About-face at the family reunion....

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by NCbear, Jun 26, 2007.

  1. NCbear

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    I am still stunned, and will be amazed for quite some time.

    Not only was my mother civil, even gracious, to my lover, but she introduced him all around her extended family as "my son <NCbear's> friend."

    Wow. This is the same woman who asked me when I came out at 18 when I wanted my AIDS test. This is the same woman who asked me at the time whether I was a pedophile (because everyone knows that all gay people are pedophiles, and that's what she learned in nursing school in the 1950s). This is even the same woman who wouldn't ever talk to my ex and screwed up her face as though she smelled something bad every time I mentioned him.

    I'm stunned.

    Has anyone else witnessed a family member's complete about-face, whether relevant to gay relationships or another topic?

    NCbear (who almost cannot find words to express how encouraged, how comforted, how welcomed, even how loved he felt due to his extended family's kind, even warm, reaction to meeting his lover)

    P.S. This was two days ago in my hometown.
     
  2. smoothrnb

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    My parents have acted about the same way. When they found out that I had a partner, they all but ignored him. Eight years later, things are completely different. They recognize and include him family events (Although, they still refer to him as my "friend." Maybe in another eight years, they will be calling him my partner or spouse...:smile::rolleyes:)
     
  3. B_Think_Kink

    B_Think_Kink New Member

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    I'm not sure NC, but that is excellent news! Maybe asking her what changed her mind would help you figure it out? A heart to heart about how happy is made you feel.
     
  4. Mattness

    Mattness New Member

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    Yes, I experienced this with my Mother over the years. Not as much as you describe where she introduced my partner to Family members as my partners were never invited to Family events, but she did come and stay with my 2nd Lover and I in our home. She would even tell relatives that I was gay as the years went on.

    This is coming from a woman who, when she found out I was gay, threw me out of the house and a few years later would say things like me like, "I know the reason so and so didn't come to our BBQ was because he/she didn't want to get AIDS from you!" (I've never been exposed to HIV).

    I think parents realize as they get older that if they don't accept our partners that they'll lose us and that looks bad to the neighbors! :)
     
  5. Oncamale28

    Oncamale28 New Member

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    great news NC
     
  6. dolf250

    dolf250 New Member

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    I can only guess that she has observed you over the last 20 years and has learned that aside from having a &#8220;friend&#8221; instead of &#8220;wife&#8221; things are pretty much normal. Was it a gradual softening of her opinion over time or a sudden about face?
     
  7. Lex

    Lex
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    Hi NC-- I am so happy for you regarding this recent turn of events. That is turly an amazing step for your mother and I know (from experience) that it has to be amazing to be acknowledged in this way by her.

    I am waiting for these about-faces within my own family and this gives me hope that these shifts are possible.

    Lex--who came out to an old dear friend in the middle of the grocery store 2 days about when he ran into her with Bubba in tow. Boy did it feel good.
     
  8. DC_DEEP

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    Congratulations, NCBear! Perhaps our march to acceptance is growing! I can only hope that your Mom is strong enough to take the next logical step, and make comments to her friends, like "You know, all that stuff we learned about homosexuality years ago is just wrong."

    My Mom was pretty sharp about that kind of thing. When I came out to her, her immediate response was to recognize that I was no different than I had been all the years she had known me, and recognize that her previous misconceptions about homosexuality were not fact. This, from a devout christian lady in her "later years."

    Lex, I hope all continues to go well for you.
     
  9. fortiesfun

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    What a great turn of events, NC, for you and for your partner. (Do you know, by the way, that there is some objective research that suggests the major reason people change their mind about homosexuality is that someone they love and respect comes out to them? Your openness helps many beyond yourself.)
     
  10. Sklar

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    NC, I haven't had an experience like that but my partner has. It deals with his mother.

    When he came out, his parents cut him off, which devasted him as he was very close to his mother. They never spoke for about 3 years. Then, when they saw each other at family events, she was cordial but chill. Over time she thawed a little bit more but still strongly disliked his boyfriend at the time.

    By the time he moved out here, he and his mother were getting along better but I wouldn't say that they were close anymore. His aunt on the other hand never had a problem with him being gay and openly supported him. His aunt and uncle lived here in Washington when he moved out here.

    We started to date and he told me that one thing he really missed from his mother was on Valentines day she would have a special box with little goodies in it waiting for him on the bed when he came home from school. So with his aunts help, I called his mother and asked if she wouldn't mind sending the box out here so that we could continue that tradition. She was a tad bit distant with me, as she had never known me and said that she would think about it. A month later, we still didn't have the box so I called back and talked to his father. His father said that she was very attatched to the box as it had a lot of pleasant memories for her and that she wanted to keep it.

    Three months later she comes out to visit her sister, my partners aunt, and the boyfriend is all nervous and trying to prepare me for her. He was very happy that she was coming out here but he kept saying over and over again how she did not like his ex-boyfriend and that I should expect the same treatment from her. I kept telling him not to worry about it.

    So she comes out for three weeks and we just hit it off like we're old friends. My boyfriend kept asking here: "Who are you and what have you done with my Mother?" She even stayed with us for 3 days, too. My boyfriend couldn't believe it. They had again become as close as they were before he came out.

    So she leaves and goes back home. Around the end of May, my boyfriend starts to get homesick and he books a plane flight back home for the 4th of July weekend. I'm not able to go because of work constraints.

    So he gets back home, suprises his mom because July 2 is her birthday and has a great time there. He is continually shocked by everyone because they try to pump him on information about me.

    Apparently, I made a huge positive impression on her and when she went back home she just talked me up like I was the best thing next to sliced bread.

    So his trip home was one of the most pleasant he's had in years.

    Thanksgiving comes around and we both go back to his parents. His mother insists, INSISTS, that we stay at their place. Which we didn't mind because of money constraints. Then the boyfriend is shocked even more when his mother let's us sleep in the same bed. OK, bed is a relative term. We slept on an air mattress on the living room floor. The impact on the boyfriend was still one of: "These have to be pod people."

    The final unthawing came when his sister, right in front of me says: "Too bad you're dating someone now. I wanted to fix you up with a couple of my gay co-workers." I just laugh at this but later my boyfriend tells me that his sister told him to his face that he was going to rot in Hell and that he would never see his neice ever again.

    So he had one of the most pleasant visits with his family he's had in years in 2006 and it's only gotten better since then.
     
  11. Freddie53

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    This way of handling things is very common in the South. People will talk about fags and them going to hell in a handbasket. Then they will patronize the local cafe run and owned by a gay couple because it is the best food in town. And when members of their own family come out, they are accepted. Other gays may not be, but their own flesh and blood are.

    I think this is more true in the South than other parts of the US from what I read and hear.

    We are making progress. Just this past weekend a 22 year old guy brought his gay partner to a cookout for a engaged couple. It was for both genderrs. There was some whispering, but no one, not even the senior citizens did anything overtly. While some may not have become bossom buddies with him. He wasn't shunned either. And we are talking about THE SOUTH.

    Times have really changed here in the last five years.
     
  12. D_Bob_Crotchitch

    D_Bob_Crotchitch New Member

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    Some people mellow with age. It's no longer worth all the fighting.
     
  13. earllogjam

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    I'm happy for you NCbear. That's wonderful news that your mom stepped up to the plate and batted for you.

    Are you the only fruit on your family tree?
     
  14. SpeedoGuy

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    Complete turnaround? Yes, but not with a happy outcome.

    My sister, who I once thought I had a lot in common with and could trust like a friend, proved to be an adversary rather than confidante.

    Bummer.
     
  15. stretcher74

    stretcher74 New Member

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    That's my thinking on the subject. I think they realize that they're going to be fertilizer in a few decades and they might as well walk outside enjoy the brids,trees, leaves and spending time with their family rather than spend the rest of their time being angry.
     
  16. dufus

    dufus New Member

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    Great post Sklar.
     
  17. NCbear

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    Thanks! And no, I'm one of three known. Four if you count the psychologist who lives by himself down in Florida.

    :smile:

    This is out of 12 in my generation. Them's high odds, huh?

    NCbear (who is as Southern as they come)
     
  18. NCbear

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    It felt like a sudden about-face because I honestly expected her to be the same as she was about 5-10 years ago.

    We've had other issues unrelated to my sexuality. In fact, all four of her children have been estranged from her for more than a decade. It's been so bad that she's never met six of her seven grandchildren, and the seventh one she met only during a short visit with "the new baby" 17 years ago. Yes, my brother has seven children, all home-schooled, and my mother has never even met them. All together now, can we say "dys-FUNK-shun-ul"? :mad: :rolleyes:

    I'm the first one who has made a gesture toward mending bridges and breaking down barriers. I told my parents in a straightforward way that I was reconnecting with them for my sake (to dissipate the deep wells of anger that I still feel toward them), not for theirs. Mercifully, they stopped trying to proclaim what good parents they thought they'd been and just listened to me. It was difficult for them and for me, but we established some communication. (This was about a year ago.)

    Now, they're trying to get to know me as a person, not as their son whom they thought they knew (largely because they were projecting their own career choices, morality, etc., on me and my other brothers).

    Case in point: 15 years ago, my mother told me she thought my favorite color was blue. (She'd dressed all her sons in identical blue shirts because buying four at a time was cheaper.) I explained what she'd done based on financial concerns and said, gently, "Actually, my favorite color has always been green." She couldn't believe it. She'd projected her likes and dislikes onto her children for so long that she honestly, sincerely didn't get it.

    However, for my birthday this spring, my parents sent me a card saying that instead of cash, they had donated money to Heifer International (an organization that provides animals to small farmers in developing countries so they can begin to take care of their families). I thanked them very much and told them that I was very happy that they understood me, and that this gift did in fact match both my morals and my politics. Really, it was the perfect gift.

    So yes, things are changing. It has just seemed so abrupt because I didn't see this particular bit -- her acceptance of my life partner -- coming.

    NCbear (who is still tremendously encouraged by that experience)
     
  19. NCbear

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    Or just that they'll lose us. Relationships become more important than other concerns as people age.

    NCbear (who's glad that Mattness has experienced a shift in his mother's behavior toward him)
     
  20. NCbear

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    They are, they really are! Not wanting to sound like Candide or Pollyanna, but I've got to be optimistic.

    I'll bet. "Meet my husbear, Bubba." Squeeze his biceps or ass as he sticks out his hand. Heh heh. :tongue: :biggrin1:

    NCbear (who would love to have been there and seen the smiles on your faces)
     
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