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Do i tell brother our Dad is gay?

(44 Posts)
Curlygirly Tue 13-Feb-18 19:10:31

Our Dad is in 80's with Alzheimer's. Recently gone in care home near me. I've helped care for him last few years. Brother visits every couple of months but no real interest.

I've been clearing out Dad's flat and come across photos and letters that obviously means he's had male relationships. Haven't told anyone. Do I tell my brother? How do I tell him?

Mum & Dad split many years ago. She always said she never really knew why he left but about 30 years ago said do you think he's gay? I thought she was being bitter and spiteful but that always stayed with me.

Don't even know how I feel about it all.

retirednow Wed 14-Feb-18 12:37:15

What would you gain by telling him,

Curlygirly Thu 15-Feb-18 09:34:01

Probably nothing which is why I haven't said anything yet. It's all I can think about.

HerSymphonyAndSong Thu 15-Feb-18 09:35:59

Would it help you to talk to him about it?

ScattyCharly Thu 15-Feb-18 09:37:33

It depends if your brother would find peace in knowing why your parents probably split?

HellonHeels Thu 15-Feb-18 09:37:56

Does it help to have a possible reason why he left? Would it help your brother to know? If not I would maintain your dad's privacy.

Curlygirly Thu 15-Feb-18 10:00:04

I just feel upset with my dad I guess. He must have known one of us would find out everything when we were sorting out his stuff.

It won't give my brother any peace to know but I don't want this knowledge on my own. Selfish I know. Just don't feel I know my dad at all now.

HerSymphonyAndSong Thu 15-Feb-18 10:04:06

I don’t think it’s selfish of you at all. It sounds like you take the greater share of care and you need support. The only thing is whether your brother can give you the relief through sharing or not, though he is the one most likely to understand how you feel perhaps?

justanotheruser18 Thu 15-Feb-18 10:09:20

I don't think you need to say anything. Unless it will give you peace? Which by the sounds of it.. it won't.

Your father can't speak for himself any more and I don't know if it's your place to tell his secret? I understand that it must feel like a huge lie has been kept from you. A reason for your parents' split. Your mother's anger. And I'm so sorry you've found out like this. But this isn't about you. Or your brother. Your dad was a person who lived a secret life from his children, probably out of fear? and it can't have been easy for him either.

TwitterQueen1 Thu 15-Feb-18 10:10:12

Maybe just say to him what you've said here and then decide whether or not to say more based on his reaction. eg: Hi DB, I've been clearing out Dad's flat and have found a few things that suggest he may have had feelings for men at some point in his life. Were you aware of this?

Then you can get a better idea of whether or not DB would be a support to you. Otherwise I would probably just keep quiet. How bad is your Dad? Would you be able to mention anything to him?

justanotheruser18 Thu 15-Feb-18 10:10:41

I suppose you could leave the photos etc for your brother to find.

This is a really shit situation for you. And it sounds like you're doing a lot by yourself.

TwitterQueen1 Thu 15-Feb-18 10:12:11

Maybe it was a comfort to your Dad, knowing that you would find out eventually and understand him better. It must have been very hard to live with such a huge, deep part of you having to be hidden.

Cauliflowersqueeze Thu 15-Feb-18 10:13:15

I wouldn’t share that.

Is your mum still alive

potoftea Thu 15-Feb-18 10:15:55

It sounds like you want to share this knowledge with someone who is equally affected by it, so the obvious person is your brother. If you feel it will help you then do it. You don't need to protect him from this secret, it sounds like you are carrying the bigger burden in caring for your dad, so deserve to do what is best for you.
And as you said your dad must have know one of you would find out, so persumebly he's happy enough that you both know.

Curlygirly Thu 15-Feb-18 10:17:03

Part of me agrees that it isn't my secret to share and agree with what you are saying.

But...part of me is so upset. What he did impacted my whole childhood. Not even really the gay part but the lengths he went to cover it up.

Somewhereovertheroad Thu 15-Feb-18 10:22:03

Maybe you should look into counselling to see if there is a different perspective.

Are you even a little sad that he lived in an era where people couldn't openly admit to being gay?

misscph1973 Thu 15-Feb-18 10:59:42

I don't think you should have to carry the burden of keeping this a secret. What do you think your dad would have wanted? I am sure he would not have wanted to upset you.

I guess it feels a bit like he betrayed you and your family, but in the bigger perspective, this happens all the time. I suspect your dad loved your mum very much and that he was struggling with his sexuality. A gay friend of mine always said that many gay men really want a wife and family and that it's very hard to give up that dream.

My dad cheated on my mum with men and they divorced. My mum was devastated and spent 10 years in deep depression. It was also very difficult for me and my younger sister. My dad has since remarried (to a woman) and in spite of everything I have a good relationship to him. We don't talk about it, but it's not a secret. With my experience I can surely understand why your dad kept his sexuality hidden!

You are very welcome to send me a PM if you want to talk.

Curlygirly Thu 15-Feb-18 11:34:22

Yes my mum is still alive. I would never discuss this with her. I just couldn't.

I do feel sad that he couldn't be open about this. I grew up in Brighton. Gay people were in every part of my life. At work, my flatmates, friends. It was/is so normal for me and I might have just been more accepting.

Previous poster said it's not about me. You're right. It's not. But why does it feel like it is a bit?

Fortysix Thu 15-Feb-18 12:49:11

I'd be talking to my Dad about it first.

Does your DF in the care home have momentary bouts of 'golden' time when his brain is in gear and his conversation is lucid? Could you chat to him at all and let him know that you know and actually get some comfort that way?
Even if he has no golden time l would be tempted to chat to him in the privacy of his own care home bedroom and discuss it with him.
My mum is also in a care home and doesn't know my name. Sometimes in the privacy of her room i just chat away to her about my current day to day hassles and work colleagues. She never replies but for all I know might be registering just 5% of what i say. It makes the visit less empty.

Curlygirly Thu 15-Feb-18 13:17:48

Fortysix* that's a good idea.

PaperdollCartoon Thu 15-Feb-18 13:22:16

Your poor Dad, it’s a shame he didn’t feel able to be open. I understand your feeling that is to do with you, I found out at my DGM funeral last year that she’d had a child she gave up for adoption. I felt really sad that she hadn’t felt able to tell me.

If it were my brother I would tell him, because I know him, I can’t speak for your brother. If there’s any hope of talking to your DF I would try that.

Lisette40 Thu 15-Feb-18 13:27:30

curlygirl a good friend of mine has just come out after his mother's death. He's spent 25 years celibate because he didn't want to upset his mother. She was extremely homophobic. I'm just so upset for him that he felt he had to wait all this time.

user1493413286 Thu 15-Feb-18 13:28:03

I think it also depends on your relationship with your brother; I’m very close to my sister and wouldn’t be able to not tell her.
I understand why you feel upset about this discovery; I think it’s important to remember that during a lot of his life being gay was illegal and completely unacceptable therefore coming to terms with it himself may have been so hard that he didn’t feel he could share it.

Thisimmortalcurl Thu 15-Feb-18 13:29:24

I think if it was me I would ask my dad but be clear that it was totally fine. I would only be asking/ speaking about it if I thought it would be something that he would feel okay about sharing and perhaps be a relief.
If my dad was the sort of person who would be embarrassed or just unable to discuss I would most likely offload to my sibling.
It’s unfair for you I think to have to keep it to yourself.

8wheelsgood Thu 15-Feb-18 13:40:11

We found out this about my father a few years back. He had cheated on my mother, with men, while we were small, and entirely possibly while they were still sleeping together. He lied and put her at risk. They divorced, I haven't spoke to him since. This was the final straw though as he was not a good person in other ways.
I would tell your brother, especially as your father may well say something to him if he forgets people's faces/names and if he was prepared it would be less of a shock should something be said.

And no. I don't feel sorry for my father at all. I have no sympathy for gay men who marry and sleep with men still. He could have not cheated on my mother but didn't.

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