• Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 03, 2012 4:49 AM GMT
    I have two kids from a failed heterosexual marriage. They are my pride and joy and I love them more than life itself. They are intelligent, well adjusted, and they are kids that any parent would be proud of. But except to say the marriage ended pacefully, let's forget about how I got here...I am looking forward, not backwards.

    I came out to my closest friends recently and was stunned at the reception I got from my two best friends (both straight as an arrow, and whom I only half-surprised). Collectively, they are appalled that I have not directly discussed my sexual orientation with my kids....13 and 14 years old.

    If I ever have a relationship where I wanted to introduce my partner to my kids, I feel that's when I need to fully disclose. Otherwise, I feel they should just know me as who I am...a very straight-acting guy who never dates women.

    My friends think I'm setting the kids up to hear about my sexuality through the grapevine. I think it's none of the kids' business whom I sleep with and I would not discuss details of my sex life with them even if I was straight. (I firmly believe my sex life vs. educating them about sex are two utterly different subjects.)

    I just feel that the odds of them accidentally learning of my orientation is about as likely as me winning the lottery or being struck by lightning ... but if they ever did ask, I would disclose immediately. It would be painful, but I would do it.

    Clearly, this short post does not capture all the nuances of my life or the situation my revelation has placed my friends in (ie. their kids are great friends with my kids) but I'm interested in other opinions.

    Without hesitation, I would rank they way I have raised my kids as the greatest success in my life. I know I am a good father and my kids love me as much as I love them...but my friends have me worried I am making a real mistake on this issue....

    Am I completely out to lunch? Should I disclose? Am I a fool?
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    Jul 03, 2012 4:54 AM GMT
    You are their father, do what you think is right. If you want to wait til they are on their own or tell them when they are 16 or tell them tomorrow, its your decision.
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    Jul 03, 2012 4:59 AM GMT
    I'm the furthest thing from a parent or married or formerly married or whatever. And I think what you're doing is fine.

    Kids need to be taught that the things some people find "abnormal" are actually in fact "normal". No frills, no rush, no big hoop-lah. The last thing you want them or anyone to think is that you're that "gay parent". You want to be judged based on your character - not who you stick it into or where they stick it into you.

    To sum it up - your sexual orientation isn't relevant. To anyone. You're kids. You're dog. You're ex-wife (only when she was your actual wife does it make a difference but she isn't anymore...). Don't make it relevant. You just like men. Whatever. No big deal. They ask about it, dad prefers other men. Your kids are 13 and 14 - they aren't little kids who are going to ask weird questions: "Daddy, where you do you put it in?" They're smart and old enough to think of dads sex life as ick. I'm 21 - I still don't want to know anything about my parents sex life.

    The only thing to worry about is someone (i.e. your ex-wife) telling your kids that you're a dirty homosexual. Other then that, the best thing you can do is treat it as an everyday, normal thing. Isn't that what we all want anyway? Why not start acting like it? From what I gathered, they don't that the reason for the divorce?

    I probably didn't make any sense. icon_neutral.gif
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    Jul 03, 2012 5:52 AM GMT
    nobody likes kids
  • AMoonHawk

    Posts: 11422

    Jul 03, 2012 7:18 AM GMT
    Never had kids ... so I'm not sure what the right thing would be to do. I just know that kids are a lot smarter now (not so naive) then when I was that age. Someday it won't be a big deal to any one.
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    Jul 03, 2012 7:20 AM GMT
    My experience with my friends has been that when they tell their kids themselves they get to frame the conversation properly. Letting other people explain you is a big gamble... And in these evolving times when even Anderson Cooper can finally come out, what the hell do you have to lose? It's not like they probably don't already know. Teenagers aren't innocent.
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    Jul 03, 2012 8:42 AM GMT
    You want to be judged based on your character - not who you stick it into or where they stick it into you.
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    Jul 03, 2012 10:26 AM GMT
    I already went through this.

    First I acclimated my son to "gay" through meeting friends that were partnered. If questions came up, I let him know it was perfectly natural and nothing was wrong about it. When I had a BF, they met after we had been dating awhile, but I told him that he was a "friend." We ended up breaking up before things got to the point where I needed to tell him, but for a while it was headed that way.

    After a little while (about a year and a half) I came out to my son. His response was, "oh, XXXXX in kindergarten is gay, he goes around kissing all the boys."

    We joked a bit and talked about things.

    But the overall reasons I told him were that

    1. I wanted him to find out through ME, not my ex or someone else. This was the major reason.

    2. I felt it was important for him to understand a major new part of my life and be able to talk about things

    3. Eventually hiding everything becomes tiresome
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 03, 2012 10:45 AM GMT
    Personally, I think you're making a mistake. You've told your friends and other people know as well so you're running the risk of the kids finding out some other way. What will that do to your relationship and their trust? Will that make it ok for them to hide really important stuff from you, until they feel you need to know?

    Your kids are smart and I'm sure love you just as much as you love them. I'm guessing they know more than you think.

    I'm out to my daughter and we have a really close relationship. We've always had a great one but she thinks I'm a lot cooler because I'm gay. I hope your kids feel the same about you one day! Peace.
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    Jul 03, 2012 1:49 PM GMT
    The hate against gays is already there, The ignorance is already there. Your kids are 13 and 14 and they already have their developed views and stereotyped personas from peers and entertainment about gays. But in the home is where it suppose to matter the most. You can help direct and provide a leading example for them by being honest with them about what sex you date, making it clear so there is no 'pink elephant' in the room. Once you do, you'll find that you become more comfortable about being open to them about any friend you invite over. And no real friend or decent date wants to be sneaking around avoiding someones kids to help you hide your sexuality from them. You'll reveal and discourgage any form of homophobia that may exisit within the houshold while educating them on the topic. Your kids are at the age of being interested in sex and the more you hide it, the more they will adopt that behavior and hide it themselves when they start to seek out those they find sexually attractive. The old saying goes when it comes to dealing with those you share a roof top with, "honesty is the best policy." Even more so when you're a parent. Of course first dates or hookups should be private, but serious steady dates need to be a known family affair and gathering. A few things to take into consideration before deciding to take the big leap. Is your community a liberal community? Do your kids ever joke negativly harsh about homosexual topics? Are you comfortable within yourself being in the room with them while sitting/conversing with someone you're dating? Do you envison it being awkward for them or do you see them being relaxed and welcoming about it? If you determine the kids are not in a mind set to welcome your sexuality, then before coming out to them you need to educate them on acceptance and tolerance of gay people. Good luck.
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    Jul 03, 2012 2:32 PM GMT
    I'm thinking that unless you're living off the grid, at you're kids age they already know and are just waiting for you to tell them.
    Seriously, isn't the assumption: if you're hot and have no visible medical/physiological problems and aren't seeing someone of the opposite sex, you're gay?

    But, yeah, with Clay on this one...only you know you're kids.
  • Suetonius

    Posts: 2545

    Jul 03, 2012 3:38 PM GMT
    I think you may be setting your kids up for some negative feelings toward you when they do find out - however - Disappointment or anger that you have deceived them for many years about who you really were. Kids are perceptive, but if you are totally hiding your gay life (if you have any - which it seems you may not), as aware as kids are today, they may still be totally clueless about you. Who knows- if you sneak off for late night liasons thinking they will not notice - they may be thinking you're a drug dealer or spy. Do you have encounters you actually lie about - spending a couple hours at the baths and telling them you are going to a business meeting?

    Are you depriving yourself of a love life so that your kids won't find out? That would be terribly sad and unnecessary.
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    Jul 03, 2012 3:45 PM GMT
    Or you could not tell them, they find out on their own...and are pissed you didn't trust them enough to share this EXTREMELY HUGE PART OF YOUR LIFE with them.

  • Lincsbear

    Posts: 2613

    Jul 03, 2012 3:47 PM GMT
    As other guys have said you`re their father, so, ultimately, you must do what you think is in their best interests. It sounds like you`re doing a good job raising and loving them.

    My advice would be similar to what you posted: when they ask you directly, they deserve an honest answer from you. Just be ready as it may come when you least expect it.

    Best wishes.
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    Jul 03, 2012 4:31 PM GMT

    Nothing much to add here as people have given great responses; however, I will say that your kids may pick up on clues faster than you think (clues you may unconsciously give).

    My brother is gay and 20+ years older than me (old enough to be my father). Our relationship was limited by such an age difference, especially since he was living on his own by the time I was born. When we did hang out we never discussed anything remotely related to his sexuality; however, I met several of his "girlfriends." Furthermore, he is masculine and fits the profile of your typical jock. Nevertheless, I always had the feeling he was hiding something. Eventually I confirmed what I suspected, and he was surprised when I told him (at the time I was 17) I knew he is gay. I picked up on clues of which he was unware he provided.

    Best of luck to you and your family
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    Jul 04, 2012 2:00 AM GMT
    All of your relationships can only be as healthy as the relationship with yourself. Honesty with yourself means honesty with others.

    The things that scare you may become your best friends one day.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 04, 2012 2:14 AM GMT
    Claystation saidYou are their father, do what you think is right. If you want to wait til they are on their own or tell them when they are 16 or tell them tomorrow, its your decision.

    i agree with clay. 13 and 14 are too young to understand it if they haven't grown up with it already. 16 is a good age to tell them
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 04, 2012 2:25 AM GMT
    My son is now 18. I told him when he was 14. His grandmother (my ex-in-law) was starting to get nosy about why I hadn't dated in the 13 years since the divorce.

    I wasn't going to let anyone color that conversation.

    It was the best move for my family; but there are no hard and fast rules. My son believes that it was the perfect time for him, because his views were not set yet.

    I don't know about 16. They are in the throws of high school which carries a great deal of pressure to be normal and fit in. I see this in my job every day.

    My heart is with you as you work through this.
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    Jul 04, 2012 2:55 AM GMT
    Don't have kids, but I told my sister I was gay when she was in grade 8. She was surprised and taken back for a moment. I asked her if she knew what that meant, and she responded like any other kid would - "you like to date other guys instead of girls".
    It was during a drive home and she had questions for me, like who I was dating, or if I ever had a boyfriend. She was curious about my love life for the first time and I answered her truthfully.

    I'm quite proud I told her when I did. It gave one of her friends the courage to come out to her and his friends. She was having a birthday party at home and I was visiting so I offered my parents to chaperone. Her guy friends were all scared of me and on of my sister's friends asked her if I was dating someone. My sister told them, "Yes, he has a boyfriend."
    Apparently I was the talk for the next 30 min and her friends thought it was very cool that she had an older gay brother. This eventually gave one of the kids courage to come out to my sister and his friends seeing how they were accepting of my sexuality.

    Our situations are completely different. I adore my little sister. Your kids look up to you as a parent. So whether it's right or not to come out to your kids is up to you. However- you must be willing to deal with the consequences of them finding out from others.

    My sister knew about homosexuality when she was in grade 8. Lots of kids gossip in grade school- and fairly young too. I remember kids talking about subjects we were way too young for. So if you think you're kids are too young to know the truth, understand that they will learn about homosexuality through other means. It'sup to you if you'd rather educate them with an openmind, or let them come to their own conclusions with what they learn in the school yard.
  • Timbales

    Posts: 13999

    Jul 04, 2012 3:06 AM GMT
    Personally, I think it's a mistake. I think your kids are going to feel like you were lying to them and don't trust them. When you do finally tell them, they are going to be wondering why you waited so long.

    Also, it's not really fair to them or a partner to spring it all on them at once and expect them to be ok with it.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 04, 2012 3:15 AM GMT
    Trust your gut on this one....

    I think you're smart for holding off in introducing dudes you meet to your kids.

    But I don't have kids... so I don't know.. hell I failed at raising my dog.

    My friend wanted to let his kid know I was gay... mainly so he is i guess tolerant.. THEY'RE a lot smarter and piece things together than most know.
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    Jul 04, 2012 3:36 AM GMT
    Thanks for the input, gentlemen. No surprises, no silver bullets....but here are two important things I have taken away so far:

    1) they need to hear the news from me first;
    2) I should not be afraid because there is a very good chance disclosing will be a positive experience for all of us.

    And most importantly, many of you hold opinions similat to my friends'. And since I trust my friends, it makes sense to respect their opinions and take their advice when I find it hard to choose a course of action on my own. So, right now, I'm beginning to believe I should take advantage of an excellent upcoming opportunity when I will have them all to myself to have "the talk".

    Thanks to all of you who have helped me think this through. And since I did not address this point in my post, but I know many of you must be wondering: I do not believe my ex-wife knows.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 04, 2012 3:41 AM GMT
    Good luck with it....

    I'd be more concerned about the ex wifey! ;)
  • Ironman4U

    Posts: 752

    Jul 04, 2012 3:51 AM GMT
    I think you are making the right decision to reconsider your original position. I am a father as well and have a loving and wonderful relationship with my 24 year-old daughter. I separated from her mother when my daughter was 5. Long-story short, I did a lot of research on the topic back then to figure out what was the right thing to do, as far as disclosing my sexuality to my daughter. There was quite a bit of information available (even back in 1994). So, I'm sure there is even more out there now.

    Overwhelmingly, the advice was to disclose in an age-appropriate way because failing to do so would or could cause trust issues. As you mentioned, your kids need to hear from you, in your terms, under your conditions. Again, there's lots of great info out there on how to come out to your kids to make sure that you do it right.

    Being a loving dad, you have nothing to worry about. Granted, your kids may at times have some difficulties with it and you will be there when that happens. But it's very likely that you will be an even cooler (and more authentic) version of yourself which is the best way to be a great role model for the two most important people in your life. Good luck!
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    Jul 04, 2012 4:06 AM GMT
    Interesting question and the responses were just as interesting. There were some very good comments and recommendations.

    As a parent who has been through this, I believe there are two comments that are both very worth considering. One is that you know the dynamics of your family and the maturity level of your children. These are very important aspects in making the decision. The second is that your kids are much more perceptive than you might think. Being friends with the kids of your friends could be an issue. At the age of your kids, there will be misunderstanding and confusion. My 13 yr old was probably the most outspoken of my kids in being upset, she was also the youngest. Even with that, she quickly understood and recognized that dad wasn't changing a bit. She recently told her friend that her dad was gay. A major step for her in accepting me as who I am. I'm so proud of her.

    The advantage of telling them is that they will think of you with every 'gay related' issue they hear of (gay friends, news regarding gay issue, people who make derogatory comments, etc.). They'll be able to put face on what it means to be gay and they're role model will be a very positive influence. Growing up with a gay dad makes it the 'norm' for them and that will also influence their friends.

    I think your reconsideration is a good idea. One last thing, I would strongly suggest that you tell the kids mother before you tell them. It will be better for the kids, in my opinion, if both parents are on the same page. Easy, no... the right thing, I believe so. Good luck.