Wedding Woes

Do not out him. It is not your place.

Dear Prudence,

My husband and I have been together for over a decade, and we both have children from our first marriages. He has a son who is now 14 and lives with his mother in another state. My husband’s relationship with his first wife is extremely strained, and they don’t speak. I know that a few months into the move his son contemplated suicide, and I reached out to my stepson’s mother back in August to try to bridge the gap between them. Things have been changing for the better. My husband and his ex still don’t talk, but I’m hoping that will change soon, and in the meantime I still talk to her for their son’s sake.

Now that we’re communicating with his son more via the phone, his social media profiles have been automatically “suggested” to me as a contact. Everything I have seen so far is “gay” this and “gay” that, and as I looked further I noticed that he has a few gay friends. I’m wondering if I should ask my husband’s first wife if she is aware of his social media. On one of his profile pics there is a quote which states, “I don’t want to live.” But I don’t know how to ask. I’m not even sure if she knows. I don’t know if I should leave it alone because I don’t want to offend anyone, or not be able to communicate with my husband’s son anymore. Please help!

—Reaching Out

Re: Do not out him. It is not your place.

  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    member

    The thing that does concern me is the quote, especially since he has contemplated suicide in the past.

    If there is a therapist involved, which I hope there is!  I would call the therapist and let them know about the quote, so they can bring it up in a future session.  This doesn't "out" the stepson out to anyone, but can allow the quote to be addressed.

    If there is no therapist, that makes this so much more difficult.  The stepson needs to make sure he isn't slipping back into a place where he is thinking about suicide again.

    One thing I don't fully understand from LWs letter is if the stepson is gay.  The way LW writes the letter is seems more like the stepson is using the word gay in a derogatory sense.  As in "that's so g**."  Just because he has a few friends who are gay, doesn't mean he won't use the term gay in a derogatory way.  Just look at all the racists who say "But I have a black friend!"

  • So does she think he's gay and she is inferring that he is suicidal because he's gay? I don't know that I'm following...

    Either way, the fact that he has a history with being suicidal and has recent posts saying "I don't want to live" are enough to have a conversation with the mom. I don't think this is "outing" him (again, unless I'm not understanding this). She might be saving his life and getting him help that he desperately needs.
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  • kimmiinthemittenkimmiinthemitten Detroit, MI
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary 5 Answers
    member
    I think in today's more open culture it's not uncommon for teenagers to have more gay friends than our generation did.

    If you have genuine concerns his social media is hinting at another suicide attempt, I'd try to tread lightly and approach the topic.  Coming off too strong may destroy the relationship you've worked so hard to build with his mother.
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  • I was a little confused by this letter also.  The bottom line I got is that the SM wants to alert the M that the boy is having suicidal thoughts again, but without directing her to his social media.

    I realize the boy lives OOT, but I would think the first step is for her and her H to get in touch with him.  Show their love and concern.  Encourage him to say something directly to his mother and get into counseling, if he isn't already.

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • I was a little confused by this letter also.  The bottom line I got is that the SM wants to alert the M that the boy is having suicidal thoughts again, but without directing her to his social media.

    I realize the boy lives OOT, but I would think the first step is for her and her H to get in touch with him.  Show their love and concern.  Encourage him to say something directly to his mother and get into counseling, if he isn't already.

    I wouldn't do this, personally. They barely have any contact with this kid. If he hasn't already gone to his mom about this, some remote family telling him he should probably isn't going to make it happen. 

    I'm coming at this from the perspective of my 14 year old self. If some remote family who I barely had contact with told me they had stalked my social media page, saw a suicidal post and then said "please tell your mom and go to counseling" I would probably (in my teenage way) give them a fat middle finger and retreat from the relationship. 
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    kimmiinthemittenmrsconn23InLoveInQueenscharlotte989875
  • I was a little confused by this letter also.  The bottom line I got is that the SM wants to alert the M that the boy is having suicidal thoughts again, but without directing her to his social media.

    I realize the boy lives OOT, but I would think the first step is for her and her H to get in touch with him.  Show their love and concern.  Encourage him to say something directly to his mother and get into counseling, if he isn't already.

    I wouldn't do this, personally. They barely have any contact with this kid. If he hasn't already gone to his mom about this, some remote family telling him he should probably isn't going to make it happen. 

    I'm coming at this from the perspective of my 14 year old self. If some remote family who I barely had contact with told me they had stalked my social media page, saw a suicidal post and then said "please tell your mom and go to counseling" I would probably (in my teenage way) give them a fat middle finger and retreat from the relationship. 
    This. If they want to reach out, they should just do it and leave their 'knowledge' out of it. 

    But honestly, as a stepparent (and I'm saying this as one), she needs to leave the parenting to her stepson's parents. She should keep talking to his mom, but keep it 'light' and about whatever his mom wants to tell her about him.  It sounds like everyone's relationship here is complicated and her trying to direct anything is going to end up with her being clobbered.  No one is asking her to be in the middle, so she should not put herself there. 
  • I was a little confused by this letter also.  The bottom line I got is that the SM wants to alert the M that the boy is having suicidal thoughts again, but without directing her to his social media.

    I realize the boy lives OOT, but I would think the first step is for her and her H to get in touch with him.  Show their love and concern.  Encourage him to say something directly to his mother and get into counseling, if he isn't already.

    I wouldn't do this, personally. They barely have any contact with this kid. If he hasn't already gone to his mom about this, some remote family telling him he should probably isn't going to make it happen. 

    I'm coming at this from the perspective of my 14 year old self. If some remote family who I barely had contact with told me they had stalked my social media page, saw a suicidal post and then said "please tell your mom and go to counseling" I would probably (in my teenage way) give them a fat middle finger and retreat from the relationship. 


    Maybe I misunderstood the letter?  I'm assuming the boy's father and the SM speak with him and are only remote family, geographically speaking.  The LW only said that the father doesn't speak with the mother.  Not that he doesn't speak with his son.

    However, if that is not the case, then the father needs to man up and get over that he can't get along with his ex, for his troubled son's sake.  But I would agree that, in the meantime, the suicide concerns should be lightly brought to the mother's attention and/or the boy's counselor.  If he has one.  He should and I hope he does. 

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • I was a little confused by this letter also.  The bottom line I got is that the SM wants to alert the M that the boy is having suicidal thoughts again, but without directing her to his social media.

    I realize the boy lives OOT, but I would think the first step is for her and her H to get in touch with him.  Show their love and concern.  Encourage him to say something directly to his mother and get into counseling, if he isn't already.

    I wouldn't do this, personally. They barely have any contact with this kid. If he hasn't already gone to his mom about this, some remote family telling him he should probably isn't going to make it happen. 

    I'm coming at this from the perspective of my 14 year old self. If some remote family who I barely had contact with told me they had stalked my social media page, saw a suicidal post and then said "please tell your mom and go to counseling" I would probably (in my teenage way) give them a fat middle finger and retreat from the relationship. 


    Maybe I misunderstood the letter?  I'm assuming the boy's father and the SM speak with him and are only remote family, geographically speaking.  The LW only said that the father doesn't speak with the mother.  Not that he doesn't speak with his son.

    However, if that is not the case, then the father needs to man up and get over that he can't get along with his ex, for his troubled son's sake.  But I would agree that, in the meantime, the suicide concerns should be lightly brought to the mother's attention and/or the boy's counselor.  If he has one.  He should and I hope he does. 

    Ah, that could be the case.

    My takeaway was that neither SM or dad really had a relationship with this kid until recently, due to the lack of communication between dad and mom.

    This letter is definitely confusing on several levels.
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    short+sassy
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