Dear Christine, Going Crazy in Garden City

Dear Christine,

I’m not sure if I’m gay or not, but I recently broke up with my boyfriend of 2 years. The breakup has been horrible and I sometimes feel like I’m dying. Now, I’m really not sure about who I am and I’m not sure I ever want to date another guy!

Throughout the past couple of months of the break up, I have tried turning to friends and family for support and help. Many have been there, including some I didn’t expect, like my sister. She’s very religious and we don’t usually see eye to eye on most topics. But she’s really been there for me and it’s really helped. My mom, however, suddenly informed me this past weekend that she’s totally against my “culture” (being gay) and thinks I need to get out now, and that this break up is a “good thing” because it gives me the opportunity to try being straight! I can’t believe this! The past 2 years, mom has been wonderful even hugging my boyfriend when we’d visit her, asking me about him when he wasn’t there. Mom seemed great! And BTW, she’s a very religious Christian too, so I never expected her to be so ok with my gay relationship.

She started the conversation by texting me in the middle of the night that God woke her up to tell her some things, like: I need to leave “my culture” and that my mom knows it is wrong, and that she’s praying for me to be straight. She knows I don’t do Christian stuff, and she’s never said anything like this to me before and I thought that was cool. I flipped out and called my mom, but for 3 days she didn’t answer my calls. I finally texted my sister, and she said she’d just talked to mom and knew all about this “conversation” with God, and that I should keep trying to get a hold of mom. Great. My mom won’t answer my calls, but she’ll tell my sister all the details. Figures. I’m freaked out! I thought she was being open minded, and now, in my deepest pain of losing the first person I ever loved who loved me back, she now is telling me she doesn’t want me to be gay?

I will see her over the weekend, and I know I need to say something to her. I’m at a loss for words. What do I say? Deep down, I really do think I’m gay, but who in their right mind would choose to be this way and deal with all this crap in society, and in my family!? I just want to figure out who I am for me, who I really am, and then just live my life. Is that so wrong?

Going Crazy in Garden City

Dear Going Crazy, I’m so sorry to hear you’re going through such a rough time in your life. First the break up, and then your mom changing her position of acceptance of your same sex relationship, and pushing you to be straight and pray for that. I’m completely with you that you need time to figure out who you are, authentically, wholly, and as you experience different situations and relationships, you will collect data that helps you figure out what fits you and what doesn’t. It isn’t easy to be gay in this society, and there’s a lot of ignorance and rejection that goes with coming out for most of us. Though I’m glad your mom was supportive while you were in this past relationship, it’s got to be very confusing to look back from her current position and see that she didn’t mean her acceptance at the time. When kids come out, often parents go into the closet, not wanting any of the extended family or friends to know you’re gay. They have to process who they want you to be with who you now are telling them you are, and sometimes that takes a while. Sometimes it takes years! Sounds like your mom has been trying, though I would have preferred she would have told you about her struggle sooner than this breakup, for your sake. You would have known who she is and where she stands, and if she could or couldn’t be there for you with the break up, and just in life.

The most important thing you can do is be yourself and speak your truth. If you are going to have any kind of real relationship with your mother moving forward, you need to let her know what you think and feel, and what you need. I wish she were more skilled and intuitive about supporting you in your rough times, but she is who she is: limited. Humans are by definition limited beings with shortfalls. If you don’t want your mom to push you to change your religion, or your orientation, let her know that. If you don’t want her to pray you straight, tell her that! If you want her to just listen and not say anything yet, tell her that! If you want her to tell you the truth, ask for that. You will learn whether or not she can walk this journey with you or not. She may not be able to buck her faith and personal issues to love and support you unconditionally.

If you speak honestly to her, it may hurt her feelings, but at least she’ll know who you really are and the choice is stark. You can have a pretend relationship with your mom at family gatherings like holidays, weddings and funerals, or you can begin a new, honest relationship, where you both level with each other, sharing some of the hard things, and not pretending to have a relationship.

Christine C. Cantrell, PhD
1026 W. 11 Mile Rd,
Suite C
Royal Oak, MI 48067
248-591-2888Click here to email Christine.

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