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Wedding Woes

Ugh. I don't care what niece is going through, she's being an asshole.

Dear Prudence,

I’m from a large, close-knit, religious family in the American South. My parents and grandparents have repeatedly said that if any of us were gay, it would break everyone’s hearts, but that person would have to be cut off for the sake of the younger family members. However, my “roommate” of six years is welcomed at every family function. My mother refers to her as “my third daughter.” Grandma buys her Christmas presents. My uncle, a church leader, reserves us seats at the family table at homecoming. And my partner has really bonded with them—she doesn’t have much family and always wanted siblings. We’ve both talked about the future, and we’re both content to keep living an open secret. She works at a big religious organization and would likely lose her job if we came out. We plan to get married in another state and become the Ambiguous Spinster Aunts Who Own Too Many Tiny Dogs.

The problem is one of our teenage nieces, who’s quickly becoming the black sheep of the family. She’s going through an “alternative” phase in high school and does shocking things like dying her hair, using cuss words, and criticizing her father’s church. I am not so shocked; she’s just finding her way in life. But now she wants me and my partner to come out. Our last conversation, she basically said we are cowards and hypocrites and hurting the cause of LGBT rights. I am pretty hurt and also angry. My partner and I chose our life together and accepted the cost of staying partly closeted. That’s our decision. My niece has no right to hijack our life because she’s going through a rebellious phase. I’m worried that she might out us to the family, either on purpose or by making snarky comments. How do I talk to her about this? Make her take this seriously?

—Comfortably Closeted

Re: Ugh. I don't care what niece is going through, she's being an asshole.

  • CharmedPamCharmedPam Chicagoburbs member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary First Answer
    edited June 13
    Ditto.  Does niece really know?  And if she does - a simple “what we’re doing right now works for us” should suffice.  

    OurWildKingdom
  • People get to live their lives the way they want. And it sounds like LW and their partner understand the ramifications of their choices. 

    The niece doesn't get to make the choice for the LW, but LW should probably be prepared if the niece decides to disclose. If they do want to confront the niece I’d recommend talking to her about the importance of individual choice in disclosing personal information and how that choice and privacy is irrevocably violates when someone else makes that choice for them. 
    short+sassyOurWildKingdomei34
  • VarunaTTVarunaTT member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    If LW's family is living at this level of denial and LW and partner are as well, LW needs to continue to say they're living in a roommate situation to niece.  At this point, as long as LW sticks to their story, niece will just continue to be ostracized and seen as a shit stirrer to the rest of the family.

    I'm not even wading into the rest of it, b/c it's way too complicated for Prudie or anyone else to be handling.


    mrsconn23CasadenaOurWildKingdomOliveOilsMom
  • flantasticflantastic The Midwest member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    People get to live their lives the way they want. And it sounds like LW and their partner understand the ramifications of their choices. 

    The niece doesn't get to make the choice for the LW, but LW should probably be prepared if the niece decides to disclose. If they do want to confront the niece I’d recommend talking to her about the importance of individual choice in disclosing personal information and how that choice and privacy is irrevocably violates when someone else makes that choice for them. 
    Yes. "This is our choice and it is working for us right now. If you choose to out us without our permission, you have taken our choices away from us and you are actually being far more disrespectful to us as particular LGBT people."

    Anniversary

    OurWildKingdom
  • banana468 said:
    I'm confused.   Does the niece really know?  Has the LW actually admitted anything? 

    How I'd phrase my response depends a bit on this but I'd ask a lot of questions of her.

    SO much of her response is IMO cloaked in a feeling of 'this is how it should be' vs her naivete at how the world actually works.      She's acting too arrogant to understand the repercussions of any potential actions because she's most likely still living under the protective financial umbrella and roof of her parents. 
    Yeaaahhhh.  That's what I'm confused about also.  It doesn't make sense that if the LW and her partner have kept this a secret from family that they would have told the teenaged niece.  Sorry to the teenagers out there.  But I would never trust a major, important secret to one of them.  But maybe the LW did because she saw her niece going through normal angst and wanted to share her own secret, to show her she is not alone.

    If the niece hasn't been told anything and she's making assumptions, I'd play dumb and possibly even flat-out lie that myself and Aunt Jane are not a couple.  She has no idea what she's talking about and has no right to spread anyone's false rumors.

    If the niece does know because she has been told by the LW, then I would very clearly explain that how we live our lives is our business and we have VERY good reasons for keeping the true nature of our relationship a secret.  Including literally my SO's livelihood.  Depending how the conversation goes, I might even threaten that if she does try to out us, which would be a horrible and egregious act that would seriously damage the relationship we had with her, we would vehemently deny it anyway.
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    charlotte989875OurWildKingdomei34
  • kerbohlkerbohl member
    Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 1000 Comments First Answer
    I'm sorry ... somehow I'm stuck on the niece doing "shocking" thinks like dyeing her hair.  I know the other things are far worse, but why would that be included to paint a picture of how rebellious this niece is?  It makes me think LW is overblowing everything.  I just recently dyed my hair for the first time, and it certainly was not shocking or rebellious.
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    OurWildKingdom
  • kerbohl said:
    I'm sorry ... somehow I'm stuck on the niece doing "shocking" thinks like dyeing her hair.  I know the other things are far worse, but why would that be included to paint a picture of how rebellious this niece is?  It makes me think LW is overblowing everything.  I just recently dyed my hair for the first time, and it certainly was not shocking or rebellious.
    I dye my hair often, but the "American-Southern" part keeps reminding me that this may be what it's 'shocking'
  • kerbohl said:
    I'm sorry ... somehow I'm stuck on the niece doing "shocking" thinks like dyeing her hair.  I know the other things are far worse, but why would that be included to paint a picture of how rebellious this niece is?  It makes me think LW is overblowing everything.  I just recently dyed my hair for the first time, and it certainly was not shocking or rebellious.
    Meh - depending on the family if they're Duggary conservative and she's now sporting dark black hair or some variation found in a box of 8 Crayola I can see that for the family it's shocking.  
  • MesmrEweMesmrEwe member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    Niece needs a "Come to Jesus" in more ways than one...  If the niece was actually accepting she'd understand that this is "code word for a gay couple when dealing with the older less accepting generation" is involved.  The family isn't clueless at this point, really, heck, even my parents knew my cousin was gay two decades ago when they were introduced to his "roommate"...  It wasn't until I looked at him square a couple years ago and said "(cousin) Worst kept secret on the planet if you think we don't know - everyone just talks this way because they think your parents haven't figured it out!"...  
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    short+sassy
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