I've been outed! (pt. 2 --long and bloggish)

Pre-apologies for the bloggish nature of this post. I don’t see the SDMB as my personal blog, am not interested in establishing a blog, and have only one unresolved issue with “the outing”. This post will be in 2 parts. I don’t know how to shorten it and effectively communicate. The issue appears in part 2, I welcome advice.

Almost two weeks ago I started this thread about a meddlesome neighbor who outed me to my mom. If you followed that thread, you might’ve assessed “It’s not over”. You would’ve been (are) right. I’ll summarize the events documented in that thread.

  1. Nosy neighbor corners Mom and accuses her of being “Levi. You don’t take care of your house or your children. . . I have proof that [fervour] is a homosexual. . .”
  2. Mom asks brother. Brother says “we’ve never talked about it.”
  3. Brother calls fervour and his partner who are on a trip to give a head’s up.
  4. Back from our trip, I give Mom a few days to initiate a discussion which doesn’t happen. So I initiate a conversation on how nosy neighbor is unloved which segues into the current topic.
  5. Mom says she loves me and SO (significant other), and she doesn’t believe the rumors.

So Mom was happy living deluded and I was fine with things ending that way. I honestly believe that without Dorothea’s (real name of neighbor, I see no reason to protect her) interference, Mom would’ve gone to her grave content in her assessment. But you see the problem here, I’m sure. When is a meddlesome neighbor ever content? Of course Dorothea was going to pick at the scab until it bled.

One Friday night, month’s ago, Mom invited Dorothea over to watch a movie. Dorothea lives alone with a dog. Since that one movie night, Dorothea has invited herself every Friday to watch a movie at Mom’s house. Mom has told me repeatedly that she wishes that she didn’t have “movie night”, but Mom doesn’t have the heart to tell Dorothea the theater’s closed.

This past Friday night, I look out my window, and sure enough, there’s Dorothea’s Jeep in Mom’s yard. Movie night lasts about 2.5 - 3 hours, but this one kept on going.

SO says, “Why don’t you go out there and see what they’re doing.” So I quietly walk into the night. As I approach the house, I see through the front window that they are both sitting and watching the TV. Steve, my other bro with Down’s Syndrome is wandering around bored. They don’t see me. I report back to SO and shortly thereafter Dorothea leaves. We shrug it off.

Saturday, Steve came over early which is unusual. I didn’t have a chance to drink my coffee and take in the news. Steve couldn’t figure out what to do with himself so I suggested that we go for a walk. We stopped at Mom’s and asked if she wanted to go walking with us and she accepted.

On the walk, we talked about nothing earth-shattering, the nearing visits of two of my sisters, how long they would stay, Mom’s upcoming trip. Steve abandoned the walk early and went home. Nearing the end of our walk Mom said, “Well, I had a confrontation with Dorothea this Morning. . .”

Mom continued, “She asked me had I confronted you about what we talked about last Saturday. I said I had. I told her what I told you, that I told you there were rumors going around the community, and that I didn’t believe them. She said, ‘You don’t believe anything bad about your children.’” Here Mom paused for a second, “Are you gay?”

This is the first time she had asked that and I considered the implications. Someone had at one time told me, “If someone is ready to ask a question, they’re usually ready to have an answer.” I don’t know how true that is, but I said, “Yes.”

Mom said, “Well, I owe Dorothea an apology.”

I interupted, “You don’t owe Dorothea anything. I don’t think she had any good intentions when she told you anyway. I didn’t tell you because I didn’t want to hurt you or for you to worry about me. She didn’t have anything good on her mind–”

“Now you’re judging her. You can’t do that” ----and so on and so forth. We got home and didn’t talk about it further. For the rest of the weekend, things were normal—except for the 800lb gorilla in the room that nobody talked about.

Mom’s going away for 5 days on Wednesday, then my sister and her husband are coming for a couple of months, finally my other sister will be joining the visit for 3 weeks in July. I reasoned that maybe Mom needed time to digest the information. My friend Samantha has said, “You’ve had 42 years to adjust to who you are. Your mom has had a couple of weeks. And she’s probably hurt that you never told her.” So, I figured we’ll continue to ignore the 800lb gorilla, make it through Monday and Tuesday, then talk about this in a couple of month’s after all the company is gone.

Monday morning I went over to Mom’s to ask Steve if he wanted to go out for lunch to get a burger and fries. When I walked into the house, I noticed that Mom’s bedroom door was partially shut. There was whispering coming from the room. A quick listen revealed the obvious. Yep, it was Dorothea again, being her loathsome self. I walked out, furious. Back in the barn, I asked my partner, “Should I go confront her?” He said, “Yes.”

I quickly called my sister and asked her, “Should I confront her?” She said, “Yes, if you can control your anger and speak rationally.”

I said that I thought I could but I’d need a shot of whiskey and an Atenelol.

I could barely feel the whiskey pumping through my body, but knew I had to get over there before the snake got away. At Mom’s I knocked on the bedroom door, pushed it open, and went in. I looked Dorothea in the eye and said, “I see Dorothea is here to talk about me.” I then looked at Mom and said, “If we’re going to have this conversation. Let’s have it.” Mom gave a nervous laugh and said, “OK.”

I said to Mom, “You know the reason I never told you that I was gay was because I didn’t want to hurt you and didn’t want you to worry about me.” I looked at Dorothea and said, “What was your motivation for telling her?” I gave a slight pause. Dorothea said nothing. I locked eyes with Dorothea and said, “I see the hatred there in your expression–I recognize hatred. I don’t hate you. I can’t say that I love you but I’ll work on it. What was your motive for talking to my mother? Why did you want to hurt her? If you had a problem with me why didn’t you come and talk with me?”

If she could’ve thrown darts with her eyes, they would’ve been flying. I reiterated that I could see the hatred in her eyes. She rearranged her face into her best holier-than-thou mask. I wanted to say, “I recognize sanctimonious too”, but I refrained. I did say, “It’s not a rhetorical question, I’m really curious as to what you hope accomplish.” There was a longer pause, and my mom said something like, “I believe he is talking to you, Dorothea.”

Dorothea remained silent. I moved on. Never moving my gaze from her eyes I said to Dorothea, “There is nothing that I need or want from you. I don’t care what you think.” In all fairness, she never looked away either.

I then looked at Mom and said, “I do care what you think. I do need you. I do want you to want me and to love me.”

Mom interrupted, “I do love you. but I don’t condone your lifestyle. If I had known that you were gay and going to bring SO here, I would never have allowed you to build on the property. How long has this been going on?”

“What how long has SO been my partner? Eleven years.”

“And before that? Who initiated this? SO? Did you have partners before that?”

I said to Mom, “That’s like me asking you, ‘Did you date anybody before you met Dad? Did you have sex with them?’”

Mom interjected with disgust, “No I did not have sex with anyone other than your father.”

“The salacious details of someone’s personal life is not an appropriate topic of conversation,” I countered looking squarely at Dorothea.

I’m not going to give a blow-by-blow account of the rest of the conversation. At some point I told Mom I was willing to talk with her more about it but I was unwilling to discuss it in the presence of Dorothea.

I asked Dorothea one last time what was her motivation. She was silent. I said, “You’re silence speaks volumes.” I then walked back to the barn.

Realizing that I couldn’t leave Dorothea, the snake, over at Mom’s. I walked back to Mom’s. I found both of them still sitting there. I said, “Mom, this is family business. I’d like to have a talk with you. Will you ask, Dorothea to leave?” She did and she did.

Mom and I talked a long while. She said she loved me. She loved SO. But she didn’t say, “I love you, don’t condone homosexuality, but welcome SO to stay.” That’s the outstanding issue. I don’t need her to accept homosexuality, but if I’m going to stay here she has to accept SO has a right to stay here. I did offer that she could buy me out and I would sign away my rights if she felt she couldn’t live next to two gay guys. I said she didn’t have to decide right now, and that she could think about it.

As a mother of sons, myself, I hope your mother knows what a treasure she has in you. Sounds like she does, and it may just take her a while to take down some walls and re-arrange the furniture in her mind to achieve this new, more open layout that will better accommodate family living. She should count herself proud for having raised not a child, but an adult (the appropriate end product of parenting) – and one with such capabilities for self-control and rationality.

Wow, what a horrible situation. You’ve handled it very well. I don’t know that I’d have been able to stay so calm and say the things you said. I hope everything works out for you.

If it helps at all, I have a cousin who’s gay. His father is a Big Deal Manly Man type of guy - a nice guy, but very much sports/military/etc. We all worried a bit about how he’d react when my cousin came out. From what I hear, he was surprised, but after he got over his initial astonishment, he gave my cousin a big hug, and told him “No matter what, you’re my son, and I love you.”

Hopefully your mother will come around, once she has time to digest all this.

fervour, I really want to give you a big hug right now. I’m crap at confrontations and you are my new hero. You seemed to have handled a stressful situation amazingly well. I’m in awe.

I want to add my voice to those offering congratulations and admiration. You dealt with an incredibly stressful, and painful, situation with grace and wisdom. I hope that things work out with you and your mother.

Bravo. Well Done.

Oh fervour, I’m so impressed with you right now! applause

Thanks for letting us know. I think we’re all dying to hang in there and hear a happy ending.

Hugs to you.

Fevour, I have nothing really to say to you except keep your head up and your heart open. I know what you are facing, but it seems to me that your Mom will come to the right decision.

Hugs and positive thoughts are coming your way from a gay-loving, non-religious uber liberal Mom living with Pentecostal family in rural Alberta.

Hugs and a “good on ya!”, fervour!

Thank you all so much for your support. It really means a lot. There are a lot of posters that I respect and recognize though I’m sure you don’t know me. It really means a lot.

It helps to know how parents feel. No thoughts on the neighbor? I don’t have a good read on her. Whenever I addressed her, we’d lock eyes. I’d never look away and neither would she. Of course when I was finished talking with her, I’d look at my mother when I was talking with her.

The eyes thing I think is important. I’m not sure her subversiveness is over. I’m not sure if/when she comes sneaking over to Mom’s if there’s any proper course of action. It might not happen again with all of the relatives that will be around over the course of the next two months. I wouldn’t bet on it though.

I feel both the acceptance of my SO and the ability to deny Dorothea an important place are in Mom’s hands. That’s hard to accept.

Dorothea didn’t look away when being indicted on her motivations. Am I reading to much into that? What to do if she continues? Should I bring out the very real and hurtful facts that :

  1. She married a philanderer.
  2. He squandered their family fortune and divorced her when she was in her late 60s.
  3. Her children don’t like her and don’t come to see her.

Or is that all going to backfire? If I brought it up I might sound bitter. But what better evidence is there that Dorothea isn’t a great person to be giving advice or judging anyone else?

You kick ass, dude.
As for Dorothea, in honor of the religion she so wrongfully clings to, I suggest a crucifix powerbomb.

Do you ever find yourself thinking “I’ll get you Dorothy, and you’re little dog too!”

Seriously though, don’t stoop down to her level. You’ve been doing so great. Keep it up.

That was brilliant, fervour. Good for you! in awe

First of all, please allow me to jump on the bandwagon and congratulate you for the way you’ve handled yourself.

As **Tabula Rasa ** said, I think your mother still needs some time to just deal with something you’ve known for a LONG time, and she just found out. Even if she suspected you were gay, she was also just as happy to not know, but now that she does, she just needs to think about it some.

FTR, I’m a 55 year old gay man, and when I was younger, I was horrified if anyone found out (I worked as a CPA, not exactly a “friendly” environment). At this point in my life, I really don’t care who knows, and if they don’t like it, they don’t have to deal with me. That includes family, though, to be honest, I’ve not had ONE person treat me any differently once they found out. Some may be more accepting than others, but if they liked me before they found out who I’d prefer to be with, they still like me. Those who needed being gay as an excuse to not like me shouldn’t have mattered in the first place.

OK, I’m getting derailed here…

I try my best to live my life following the path of least resistance, and confrontation wouldn’t be my preferred method of dealing with Dorothea. I’ve got to believe, first of all, your mother knows all of that about Dorothea to begin with, and still allows her in her life, so to her, it doesn’t matter. As far as letting Dorothea know what a miserable bitch she is, if she hasn’t figured it out by now, you telling her won’t do a damned thing, either. Even worse, she may indeed get pleasure from seeing you all riled up; the best thing you can do is just ignore her, but continue looking her in the eye so if nothing else, she MAY just get the message that you don’t care WHAT she thinks or what she SAYS.

As for what she may say to your mother, what else could she possibly say now? She now knows you’re gay. That’s the issue. It’s not like you’re out there feltching goats or anything, are you? And if you are, whatever you do, don’t let Dorothea catch you! However, if you catch Dorothea at it, well, you should tell your mother THAT :slight_smile:

OK, I’ve probably said way too much, but I seem to be on a roll today.

In any case, good luck with everything – you sound like a great guy, and I know your mother already knows that. THAT won’t change :slight_smile:

I have a feeling your mom will come around, too. She sounds like a woman who really loves her children. Your family sounds like a family that will always end up choosing family over anything else. And, after 11 years, I can only assume that your SO is part of that family too.

I don’t think you need to confront Dorthea anymore. You did a fantastic job already and “exposed” her. Your mom doesn’t seem to like Dorthea much anyway but she also doesn’t like you “judging” Dorthea. Don’t give your mom anything more to be upset about. If you turn into a spiteful man AND you “turn gay” at the same time, she won’t come around as fast.

Just keep taking the high road, be the adult and keep being the good son you’ve always been.

I know women like Dorothea, they thrive on discourse. Do not, let me repeat that, DO NOT, lower yourself to her level. Your mother and my mother sound a lot alike, they “love God” to the detriment of everything (IMHO of course), they are easily swayed by religious nutcases who “only have the spiritual wellbeing of others” as their excuse for meddling and gossiping. But if your Mom is like my Mom, she loves you very much and will come to the right conclusion, it just may take her a bit to get there.

Be patient. Continue to be the same loving son, partner, brother and friend you have always been.

As for Dorothea and her being able to hold your gaze, well that is the look of the self righteous! She knows she is God’s Holy Messenger! And you, well you are a son of Sodom and Gomorrah and you shall burn in Hell for ever!!!

Crazy fucken nutcase. Ignore the bitch. She’s not worth the aggravation.

ps: I am the mother of grown boys, with gay friends and my son has gay friends.

You sir are a man of strong words and admirable restraint. I don’t know anyone who could have handled that situation with the aplomb that you’ve managed. Keep your head high and don’t delve to Dorothea’s level, as tempting as it might be. She’s a mean old woman who wants to share her own level of misery with the world. And you have already proven yourself to be far better than that.

I think the neighbor seems like a typical lonely busybody. She probably feels excited about being amidst all the drama. I might guess that she didn’t give thought about whether her juicy tidbits of information would hurt your mother.

I do think she will continue to be subversive, so she can continue to create drama that she can be in the midst of. I might guess she’ll tell everyone she knows, so if he rest of your community doesn’t know, they will now. She’s probably offended by the dressing down you gave her, even though she deserved it, so she’ll feel she has even more license to blab.

If it were me I would pity her, the poor lonely old bat. I wouldn’t bring up the things you know about her life, that would be stooping to the same level she has. Instead I would try to encourage your mom to see her meddling for what it is, and disarm the neighbor that way. It would be great if your mom could tell her that if she values their friendship, she will never bring up the topic of your relationship again to anyone.

I admire your courage, fervour, you’ve handled his beautifully thus far.