It’s one of the best feelings in the world when you find someone you can truly connect with on more than just a superficial level. With billions of people traveling their own roads across the planet, it can be a wondrous thing to cross paths with another person that you can be comfortable, smart, silly and affectionate with (among other things) for many years to come.
You want to tell your parents that you’ve found someone you want them to meet. The first meeting between parents and their child’s partner is traditionally a nerve-wracking event for all the parties involved.
But you face a much bigger challenge than most people…because your partner is of the same sex. And if your parents don’t know that you’re gay, it can be a terrifying experience.
Coming out to your parents
Coming to terms with your sexual orientation is a huge milestone. Being able to honestly share yourself with another person within a sincere and healthy relationship is undeniably another milestone to cherish.
But even as you find great comfort and conviction in yourself, coming out to your parents can be an entirely different hurdle. After all, there are so many things to think about: your parents’ opinions and beliefs regarding homosexuality, their personal relationship with you, their expectation for you and your life, and the emotional atmosphere within your family home. So it’s essential you’re thoughtful and patient with your approach
Spend time alone with your parents to talk
You need to understand that finding out that you’re gay or lesbian is already a pretty big bomb for most parents to take, so it’s best if you inform them about this first before you bring someone around for them to meet
Generally, parents may initially feel that they have lost their child; they’ve known you in one way their whole lives, so introducing yourself as gay may initially come as a shock.
They might be hostile; they may show that they don’t care; they might act like they never heard what you said, or they could simply reject your words point blank. The key is to explain to them that you love them, that you’re still the same child, and to give them enough time to accept your disclosure.
Introducing your same-sex partner for the first time
It can be shaky new ground for everyone, but bringing your same-sex partner over to meet your parents is another step toward building harmony and acceptance in your relationships.
Here are a couple of ideas you can consider for this special event:
Pick an informal setting. Everyone may find it more comfortable to come together in a casual scenario, like brunch, or a simple lunch in a location where there’s plenty of light and air, like a restaurant by the sea. A relaxed and casual setting can put everyone at ease and feel like any other social gathering.
Steer the conversation toward helpful subjects. You want your partner to meet your parents and vice-versa, so share information about each that the other party will be interested in or appreciate knowing. Introduce your partner by telling your parents about some of their passions, hobbies, happy vignettes or anecdotes, etc. This will always help the conversation flow and allow you your parents to find some common ground or interests with your new partners. There’s no need to dive into heavy topics like politics, religion, and of course, gay issues, if it’s just the first meeting.
Take the next positive step in coming out
According to a study by researchers from Karlstad University, disclosing your sexual orientation to your parents can be a liberating experience. While different children will have different relationships with their parents, it’s wonderful to be able to speak openly and share thoughts and ideas about being gay—and finding a loving partner—to the people who are closest to you. It also means you can be more yourself and share more of your life with your parents, which ultimately increases your overall wellbeing and happiness.
If need help with dealing with coming out or any other LGBTI issues, contact Sydney Gay Counselling on 0412 241 410 or book an appointment online today.