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Is now the time to tell dd that mummy's "special friend" is actually mummy's gf?

(42 Posts)
amibi Tue 09-Apr-13 12:03:44

Hi everyone

I've posted on here about this several times, but for those of you who don't know I'll briefly fill you in....

Me and my ex dp(father of my dd) broke up about 6 1/2 months a go, mainly because I had developed feelings for another woman, which he was always aware of. Having said that, me and dp would have broken up at some point, because we were becoming more and more distant and looking back, we were never really right for one another.

For a long time, I was struggling with my sexuality and trying desperately to define it, but over the past couple of months, I've realised that I don't need to label myself as anything. I have fallen in love with the most amazing person and that's that.

Yes, things at home are still complicated and me and dp are still very much at the awkward stage, but that's mainly because he's still in love with me and I'm often still bombarded by "please take me back" voicemails and text messages. So obviously things are still a bit messy.

My gf has moved closer to me and we see each other a lot. My dd is always asking about her and is incredibly fond of her and she does see her a fair bit, however we're obviously trying to deal with everything as sensitively as possible. I'm thrilled that they get on so well, but my dd will always be my number one priority and I'm desperate to get this right.

I think she understands that she's not just one of my friends, but at the same time, I don't think it's entered her head that we're romantically involved. However she is now aware of same sex relationships and that conversation actually went surprisingly well.

So, if dd asks the question, are me and x a couple, should I say yes, no or try and divert? I really don't know what is right. Dd has been going through a fibbing stage and we've had to come down quite hard on her because it was becoming constant. So my concern is, if I say no we're not and then she finds out that we are (I know some people in our village know) is she not going to be angry that I have told lie and so therefore, I'm not exactly practicing what I preach?

Oh and my dd is 6 btw.

Any advice, or experiences really welcomed.

Thanks for reading

MushroomSoup Tue 09-Apr-13 12:12:54

How can you and DP be at an 'awkward stage'? If you've split up then you've split up and nothing you do is his concern any more! unless its to do with DD, of course.

Just because you are in a same sex relationship it doesn't have to be more complicated! If it were a man you were seeing would you still feel you have to announce to your DD that he was your bf?
Just enjoy this lovely new relationship and let DD ask when she needs to know. Then answer her honestly. I remember my DCs saw me kiss now DH in the kitchen and they asked if he was my bf - I just said yes and they said COOL and put the telly on!
Don't over think it - go with the flow, you lucky lady!

towicymru Tue 09-Apr-13 12:13:14

No experience of this but I would saytell her if she asks. If you lie to her, you risk destroying her trust in you. The fact that you have had same sex relationship conversations will help. She is liekly to find out at some point from your ex or someone else. I probably wouldn't do the sit down, I have something to tell you but if she asks be honest. It's likely that she has already picked up on it anyway!

McBalls Tue 09-Apr-13 12:17:30

I think it's way, way too early for your dd to be introduced to your new partner.
That would be my opinion regardless of gender, btw.

I agree with McBalls.

McBalls Tue 09-Apr-13 12:21:56

But that ship has already sailed, so if she asks then I think you have to be ho est.
But I think you could influence whether or not your daughter would ask at this early stage - if she's around very often, sleeping over then it is going to make dd wonder (possibly, because it just may not occur to her at all) but if you try to conduct your relationship away from your child then she'd have no reason to ask anything.

6 months ago her parents were together, give her some time to adjust before she has to deal with your new relationship.

Lovingfreedom Tue 09-Apr-13 12:22:47

I don't think a 6 year old will generally ask anything/much about sex and sexual relationships. If I were you I'd just follow normal standards that you find acceptable in front of your child as you probably did with your ex - i.e. you might feel comfortable showing affection but not overtly sexual references/behaviour....it's really up to you. She might ask if she is your GF, she might ask where she sleeps, things like that. Why lie?

amibi Tue 09-Apr-13 12:29:53

mushroom Thank you, I feel lucky. I'm glad that your dcs took it so well. How long had they known him before they found out he was more than your friend? If you don't mind me asking, that is.

towi I agree, that she's probably picked up on something by now. She's very artistic and is constantly drawing pictures. When she draws pictures of me now, my gf is always with me and I think she definitely gets that we come as a pair. I try very hard to make her feel as secure as possible though and so when I told her that dp and I were no longer together and he wouldn't be living with us anymore, she was obviously very upset, but I always reinforce just how much we both love her and how she is and always will be the most important person in both of our lives.

My gf is brilliant with her and has got the balance just right. She isn't overwhelming or unrealistic and I know when the time comes, she'll be a brilliant role model for dd. She has a fantastic calming effect on her and it's so nice to see.

I have mentioned before that I'm very worried about potential bullying that dd might get at school. She already struggles socially and I would feel incredilby guilty if she was teased about mummy at school.

DoctorAnge Tue 09-Apr-13 12:34:17

I think it's a bit early regardless of sex. Her Dad has so recently moved out and she must be very fragile.

mummytime Tue 09-Apr-13 12:37:14

Then I would suggest you talk to the school. Most schools should be pretty hot on homophobic bullying. Even my DCs C of E primary dealt very well with a famous Lesbian's children going through it. (It also dealt well with a transgender child.)

There was an interesting clip on Radio 4's "The listening Project" on Sunday in which a boy chatted to his Step-Mum (who is a lesbian), and he said how kids apologised to him, when they used "gay" as an insult. In my experience kids can be very accepting nowadays.

DragonMamma Tue 09-Apr-13 12:42:40

Hey amibi, I've posted on your other threads, glad things are going well with your gf.

I personally think it's too soon to be introducing new relationships to your DD. 6 months may feel like an age to us but it's really no time at all and she's had a lot of upset recently. My DD is very slightly younger than your DD and I know that I wouldn't be introducing a new dp to her for a long time, if dh and I ever split up.

I don't think there's any need to refer to your gf as a 'special friend' either - a friend will suffice as special friend is you telling her, in a very roundabout way.

If I were you, I'd be trying to separate your time with your gf and time with your DD, at least until you've been together longer and she's had a chance to adjust. I don't think she should associate daddy leaving with mummy's special friend being around, I think you both need to adjust to life with just the 2 of you before adding a third in to the mix.

Andro Tue 09-Apr-13 12:50:36

I have mentioned before that I'm very worried about potential bullying that dd might get at school. She already struggles socially and I would feel incredilby guilty if she was teased about mummy at school.

You need to talk to the school, anything that marks a child out as 'different' is a prime target (unfortunately). Just as importantly, if your DD tells you she is being teased/bullied because of your relationship then take action. Hopefully things have moved on since I was at school, but there was one girl who was alternately ostracised and beaten up because her father had a male partner...her father did nothing!

I really hope that all goes well though smile

Lovingfreedom Tue 09-Apr-13 12:52:05

I introduced my new partner very early on...I didn't want to have secrets from my kids or tell lies. Of course my 15 year old knew the score...but my new partner rarely stays over (and never with sex) while the kids are in the house and I'm still not sure my 11 year old knows that that there is sex involved and he's never asked. I introduced him as a friend initially and then when my ex and his mum blurted it out on my behalf, stirring as usual told them it was a relationship. They both like him a lot...but I tend to keep them fairly separate and see him mainly when the kids are with their dad. Actually my DD was pleased when I introduced my new fella...she had been very worried about me after her dad moved out and told me she was pleased for me.

amibi Tue 09-Apr-13 12:53:45

Hi Dragon, I have never actually refered to her as my special friend. I only put it like that because I know that dd understands that she's not like my other friends.

I knew that some of you would think that it's too soon and I respect your opinions, I genuinely do, but yes, that ship has sailed. They have already been introduced and I think so far, I have dealt with it sensitively. She sees her daddy a lot and me and dd have a lot of time just the two of us. Sometimes my gf will ask if we can do something the three of us and I have said no, I would like to spend the day with dd alone. She isn't offended and she understands.

Something that is very telling though is that my dd is happier now, than she's been in a long time. I think that's the bottom line. Everyone has commented on how much calmer she is and happier she seems.

McBalls Tue 09-Apr-13 12:54:05

"When she draws pictures of me now, my gf is always with me and I think she definitely gets that we come as a pair."

Wow.

So if you split up with ex 6 months ago, how long have you actually been in this new relationship?

McBalls Tue 09-Apr-13 12:56:33

You know what, I'm feeling all snippy about this but I don't know you and am probably being unfair.

Good luck with it all.

amibi Tue 09-Apr-13 13:02:01

Andro, I think I will have a chat with the school actually. I'm pretty sure it's out now at the school gates and so I suppose it's only a matter of time before the comments/questions come out to dd. Hopefully that initial 'ooooo have you heard about.....' will die off quickly and it will be yesterday's news. Everyone who I've told so far have said pretty much exactly the same 'but you're so feminine' grin I think most people have a hard time dealing with something when you don't fit the stereotype.

Lovingfreedom Tue 09-Apr-13 13:05:55

You can have different relationships with different friends and there is no need to be formal about 'this is my GF' etc....Others will disagree though I'm sure. I'm not entirely comfortable about the labelling aspect of relationships anyway...have a lot of friends, one of whom I have sex with too..but whose business is that? No-one asks married/attached people how their sex life is.

MushroomSoup Tue 09-Apr-13 13:10:14

I was with DH a matter of months, I think.
I'm a Primary Head and have experience of children's parents divorcing and mum beginning a same sex relationship. There was very little teasing - just a real interest as it was 'different from the norm'. The children would just say 'yes' if asked if their mum had a gf.
We just reiterated that 'love is just love' in the end, and if you find it, you're very lucky, no matter who it's with.

Andro Tue 09-Apr-13 13:17:44

I think most people have a hard time dealing with something when you don't fit the stereotype.

Stereotypes suck! I'm a biker...that apparently means I should drink pints (yuk), be 5 stone over weights (I'm not) and I can't wear skirts or dresses (Huh?). Ah well, it makes like interesting.

I'm sure your DD will be fine as long as she knows you'll support her if she has any problems - the girl I knew was older (secondary) and 15+ years ago now.

LittleEdie Tue 09-Apr-13 13:20:16

If people at the school gates know then that outs a different slant on it. Maybe you should tell her - but not in a big sit down sort of a way.

I don't think 6 months is too soon. I think we're a bittoo hung up on our DCs being delicate flowers who can't cope with such things in this country.

arthriticfingers Tue 09-Apr-13 13:42:08

Please don't take this wrong OP, but, to me, it comes over as if you are transferring your adult (albeit, now happy) feeling onto a 6-yr-old. No, she she does not know what 'more than a friend' means for any gender - she is 6.
Why do you have to 'tell' her anything about your new relationship?
Would it be appropriate to tell a 6-yr-old you are having sex - with anyone at all?
I know I am coming over as harsh - but sort your relationship out with your ex before you move on officially - and then take things day by day.

noddyholder Tue 09-Apr-13 13:48:33

One of ds best friends went through exactly this when he was 10 and his sister was 7. Their mum a close friend of mine told them once they knew her partner and it was absolutely fine. They knew exactly what she meant and 9 years on they are still one of the happiest most together families I know. I think they will surprise you smile

amibi Tue 09-Apr-13 13:55:06

arthritic, I don't think you're coming across as harsh. I understand why you would think that, but no, I don't think it's just about me transferring my happiness. Obviously there will be an element of that, but life, albeit more complicated, is lighter and there is less tension in the air since my ex left. Of course, my new relationship is a separate issue, but she has definitely had a positive influence on dd. She's even getting on better with her dad and I think his fathering skills have improved since he moved out. Yes, he's having a hard time adjusting, but hopefully he'll get there. The main thing as far as I'm concerned is that my dd is happy.

amibi Tue 09-Apr-13 15:20:45

noddy that's a lovely, refreshing story smile I really hope I have a similar one to tell in the future. Can I ask how did other friends, family and school gate mums react to your friend's new relationship? I have already noticed people whispering etc when I'm around and I'm trying really hard not to let it bother me, but obviously sometimes it's going to. I hope I end up being pleasantly surprised by people's reactions, rather than disappointed. Most other women who have been in the same/similar situation have said that they have lost a couple of friends along the way, but that at least they know who their real friends are.

noddyholder Tue 09-Apr-13 15:53:43

I don't think there was any of that. The lady was in my book group and we knew she was having problems with her dh and one night she got quite drunk and just blurted it out! Everyone supported her and it was never really discussed too much. In fact when my ds was being an arse aged about 16 it was her new partner who really helped me out as she had been through it with her ds. We all just liked her from day one smile. the kids are amazing too and the 'blended family' is like any other fights and all!

MyelinSheath Tue 09-Apr-13 16:44:16

Hi Amibi,

My gf directed me to your post. I don't come on MN much but we may have chatted before. My dd has just turned 7. So far this year I have come out to her, moved out of the home I lived in with her dad and my gf and her son are now living with us. Lots of change, although dd knew that ex and I had broken up quite some time ago and knew that the move would happen.

I came out to dd in Jan when I knew that she and I would be spending time at my gf's over half term. Initially she found it a bit weird, but we continued to talk about it and she was got used to it very quickly. She had met gf before but we had tried to keep it friendly. I hadn't told her that gf was my girlfriend at the time, more as an abstract notion that I would one day have a gf.
Then, when we were staying with gf over half term she asked me if gf and her son could come and live with us because she liked them so much. I felt that was an apt time to tell her that gf was my gf. She took it very well. We all moved in together in a new place a month ago and it's all gone really well so far, and shows no signs of faltering.

As for what you should do, all you can do is keep communications honest with your dd and preferably never lie or evade direct questions. I'm a bit tense about how things will go if dd blabs all over school, but we will have to deal with that when it happens.

amibi Tue 09-Apr-13 17:40:01

Mye, yeah we have spoken before. How are you?

I'm really glad things are going well for you, you must be so relieved and it's great that your dc's get on so well.

My mum who overall has been very supportive about the whole thing, thinks I should basically keep it a secret forever! I was quite disappointed when she said this because one minute she's telling me that she's absolutely fine and accepting of it, but if she really were then she wouldn't be suggesting we keep this to ourselves. I guess maybe that's why I've been nervous how others will react.

MyelinSheath Tue 09-Apr-13 21:18:07

Yeah, my mum has known for nearly a year and is still struggling a lot. It has damaged our relationship a lot, she's not fine with it at all abut is starting to realise that it's not going to change.
I haven't kept this to myself at all, which I know she would have loved, but I just can't do that.
Really hope all goes well for you, hope your dd takes it in her stride.

KateDillington Tue 09-Apr-13 21:27:32

Is your DD ok with gay relationships in general? I'm bi so I've always tried to be very clear to my children to counteract the hetero-normality that they learn - pretty much every time it's mentioned in conversation. We've also had lots of books about different families etc. and close friends who are gay. I don't think they would have a problem with me falling in love with anyone of either sex and they are aware that not all of my past partners are men.

I introduced my children to my boyfriend about six months after I left my DH - by which time he had also introduced them to his girlfriend. They knew he was a 'new' friend and eventually asked me if he was my boyfriend. I said yes and that was that. We introduced sleepovers etc. gradually several months later (mainly when I was poorly and they wanted him to look after me!).

Having said that, I am 18 months on from leaving DH and we are now in the middle of a bitter divorce wrangle. The last few months have been hell on earth and what started as an amicable break up turned into seven shades of hell. It's a bumpy ride to that decree absolute and a lot of blood will be shed. So be easy on yourself and don't rush into anything.

Good luck and I hope you have found a love that will last. smile

amibi Wed 10-Apr-13 12:09:02

mye really sorry to hear it's damaged your relationship with your mum. It's such a shame when family can't accept us as we are. I understand it taking them a while to adjust maybe, especially if it's come out of the blue, but you would hope that unconditional love would apply here. I hope that one day you and your mum can have a good relationship again.

kate, well my dd hadn't really asked about gay relationships before and there never seemed an opportunity for it to be spoken about. I wanted her to ask me, I didn't want to have to sit down and explain things and so therefore, make a big deal out of it. About a month or so a go though, I was reading one of the most ridiculous and insulting articles I've ever read online about bisexuality and how basically we'll all grow out of it and become 'hasbians' eventually angry grrrr, but anyway that's another story....so dd came up behind me and saw a picture of two women together and she asked "mummy why are those ladies both wearing wedding dresses?" and she then had a little think and said "are they marrying each other?" and so I said yes and she asked why, but after I explained that sometimes women fall in love with women and men fall in love with men, she just said "oh right, ok" and that was that. She's not really mentioned it since, but she didn't seem particuarly confused or anything, so I'm hoping when the time comes when she understands my gf is my gf, she won't be too shocked.

Sorry to hear that you've had a rough 18 months. I hope you can all get back to some kind of normality soon.

Kione Wed 10-Apr-13 19:43:14

My friends son has two granmas from his mums side grin . my friends mum came out when we where teenagers. No one mentioned the words lesbian or girlfriend, my friend introduced us her mums now wife by her name and we just guessed and thats it. Friends son is 3.6 and calls both of them grandma I find it really refreshing, maybe aldo becsuse I really like friend's mum's wife. She is just so friendly and always smiling. Being teenagers we thought she was someone cool you could just tell anything!
Anyway, to the point. At school all teachers know them both as they babysit him and often pick him up. Everyone is fine and they would tackle any homophibic issue with other children when he grows up.
I think modern schools now a days are great.

Uppatreecuppatea Wed 10-Apr-13 20:35:33

A mother of one of DS's friends left her husband and is now married to her girlfriend and they live together with her DD. Everyone knows about it. Everyone loves this mum and they don't care a jot for her personal life.

The DD in question is great about it too. Everyone is happy. In fact, it feels more abnormal to see this DD's dad at school than it does to see the "two mums" helping out at the school fair etc.

They are a great couple and I've never heard one inkling of negative comments about them.

Good luck!

amibi Thu 11-Apr-13 12:36:40

Kione, I really hope DD's school is as accepting and up to date. I really have no idea. I know there's a lot of gossiping, but I suppose that's true of any school. I guess I've been guilty of it too sometimes, so I can't really say much confused Anyway, I'm not really bothered about what people think of me, I worry that DD will be treated differently and like I said before, she's already seen as different. She has problems socialising and stands out a fair bit. I've already had issues with teasing and whenever I've spoken to the school about it they've not been that helpful and have said things like "well we need her to tell us when it happens" and "if it happens at break time, we can't really do anything about it because we don't see it" but I did come down on them pretty hard recently and said I wanted it monitoring closer, ie talk to the dinner ladies about it and work with them. I'll be asking them about it when she goes back on monday, so we'll see. But you can probably understand why I don't have that much faith.

uppatree, once again, it's really good to hear such a positive reaction. You might think this is a silly or pointless question, but can I ask if they fit the stereotype? Like I said before, I really don't and I wonder if people would treat me differently if I did. I know I shouldn't care and that shouldn't even be an issue, but I'd just be interested to know. Actually, can I ask you the same question Kione? I hope that doesn't make me sound stupid, it's just that so far, people I've told almost haven't believed me because I'm 'so girly' grin and I just wondered if maybe people have an easier time accepting something when you fit the dreaded sterotype. God, I had that word.......sorry to keep using it! grin

Kione Thu 11-Apr-13 13:10:18

amibi, in this case I could say they do... but not in an obvious way. While they are not girly you wouldn't tell they are gay at first sight as you do with some gay people. But I do have some friends that are quitw "Butch" and are not gay, so I dont usually think if stereotypes.
Buy yeah I guess, my friends num has always had short hair, no make up, always in trousers, but so was my mum! grin Her wife is the same towards make up or grooming but as I say, maybe in my country or area, should I say, this is quite normal, lots of woment are quite relaxed sbout their appearence and are charming in the inside smile

Mumsyblouse Thu 11-Apr-13 13:48:18

One of the children in my daughter's class had two mums. The children were not that interested in it (aged 6), the odd parent said things like 'did you know X has two mums?' but no-one was that bothered. I do think what you've done is sensible though telling your dd about gay marriage, the recent fuss over it was an excellent point to start talking about it, because when children are little they do tend to think (or mine did) that a) all parents are married and b) that marriage is always a man and a woman, partly because they think a bit rigidly and partly because they think of making a baby and it all gets confused! So, letting them know that women can also love and marry women, and the same for men, helps break that stereotype and I think it will be less shocking then when your new girlfriend becomes a fuller part of your life.

amibi Thu 11-Apr-13 14:45:18

kione, thanks for that.

mumsy I was so glad when she asked me the question herself. I really didn't want to talk to her about it if she hadn't been interested in the first place iyswim. It didn't seem right. I was very relieved and actually incredibly proud by her reaction, cos she seemed so accepting and later she said "it's ok though isn't it, cos they love each other" which I thought was lovely.

amibi Thu 11-Apr-13 21:49:33

Ok, so I just got back from the co op and these two little pricks come up to me and say "are you that milf who's banging another woman?" so I told them to fuck off and grow up and then the other one went "that's so hot, but you know you're gonna miss a good bit of cock aren't you" angry angry

I came home and cried. I seirously can't believe how vile some people can be. That'll teach me for taking her to my local pub last week. I think I may of held her hand at some point shock the horror!! Gossip really does spread like wild fire doesn't it.

I've seen these guys before and they've always made me feel uncomfortable.

I know I shouldn't let it bother me, but I feel really upset....not a good start.

arthriticfingers Thu 11-Apr-13 22:04:31

angry amibi angry
Really angry that they thought they could get away with it

amibi Thu 11-Apr-13 22:16:11

Yeah me too. I was shaking when I got home, I was so angry.

I wish I could have had a better come back than I did, but I was just so shocked.

Still haven't calmed down properly yet

Spiritedwolf Thu 11-Apr-13 22:32:11

That was horrid that they thought they had the right to approach you and comment on your sex life and humiliate you like that. angry

I hope you feel better now. The opinions of people like that don't matter, you know? They aren't the people you want around you, whose support you need and want.

My brother who is still at school and has 'come out', was talking to me about the comments he gets. He used to feel tortured by them before he came out, when people guessed his 'secret'. But he says he really doesn't care what they say any more, and gave this analogy. If he was to wear a really unusual jacket to school, one that he really loved and people started commenting negatively about it, then he'd have two choices - to feel bad about it and stop wearing it, or to wear it and be proud that he has the courage to be different. I asked him if the comments hurt though, and he said that they genuinely didn't anymore, because he knows that the idiots that hurl homophobic remarks at him, are cowards who couldn't wear that jacket, they'd rather hide something even if they genuinely loved it than go against the opinions of the majority. He pities them. He acknowledged that before he got to that point of 'not caring what other people thought about him' that he doubted it would ever happen.

I'm so proud of him. I'm still learning that lesson about not caring what others think and to follow my heart and he's 16 and he's already learnt it.

amibi Fri 12-Apr-13 11:47:14

Spirited, well yeah, I did feel completely humilated. I felt disgusted by their comments and it's put me off going out in my village, which has made me cross with myself. I know I should just get out there and ignore ignorant, idiots like that, but I suppose it's the first nasty comment I've recieved and so hopefully I'll develop a thicker skin in the future. Not that I should have to, but that's the world we live in unfortunately.

It's fantastic that your brother at such a young age, has already got things sorted in his head. It says a lot about him and I can understand why you're so proud of him.

I have to say, I still feel rubbish this morning. I feel so sad that I'll inevitably be met with attitudes like that again. It got me worrying more for DD. The thought of someone saying something similar to her about me is so hurtful. I couldn't bear her hearing something like that.

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