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Strange revelation from parent regarding sexuality

(12 Posts)
TheHerbs Tue 20-Oct-09 13:59:42

I've changed my name for this not to protect myself, but as I'm fairly well known on here and know that friends read MN, so it's to protect my mother's privacy, just in case - I hope I'm not doubted anyway (will prob out self later in thread, typically) grin

Anyway...I was chatting with my mum the other day when her and Dad were here. I can't remember how it came about but I mentioned to her that I wondered whether one of my sons might grow up to be gay.

She said 'Well, it is genetic' hmm and I kind of said 'what?' and she went on to explain that had she not met my father, and married him out of a need for security, she would have very likely been a lesbian. She also said that she thought her own mother was very masculine, but didn't say whether she suspected she was also gay.

I have a sibling who is gay and am very happy about that. But it was a bit of a surprise to hear this from Mum.

It isn't because I would be upset by her being gay, but that it kind of calls into question my entire relationship model. I knew that Dad adored her from the start but she was never that nice to him, well she wasn't horrid (much) but it was as though she didn't adore him in the same way. And she's told me in the past that she hasn't ever really fancied him.

I feel odd writing this about their relationship but what I am wondering I suppose is whether this might have influenced my ideas about what is a decent relationship, in quite a negative way...for example, thinking that finding a man who is 'good' to you and loves you is more important than him being adored by you. iyswim.

I've always managed to do the opposite, ie go out with men who don't love me, but I adore them...it's gone wrong a couple of times. And now I'm hedging around a relationship with a bloke who adores me, but I can't find an ember of desire for him, despite liking him very much as a friend. This feels like my 'fated' relationship if that makes sense, but it isn't how I imagined love/marriage ought to be, not consciously anyway.

I am feeling rather confused and would appreciate some input if anyone can see the wood for the trees.
Thanks.

notaloud Tue 20-Oct-09 14:18:36

One word...Therapy!

Sorry thats a bit insensitive, but this kind of sexuality issue is not something you can work out all by yourself. Sounds like there are some deep issues there that need to be explored in safe surroundings (ie talking to a counsellor!)

Like you say it is not that your are horrified that she might be or have been gay, but more that you are looking at your own personal life and need some time to discuss all these relevant things.

Maybe, she was trying to say something and didn't say it in the right way. Ie maybe she was trying to say that she was bi-sexual or bi-curious, but the love of your dad bowled her over... I dunno, but think you do need to talk about it more.

TheHerbs Tue 20-Oct-09 14:24:24

Thanks, I reckon you are right. She went into some detail about how she met another woman when we were little, and would have liked to take it further but was married and also the woman didn't want to...she was v young, about 23 or so.

It is complicated and I would probably benefit from a bit of in depth analysis etc. to work out what I believe in and want, rather than what she/they taught me about relationships...saying that they are still together 40 years on so it can't be all bad!!! smile

notaloud Tue 20-Oct-09 14:35:36

Also might be worth talking to her more about it.

She might be over egging the pudding a bit. Memory is also at the hands of personal interpretation. It might have not meant much at the time, and now decades later with the recent history of your sister's coming out, might be viewed in a different way.

Either that or your whole family is gay ;-) sorry bad joke

geordieminx Tue 20-Oct-09 14:41:54

The thing you have to remember is that 30/40/50+ years ago, being homosexual wasnt really accepted - at all. There are lots of women and men that were pushed into marriages for fear of being pushed out of society/upsetting their parents/never having kids etc. TBH, 30/40 years ago it wasnt even socially acceptable for a woman to move out, and live on her own - a couple got married, then she went to live with her husband.

My mum always knew she was gay, married at 19( to a friend, to get away from troubled home life), then again at 27 (fell pregnant with me), and then again at 50.... only the last one wasnt a marriage - it was a civil partnership grin

notaloud Tue 20-Oct-09 14:58:10

Yep totally agree it wasn't accepted at all, which is why she might have a bee in her bonnet about it now.

I am only 30 but I still feel a bit embarassed about a girly kiss when I was 19. Imagine how you mum might feel about it?!

TheHerbs Tue 20-Oct-09 16:14:45

Wow. Thankyou both...Geordie, that's a really nice ending to your story I have to say! grin
I think she may have been affected in how she felt regarding women/men more because of her upbringing than her genes...her father was very violent and her mum very cold, I don't know, I suppose I need to look at my own feelings rather than focusing on hers.

It was just suddenly a bit of a shock to learn that she felt that way, iyswim!

gagamama Tue 20-Oct-09 16:34:35

Hmm. Both myself and DP have been in same-sex relationships. We love each other deeply but I can't see myself being with any other man. Equally, I'm unsure if we really will last forever... hence, we are not married and don't plan to.

It's tricky. I would never think to share my past with the DCs (although I have 3 of five and under, so wouldn't be appropriate anyway) and I really hope they don't ever see this as a betrayal. If any of my DCs are struggling with their sexuality as teens, I would of course share my own experiences, and if myself and DP ever go our seperate ways and either of us met people of the same sex, then of course it would be talked about. But I think it's largely irrelevant to their lives or to our family unit. We will make sure they grow up tolerant and open-minded, perhaps more so than if we hadn't had the experiences we have had. But apart from that, I don't think it makes any difference.

I'd hazard a guess that the betrayal you're feeling isn't because she hasn't disclosed her past relationships or the true nature of her sexuality (who really wants to know anything about their parents sex life?) but more betrayal of your dad? That your family, and your parent's marriage, isn't what you thought it was? I don't think this is unique to a relationship where there is ambiguous sexual orientation at play, it could happen in any relationship. You did seem to have some inkling before that your father was more keen on your mother than your mother is on him.

It seems strange that she would suddenly disclose this, but if you have a gay sibling I assume your mother may have discussed this before. I've got no tips, but it's food for thought for me, at least.

TheHerbs Tue 20-Oct-09 16:46:09

Thankyou Gagamama for sharing...I don't think I have made it very clear, but I don't actually feel betrayed as such and thus don't see why your children might. I feel slightly taken by surprise, that's the main thing, and it's made me question what I 'know' about their relationship, and also a bit cross that she seemed so blase about it, she kind of shrugged it off, 'oh yes, I#m sure I'd have...' etc, as though it were something I ought to have anticipated.

That was what annoyed me I think, she often does that.
She knows I had had no idea - it had never been discussed between us at all, bearing in mind a lot of very personal stuff has.

It also makes me wonder about the bond between her (should that be she?) and my sister, because it's always been very clear that my sis was the one on a pedestal, and I was the afterthought - but she is afraid of my sister and finds me easy to talk with etc. hmm thanks for that Mum..smile

One more thing they have in common, plus my sis doesn't speak to me since about a year ago, and I'm finding that really tough, yet suspect it was something Mum said which caused the whole row.

On the whole I think it just feels as though she said it to make me feel bad.

mathanxiety Tue 20-Oct-09 18:39:00

I feel for your dad. Marriage for him can't have been a relationship where he felt affirmed as a man, even if your mum was 'just' bi-curious or bi. Speaking here as someone whose ex left evidence of his true colours on the computer and in his treatment of me over the years, and whose older children (along with me) felt they had been used as part of the straight facade by their father, I know this is a difficult thing for spouse and children alike to face. Did your dad have any inkling at any point, or does he know now?

Your thoughts about your relationship patterns are spot on, imo. You say also that your mum may have said what she said to make you feel bad, and I wondered if this was something you would expect throughout your life or just since your sis came out?

dittany Tue 20-Oct-09 18:44:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheHerbs Tue 20-Oct-09 19:18:09

Thanks. Math, my sis came out about 20 years ago, got 'married' a couple of years back - very happily afaik, to another woman whom we all like a lot, well my parents idolise her too.

Dittany yes that would be fair, in a way - she is sometimes great but has a problem with boundaries and also can be a bit sly/two faced, without really ever meaning to be iyswim. She had an awful childhood and has been a decent parent compared to that.

Math I am sorry about your ex. How horrible. I don't think there is a big facade going on - they are very insular couple, no big social life and nothing to prove if you like. Plus I am fairly sure Dad is quite aware of how she feels, he has a manipulative mother and (it makes me sad to say) has never had any expectations of being treated brilliantly - they are extremely close, she goes on at him but then he isn't perfect either, i think they are quite a well matched pair actually thinking about it, and reasonably happy/content.

It's the fancying thing I suppose that's a bit of a shame, a bit inequitable.

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