A Family that Celebrates Together Stays Together
Nine Tips for Meeting Your Totally Gay Partner’s Family
Growing up LGBT is hard. Discovering yourself, accepting yourself, coming out, and finding the right support can all be daunting in their own ways. But, once those challenges are conquered, and you feel comfortable in your skin, life can be downright fantastic. It really does get better after high school.
So, when the time is right, you’ll meet someone unlike anyone else you’ve met before who could become your future spouse. Now you have a brand-new challenge in front of you: meeting their family.
Don’t feel bad. It’s normal to be nervous, especially if you’ve ever seen Robert De Niro and Ben Stiller’s “Meet the Parents.” It’s unlikely your experience will be that chaotic, but you’re not alone in how you feel. This important moment (or better yet, this rite of passage) should be celebrated. Breathe, don’t take it too seriously, and keep these tips in mind:
It’s okay to be nervous. But don’t dwell on it. See it as a fun opportunity to explore.
Don’t rush the process. Whether you’re dying of anticipation or dreading it altogether, it’s best not to rush. Save your energy and let it unfold organically.
If you’re newly out, realize there’s nothing to be ashamed of. Coming out is a process, and meeting the family is no different. Always remember this: you are entitled to your happiness, just like everyone else. Nobody else can touch that. Any abuse coming at odds with your dignity is NEVER okay.
Coordinate with your significant other about where both of you are with your out statuses. Not being on the same page with the other person can create problems, and when it comes to your happiness and theirs, problems are counterproductive.
Make sure your significant other is of solid spouse material. Parents want only the best for their kids and hope they’ve taught them life lessons well enough during childhood. Ask yourself: Do they have the qualities I’m looking for? Can I see myself having a family with them? Do we share the same values? If you said yes to these, you’re already on the right track.
With that being said, if they aren’t accepted by everyone, that’s okay! That’s not an immediate cause for concern. Keep an open heart with your significant other and your family members and follow what it tells you.
In more conservative families, acceptance can take time. We’ve all heard horrific coming-out stories, especially in religious circles. But that isn’t typical with everyone. Give some credence to what’s best for both you and your significant other. Yes, sometimes it’s bad. But other times it just takes time for family members to be apart or to wrestle with reality for there to be reconciliation and, later, acceptance.
As we enter the holiday season again, remember that the holidays can bring out both the best and worst of people. Keep an open mind. You might be surprised with the results.
Lastly, being seen with your significant other should be enjoyed. Especially when it comes to the holidays, life in general should be celebrated. You shouldn’t have to hide who you are. Life is too short to be unhappy. If who you are isn’t celebrated, go somewhere where it is. Family isn’t always defined by blood.
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