How has your relationship with your father affected who you are now and in the past?

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    Feb 17, 2009 1:43 PM GMT
    I recently got a note from another RJ member in which he remarked about the picture I have on my profile of my father holding me as a baby. It got me thinking about a previous forum thread that was started in December, 2007 entitled “How's your relationship with your father?”, http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/72472/.

    The answers in that particular thread were very poignant but what was left out by many of the respondents including myself was how that relationship affected them.


    Here is a copy of what I wrote in response to that thread:

    Now, I miss my dad since he died a couple years ago this February from some weird immunological disease from working in the railroad yards. He improved as a father as times changed. When I was a kid, fathers just did not react to their children with a lot of outward expressions of love. At that time, he was an excellent provider, gave us a secure home, encouraged us with our education, took us on fun vacations, and loved my mother in very obvious ways. As time went on, he changed with the times. He readily accepted both my sister and me when we came out. He started to show the real compassion that was in his heart and later as his children became older he would kiss us when we went "home". This was a big change for my father. Even later he expressed a lot of love for us and told us how proud he was of all his children.

    I would only offer one criticism of my father, in all respect to him, I think he would agree. He should have taught me more of what he knew. Because all his children were very upwardly mobile, I guess he thought that with just his high school education that he had nothing to offer us, but he was wrong. He actually had a great deal to offer us.

    Overall, I would have to say that he was a great dad, God keep him and love him.


    This is how I think my relationship with my father affected me:

    Because of the lack of an outward expression of love from my father when I was a child, my expressions of love, when I was younger, were very guarded. I had a whole troop of soldiers guarding my little box where I kept my feelings of love. However, later as my father changed, I became less fearful of showing my feelings and I was then able to love openly and freely.

    Because my father was an excellent provider and gave us a secure home, I was able to build confidence in myself and because he always encouraged us in what we wanted to do, I turned out to be a risk taker which has enriched my life considerably. Because he took us on some fun vacations I learned the value of traveling, of nature, and of simply having fun.

    As far as my one criticism, I grew up with out the knowledge he had for mechanics. How many times could I have used that knowledge to fix something that was broke around the house instead of calling in for help? However, strangely enough, because I was left alone to work out some of these problems by myself, I became a problem solver in my career. I could not change an oil filter in my car if my life depended on it but I could figure out why a reaction did not work or why a control was too high.


    If you have a picture of you and your father please post one. Here is the one that I referred to above.

    My Father & Baby Me

    PS. This one is for you Mutz!!!
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    Feb 17, 2009 2:20 PM GMT


    My Dad, a natural handyman. He could fix just about anything, though the results sometimes resembled Borg machinery. heh He repaired my sister's Walkman (remember them) and to her horror, there were insulated wires coming out one side of it and then going back into it on the other side through carefully drilled holes.

    I was always aware at how different my Dad and I were from each other, and in an effort to be closer, would take on any job he wanted me to do (we used to move into a dilapidated house and Dad and Mom would use us kids as the hired help and fix them up) to gain his respect and praise. It sure paid off.

    Bill calls me his fix-it guy, and true to my Dad, occasionally my repair work looks like some of the interesting equipment from that Sleepy Hollow movie (Johnny Depp film).

    Dad also wrote poetry from time to time, a surprise for me when Mom showed them to me when I was about 12 as he was often pretty gruff. That inspired me to try too.

    Dad died abruptly from an aortic aneurysm at 68 at breakfast. I was pretty angry at the time because he hated the Doc's office and looked after himself poorly. Vegetables were 'rabbit food'. There had been warning signs of problems for some time. I hope he forgives me for my mad.


    -Doug of meninlove
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    Feb 17, 2009 2:27 PM GMT


    PS Dad was pretty upset, I found out years later, when I told him I was gay. Mom said it was because he was convinced my life would be hard and full of sorrow because of it.

    When I was dumped by a guy in '85, Dad was very bothered at my upset and said,
    "When a guy dumps you, just tell yourself that you're the best god-damn asshole out there." Mom ran from the room. We could hear her guffawing in the bathroom. Dad suddenly got his unintended double entendre, and slowly his face opened into a huge grin at his accidental wit....
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    Feb 17, 2009 2:43 PM GMT
    meninlove said

    PS Dad was pretty upset, I found out years later, when I told him I was gay. Mom said it was because he was convinced my life would be hard and full of sorrow because of it.

    When I was dumped by a guy in '85, Dad was very bothered at my upset and said,
    "When a guy dumps you, just tell yourself that you're the best god-damn asshole out there." Mom ran from the room. We could hear her guffawing in the bathroom. Dad suddenly got his unintended double entendre, and slowly his face opened into a huge grin at his accidental wit....


    Ha, ha, that reminds me of that Aussie movie, "The Sum of Us" where the Dad is toasting his son, played by a young Russell Crowe, and his lover by saying "up you bum" and then the Dad realized his goof. That got a laugh out of the audience at the movie.
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    Feb 17, 2009 3:00 PM GMT
    This is a very sensitive topic for me. Let me just say that my Dad and I were never that close. My dad was a spoiled only child and an introvert. He did not enjoy small children and was a bit overwhelmed by the responsibilities of parenting. He also had demons that he had trouble coping with (I will leave it at that), and that impacted his relationships.

    I found our relationship improved after I was on my own and making money. He and I actually had a lot in common in terms of personality and interests. I think I got more of my Mom's optimistic nature and liking/tolerance of people which I am grateful for.

    How has my relationship with my Dad impacted who I am now? Well I think it helped develop my sense of apartness from people. I became emotionally independent, and intellectually independent quite early in life. That is not always a good thing I must admit (my partner would vouch for that).

    The death of my father in October 2006 came as a shock (he was the first of my nuclear family to die). It was like watching a piece of me dying since we shared so many traits. Several months after his death I started participating in online gay sites such as RJ and AfterElton. I have met some very interesting people which I am grateful for. I think that change in my behaviour is a reaction to my Dad dying with no friends outside of his immediate family (and he was not that close to his family members except maybe my brother).

    Here is a photo of my dad with my older brother and I in the summer of 1966.

    [url]Brother, Dad and I 1966[/url]
  • kaccioto

    Posts: 284

    Feb 17, 2009 3:02 PM GMT
    mine left at a young age..

    made me grow up quicker, payed mom's mortgage through college..held major resentment for both parents growing up (moreso dad), probably big time reason for delving into my studies/major slutting throughout college to get my mind off what was happening at home...

    sometime i think if everything could be mended with him, but i'm in such a better position i would never have imagined because of it, all that hatred i had for him really has dissipated, now that i have a new 'family.'

    it's my mom i was worried about for a bit..nudged her to start dating again, now that she's financially stable, and she's finally slowly turning to the idea
  • Sparkycat

    Posts: 1064

    Feb 17, 2009 5:19 PM GMT
    My "father" was a selfish, insecure bastard. He spent no time with me, taught me nothing, and showed no interest in my life. My brother and sister were both into sports hunting, guns, etc so they got his attention. I was into rearranging the furniture in my bedroom, watching ballet on PBS, and studying. He treated me like I was not a part of the family. I hated the man and still do. He's dead. Died from multiple serious health problems caused by his years of smoking unfiltered cigarettes and pipes. My mother, who never smoked in her life, later died from lung cancer caused by his second hand smoke. In my opinion he murdered her. My only regret is that he did not suffer more before he died.

    I don't obsess about this or even think about it much. Some therapy helped me deal with that. But, I don't forgive him. He doesn't deserve it.
  • Ritournelle

    Posts: 134

    Feb 17, 2009 5:29 PM GMT
    My father is probably the most likeable human being I have ever met. I hated him when I was little because I was an insufferable little shit, but now I'm closest to him in my family. When I came out, he just laughed at me and told me to stop being so melodramatic, that it didn't really make any difference to him. My only real criticism is that he whines... Alot... I'm trying to convince him to start getting testosterone shots. He also gave me the best advice ever, that when I get older, to not be a major queen, because they depress him.

    In recognition of not answering the question:
    My relationship with my father helped in some ways and hurt in others. I never felt that need for family that the gay community provides for many, so while I feel totally normalized (horrible word for this, but I fail to come up with better), I feel a total disconnect with gay issues, and really with the entire community as a whole. Then again, I know I will always be able to depend on my family, which I know is rare, and for that I am thankful. I think having a male figure around also made me not so terrified with the world outside of gay enclaves.
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    Feb 17, 2009 5:31 PM GMT
    my dad is really nice and probably wouldnt even think twice or give me a hard time if i told him i was gay...however he did leave when i was 5 and i was raised by my mom sister aunt and grandma so i do beleive that the absence of a male figure in my life played a part into my homosexuality.
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    Feb 17, 2009 5:35 PM GMT
    My relationship with my dad was and still is amazing. He calls me and will talk for a couple hours, mostly when living in a house with four women is about to drive him insane.

    As for effecting me now and in the past, the most important thing I ever learned from my parents was that no matter what you do with your life, you have to make yourself happy, and that generally, more money isn't gonna make you any happier.
  • KansasColt09

    Posts: 179

    Feb 17, 2009 5:40 PM GMT
    My dad is incredibly loving. While growing up we had a different relationship than we do now. He was far more distant when I was a child- his dad was an NFL ref, so he was raised on idealized molds of what masculinity is. I didn't want to play sports- I wanted to take dance classes and play with my sister's barbies. In retrospect, I know now that he had no idea how to respond to it. At one point he told me that I "was not the son he had imagined". It hurt. A lot. As time passed he became very proud of my accomplishments in music and dance (aka scholarships/awards/whatnot) and would often cry upon seeing me after receiving them. I know he loves me. We have a more open relationship now, however I am still not 'officially' out to him yet. He knows through a series of events, just as the rest of my family, but due to his and my mother's conservative Catholic views and outward disgust at the 'homosexual agenda', I haven't been able to bring myself to be honest with them yet.

    Well, there ya have it! More honesty from the Colt!
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    Feb 17, 2009 5:40 PM GMT
    My Father was and is my hero. He was a tough, WW11 D-Day vet who loved me unconditionally from the time I was a baby...even though he knew I was gay back then (he just knew)..it didn't matter the least because it was just part of who I was..and since he loved all of me...he embraced that...it was this 'strong, you can do anything' type of love that gave me the 'balls' to not even think about taking chances and always stepping out of the box to get what I went for...he loved my partner like his own son and he still felt he had to 'protect' me (I was the baby of three boys..with a big age difference between the other two and me) even when he had Alzheimer's and I was his security. He was there for me always and I was there for him when he needed me..if I was with him when he was aggitated or having a bad period with the disease..my presence would calm him and he'd smile and say my name and kiss me. He forgot everyone's name and role ..at least once (including my Mom)..he always knew exactly what our relationship was, my name and that I meant he was safe..I always knew they had broken the mold when it came to being a Dad. He never judged me...biggest fan...and he was the only person who could ask me to do something I would not do ...and I would wiothout an argument.
    If I told you some of the places in 'Gay Manhattan' that he had to come at 2AM because I called him in a panic as I was in a 'I love Lucy' mess..you would laugh. He had such a 'streetsmart' demeanor that belied his amazing iQ that people would be stunned. BTW...I wish one of us had looked like him when he was young....Man ....he was incredibly handsome (and that is a proud remark..nothing else)
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    Feb 17, 2009 5:55 PM GMT
    Sparkycat saidMy "father" was a selfish, insecure bastard. He spent no time with me, taught me nothing, and showed no interest in my life. My brother and sister were both into sports hunting, guns, etc so they got his attention. I was into rearranging the furniture in my bedroom, watching ballet on PBS, and studying. He treated me like I was not a part of the family. I hated the man and still do. He's dead. Died from multiple serious health problems caused by his years of smoking unfiltered cigarettes and pipes. My mother, who never smoked in her life, later died from lung cancer caused by his second hand smoke. In my opinion he murdered her. My only regret is that he did not suffer more before he died.

    I don't obsess about this or even think about it much. Some therapy helped me deal with that. But, I don't forgive him. He doesn't deserve it.


    I realized from reading all of the responses in the original thread from 2007 that this was going to be a tough topic for a lot of men on RJ. It is, however, a tribute to those of you whose fathers did not live up to normal expectations that you can bravely state your stories here. Thank you for your posts.
  • MichVBPlayer2...

    Posts: 132

    Feb 17, 2009 5:57 PM GMT
    My father and I have had a very strange relationship. Growing up, I admired my father, but thought of him as just "Dad". It was only through the coming out process, and later working with kids, that I realized how great of a father he truly is.
    First off, a little bit about him. He was raised in and out of foster care his whole life. His mom had many problems, including addictions to alcohol. She made the best, and hardest, decision to let him be raised by her half sister, as well as other foster families, because she knew she couldn't give him everything he needed. My father found out on his mother's deathbed that the man he thought was his father (the man who walked out on him when he was 2) was infact not even his real dad. Needless to say, my father never learned how to be a dad from anyone but God.
    Despite all of this, he sacrificed everything to be with his kids. Everyday after work he took time to be with us. This might be playing sports in the backyard, games at the table, or helping us with homework. He loved watching TV with us, and attended every sporting event, dance recital, school play, anything we might be involved in.

    Then came the day my parents found out I was gay. This started a downward spiral where I lost complete faith in my father and who he was. Both of my parents are very conservative Christians (Lutheran). They told me once (before they knew i was gay) that homosexuality is a sin and that they would be very disappointed in me if I was gay). My mother, after find out, lost her self in the world of trying to make me straight. She started following the group Exodus International. They told her lies, that insinuated it was my father's fault I turned out this way. My father believed that because he didn't have a father to tell him what to do, that he failed at it and so I turned out gay. I think it was the most heartbreaking thing I've ever heard. I loved my father, and seeing all of the kids out there who have no involvement with their dads, I couldn't believe my father could ever be thought of as "bad".

    We're much better now. We had a really big breakthrough last year when my father asked me to help him with a chapter in a book he was reading. His church was doing a study on how to be more inclusive. The chapter had to do with how to be welcoming to homosexuals. Of course it had the usual mumbo jumbo about "Love the sinner but don't condone the sin". I wrote a huge essay to him about how my faith is balanced with my homosexuality. I couldn't believe he even asked me, because we just don't talk about me being gay in the house at all. It was a big step, and I'm hoping we can recapture the close relationship we used to have.

    I feel like I can be a great father because of all I learned from my dad. He's inspired me to want to have kids as well. I owe him a lot.
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    Feb 17, 2009 6:03 PM GMT
    My father was rather remote, severe and unemotional, not a model for the modern father of today. And so I am myself, not the least bit empathic to others. But he was born in 1911, and his own father died in an accident in 1919. It doesn't surprise me that he didn't have a model to emulate when he became a father himself, and that he reflected the attitudes of his generation, when "nurturing" was the business of the mother, not the father.

    Yet this man, who had to leave school after the 8th grade to help support his widowed mother, became rich & successful, and spoiled and pampered his only son shamelessly. He ultimately left me with nothing, a story for another time, but can I dare complain? He tried the best he knew how, in the ways he understood, to be a good father. I treasure his memory.

    And everything positive in my life is due to my parents, my father & mother both, so that the last thing on Earth I would do is criticize them. Can I find fault with this & that they did? Of course, or so I imagine, but what importance is that?

    We each start life with an inventory of skills and liabilities, of advantages & disadvantages. And what we do with them in the final analysis is our own business. The spoiled child sometimes fails, the deprived child sometimes triumphs; there is no rule that always applies.

    Still, I hope I'm not the ungrateful child. As modest as my success in life has been so far, I credit my parents for all my small achievements, and blame only myself for all my considerable failures.
  • Latenight30

    Posts: 1525

    Feb 17, 2009 6:10 PM GMT
    My family has always been close. I know back in 1997ish when I came out things got a little tense; but they have always loved me. One thing, that i speak openly about now is I was adopted so it makes the whole dynamic and relationship different. I was choosen. I was lucky.
    Once I turned about 29 I came to realize that yes my parents were right...about everything.
    I did reminess today about when I was in university my mother who is a teacher, ended up with a class of Drama, which was my major. I was thinking today what a great oppourtunity I had to work with my Mom on projects with her class. She saw how I was developing into a professional and I got to see first hand what she did.
    I did also work the first couple of years in college with my Dad in his resturant. I definately grew to have a strong work ethic by being close to my parents. I don't ever plan to have children, they just aren't for me. But i do think if I was straight I'd have a few and make a great father because of how I was raised.
  • Rookz

    Posts: 947

    Feb 17, 2009 6:14 PM GMT
    To my eyes as I grew up, he was a selfish bastard who once he came home, all my sisters and brother scattered. We did not want to be in his path for he was irritable man and you had to do things his way. He would beat all of us for the slightest mistake; one in particular he beat my teenage sister for she could not open the door while she was dressing so he could take a nap in the common room.

    When he left for America, our lives were at peace for a few years. At nine years old, we left the Philippines to join our father in the States, the nightmare began anew. Being separated from your father for years, then getting to know him again developed a tragic childhood. He beat the woman whom helped him become a citizen, his behavior drove my sister out of home, his constant bullying of my brother just added to his mental problems and so much more.

    What broke the camel's back was when he threatened to beat me down when I had a hard time registering for college classes. Once you’re no longer a freshman, your priority of registering is low. I wrote a letter that day, allowing every intense emotion to be penned down for I knew. I knew talking to him is impossible so the letter allowed me to express how I felt, how he made me feel so I could have my voice heard. I was prepared to be disconnected and I slept over each and every one of my best friend’s homes.

    Then we had a talk. My father and I actually carried a conversation over what happened between us; he expressed his sadness, apologized for his actions, and allowed himself to express emotions besides anger and frustration.

    Over the years, I’ve watched my father transform into a better father figure. He became more loving, more communicative, and showed me what an honorable man should be. He made the initiative to meet my boyfriend and welcome him in our family; not having a need for me to tell him I’m gay. I’m glad that I am going to carry the positive traits his shown me:

    Be open-minded,
    Be loving,
    And be honorable.
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    Feb 17, 2009 6:19 PM GMT
    withHonor said...I’m glad that I am going to carry the positive traits his shown me:

    Be open-minded,
    Be loving,
    And be honorable.

    You made me cry. That's good.
  • Rookz

    Posts: 947

    Feb 17, 2009 6:27 PM GMT
    I didn't mean to make anyone cry, but thank you Red Vespa!
  • dionysus

    Posts: 420

    Feb 17, 2009 6:38 PM GMT
    my father is an incredible jack ass. i personally dont understand families and how they're supposed to be cuz i grew up in a rich area and my dad was pretty much never home. my mom passed when i was 15 which totally blows when i see movies cuz i wonder how much fun it would be to be the gay son with the crazy mom, cuz she totally was. anyhow, my mom was basically the bridge that kept my father and i talking. once that ended, it was rare for extended family to come together and i separated myself from my family.

    so, all in all, id say moving to texas away from my family was good for me, seeing as my relationship with my dad is pseudo ok now that there's a half a country of distance between us. but he's still a raging asshole.


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    Feb 17, 2009 7:31 PM GMT
    I get along with my dad but we don't really know each other which is fine. He was never really around when I was growing up. We lived in the same house but he was always playing golf on Saturday's or watching television after work or after church on Sunday's. I have noticed that on his side of the family the men do what they want and the women they marry bitch about it but the guys don't listen. I'm kinda like that also. I'm sure it has effected my relationships which is one reason I don't want to date anyone right now.

    He tried taking me hunting but killing animals wasn't for me. I always tried to scare them off. He tried taking me golfing but that's a pretty boring sport and when he ran me over with a golf cart that was the end of it for me. It also showed his lack of compassion after it happened. One time I asked him how to play football. While still watching TV he tried to explain it to me. I still don't know how to play it.

    In the later part of their lives my parents are becoming bat shit crazy christians. Just last night my mom told me that I need to start going to church because just being good and doing good deeds won't get you into heaven. That I need communion. That people that are disabled and can't make it to church for communion will not get to heaven either.

    I have never known support from family and I may yet again break communication with them. My sister was always the one that got us talking again. I don't think it will be enough this time.
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    Feb 17, 2009 10:14 PM GMT
    My dad (and my mom) is my best friend. He cared for me during my depression, which has ranged from severe to chronic to manageable; as an adult I have cared for him through his triple-bypass. As a kid I thought as long as my dad was there I was safe. Nobody could hurt me if my dad was around. I have two sisters who are 9 and 10 years older who both disrespected my parents and did such terrible things (to this day) that neither one of them are talked about in our home. They chose their paths in life, the men they're with, and they still lie and steal at 43 and 44. In a way I helped both mom and dad through that because sometimes I think without me they would have divorced; there was SO much tension in our house when I was little when it came to disciplining my sisters and whose fault it was (they would pit mom and dad against each other and still do).

    I came out at 14. October 1989 - my dad was outside working on the car after he found out from my mom. Later I found out he cried for hours because it was assumed then that I was going to get AIDS and die. He worked in news. He saw the pictures of the young men with K.S. He was the first to break the story in 1982 when Duluth hospitals had their first AIDS cases and the doctors here had no idea what to do. If someone died from AIDS in their home the house was burned down. He hated that kind of ignorance.

    One thing we never talked about was my sexuality. I think that because I came out so early both mom and dad thought something must have happened to me that I never told them about (not true - I knew from as early as I had sexual thoughts that I was gay) and his fear then and today has been that of seeing many gay men who spend most if not all their lives alone; which is pretty much what my life has been...no intimacy, no relationships, no prospects...just a few gay guys here and there who are addicts, drunks, or have severe mood disorders or gender identity problems. My dad and my mom both know these are not at all the kinds of people I had in mind in regards to spending my life with someone. And to them it's a great disappointment because being gay is not a happy life at all. Even with everything that has changed. They have seen firsthand what other gay people are like. They've seen how I've been treated. They've looked at the forums on gay news or websites. This is not what they had wished for their son. And now that I am the age of someone who could be a dad, I wouldn't want this for my kid either. Not because of homosexuality - that has nothing to do with it. It has to do with a community that is too small, too prone to addictions, too prone to self-centeredness and no experience when it comes to helping each other out or knowing how to emotionally support another gay man unconditionally. That is the kind of love we should have received from our parents. Those are lessons I learned and I am glad I did. I am sad and angry that I now face a group of men who are not able to receive love or give it, but instead use competition, perfectionism, lying, or indifference - things that will come to mind first when we describe the gay community.

    My dad is a great man. I'm sorry he had to see this part of my life. I don't suggest that 'being gay' is a damaging, depressed life; unfortunately, you can't choose who the other gay people are in this world. You're stuck with what's out there; when we only have 2-3% of society versus straight people who have 97-98%, life is very different and disappointing. I would have loved for my dad to meet a man I could fall in love with and see me in a relationship, happy.
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    Feb 17, 2009 10:16 PM GMT
    Yay, that was my original thread. I thought it was long past dead. I'm not about to dive into details about me and my dad again. I'll just leave it at this: He was never around when I was a kid, and now it's not much better that he knows that I'm gay. My father? Pffft. I'll take my 2 moms ANYDAY.
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    Feb 17, 2009 10:36 PM GMT
    I have to say my dad took care of me financially until I started working as a teen, but as for loving.....its definitely true about Daddy's little girl. My dad spends more time with her for everything and now that she gave him 3 grandson's forget me. But I have to say when I came out to both my parents, he was the most ok with it. And my parent' s till this day treat me the same now that they know their son's gay, then when they thought I was str8. I was more horrified at telling them than it actually was .LOL

    But I think they both worry about me finding someone so I dont grow old alone... because my dating is just not happening in 5 yrs I dont think I have met one gay man to date. So in the end my relationships not as good with my dad as with my mom. But I think its alot like that in every household.
    Daddy's little girl ,and Momma's boy. Eventhough I am not a mommas boy by any means, I call her once a week if that.LOL Ciao
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    Feb 17, 2009 11:25 PM GMT
    My father was a prick. He fought in Vietnam and it really mind fucked him. He wasn't a nice person to me growing up. When he got cancer when I was 17, he pushed me away and held tight to my mom and older brother. I still don't understand why he pushed me away. I feel like he completely rejected me.

    I'm not really mad about it anymore, but I'd be lying if I said it still didn't hurt to think about it. The thing is he's dead now, so I don't have any choice but to move on. I don't know about having kids though. I need to make sure I'm not like him before I decide to have one.

    On a side note, my brother and mom both said he was proud of me and that if I had come out before he died, it would have been totally out of his character to have rejected me, and if someone had attacked me for being gay, he would take a baseball bat to their face. So there is always that. I don't know, it would have been nice to have had him be nicer to me.