Ian is a perceptive man who always sees the best in people. We’re married and have been together for six years. When Ian came out, his parents and family basically cut him out. He reached out for a while; they responded in distant ways. Our relationship started during the end of this slow fade and I encouraged him to move on and build boundaries.
We recently learned (via text) that Ian’s dad almost died of COVID. Now his parents want to reconnect with him. They’ve barely shifted their values but got vaccinated on the down low. They’ve talked on the phone and Ian plans to visit soon, but I said I’m staying home.
Ian seemed hurt but hasn’t brought it up again. He thinks they’ll attend our wedding (we’re legally married, but planning a modest ceremony next year). These people sent him emails “asking for his perspective” on news stories featuring gay pedophiles! They don’t remember his birthday and take days to respond to holiday texts! Maybe it’s selfish, but I decided a long time ago I don’t spend what is probably my one life on this Earth subjecting myself to, or dashing myself on, the walls of folk’s dogma.
With my words, I’m supportive of him going, but I think they’ll guilt him into helping with their massive medical bills, which other families are helping with, they’ve made sure to mention. We make enough at municipal jobs to live comfortably enough but not enough to help with these bills in a way that matters. We’ve recently purchased a condo and money is still tight. Should I bring up what I’m suspecting, or am I acting cynical?
Ian wants me to meet them because I’m a part of the family. I don’t want to be a part of that family. The money we would save from my staying is a lot. On the other hand, this is the open-hearted man I married and plan to spend my life with. Should I just suck it up and go? I’m on the spectrum. Can you tell me is staying one of society’s many unspoken grave social don’ts?
—Happy Where I’m At