011 4:40 AM GMT
    AMoonHawk said
    Larkin_PLR said
    it feels like that is a giant elephant in the room keeping him from saying anything to me apart from "get more Jesus"...


    How about joining a gay congregation? It might give you stuff to discuss.

    www.meetup.com/LGBT-Christians-Atlanta-TGPA/
    http://www.meetup.com/Atlanta-Gay-Christians/


    lol a good idea! How about inviting him to a gay congregation??
  • waccamatt

    Posts: 1918

    Oct 28, 2011 4:45 AM GMT
    Import saidOK,
    with all due respect..

    why do u feel the need to talk about ur "gayness" with ur dad?
    Can't u talk about other stuff going on in ur life? Perhaps work? school? hobbies u have? why do the conversations have to be about ur sexuality? since when are parents supposed to conversate about their children's sexuality so much??

    I dunno. but my dad does not really talk to me about "being gay" or my "boyfriend problems" because to him, its foreign, he cant relate that well. He doesnt hate me cuz of it, he's just not familiar with it....and that should be fine.

    I talk to my dad about lots of stuff, work related stuff, common hobbies (we both like fishing, beach, ocean, outdoors) stuff...life in general. My sexuality never comes into play, thats my own business. I have agreat relationship with my dad... he'll hug me tells me he loves me, shakes my hand... we talk, joke, etc... I'm his son...not his gay son....but his son who happens to like other guys...im his son who happens to be gay.

    I kinda feel like saying "dude, you're a man. dont expect ur daddy to come coddle u everytime u and ur bf have a fight..." or "don't expect ur dad inquire about ur love life"

    perhaps ur mom....but ur dad? i dunno. .

    did ur dad go to his dad when he fought with his gfs? doubtful. Maybe he did, i dont know.
    Give ur dad some credit. He said he loves u. His Christian background and his way of thinking is obviously completely different than yours. Perhaps talk about ur future goals in life with him, maybe u wanna own a house one day? buy a vacation spot in the mountains? maybe u wanna get that awesome job? maybe u wanna move to a new city?? things that he can talk to u about... makes u more approachable and less foreign to him.

    maybe ur dad just sucks at showing emotions and lovey dovey stuff, its hard to say.


    He didn't say that being gay was "all" he talked about with his dad, but when you're an adult you ought to be able to talk to your family and friends about whatever may be going on in your life and that includes relationships.
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    Oct 28, 2011 4:45 AM GMT
    ugh I totally understand your situation, I have an evangelical father who keeps reverting back, recently he made me so uncomfy about making a joke about how I was flirting with a family friend's daughter when even she knows I am fully gay and she had a boyfriend as well talk about awkwardness.

    He thinks since I found God again (which i used to be religious a while ago but not anymore) and now that I'm all athletic and found my education path I must be 'Straight' again and that me being gay was just a phase. He also likes to potray me as some kinda playboy stud who's popular with the women icon_confused.gif
  • vintovka

    Posts: 588

    Oct 28, 2011 4:52 AM GMT
    My dad (probably like yours) was not really raised in an environment where men were ever allowed to speak openly about their feelings. Being gay was not really an issue for him (it was a much bigger issue for my mom). My dad had gay friends at his work and had gone to bat for a transexual employee who was going MTF (he was the HR manager at a defense contractor), all before I ever came out. However, we never really talked about much of anything and I think he didn't really have many people in his life to whom he could open up. Still I spent years as an adult trying to break through and we did end up having a relationship that was as good as it was ever going to get. If the question is, was it worth it? My answer is yes, definitely. He died (cancer) three years ago and I wouldn't do anything differently. I would have liked to have the kind of close relationship with my dad that I have with many of my friends, but in the end I am thankful to have had the best relationship possible even if it was not perfect. You only get one shot at this--maybe have an honest talk with him about that.
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    Oct 28, 2011 5:12 AM GMT
    Larkin_PLR said... with my father. (I don't know if I'm really asking for advice here... maybe just venting)

    Dad has known I am gay for about a decade now. He found out when he found my gay porno under my bed when I was 17. He acted pretty weird for a while there, but after a month or two just started pretending like it never happened or it was a phase or something... Maybe he thought I got over liking dudes? Who knows. I didn't care: at least he wasn't bothering me about it in high school and college.

    Earlier this year, I forced my parents to face facts. Told mom I was gay, told dad (again) that I'm gay. I expected a pretty harsh reaction: my parents are very conservative Christians, which is fine, it's just that I half expected to be another one of those "my parents disowned me for being teh ghey" stories. Mom actually was very open about it, said "I have to read some books I guess". All dad said was, "I love you no matter what" then didn't bring it up again.

    Now, I appreciate my dad's reaction. God knows there are a ton of guys out there who wish their father had reacted the way mine did. So I really am thankful that, though muted, his reaction was more supportive than I really expected and much more so than most people get.

    But I know my sexuality bothers him. Precisely because he won't talk about it, I know it bothers him.

    What is frustrating me right now is that, while it bothers him, and I can tell it does, he won't actually talk to me about it. Dad doesn't know how to engage me at all, really. When we do talk, he asks me how my "walk with the Lord" is... And that's fine, I'm a believer, I have a walk with the Lord, but that's also such a generically Bible School thing to ask that all it says to me is "I don't know what to say to you." The same thing happens if I"m having a problem... especially a "gay" problem, or a relationship problem. I can go to my dad and he'll listen, but the advice he gives is basically "get more Jesus"... again, awesome advice for anyone at any point in their life. But it's also awesome advice for anyone at any point in their life: so generic that all it says to me is "I wasn't really listening."

    I know he just doesn't know what to say to me... Or even what to ask of me. I don't know if it's just that he doesn't want to know any more than he does, or if he really has such a strong moral stance against my sexuality that he can't engage me, or if he really is just struggling theologically with how to deal with what he sees: that I'm gay but I'm not some radically different person than the one he knew. I can tell in some instances he's falling back on stereotypes and assumptions... When my boyfriend and I broke up and I was devastated, he kept thinking I was sad about being gay until about six months ago I finally told him, "Dad: we're not on the same page here. I'm sad because my BOYFRIEND dumped me. I'm not sad about being gay. That ship has sailed. I was upset about being gay for 10 years, but I'm over it." The fact that I'm not upset about being gay at all I think really confuses him.

    I don't know... I just wish there were a way to help him get past this. Right now I'm incapable of talking to my father. Not because he's hostile to me, or that I think he loves me less, but literally because he has nothing to say to me and doesn't know how to begin talking to me. There are times a man needs his father - many times - and right now it's frustrating, and very discouraging, that I don't really have my father to turn to.


    I know that you are venting which is totally cool I just thought I'd add that despite your frustration, this is actually quite a beautiful story.
    To give your parents credit, they are infact what I believe, real christians. Most christians preach about love but when something comes along that's different to their beliefs they have no love at all.
    So I just wanted to say that I think your dad is awesome icon_smile.gif
    Anyway I do get what you're saying though. It's not really about 'gay' as a subject but that it's you 'being' gay is what stops him from opening up about it to you.

    Now I wish there was an approach that I could tell you that would have him open up about how he really feels to you but I'm afraid there might not be one except that it will come with time.
    To be fair and open to possibility, your dad I'm sure totally does love you ofcourse but because of his christianity, might not be 'pleased' with your decision and he might just be putting into practice "if there's nothing nice to say, don't say anything". I think mostly because of the fact that he does love you, does not want to hurt you. If it is possible that this is the case I think it's very honourable and respectful of him towards you, but still I do understand your frustration because you're searching for a more wholistic relationship with your dad. That is totally cool but something like that comes with time, at least that's what I think.

    For some people, even a decade isn't enough time to really process and understand and then accept things, especially when it's something that contradicts or opposes their own core beliefs. It's hard really, that's why some people take ages to come out.

    If it were me, I'd just sit down one last time, 1 on 1 with dad and just say "I know you aren't really okay with me being gay I can see it, but I also know that you do love me. So whenever you are ready to just talk to me about it, just ask anything and I'll be completely open and hope that you will too. I'm ready so whenever is a good time for you is good for me"

    Not that I'm trying to tell you what to say, I just think this particular subject needs alot of grace. It just helps making the acceptance easier.
    Anyway I totally wish you all the best, being 100% completely honest I am envious of the strength of your family.
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    Oct 28, 2011 5:28 AM GMT
    I feel your pain wanting an honest, straightforward relationship with your parents. I'm in a similar pickle, though for slightly different reasons. My mom's Catholic and my dad...well we honestly don't really know what he is.

    For about four years after i came out to them (i was the same age as you were) my mom kept insisting i didn't have enough "experience" to decide if i was gay or not and my dad, well i can't talk to him about ANYTHING. I finally got them to stop bothering me about the "phase" by suggesting i go find a male prostitute and do the deed on the kitchen table for them to witness (i actually said this, it was awesome)

    The main reason I had issues with my parents was their CONSERVATIVE WONDERBREAD ASSES. By which i mean, I was raised not to do ANYTHING in public that could be construed or misconstrued as odd, weird, socially unusual or any sort of negative connotation. Suffice it to say, i grew up acting like an old fart. But when i started being open about my sexuality a few years back i went through a phase of hyperfocusing on it. They did NOT like that.

    Now, if your relationship with your father is anything like mine is (the basic dynamic, not necessarily the facts and details) then here is my advice:

    Keep trying to kindle that relationship. You're right, you only have one father and a man needs his father's respect. Its one of the toughest things in my life right now that my father has ZERO respect for me.
    At the same time, maybe find a father figure in someone else. It doesn't even have to be a man! Lesbians are AWESOME! (at least the ones i've met). You need some sort of father figure. And who knows? Your dad may come 'round later in life and if you've kept that positive mindset you may be able to rekindle your relationship then (my idiot father got bitter and held a grudge so he fucked it up when his dad came back into the picture. yeah, its a family tradition i'm trying to break).
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    Oct 28, 2011 8:39 AM GMT
    Sounds a lot like my situation... my mom is very Christian and my dad is just old-fashioned in general. So I get a lot of the same kind of responses you have... they ask if I'm seeing anyone as a form of judgment, not inquiry, then insist that I don't need anyone in my life. This is leaps and bounds from when they found out almost three years ago, but it's impossible to talk to them completely openly since they are extremely set in their ways; your dad sounds largely the same. The best you can do, I'd say, is try to relate on other subjects and hope things fall into place from there. It won't be perfect. It probably can't be. But you can make something work.
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    Oct 28, 2011 7:28 PM GMT
    Thank you guys for the responses. It really has given me something to think about.

    I think what I may end up doing is trying one serious heart to heart with my father to see if that can help push through this. Like I said, he has never really talked to me about it or asked about it or to my knowledge said anything about it to anyone. I'll see if I can just clear the air directly.

    And if that doesn't help? Then I'll be settling in for the long haul... I know a big part of the reason people, especially conservative people, have a problem with "gay" is because their ideas about it are so shaped by stereotypes... not the least of which are stereotypes perpetuated by the gay community itself. The best I can hope for, barring some breakthrough when I speak to him, is to continue living my life just as I have been.. Being a living example that I'm still the man he raised me to be, the man he's proud to call a son, but I'm also gay. And those two things go together.
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    Oct 28, 2011 7:30 PM GMT
    _Mohamed_ saidif I was in your situation, I would be thankful he even talks to you in the first place. sometimes I wonder why people complain about things others can't even have.



    Like how you can't find a boyfriend? icon_eek.gif
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    Oct 28, 2011 7:35 PM GMT
    Just seeing this - and I'm glad you're planning to talk with your dad. Before I read your final thought just above me here, I was planning to write something along the lines of your getting your dad to go for a hike, or drive, or game of golf - whatever - where you both get a chance to get some face time after an activity that he likes. I'm thinking about what happened in my case........except it was my grandfather. I was getting some silence from him - although pleasant treatment, but I needed to talk with him. I suggested a tour of my campus on foot (he had gone to the same university) and then later - with good feelings and a nice day behind us, we sat down for some dinner and I got through to him. We started by talking about things we had in common (education, grades, etc.) He opened up and actually became warm and pleasant about it all, realizing that if he wasn't going to get a straight grandson, he was seeing a lot of other qualities that he'd instilled in me. I hope this happens for you as well.

    You offer so many guys here good advice and comments, I wish for the same kind of good outcome for you.

    icon_cool.gif
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    Oct 28, 2011 7:46 PM GMT
    Normally I'd say that he's just confused and that he needs time to figure things out. But since he found the porno under your bed (by the way: icon_biggrin.gif) he should be smart enough to know. So he already had his time to think about it.

    So what I think is that he just doesn't want to face the facts. Because as you said he's a conservative Christian and maybe (I don't know your dad or how conservative he is, so don't take that as an insult) he's just worried about you going to hell, or struggling between his own ethical values and loving his son et cetera. Also a lot of parents don't accept the homosexuality of their kids because that destroys what they've expectet from their children e.g. having grandkids etc. not because of the same-sex-relationship.
    Do you guys go fishing or something like that? Because I would do something with him alone where he's got no way to escape and he's forced to deal with you. Then you could try to explain to him that not all of us wear make up and act all femmy. That you're still the same person and being gay doesn't change you. That we're just normal people and that someday you're going to bring a boy home he is going to like.

    Anyway sorry to hear that and good luck icon_smile.gif
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    Oct 28, 2011 7:51 PM GMT
    I completely get where you're coming from. My dad is VERY open and supportive and accepting and loving and all that good stuff, and even HE has a hard time with the topic sometimes.

    One time I was having a rather emotional conversation on a car-trip somewhere with him, (we commute 5 hours twice a week for work, so spend a LOT of time in the car together), and I was honestly asking for his advice as a dad. Like, mid conversation when I was talking about how I don't know what I'm doing blah blah blah he goes "Hey look, an ice cream shop, want a frap?"

    Straight up interrupted me. I just took it as a hint that the conversation was out of his comfort zone, whether that was because he didn't know what to say, how to say it. It's not because he doesn't love, support, care etc. It's because it's NEW for him. He doesn't know how to give advice ABOUT boys as he can't relate. And it's not like he has a daughter. He treats me as a boy, as a son, because I am, but then he's also supposed to give relationship advice about boys and protecting myself from them? It's a mixed message from US almost.. so I get why it's a tough topic for him. He just doesn't know how to respond.
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    Oct 28, 2011 8:02 PM GMT
    I think your dad loves you very much but doesnt relate to your situation. He's trying the best he can to be involved and converse with you but comes off uninterested, forced, and distant. It is what it is man. Just be glad you have a dad who loves you in your life. Find some common ground and enjoy the time you have left on this earth to spend with each other even if the situation isnt ideal.
  • NerdLifter

    Posts: 1509

    Oct 28, 2011 8:05 PM GMT
    I want to give Larkin a bear hug icon_cry.gif
  • Hothouse

    Posts: 2204

    Oct 28, 2011 8:11 PM GMT
    I feel for you. I was rasied in a christian home, and my being gay was not well received.
    My dad and I never talked about it, we really didn't talk about anything that involved any kind of feelings or emotion. That's just the way he was.
    Give him some time - I can't say it will get better or not, it may never be what you hope for.
    He loves you, and he loves the Lord, and I suspect he can't quite get those two prospectives to come together, so he'd rather say nothing than to say something that he feels would hurt you.
    Reinforce your love for him, and maybe he'll come around, I'm sure it's just very confusing and awkward for him to talk about. He just doesn't know what to say or how to relate. His acceptance of your sexuality may take longer than your own.
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    Oct 28, 2011 8:14 PM GMT
    I just wanna give you a big hug.