Saturday, September 02, 2006

Family Values

This week DL has been away to Dorset on holiday with her family. I’ll write more about that in another post, but first I want to write about a conversation we had late Thursday night.

We got in to a really deep discussion purely by accident, after DL mentioned that her dad had made some derogatory comment about a lesbian on the TV. DL is not out to any of her family except for her mother, and we started to discuss how to go about telling the rest of them. Basically she’s afraid of their reactions as a lot of them are older and have very closed minds when it comes to homosexuality. Now so far the plan is to spend this coming xmas at DL’s parents’ house, and I thought the plan was to tell them before then, otherwise people will naturally ask why I’m there rather than at my own parents’ house. But now it’s coming to the crunch, DL is terrified and doesn’t know how to tell them.

Her main fear is that it’ll get back to her nan, who is 86 years old, and who she’s certain will have a heart attack if she finds out we’re a couple. The conversation got more heated than I meant it too, because I find it frustrating that we have to hide our relationship. She mentioned that her cousin who is in his thirties wanted to come visit, and I asked whether we would have to pretend to be just friends or if she was going to tell him. When she said she had no plans to tell him, I got really angry and upset to be honest, because that’ll more than likely mean he’ll insist on having the couch, and I’ll be relegated to the spare room, having no excuse to share with DL, something which I refuse to do in my own home. I totally understand why she’s frightened of telling the family, but part of me is also hurt that she won’t acknowledge our relationship after two years of us being together. I also posed the question that what if her plan to propose to me had worked last month and we’d gotten engaged, what would she have told her family then when she went back to visit and everyone saw the ring? Surely “HMF and I are a couple and by the way we’re engaged, wanna come to the wedding?” would be much more of a shock to them than them just finding out we’re together? Or maybe she meant us to take the rings off when we went to visit, something which I also refuse to do. I might sound unreasonable, but I’m so proud of who we are both as lesbians and as a couple, that I’ll only hide it if I think it’s crucial, like in front of her nan for example, not in front of the whole family, especially if we were engaged. So the end result was that I told her not to even think of asking me to marry her until she’s told the family, that way everything can be out in the open. I also said that she could invite whoever she wants to the house, but when we’re in our own home as far as I’m concerned I’m not hiding the fact that we’re together. There are pictures of us all over the flat for Christ sake, it’s pretty obvious anyway I would say. So now she has however long she needs, but I get the feeling we won’t be getting engaged for a very long time now.

Another thing is that her mum is no help at all. She insists she's perfectly fine with us being together and all, but when DL talks about telling her dad and possibly the rest of the family, her mother's response is, "why do they need to know, it's none of their business?" That's all well and good, but what about when we get married, what if we have kids? They're going to have to know sooner or later, and we both get the impression that her mum pretends to be more comfortable with our relationship than she actually is, and that's why she doesn't want the rest of them to find out. It's all so complicated, and I feel like I'm not being fair because I've been out to my family for years, I guess I forget how hard it was when i did it and I'm perhaps too hard on DL for that reason. I'm also dreading xmas if we have to pretend to be just friends in front of the family. It's not just the more openly affectionate things that bother me, and if you're in a closetted relationship, you'll know it's the little things, the touch of a hand, the looks, constantly thinking about your body language and how you talk to your partner. I just feel like whenever her family are around I'm putting on an act, not being who I really am, curbing the part of me that is madly in love with my beautiful partner, and it's eating away at me. I know it must be a million times worse for DL, but I just don't know how long this facade will have to go on for before it's out in the open, and I think the longer she leaves it, the harder it'll be. What are your views on the matter, do you think I’m being unreasonable in wanting some acknowledgement as her partner after two years of living together? Or do you think I should just put my feelings aside and be patient? Right now I feel torn between the two.

1 comment:

Francesca said...

I am really proud of your maturity, are truly wiser than your years on a number of levels.

Yes, be a little more patient. You have both agreed on the Christmas deadline...ensuring all is told by then...there is still a good bit of time to go before then. Perhaps you can both agree a deadline before Christmas, so it is not left too close to the time when you are to visit at the hols.

Remember, you've done it and your family sounds like they have accepted it...It's now DL's turn and not everyone will accept or experience in the same way. Provide support (as I know you will) and gentle encouragement that will assist DL in summonging the courage to tell her family.

It will happen...and soon the two of you can relax and be yourselves, sharing your love for each other completley amidst your families.