Should I come out to my parents?

(13 Posts)
FatGirlRuns Wed 29-Jun-16 22:56:22

I'm in my 40s, I've been happily bisexual and had loving relationships with both men and women during my life since my late teens. Most of my friends are aware (and not in the least bothered). My 20 yr old DD knows, we talk openly about pretty much everything.

I've been in a loving, long-term relationship with a man for nearly 10 years now. We'll get round to getting married sometime, not in a rush but it's definitely a 'lifetime thing'. Honestly, we're more friends than lovers - we have separate bedrooms and rarely have sex, I spent the first several years wondering if he was gay too! (He insists he's not, but that's irrelevant, sorry!) But we're both really happy with the arrangement and love each other to bits.

The only thing that makes me sad is that I've never been honest with my parents about my sexuality. I don't think for a minute they'd even be that surprised, let alone against it - but it's just something that's never really come up or been discussed.

Just lately, I've been wondering whether to broach the subject. I'll be perfectly honest, I'm not actually sure what the point would be but something in me really wants to. I've no idea why, but I've suddenly started feeling sad that my parents don't know the real me. Or maybe it's deeper than that and I miss being a part of the gay community (I used to be very 'out and proud' when I was younger!) Is this the start of some weird mid-life crisis?

HappyHeart87 Wed 29-Jun-16 23:00:11

Sounds to me like you're in a secure and happy place and want to have more transparency and openness with people that you care about. What's the catch? Why wouldn't you tell them?

FatGirlRuns Wed 29-Jun-16 23:10:21

I don't know, really. It just seems a strange thing to bring up after 40 years. I guess if it came into conversation naturally, I'd just go with it - but it never has. Not sure how I'd even begin that conversation. And I'm sure they'd just be quite confused as to why I was even telling them.

sykadelic Thu 30-Jun-16 03:35:08

I'll be honest, there has never been a time, as a straight female, that I felt the need to "announce" to my parents that I was straight, so I can't really relate with the need to do so.

However I would think that as you're in a heterosexual relationship right now, telling your parents you're bisexual serves no purpose. It's really not important unless you're in a homosexual relationship and want to introduce someone to them.

AdultingIsNotWhatIExpected Thu 30-Jun-16 03:42:38

Being in a straight relationship doesn't make someone any less Bisexual, even if they never have another partner as long as they live!

The OP talks about being "out and proud" in her youth, so its part of her past, who she is, and I see how she might feel weird about white washing over that part of her just because she "passes" for straight now just because she happens to be with a man

It matters, because if her parents are part of her support system, then when things like the recent shooting happens, she might want them to just "get" that it's particularly personal to her.

I get it OP. I don't know how you go about it, i guess there's no right or wrong, but I gues why you feel there's a part missing if you're not open about who you are just because of your relationship being with a man

good luck x

AdultingIsNotWhatIExpected Thu 30-Jun-16 03:50:39

However I would think that as you're in a heterosexual relationship right now, telling your parents you're bisexual serves no purpose. It's really not important unless you're in a homosexual relationship and want to introduce someone to them.

This just…. I can't get past it
Does your sexuality only exist if you're in a relationship?
I identify as straight, that's who I am. Am I not straight when I'm single? Am I only straight when I'm with a man.

Celibate people still have a sexuality, virgins have their sexuality. It's not defined by who you are with at the time

Canyouforgiveher Thu 30-Jun-16 04:39:11

Celibate people still have a sexuality, virgins have their sexuality.

yeah but I wouldn't tell my parents if I was celibate. Or a virgin. So I can kind of see why people are saying why would you tell your parents you are committed to a man but like women too? It isn't like being truthful with the world - it is parents. Many people have a don't ask/don't tell policy about sexuality with their parents. and vice versa too.

That said, OP, if you want to tell you parents - do. Just say it out straight. I think you might feel better if you do, I suspect that you think they are missing a big part of you by not knowing. And that makes sense. So why not tell them.

nooka Thu 30-Jun-16 06:05:42

Did you never introduce your parents to any of your girlfriends OP? Was there a reason why you felt you couldn't tell them when you were younger perhaps?

My dd is bisexual, but she never really came out, we were always clear that being attracted to the opposite sex was a potential option and when she started saying that film stars etc of both sexes were hot it was fairly obvious!

I get that that was probably very different twenty years ago (am also in my forties) but were there really no opportunities over the years, or did you worry about their reaction? If you think that they would be cool then I think I'd try and engineer an opportunity to open up a bit.

BlueUggs Thu 30-Jun-16 06:14:54

My partner made a big deal of coming out to her parents and got herself totally wound up about it.
When she told them, they'd already worked it out for themselves.
Parents see and understand more than we think!!

FatGirlRuns Thu 30-Jun-16 08:06:16

Adulting - I think you totally hit the nail on the head. I hadn't consciously realised it but I think it was not being able to discuss the recent shootings openly from an LGBT perspective that's made me feel, IDK... lonely? Anyway, thanks, you really seem to 'get' me.

I've realised since I wrote this that there are other people in my life who don't know that part of me as well. My brother and sister, for example, in fact, all my family. And lots of 'peripheral' friends, not that it bothers me if they know or not, but yes... I hesitate when writing FB posts, for example, and never put anything 'out' on there. Maybe I should just start commenting openly as if everyone already knows. They can deal with it however they want.

Nooka - I introduced my mum to a girlfriend on my 21st birthday, she didn't seem surprised, carried on as normal. Next day she saw my new tattoo and commented 'you'll never find a nice man if you cover yourself in those'. She genuinely thought I was just introducing a new friend. I should have taken that opportunity really! I've never had a really close relationship with my parents, a lot of stuff isn't spoken about. I still don't know who my real father is, and I had to fight to find out I had siblings (only met them a few years ago, hence them not knowing either). I guess the fact I got pregnant quite young and lived with the dad for a few years cemented the 'straight factor' and it was easier to let people assume after that.

I think something that worries me a bit is that if I take the step to 'come out', I still won't feel I can be open about it (people will wonder why I've suddenly started 'being gay') so whilst half of me feels this need for the transparency Adulting speaks about, the other half wonders if I'd be opening a pointless can of worms.

AdultingIsNotWhatIExpected Thu 30-Jun-16 12:25:32

yeah but I wouldn't tell my parents if I was celibate. Or a virgin. So I can kind of see why people are saying why would you tell your parents you are committed to a man but like women too? It isn't like being truthful with the world - it is parents. Many people have a don't ask/don't tell policy about sexuality with their parents. and vice versa too

You are confusing talking about your sex life with talking about your sexuality

Talking about your sexuality with your parents is not like talking about your sex life. It is talking about your identity and your community.

Here's the problem, straight is still considered the default
So if you don't express otherwise, one way or another, many people will assume you're straight

So, effectively, they do already think about you in terms of your sexuality, just the wrong one

FatGirlRuns Thu 30-Jun-16 15:54:45

I decided to take a first step and see how friends react so I posted this on Facebook:

"I struggle with why it matters whether I out myself or not, and how much I can and should contribute to bi visibility when I’m in a monogamous partnership." - Just read this in an article and it's the exact question that's been in my head for years.

(My mum and dad aren't on FB, my brother and sister are though).

sykadelic Fri 01-Jul-16 02:14:46

This just…. I can't get past it
Does your sexuality only exist if you're in a relationship?
I identify as straight, that's who I am. Am I not straight when I'm single? Am I only straight when I'm with a man.

Ugh. See I don't understand how it's not hard to understand.

The ops recent fb post for example, totally makes sense to post. If her parents brought up LGBT issues or talked about the recent shootings, also relevant.

However the Op didn't say they were going about it that way, just "hey mum dad, I'm bi. Just fyi" seems weird, like a prelude to "and I'd like you to meet my new gf" or "and that's why me and X are no longer together.

I truly don't believe anyone should need to "come out". You are what you are. It's like any opinion or feeling you have. It is what it is, it's no big deal and you should just talk like everyone knew.

Someone else said straight is default... only because people treat it that way. By "coming out" in a big grand way you're perpetuating the idea that it isn't normal. So treat it like you would talking about a fave band or the latest crush you have. It is what it is, no biggie

Caveat being some people suck and would judge you so I get the angst if you think your parents/friends would.

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