Coming out to grown children

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 25, 2008 4:27 PM GMT
    I was 20 when I married my childhood sweetheart, and we had three children pretty quickly. I kept my sexuality a secret, not wanting to upset the family. Figured it was my cross to bear.

    I won't go into the sordid details but they have to do with having been outed --by my brother, no less. As you might imagine, this was very hard on all of us, especially my wife. I have three grown children, and they have had such a hard time with all of this. My two sons are estranged, and though it's not so bad with my daughter, it's still very difficult. We're going on four years since the outing, two since the divorce.

    I'd like to hear from guys who've had to reforge a relationship with their kids. Even better if the kids are older.

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    Nov 26, 2008 1:09 AM GMT
    I've got 3 sons, my oldest is 23, middle is 17 and youngest is 13. I came out in 1997 at age 37. I wasn't formally married, but had a "common law" wife. When we split she tried to take the kids and tried to make my being gay into an issue over custody. Judge wasn't interested and warned her with contempt if she brought it up again.....We have joint parenting, but I am custodial parent. My oldest was 12 when I came out. I never had much of an issue with the boys knowing I am gay and it has been an almost non-issue for them. They do get alot of questions from their friends and from their friend’s parents about where their mom is. They do get upset when some of their classmates make disparaging remarks about gays or fags, or whatever, but those are few and far between.
    I am sure that your adult children feel sort of confused and pissed that they never knew before this. Maybe betrayed or just wondering what other "landmines" are waiting to go off.....They aren't any different from your other family and close friends or co-workers. I bet some of them pulled back from you too. Give them time and then you need to make the first move to offer to talk or let them yell and bitch and get their frustration out, but it needs to happen as part of the healing. If they have never had a gay friend before, this is a very new and maybe intimidating prospect for them. You on the other hand, know what it is like to have kids, to have been their ages, to have been in love and you know their personalities. You need to use all of this to re-establish your relationships.
    You may want to talk to a therapist or hit up "ObsceneWish" who is a PhD Therapist..... Likewise, you are not the only one going through this...."EB925GUY" , has grown kids and is maybe not as far into his journey as you are. I bet you could both share some interesting experiences.....
    Good Luck and take Care!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 26, 2008 1:29 AM GMT
    So are your kids 20-30yrs old? I don't have any kids... listen to sporty though he's a good guy.

    But i do know what it is like to be a kid these days.


    1. what is their world view like?
    2. political/religious/career interests?
    3. Hobbies?
    4. Do they listen more to their mother... meaning would you ex influence them?
    5. Are you or have you ever been very affectionate towards them?
    6. How did you go about explaining your sexuality to them and what were their reactions.

    Remember, this age group is constantly forming and reforming morals, values, and future plans--not much is set in stone, though it may be hard to "win them over." Listen to them though and their concerns. Young adults like to be veiwed as equals.
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    Nov 26, 2008 1:32 AM GMT
    Oh ya one more thing. I would talk to them seperately... especially if your two boys influence each other. Isolate tem one at a time and talk to them alone. Make sure you have their attention and that they reactions won't be influenced by the other two siblings.icon_smile.gif
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    Nov 26, 2008 1:50 AM GMT
    wait im confused... u made it sound like they already found out when you were outed, and that thats why they're estranged. so what's to 'come out?'
    if that's not the case, then i don't think coming out will help the estrangement situation.
    if it is, they're probably upset not because you're gay, but because they're only now hearing about it as grownups. as with many ruined relationships over one being gay, its very often hurt at having been lied to for way too long that does the most damage. as a side thought- if you'd told them as kids they'd have grown up to think its normal, and would have been in your corner against the world every step of the way.

    i'm sure you felt you had to stay closeted, given the social climate years ago, but yeah that was mistake number one...
    not trying to be harsh- i feel for ya... but secret keeping or outright lying is hard to forgive with loved ones.

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    Nov 26, 2008 1:55 AM GMT
    I have to agree with czar on the point that many people are most hurt that they felt lied to or that you had to hide it from them. That's a shame though, because for so many, and myself included, it was those I was closest to that I had the hardest time coming out to simply because I knew how devastating it would have been for me to lose their friendship or my place in my family. Once I explained this to them, they actually understood and were not upset anymore. You may want to go that route if that applies to you in any fashion at all. I hope this works out for you.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 26, 2008 1:58 AM GMT
    czarodziej said

    i'm sure you felt you had to stay closeted, given the social climate years ago, but yeah that was mistake number one...
    not trying to be harsh- i feel for ya... but secret keeping or outright lying is hard to forgive with loved ones.

    I see things differently. I have always been told, "never turn you back on family." Even if my sister murdered someone--she isstill my sister and I'd support her emotionally despite her great immoral act. "You always forgive your family members--maybe not always forget though." Sometimes in extreme cases it is hard to forgive (e.g. incest, abuse, etc.); counseling may be needed... but forgiving others helps with the healing process.

    You though, OP, didn't kill anyone (I'm assuming icon_smile.gif). You HAD to lie about your sexuality inorder to survive emotionally and socially. How were you to know that the GLBT community would one day be more excepted. Wanting a drama free life is nothing bad--not everyone was meant for the Stonewall movement and gay pride.

    Don't concentrate on, "well if I had only done this.... I should have done that," concentrate on here and now and ur kids.
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    Nov 26, 2008 4:01 AM GMT

    Lots of agreements and disagreements on's my take:

    It is a trust issue with your children. With this, they will become more judging of you and this is just what you have to expect. Also, I don't know how you raised them (i.e. were they taught gay is wrong?); but, if anything you taught them makes you out to be a hypocrite they will have even more of a trust issue and the urge to judge you further.

    My mother felt very betrayed that I didn't tell her I was gay, even when she asked early on. She still feels, on a lesser level, that I don't trust or respect her due to that situation - she feels that ALL of me has changed and that she doesn't completely know her son. The longer I've shared my relationships with her, the better it's got. I feel that by the time MR. RIGHT comes along, she'll probably have resolved this issue as best as possible.

    My advice, as a gay man and a young man not so far away from your children's age, is to continue trying. Do your best to contact, or attempt contact, regularly and don't let it get you down if they don't show interest. Also, once you are able to make contact, let them into your life progressively. Your children might feel upset about your lifestyle, but they DEFINITELY feel betrayed and may even be mourning as they may look at this as a loss. It's similar with all divorces.

    You need to do your best to let them know that you're sorry that you lied and put them through this, but also let them know that when you told them you loved them, tucked them into bed, took them on trips, and even when you held your wife, or whatever they hold was all out of love. The only thing that changed, or was never there, was the type of love for their mother. They need to know their father is still there and still loves them just the same. Perhaps, should they not show interest, your continued effort to contact and have a relationship with them will resolve that feeling itself. Just keep trying and let them in on your life when they are ready.

    As for you, don't forget that you need some mending too! Don't let your desire for a relationship with them screw you up, depress you, shift progress in your own life, etc... Otherwise, when they start to rebuild this relationship they'll be meeting more than you as a gay man, but somebody changed in other ways - something that could draw this out longer.

    Good Luck! icon_wink.gif
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11648

    Nov 26, 2008 12:03 PM GMT
    If they are grown
    This is going to prove the values that you instilled in them as they were growing up

    If you taught them to be loving and understanding human beings who place an importance on allowing people to be happy at whatever they want to be
    as opposed to being closed minded individuals who think nothing more than their own happiness
    you'll soon see which one you get

    I do not have any children but
    I do have a much younger brother ... he's 18 yrs younger than I am
    My father was never really afather at all
    and I had to step up to the plate for him in many ways
    out of all the people I came out to ... my being gay meant almost nothing to him at all