Holiday dilemma: Partner vs. parents

Broken Christmas tree ornamentsBY MICHAEL RADKOWSKY
Washington Blade

Dear Michael,

I’ve been dating Sharon for more than a year and we are talking about getting married. Christmas is rapidly approaching and I’d like to bring her home to my parents’ house where my whole family (siblings, spouses, nieces / nephews) all gather each year. But my parents are not too keen on that happening (sibs are cool with it). To be fair, I just came out to my family a few months ago as things with Sharon got more serious. But after many years of being closeted around them, I no longer want to compartmentalize my life, so I would really like to have my significant other celebrating the holidays with us. Sharon says she’ll understand if she can’t come but I think it would be very hurtful. I’m worried that her being excluded will damage our relationship, and wonder how we can ever get along with my parents in the future if they insist on rejecting us as a couple now. On the other hand, I don’t want to force my parents to do something they’re uncomfortable with, even though a lot of my friends are saying I should give them an ultimatum (“either both of us come, or I’m not coming”). What do you suggest?

Pulled in Two Directions

Dear Pulled,

First of all, coming out to your family and facing the possibility of rejection was a brave step, and I am sorry that your parents seem to be unsupportive of your relationship at this time.

I’d like to suggest that you not think that this situation must be remedied by this Christmas. Your decision to come out to your parents was a process, and it is often also a process for parents to accept that their child is gay. It is possible that over time, your parents will thaw or even warm, although they do not want Sharon to join you at their home over the holidays this year.

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