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'I (15m) think my dad (38m) has a boyfriend. How do I support him?' MAJOR UPDATE

'I (15m) think my dad (38m) has a boyfriend. How do I support him?' MAJOR UPDATE

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Wanted to express support to a closeted family member can be incredibly complicated.

"I (15m) think my dad (38m) has a boyfriend, how do I support him?"

My mom d*ed of C0VID in summer 2020 and it really messed my dad up. He was still working and taking care of me, but that was pretty much it, he wasn’t doing anything he used to like to do. And obviously he was busier because he had to take care of me all by himself, and he couldn’t go out because of C0VID, but still.

Like, he used to like hockey and weird old action movies, but he stopped watching all that stuff. I was also super depressed, obviously, but after a while, I started doing stuff for fun again, like video games and hanging out with my friends and stuff, but he didn’t. And when I was a kid, I didn’t really think about it, but now that I’m older, I was worrying about him.

He started doing more stuff and being less sad all the time last summer, then in October he started doing this community service thing that picks up trash in different neighborhoods, and then he met this guy Peter (fake name, I think he’s 40ish?), and I think they’re dating.

They hang out at least twice a week, sometimes more, I stay at school until 8 three times a week for robotics club and my dad sees Peter at least one of those days every week. My dad used to talk about him all the time, he was always all “Peter said” or “I was talking to Peter,” and he doesn’t talk about him that much any more, but they text a lot and my dad is always smiling at his phone.

And he started dressing nicer and getting his haircut more often and stuff. And there's other stuff too, I just get a vibe from them. So I was like 90% sure they were dating, but thought maybe me dad was just excited to have a friend again, he was probably lonely I guess.

But now it’s Ramadan, and Peter, who isn’t even Muslim, has stopped by a few times before sunrise to bring my dad food for suhoor, and friends don’t cook for each other at stupid o’clock in the morning, they must be dating. I guess I technically still don’t know they’re dating, but like they’re definitely dating lol. So now I want to know how to get him to feel okay telling me.

My dad never said he was bi, idk if he just didn’t tell people or if Peter is the first guy he’s liked (he and my mom got together when he was 19, so he didn’t have a ton of time to date guys before now), and I know he’s ok with LGBT people, if I were gay I wouldn’t be afraid of telling him at all, but he was a teenager in the early 2000s when things were different, so maybe he’s ashamed?

There are some gay people at our mosque and it’s cool, but I know some Muslims don’t like gay people, idk what the mosque he went to as a kid was like. So maybe it’s like he doesn’t think it’s ok for him to be bi, just other people? Idk. And I also feel kinda weird about it, which isn’t cool of me, I know, but idk.

He took his wedding ring off a few months ago, which is part of why I started thinking he and Peter were dating, and I know my mom’s dead and my dad’s not actually that old, so it’s not fair to think he can’t ever date anyone else or get married again, and I want him to be happy and stuff, but it’s also like, he’s supposed to be married to my mom, you know? Peter’s okay but he’s not my mom.

And ngl it’s kinda weird that he’s dating a man who isn’t Muslim, I’m barely Muslim now, I pray with my dad but I don’t think I really believe anymore and I’m not really fasting, but being Muslim is important to my dad, what if dating someone who isn’t Muslim makes him stop being Muslim too.

But also it might be weird if he dated a Muslim woman because then it’d be like a replacement for my mom? Idk. I feel weird. So how do I support my dad and make him feel like it’s ok to come out? And how do I deal with my own s#$t and not make him feel bad?

People had a lot of comments and questions to add.

DubSam2023 wrote:

This post alone shows that both your parents did a great job in raising you.

I am so sorry for the loss of your mom. You are a wonderful, empathetic son.

Honestly, I think I would make him comfortable talking about dating. Mention that you noticed that he took his ring off and go from there. If he's ready to share it with you, great. If not, give him time. It's absolutely OK to feel the way you feel about your dad being married to your mum. Nobody will ever take her place.

Loving somebody new does not take away from the love that one still has for the person that was lost. The love that your dad has for your mum doesn't get smaller when there's new love for a new person. Love only adds. It doesn't take away. That's the beauty of it. As for Peter not being Muslim, that's something that they have to work out among themselves.

VitaDonumArt wrote:

Bless you , you’re a good human and a wonderful son. Just give him a hug , and tell him “ love you just the way you are, and if you love someone- I will try my best to love him too."

He will understand. You’re amazing.

hedwig0517 wrote:

You are such a sweet and thoughtful kid! I’m the same age as your dad, and things were definitely different for the LGBT+ community when we were teenagers.

Do you ever spend time with Peter and your dad? Maybe start there? Look to see if there’s anything going on in your town that your dad might like.

A festival (nice weather = lots of outdoor events, often free!) or something similar and ask your dad if he and Peter would be interested in going with you. Approach it as, “I know Peter is your good friend and I’d like to get to know him better too.” If you get to know Peter better and see him and your dad together enjoying themselves it could bring you all closer.

Just be the loving and accepting person you are (clearly from this post) and let the rest come naturally. Last, no one will ever replace your mom for you or your dad. But it’s ok for you to also love the person your dad may choose to be with (whomever that is). Your mom would want good people in your life and your dad’s life. ❤️

Liquid72 wrote:

How about "It's really nice to see you happy."

Or "Do you think you will get married or find a partner again some day? I hope you do."

Or when he does something really nice for your Dad, "that guy must really like you a lot. He's a good guy."" I guess what I am saying is that you don't have to go in all guns blazing and say "I think you're gay and dating Peter" in order to signal to your Dad that you support him looking for love and will understand and support him if he is gay.

You could be wrong and they might just be really, really good friends without a sexual aspect. Or he could know that you know (or suspect) that he has more than just a friendship with Peter, but prefer not to name it and have people aware of the relationship. You sound like a good kid.

A month later, OP shared an update.

This actually happened like two weeks ago, but I don't need advice I don't think so I didn't post anything, but then I remembered some of you seemed kinda invested in my dad's love life lol so here we go.

I was thinking a lot about everything with my dad and how to talk to him and how to deal with the way I feel about everything without making my dad feel bad or like I'm the main character and he has to do what I want or anything, and I guess I was acting weird, because my dad asked me if I was ok. And I said that he wasn't wearing his wedding ring anymore. He asked me if that upset me and I said kinda.

Because it wasn't like he just took it off when my mom died and he wasn't married anymore, he kept wearing it then, but then he took it off now, so he feels different now I guess and I was afraid he didn't care anymore. Because I don't want him to be sad all the time anymore but I do kinda want him to still be a little sad maybe, which I know isn't cool of me but I'm still a little sad.

Then my dad got quiet for a while and then he apologized that he'd made me feel like he didn't care about my mom anymore and that he'd been handling things badly since she died.

He said that he still loves my mom and everything but that he loved her different now, and he had been acting like it was the same which was why he was sad all the time, but then he accepted that even though he still loved her and she was still his wife, it was different, and he felt better but then looking at his wedding ring made him really upset.

It made sense when he said it, because like, she's still my mom and I still love her, but obviously she's not my mom the way she was when she was there all the time. Then he asked me if I wanted their wedding rings, he said he'd been holding on to my mom's for me when I got older and he figured I was old enough now to be responsible with it and not lose it.

So we got a chain for me to put them on and I wear both their wedding rings around my neck now. Anyway since we were talking about it I wanted to say something about how my dad is dating Peter I know some of you said that maybe they were just friends but if you were in my house and you saw the way my dad talks about him you would not think that.

I haven't spent a lot of time with Peter or anything but I have been around him and my dad together and they are not just friends lol. So I told my dad that I wouldn't be mad or upset if he dated someone else, it would be ok, he shouldn't be alone forever, and he said it meant a lot that I said that.

Then I said that Peter seems pretty cool and my dad got all awkward, not in a "you are so wrong" way in a "I'm embarrassed to talk about my boyfriend" way and it was funny for a bit but then I felt kinda bad lol.

So I said Peter's old man sweaters aren't cool but that at least they're better than my dad's dumb polo shirts, which I said mostly to change the vibe but also because it's true, and my dad called me a brat, then hugged me and said I was a good kid and we moved on.

So we didn't really talk about it I guess but I know they're dating and he knows I know they're dating and I'm cool with it, and I still feel a little weird about my dad dating someone who isn't my mom but I feel better about it. Not sure if anyone is reading this, but if you are, I hope you liked it lol

The comments came flowing in.

starchild812 wrote:

This is such a lovely update, and I'm so glad that you got the chance to talk to your dad about some of your feelings. It is totally fine that part of you almost wanted your dad to be sad and that you still feel weird - losing your mother (or in your dad's case, losing your wife) at a young age is about as big a topic as it gets, and there isn't any right or wrong way to feel.

Please keep engaging with your dad about how you feel about your shared loss, it sounds like you and he have a wonderfully supportive relationship and I'm sure he wants to hear how you feel, even if it sounds like he might be a little uncomfortable talking about how he feels. Wishing you all the best!

Adventurous-Travel1 wrote:

I’m so glad you talked about both things. The only suggestion I would give is to get a small lock box and out the rings in there. Right now you are younger and you could break the chain or it gets broken and then you would be heartbroken to lose them.

Your dad might just be getting not only used to dating someone else but also a man. I’m glad you guys got through it. It could also be he’s not ready to bring him in as a bf or in your face. Also keep an open comment if he does with anyone and maybe set som general guidelines so that you are comfortable that of course can change as it goes alone. I did this and it help navigate things with kinda and dating.

yeender wrote:

Good on ya, very mature response to a difficult situation. You are a good kid and your dad is lucky to have you.

Roman1969 wrote:

I hope you acknowledge and appreciate how damn amazing you are. Your parents did right by you by raising such an incredible person. You’ve shown so much understanding and compassion well beyond your years and it’s a breath of fresh air here online.

There’s always room for more love and acceptance in the world and you’ve shown your Father exactly that. He knows. I wish all the very best things this life has to offer.

Sources: Reddit
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