Wedding Woes

I can feel her anxiety jumping off the screen. :(

Dear Prudence,

I’m really struggling with the idea of telling my parents about my girlfriend. They’ve known I’m bisexual for about five years, but it wasn’t by choice, as my mother cyberstalked and subsequently outed me. They’re very homophobic and self-righteous, and after that breach of trust, I’ve taken the stance that they don’t have a right to know about my romantic life. I haven’t cut them off completely, though, and I don’t think I want to, but my good old Catholic guilt complex is making me feel like I can’t tell the rest of my extended family about my relationship, or consider proposing to her, before I tell my parents. That prospect scares me: I’m afraid they’ll yell about my selfishness or tell me I’m going to hell, that they’ll try to manipulate me with suicide threats, that their negative views will taint my relationship and make me second-guess myself, or that my mom might try to take her anger out on my sister, who still lives with them.

I’ve set deadlines for myself to tell them multiple times and have always chickened out. It’s easy to keep a secret since I live halfway across the country and we don’t talk often. But we’ve been dating more than two years and I know that this is weighing on my girlfriend. My sister is the only relative who knows about her, and I go home for the holidays by myself. The last time I went home I was so anxious that it made me physically ill. I know I need to get my butt to therapy because this is a lot, but in the short term, I’ve set my next deadline for after my sister finally moves out of my parents’ house mid-December. Prudie, how do I screw my courage together and actually tell them this time? Would it be horrible of me to just make a Facebook announcement and turn off my phone?

—Coming Out Again

Re: I can feel her anxiety jumping off the screen. :(

  • IDK why this is drama has to be the girlfriend's problem too. They live halfway across the country and gf has never even met LW's folks. Since she's planning to propose, LW needs to realize how much of her own issues should be the burden of her gf. Enroll in counseling...figure out your next and best move. But stop burdening your gf. 
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    short+sassyInLoveInQueenscharlotte989875
  • Whoa.  

    LW has a problem b/c she doesn't want to choose between her partner and her family.  And it sounds like it is a choice between the two.  I don't think there's anything harder that exists for a LGBTQ+ person.  I also feel really sorry for LW, b/c she's been trying to balance these 2 things and she's reaching the end of her rope.  It sounds like she's been literally living 2 lives and keeping her GF off of her FB to hide from her family.  The burden on both LW and partner is probably immense at this point.

    You know?  I've been upset with some things that have come across FB for me to find out.  But in every single one of those situations, I have been a trusted party that was hurt someone didn't feel safe coming to me to tell me something, so posted it on FB.  LW has every.single.reason. to not feel safe coming to her parents, so FB post away!  Hell, I'd even write up a coming out story that says she's afraid her family won't be supportive, so she's looking for her community to support her.  That community would be there, she'd be uplifted, and she'd find her net that she desperately needs through what might happen to her.  I'm not necessarily sure she needs a therapist right now, she needs validation and support.
    kimmiinthemittencupcait927OliveOilsMomcharlotte989875
  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey
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    IDK why this is drama has to be the girlfriend's problem too. They live halfway across the country and gf has never even met LW's folks. Since she's planning to propose, LW needs to realize how much of her own issues should be the burden of her gf. Enroll in counseling...figure out your next and best move. But stop burdening your gf. 


    I think by default this will always be the partner's problem too.  How many Prudie letters have we seen where LW is a partner who has never met their SOs parents or they need to be a "friend" instead of BF/GF at Thanksgiving.  That must be weighing on the SO in addition to the BF/GF trying to navigate complicated family relations.

    As for the LW, I agree with Varuna.  Make it a facebook post.  LW has so much anxiety about all of this.  LW should take some of the pressure off by just putting it out there for the world to see on facebook.  Let those who support LW offer the well wishes on the post and those who don't will probably just skip it over.  At some point, I'm sure the parents will contact LW, but if the conversation turns to any other than support for LW and SO.  It would be fine for LW to state that at this point their words are hurtful and LW no longer wants to hear it.  Then LW can hang up the phone.

    short+sassymissJeanLouiseVarunaTTeileenrob
  • nowhere did OP say that she was burdening her gf with this. Of course it would weigh on gf's mind. She has to stay a secret because of the risk of homophobic violence and exclusion from her partner's parents. She's probably wondering about the future, worrying about her relations with her future in-laws, and frustrated with being kept a secret. They reacted badly enough to finding out that she is bisexual. The likelihood is that they are hoping that she will end up with a man. Announcing that she is proposing to a woman would potentially provoke an even more extreme reaction.

    I was fortunate enough not to be in OP's position. I came out to my parents in person to facilitate bringing a partner home for a family occasion that was a few months away. They reacted pretty well, even though they were weird about it for a while. They still refer to my girlfriend as my "friend". In this case, I would absolutely go for just making an announcement on Facebook and ignoring my phone for a little while. There's no need for her to subject herself to their immediate, homophobic, unfiltered reactions.

    I really hope that OP has a close LGBT community whose support she can draw on. So so so many of us have been through this or something similar. I have a close bi friend who knows that he will be disowned and cut off from his family the day that he comes out to them.

    Therapy for the anxiety might be a good idea, but I would not see a straight therapist. In my experience, they have absolutely no idea what they are doing with us. Well meaning, frequently, but clueless.
    It IS important for OP to take stock of her life. Do her parents have control over any of it? Is her car in their name or something? Do they have her important documents, like a passport or birth certificate? If they do, trying to secure these things and complete logistical independence is essential before taking any action.
    short+sassyVarunaTT
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