Abigail Garner

Gay dad wants both wife and boyfriend.

Q:

I am a 20 year old college student and my dad just came out to me. My parents are still married and don’t plan on divorcing. My dad wants to continue his relationship with his boyfriend while staying with my mother. He sees no problem with splitting his life in two.

I feel like my father is cheating everyone and being selfish. My parents have always had a “not-so-perfect” marriage, but now he wants to keep his life with my mother and his children, but have another life on the side.

My mother is having a hard time dealing with everything and is calling me, so I am directly affected by his choices. I have always been involved with my father’s life, we are as close as two people can be, but now I have told my father that I do not want to speak to him until I understand what it is I need from him.

I just feel so lost. Nothing makes sense to me anymore. Any advice for this very unusual situation?

A:

Not speaking to your father is not going to solve anything. In fact, it will only add to everyone’s pain. I have heard from far too many parents whose hearts have been shattered because their children won’t speak to them.

Regardless of children’s reasons for that silence, to a parent who has just come out, they can only interpret a child’s response as punishment and rejection. If you aren’t understanding what you need from him right now, that’s OK. But re-connecting with your father should not be conditional on your figuring that out.

I understand that you are uncomfortable with the family arrangement, but how your mom and dad handle this is not within your control. Some married couples do choose to stay together after one or the other (or both) comes out. Some of those couples remain monogamous, others agree to an open marriage. Some couples try to stay together for many more years, but later decide to split up. There is no one path for your parents and they need to figure out what they will do between the two of them.

As difficult as it might be, you need to get out of the middle. Easier said than done, right? I asked for some guidance on this question from “V.” She moderates an on-line discussion group for over 2000 straight women who are/were married to gay and bisexual husbands.

V. suggests that you tell your mother, “Please leave me out of this, as I love you both. If you are not comfortable with the situation, you need to discuss it with Dad. No one should be pressured or coerced to accept a situation they are not comfortable with.”

V. also made it clear that this is not a situation in which a child can protect a parent. She commented, “Part of [your] mother’s [journey] is learning to assert herself with her husband to communicate her needs and wants rather than involving [you] or anyone else.”

You don’t have to have all the answers right away. Your dad has just come out and your family is changing. That’s a lot to process. Give yourself time. And remember: Loving your father doesn’t mean you love all the decisions he makes.

14 Responses to “Gay dad wants both wife and boyfriend.”

  1. anonymouson 27 Jan 2005 at 10:27 pm

    It is amazing because your story is almost exactly like mine. My father has come out to our family after 29 yrs of marriage to my Mom. I feel so in the middle of their relationship because they do not plan to divorce either. He has started to meet other men and I feel like he is still betraying my Mom in a way.

    It also feels like now that he has come out he doesn’t want to deal with anything from his old life. Its comforting to know I am not alone in this situation.

  2. anonymouson 10 Aug 2002 at 2:29 am

    It seems to me that the gay persons who leave their children for a lover are very selfish. The impact on children can be something they carry for life.

    Children did not ask to be brought into this world, and the 2 people who made the decision to do so need to suck it up and provide a “normal” home for the kids.

    Why should these children HAVE to deal with the public.???? Is it fair to have parents who do not want their kids to pkay at their house, or kids calling them names, or being ashamed of the 2 moms, or lacking a regular family???

    They often are defending their gay parents when deep down they hate it! They resent it! Many blame thenselves for the coming out.

    But , instead we are supposed to feel sorry for the gay parent???? They desert a family in order to “just be happy”. They all state homosexuality is something people ae born with. If this is true, they knew when they made the marriage commitment, and the children decison. These are extemely big decisions that are deserted and forgotten about.

    I could go on, but will simply restate, the children and their lives arae much more important then than the”need ” to have a relationship with a lover. Think about it!!!

    What is the % of gays who destroy families who remain a couple for any period of time??

  3. JMon 04 Aug 2002 at 2:30 pm

    I had the same situation when my husband told me he was gay. I thought I could live with a situation like that but I couldn’t handle it. Every time he went out I knew where he was going and it made me more bitter. It did not work..I also think that after counciling for a period of time it was a way for him to put the break-up blame on me..I couldn’t handle it therefore the reason for breakup was me..

    It also was, as my councilor would say, he can have his cake and eat it too! I also found it much easier to get the break-up over and get my own life on track..I could then love him as the person I knew him to be not someone living with me just because it was the right thing to do….I still love him even though he’s not here anymore…That’s my thought…

  4. Mereton 17 May 2007 at 8:44 pm

    I don’t want to speak for anyone buy myself but I did not want a gay father. There is something odd about those two words put together. In my case they married when the gay pride movement was not in place but now there is no excuse. Gay men should not marry straight women. End of. Full stop.

  5. Jameson 21 May 2007 at 6:58 pm

    When I was young, there was a near unanimous belief that sexual orientation was a choice. People who became “addicted” to gay behavior were simply succumbing to habitual responses–or so the majority belief implied. Thus they could seek counseling, resolve to make different choices, and with enough determination break the habits that had made them think that they were gay. Today that line of thinking is less widely accepted, but is still widely endorsed among evangelical Christians and their counterparts in other faiths. With that way of thinking being instilled in young men, should we really be surprised that many gay teenagers would date women and ultimately enter into heterosexual marriages? I agree with Meret, “Gay men should not marry straight women!” But those who understand the inevitable disappointments that come about when they do should be strong supporters of attractive alternatives for lesbian and gay young persons. I am sure that most religious conservatives are sincere, but they are inferring a view of human nature from their religious texts that simply is untrue, and their views are a large component of the problem.

  6. Jimon 14 Jul 2007 at 4:37 pm

    I don’t know what the hell this is about being “normal”. First of all it takes a lot of self awareness to even realize you are gay or bi or whatever, and while yes some people have the sense of self at a young enough age to figure out whats going on with them some people have to take a lot more years discovering who they are in order to do that. Unfortunately until they figure out who they are a lot of people just do whats expected of them. Second there is absolutely nothing wrong with raising children in gay relationship in the first place. Kids pick each other for absolutely any reason under the sun and a study was done that actually shows the children of gay parents are more likely to be popular well adjusted and happy as children because of a feeling of unconditional acceptance and a lack of pressure to fit into gender roles and these children eventually grow into happier and healthier adults.

  7. Richardon 17 Oct 2007 at 8:54 am

    Many of the writers are correct. The reason many of us get into marriages and try to live what society terms a “normal” life is to conform to what is expected of everyone. A heterosexual person cannot imagine what a person goes through trying to figure out what you feel inside when everything society and the church teaches you says that you are wrong to feel what you do feel. They were taught that what they feel inside is right, we were taught that our feelings are wrong so we try to force ourselves to make the “right” choice. If we did not do what society forces on us, I think many less marriages would be made for the wrong reasons. I do, on the other hand, feel that people have begun to realize that it is not a choice. As they did not choose to be heterosexual, we did not choose to be gay. If I could choose, I would never choose to be gay. It is a horrible burden to try to hide.

  8. aliceon 23 Apr 2008 at 9:57 pm

    Why would my father stay married to my mother for 48 years and somewhere around age 70 start
    practicing promiscuous gay behavior that killed him?
    He never came out to anyone.

  9. Jenniferon 30 Aug 2008 at 8:20 am

    I understand all the political and social reasons for being closeted and getting married. My post isn’t about that. My post is simply to state that I feel, soooo much, for the straight spouse who finds out their marriage was a lie.

    I don’t know if I could recover from the fury and sadness of realizing that I’d basically wasted 10, 20, 30 or more years of my life on someone who was just using me as a place to hide.

  10. Tadon 01 Jun 2009 at 2:02 pm

    I am one of the gay men who cheated on his wife. I finally admitted I was gay and was in a relationship with another man. I can report that since I walked away (asked to leave) from my family and continued in the new relationship, my life is an utter Hell. My guilt and shame are a constant in my daily life. I think sometimes that I should dismiss myself from the relationship I am in and find a way to make amends for my selfishness, deceit, and dishonor to my ex-wife and son. I have not done so, however, because I need a friend and someone whom I can lean on. Would existing apart from my best friend atone for my past behavior?

    My friend and I both live in the closet as much as possible. I know that this may be deceitful, but it is what we are comfortable with. We are close friends who chose not not share what goes on in our bedrooms.

    My prayer is that one day my son and ex-wife will forgive me. It is the one hope that keeps me alive.

  11. Tadon 01 Jun 2009 at 2:09 pm

    to Jennifer,

    I understand to some degree your fury and sadness comment. But honestly, the years of our marriage were not simply a means for me to hide. I think we had a good life together as a family overall. There were many positives that we can all reflect on, if you can get over the fury and sadness. That is my prayer.

  12. Visitoron 07 Nov 2009 at 3:28 am

    We’ve all heard that being gay is genetic, but I’ve read a lot of stories about people being in really lousy hetero relationships and then moving to the other side – so I have to wonder if it’s more often than not, simply a choice.

    As the mother of a self-declared “bisexual”, I’m angry and confused and very disappointed. And I believe that being a practicing bisexual is selfish, it is resisting any need to commit, it is fueling the “kicks” of everyone involved. No, I don’t accept it. I would not accept even the lesbian label. It is not what I hoped or planned for her and her future.

  13. brianon 26 Jul 2010 at 7:41 pm

    I was married and I tried to live the life that my church told me I should. I had told my ex before we got married the LDS church told us that being gay was wrong. Ten years later we both have left the church we think that these churches cause a lot of heart ache for their anti-gay teachings. Families have to go through this all because the man or the woman were told that the person (of the same sex) that they want to be with is wrong so get married, have kids, and prey you will be straight one day. It doesn’t happen. It only leads to suicide.

  14. RRon 01 Aug 2010 at 8:26 pm

    I am very happily married to a bisexual man who has both a wife (that would be me lol), and a boyfriend with whom he has a sexual relationship. No, this sort of arrangement isn’t for everyone, but it works for us. My husband’s relationship with his boyfriend never interferes with our marriage and family (we also have 10 yr old twins.) His boyfriend is a real sweetheart, and is basically a part of our family. Hubby and I have a very healthy sex life, love life, dating life, and home life. We find ways to make it work, because my husband is bisexual. That’s simply who he is. How can I ask him to deny a part of who he is?

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