Well done, fervour. I know that walking in to your mom’s room that first time must have been incredibly difficult, and keeping your temper even more so, but you did it and it sounds like you did it with grace and dignity.
Continue to directly address Dorothea if you should run into her, but definitely don’t go out of your way to do so and keep your dignity about you. Miserable people create their own punishment and suffering.
Give your mom some time, and best of luck to you and SO (how is your SO taking all of this, by the way? just curious).
Kolga, the SO is fine. We’re closer than ever. Thanks for asking. We agreed if we had to move we would. I’m trying to keep my expectations within reason regarding Mom. Most people think she’ll come around. It’s best to plan for the possibility that she might not accept us —not worry over it, but have some idea of how to deal with it.
Thanks again, everyone, for all of your support and encouragement.
This, to me, is the most telling part of your entire post, fervour. Dorothea may not have the slightest idea what a privilege it is for her to be acquainted with you, but she may one day find out. I hope you can continue to keep that spirit even through her machinations.
May I suggest that, when your sister and her husband arrive, you and your SO have a cookout/picnic and invite everybody except the 800-lb. gorilla? Just a nice party with some friends, your mom and Steve. Tell Dorothea she can come if she wants to, and if she shows, she’ll see a nice family having a party. If she doesn’t, your mom can tell her she missed a nice party – with two hosts! Imagine that!
You haven’t said how you think your sisters and brother-in-law will respond to this news – if indeed it is news to them – but if they are down with it and approve of your SO, it could help a lot. Of course I know I don’t know you or your family so this might not work. But maybe.
I had told this sister earlier. I made the rounds and called all who might not know. They were all supportive. As expected, they all really knew. I asked my sister who is most like my mother in her belief system to check to see if Mom was OK. (This was yesterday). She did. Sis called me back to say she thought Mom was fine. I know it’s getting confusing using pronouns when I have so many siblings. Sorry about that. I’ll give’em names if it becomes necessary. FTR, I have 4 sisters and 3 brothers —though one brother has died (He’s still my brother though).
I’ve been wondering how things were going with you and your mom. You handled things perfectly. Your mom might be conflicted about you being gay, but I’ll bet she’s proud of your maturity and tact and diplomacy, and that you didn’t get personal and ugly with Dorothea.
I wonder if your mom needs reassurance that she’s a good mother – that your homosexuality has nothing to do with her parenting. She might also need to know that she can love and accept you and still be a good Christian. Apologies if I’m not saying this right, but you know what I mean.
It sounds like you may have some luck using your sister and brother as intermediaries - to point out some things your mother knows, but doesn’t have front of the brain yet - but which will sound condecending from you.
Things like “fervour hasn’t changed, he is exactly who is is doing exactly what he was doing four weeks ago - the only thing that has changed is your awareness.”
And maybe even things like
“I can’t believe a loving God would punish fervour just because he shares his life with SO. Fervour is a good person - has always been a good person.”
Best wishes - and congrats - for standing up for yourself.
I think your mom will be okay in the long run. Whoever, upthread, said she just needs to rearrange the mental furniture hit it on the head, I’d bet.
You handled this with great aplomb. Have you considered the possibility that your mom lets Dorothea hang around like she does because D is alone and your mom feels a bit sorry for her? Maybe she’s trying to be a good neighbor and a good Christian? In which case she may see through her more than you think. In any case, if you **absolutely have to ** talk to your mom about D, maybe you should just gently ask her not to make any decisions about you or your SO on the basis of D’s judgements. Ask her to not let D’s bitterness get to her. I really think you won’t have to do this, because I think she’s got it figured out.
I’d bet that by the time all the family visits are over everything will have had a chance to shake out.
Dorothea appears to be one of those “Christians” who thinks it’s her job to ride herd on the rest of the flock. “I’ve told Mrs. X about her son’s wicked homosexuality…I wonder if she’s confronted him about it yet as she’s supposed to do as a good Christian?”
The thing I mentioned in your previous post, and which your mother mentioned above was “but I don’t condone your lifestyle”. It’s like “Mom, I’ve been living here for N years. You’ve seen how we live.”
I think in the future, you may look back and thank Dorothea for finally pushing you out of the closet. Yeah, the method was horrible, the intention was selfish and evil, but the end result is for the best.
Of course, I’m of the “I don’t give two hoots what others think about my sexuality and if there’s a problem with it, it’s theirs” mentality. I’d rather be rejected for who I am than accepted for who I’m not. I was raised to be a bit headstrong, I guess. My SO used to be of the opposite opinion. But he’s also a people pleaser, someone who doesn’t like conflict at all and can be concerned how others view him. He’s gotten to be a bit more assertive about who he is so I like to think it’s a bit of my influence on him.
But still, I consider us to be extremely subversive activists. We’re not rainbow flag wavers, we don’t belong to any gay parenting group, and we don’t join any parades or marches announcing our sexuality to the world. It’s just there and it’s not hard to figure out and if you ask, you’ll know.
He has full custody of his three kids and I am now considered their 2nd dad. My SO’s mother wished me a “happy father’s day” on Sunday. He and I go to parent-teacher conferences together, family vacations with the kids, and all of the standard spousal stuff that would be “normal” if we were straight. And that’s just it. We’re “normal”. Sometimes almost normal to the point of being boring.
Anyways, before I ramble anymore, congrats on coming out to your mom and to standing up to a bully in a very mature way.
If the OP’s mother is one of the few who would speak to her, I can think of another reason. Fervour is it possible Dorothea hoped to cause a row and split you off from your mother with her “revelation”? Misery loves company. Possibly the way she saw it is that if you are gone, then your mother would have to spend more time with her - and then its not only Dorothea whose children won’t talk to her.
Eitherway, brilliantly handled. All the best to you and your mother.
Fervour, you have handled this quite well in my opinion. I admire your actions in not stooping to the neighbor’s level. For folks like her, it’s usually the power play of the somewhat powerless or unhappy. Misery loves company.
As the step-mom of a lesbian daughter, it wasn’t a big issue of her coming out to her dad, brother and me, but a different story with the religious Catholic and Pentecostal grandmothers. Eventually, even they adjusted to the situation.
Keep the lines of communication open. Your mom obviously loves you and knows what kind of a guy you are and that hasn’t changed.
You have my congratulations and my respect as well. When you said, "I don’t hate you. I can’t say that I love you but I’ll work on it. " you acted far more Christian in my book than your neighbor did.
Your mother sounds like a kind, decent, honorable person. That’s no surprise, given the character you and your siblings have shown. I suspect she is being nice to Dorothea because she’s alone and doesn’t have the same good relationship with her children your mother does. I suspect, however, your mother has a backbone and isn’t afraid to use it. She knows you and your SO. As Chimera pointed out, she knows what your “lifestyle” is and she can make up her own mind.
By the way, I also like your brothers and sisters based on what you’ve said about them. It seems to me your family already knows what’s important and the gender of the person you share your life with isn’t nearly as important as what sort of person he is. I tip my hat to all of you.