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Coming Out In A Big Way


We know, in that gushy love-conquers-all way, we’ll still have each other

Coming Out In A Big Way | A Practical Wedding

by Sarah

On a Sunday morning almost two weeks ago my girlfriend asked me to marry her. We are doing the long-distance thing at the moment—she lives and works in England, while I live and study in Vancouver—so I went to pick her up for the first time in almost six months at the airport on Friday. We hugged by the arrivals gate for far, far longer than is really socially acceptable, stroked each other’s hair, and she tried (mostly successfully) to wipe away all of my tears. We went back to my apartment, where she did the good social media thing and messaged all of her friends back home to tell them that she had made it, that we were together, and that we were happy. They messaged her back, and we cuddled in bed and cooed over all of their sappy comments together.

On Sunday she waited until I had gotten out of the shower and she sat me down, hair dripping, on the edge of my bed. She told me—in the form of a video, which is very, very her—that she loved me, that she wanted to be with me, and that she wanted to spend the rest of her life with me. I said yes, and she gave me the fiercest little black engagement ring I have ever seen. We then hugged for far, far longer than is really socially acceptable (even in private), stroked each other’s hair, and she tried (mostly unsuccessfully) to wipe away all of my tears. Of course she then did the good social media thing and messaged all of her friends back home to say that she had asked me, that I had said yes, and that we were happy. They messaged her back, and we cuddled in bed, read all their comments, and made Oh my god what just happened?!?! wide-eyed faces of wonder at each other.

Then we both realized that, because we were planning on doing the Real Official Adult thing that getting married was, we would have to tell our families that we were engaged. And that was when panic set in.

You see, neither one of our families knows that we are dating. I’ve met my fiancée’s father (as a friend), and she has met my mother and stepfather (also as a friend). Her mother vaguely knows—as of two years ago—that she likes women and—as of a slightly tipsy confession a month ago—that she has a vague sort of a girl-friend-thing, but I have never really come out to my immediate family. Call me a coward, but I swing both ways and I have never really swung over to girls in a serious way before her.

The thought of telling our families is big, and more than a little scary. And this is the case for both of us, even though our families are entirely, entirely different. My family is large, sprawling, and loud. Come over to my house for the first time and my uncles will call you “love” or “ducky” and tease you about your accent, while my grandmother will busy herself making your favorite meal. We are overly friendly, we are overly attached, we hug and we kiss, and when we go to church on Sunday (every Sunday) we hug and kiss everyone else, because we know everyone. Her family, on the entirely opposite side of things and the world, is tiny and formal. She has scheduled Skype sessions with her mother, to which she is always punctual and properly presented. They do not discuss feelings, they do not discuss personal matters—instead they discuss inheritance and formal functions and art auctions.

I know that these scheduled Skype sessions are important to her, just as she knows that being called “love” by my uncles is important to me. She mocks the auctions and pooh-poohs the functions, and I regale her with painful church stories, but we are both acutely aware that we are going to miss all of that when we do finally tell them all. Because we both know that, odds are, our respective coming outs are going to go badly. We’ve both heard enough comments made about “the gays” in our households to know that identifying as a member of this group isn’t going to be greeted with jazz hands and glitter, much less rainbow banners and wedding gifts. We are both well aware that she will never get to meet my grandparents as my wife. My mother will probably stop talking to me for a very, very long while; her mother will probably avoid the topic entirely. It is unlikely that my father will be okay with being at my wedding, much less walking me down any aisles.

And when I think about any of this for very long, the panic really starts to set in. I know from past relationships how hard it is to date someone when you family disapproves of them, when you have to spend your life pretending you haven’t heard snide comments, when you have to tactically mediate between your family and your partner or else cut one group out (or be cut out) entirely. It saddens me that my mother probably won’t be able to look past the fact that my fiancée is a woman to see her for the wonderful person that she is, or notice how much she cares for me. It saddens me that we have to think so long and so hard and so strategically about how we are going to tell them—we can hardly do a spontaneous early-morning phone call to the tune of guess what happened!?!?!?—and that it is going to be a very, very long while before we can share photos with them or talk about wedding planning.

But when I have crawled out of my blanket of panic—I remember that it is okay. Even if my mother stops talking to me and even if my fiancée gets cut out of any inheritances, in that gushy love-conquers-all sort of way we’ll still have each other. And, just in case that isn’t enough, we are both trying out damnedest to build our own little family. We have our own little international group, our circles of friends, who love us and love that we have found love. They gush over photos we privately send them, they “like” our private status changes. They wish us well over Skype, and they send us emails of congratulations. And we will continue to lie in bed—either with each other, or over some form of technology—and read everything they send us. And we will continue to coo and cry (to be fair, I will probably continue to do most of the crying), because we are incredibly lucky to be starting our life together with a family that loves us as much as they do. And that is more than enough.

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  • Winny the Elephant

    What a beautiful essay. I can’t imagine how it must feel when you are just exploding with joy and yet you can’t share it with your family because your joy would be their sorrow. Sending you all the love in the world as you start your baby family!

  • Alyssa M

    Hugs and strength to you. APW often talks about how going through the struggles of wedding planning can help prepare your relationship for marriage… I only hope that drawing together to face your families will serve a similar purpose.

    Also, chosen families are pretty awesome.

  • http://karenmadrone.wordpress.com/ Karen

    Thank you for this. It is really hard to express the hurt (even if it is anticipated hurt) of your love being rejected. You articulated it very well. I wish I could make this easier for others. Please know that others have been through it and while the family members don’t always come around to celebrating, you come to know yourself better and you get stronger. Much hugs to you.

  • Chiara M

    This seems like a really tough situation, and sounds terrifying, but I just want to say that your family might surprise you. I have a friend who was in a similar situation–conservative Christian family, not accepting of same-sex couples. When she got engaged, she told her parents and found out that ever since they got a hint of a notion that they had been dating, they had started to set aside money to help them pay for the wedding. She was in tears when she told me she was so overjoyed.

    Your situation might turn out as bad or worse than you expect it to, and I am totally in the camp where I like to prepare myself for the worst, and get surprised by the best, but it sounds like both of your families really love you, and sometimes that can go a long way to helping with acceptance.

  • Amber

    I feel for you, so, so, much. Especially since I went through the same thing just about a year ago now. It’s tough because you are so happy and excited about your relationship, but at the same time you are thinking about how you are likely about to end (or put a long, dramatic pause) and the relationship with your family, and that’s a really hard thing to do. My wife and I were married last July, and my parents still aren’t speaking to me. Most of the time, I think about the amazing friends I have and how lucky I am to have some really great people in my life. Sometimes though, I just really wish that my parents were there for me. So I totally get it. Hugs to you, and congrats!

  • Nicole

    Obviously every coming-out situation is different, but your family may be more open to it than you think. I grew up in a small, small (we’re talking 100 people) town in the rural midwest. When my best friend was planning on coming out, he thought his manly, construction worker father would have a terrible time with it. And he did. At first.

    His dad went through stages that mirrored the stages of grieving: questioning how this happened, wondering if a high-class prostitute could change him (this is not a joke). Then finally he hit the final stage: Acceptance. A few months later, his boyfriend was at Christmas with his family. All of the worries that the family would never accept him, concerns that the grandmas should never know because it would break their hearts, went out the door.

    Because in the same way that you and your fiance have the “gushy love-conquers-all” love, your family has that for you too. The only change between you before coming out and after coming out is hopefully a decrease in stress and getting to share the love that’s bursting out of you. It may help to remind your family of that!

  • lady brett

    all the best. that is hard (unimaginably hard to me, who came out over email because i couldn’t get my face to say the words, despite a 100% certainty that my folks would be fine with it).

    also, confession time: i’ve been married 3 years, nearly, and i’m still not out to 1/2 of my extended family. it just didn’t seem…relevant to family i see so seldom. but it is odd, and feels guilty.

    anyhow, all the best with your families, and your chosen family, and your baby family (and your writing is lovely).

  • Fiona

    Hey Sarah,
    A few years ago, my sisters came out to my mother within a couple weeks of each other. It was really hard. My mom said some things that were upsetting to all of us. But ultimately, gayness was just something she didn’t have much of a frame of reference for. She’s gone from being extremely uncomfortable to being such a staunch supporter that she’s willing to defend my sisters to the entire extended family, no matter the results.

    That being said, my cousins are conservative Mennonites who say that gayness is just wrong. They have a transgender cousin though who they never talk badly about–they only reference him with curiosity–because ultimately, it’s family. I suspect that they may surprise my sister and mother with their reaction.

    It maybe hard, and it probably won’t be instantaneous, but your family might surprise you with what they’re able to accept.

  • Meg

    I really hope at least one of your families surprises you. Or at least a few family members stand by you and embrace her. This makes me so sad. Very happy for you both though.

  • Lisa

    Oh I wish you the best. And coming from a family with origins in the same culture as your fiancees, I agree that the family may surprise you. I do hope so.

    • Meg Keene

      My incredibly WASPy politically old school conservative grandmother is shockingly fine with all sorts of things you’d think would rattle her, or that she’d be offended by. She was the person most supportive when I converted, she doesn’t bat an eyelash at… all kinds of other things. That’s the thing about true old school WASPs, they really don’t like ever breaking their cool, which means they take almost anything in stride.

      • Class of 1980

        I think it helps that most WASPs are Episcopalians. It is the most liberal wing of Christianity and they don’t consider the Bible to be inerrant.

        • Guest

          Yeah, but Anglicans in England are a whole other thing.

  • Laura C

    I’m with a bunch of other people in thinking/hoping your families will be more accepting than you think. But in case they are as you expect, I hope your friends are ready to be Super-Team You, to help you through the tough times.

  • Class of 1980

    There is hope that your respective parents will come around.

    At some point, it will dawn on them that cutting a beloved daughter out of their lives is not a choice they have to make.

    • Elisabeth S.

      Framing it as a choice is interesting (and depressing); that parents or family choose to end relationships with a person who is coming out, whereas I really had no choice whatsoever about my sexuality and eventually coming out since the only other choice was pretending to be straight (a very necessary choice in some cases). OP, I hope that your parents will be accepting, but I also know how cutting parents can be about this stuff, and I’m very glad you have such support around you.

      • Class of 1980

        Yes, and it wouldn’t hurt to remind parents that the alternative is being in a heterosexual marriage and FAKING IT, or remaining single forever.

        Not much in the way of choices. Even worse, the first choice would be deceit and would ruin lives.

    • SarahG

      This reminds me of something Dan Savage often says — that you should give your parents a year (not sure where he got a year from) to “react” and then use the most basic leverage you have over them — your presence in their life. Your orientation is not a choice, but they do choose whether or not they want to have you around as your authentic self. This sounds harsh, but to me it was empowering when I came out. I am who I am. They deal with that, or they are not in my life. Happy to say after more than a year (several years) of temper tantrums and homophobia, they did eventually come around (and they are also quite right wing religious types).

      • Meg Keene

        I’m just sitting here thinking for a bit, and two things come to mine:

        One: now, having a kid, it just blows my fucking mind that people can cut their kids out of their lives or not love them because of… sexuality. BLOWS MY MIND.

        Two: I think the idea of giving people time to react (hopefully not a year), is helpful, and I hadn’t quite thought about it that way. I mean, if they’ve long suspected they’re going to be like “OF COURSE YES” which I said once to a friend who came out to me and was super scared. Like “Everyone knows this, everyone loves you, we’re glad you finally feel you can tell us.” But If you don’t have it half figured out already, I’d think that any major change in the way you think about someone might just take a little bit to wrap your head around, even if your reaction is nothing but super duper loving. It’s empathy that wouldn’t have occurred to me fully till your comment. So, thank you for that.

        • Class of 1980

          I don’t even have kids and cutting them off blows my mind.

          I can’t fathom carrying a baby for nine months, spending a couple of decades helping it grow up … with all the effort and emotions that entails … and then cutting it off.

          • http://www.pinterest.com/katerees711 kater711

            As someone who has recently been (silently, except for his wife’s attack) cut out of my dad’s life, for the second time, it is reassuring, in a way, to hear that other people find this behavior mind blowing. @meg_keene:disqus too, thanks.

          • Class of 1980

            I’m sorry that happened.

        • Amy March

          This. If you think about it, it’s really a ton of news. 1. I’m not going to have the kind of relationship you thought, 2. The way I think about the obligations of our shared faith is different 3. For a long time now, I’ve known this, and I haven’t shared with you, 4. That friend I introduced you to is a romantic partner, 5. Oh, and I’m engaged.

          I’d love for everyone to react well to change, but I am firmly pro-love and I think I would struggle to absorb all of that at once and react appropriately. I like to think I would, but I don’t always react well when my doorman quits, so I’m pretty sure this would be hard.

          • Meg Keene

            Interestingly, as a person, I think I’d struggle most with having it kept a secret from me. Well, ANYTHING kept a secret from me. That always brings out my FEELZ.

          • Alyssa M

            This was exactly how I felt when my childhood best friend came out to me in college. I was just hurt that she didn’t trust me. If she had already been engaged when she told me it would have broken my heart. (since then I have come to understand just how scary hard coming out can be, regardless of who you’re coming out to, but feeling in the moment are what they are) Combined with the cognitive dissonance of challenging long held beliefs, an adjustment period is a painful necessity.

      • http://cafeaubride.blogspot.com/ Catherine

        LOVE that. And it’s exactly what I’m in the middle of doing right now – using the leverage of my presence.

  • Val

    First off: I wish you both the absolute best.

    Secondly: been there far too recently. My fiancée and I actually held off becoming “officially” engaged as I wracked myself with worry and made myself physically ill trying to figure out how I would break the news to my super religious and conservative parents. In the end, we got a complete surprise. My parents weren’t over the moon, but were gracious enough, I suppose. And my fiancée’s mother, who we were sure was going to be over said moon? Well, she said some pretty awful things about me. :/ Mind you, we’ve been together for 7.5 years during which she’s repeatedly claimed to love me. So … you never know.

  • MisterEHolmes

    Beautifully written and I’m so sorry for this struggle. I am jealous, in a way however, of your excellent and supportive friend group, and your bravery! Best wishes.

  • feelingfickle

    I wish you both the best in the world. Even if friends are the family we choose (and I’m so glad y’all have such supportive friends)…family is family. The prospect of estranging them is hard and scary as hell, but your confidence in your new baby family and your friends’ support should help at least a little. Hugs and best of luck.

  • Meigh McPants

    Sending you so much love and support in this. Coming out is hard no matter what you think the result will be, and I wish you both the best. Something my mom (who incidentally, came around to being an AMAZING ally who was possibly more excited about our wedding than we were) always says when you have to have a hard conversation like this is “give them room to be great.” Which basically means don’t assume you know what their response will be, just put it out there without expectation and go from that point. Either way, engagement high fives to you both!

    • Meg Keene

      Give them room to be great. I love this.

      Which reminds me of a friend who just went through leadership training where they taught (about managing people), “Always assume good intent.” Which I also find so helpful.

      • http://www.marbleryephotography.com/ Melissa

        I was explaining APW to a friend this week, and talked to her about how deep, brief philosophies tend to come out of posts or comments (you know, the kinds that make great mugs). “Give them room to be great” is now my new favorite.

      • Lauren

        ‘Assume positive intent’ has been a central tenet of my workplace (I’m lucky!) for the last six years. I guess I took that mindset for granted, so it was only recently that I introduced it to more personal relationships, including my marriage, and what a game-changer!

      • Violet

        I like this idea of assuming good intent, because from a pragmatic standpoint, it’s usually true. In movies/books, we have characters who are the “Bad Guy,” and they always know it (Darth Vader, Lord Voldemort, Sauron, etc.). But in real life, if you asked someone if they were the “bad guy,” they’d look at you like you were nuts. Because even when we disagree with people, I find we’re usually trying our best, whatever that looks like, whatever the outcome (and however unpleasant). It’s rare to find someone who is intentionally trying to hurt another.

        That said, some people end up being toxic whether they mean to be or not. I always respect the decision of the person on the receiving end of the toxicity how they want to handle it. I don’t necessarily give passes just because the toxic person came from a place of good intent. If it’s a pattern, if they continue acting in a way you’ve said is hurtful to you, you gotta do what you gotta do to protect yourself.

  • http://fancystephanie.wordpress.com/ fancystephanie

    Congratulations on your engagement! I do hope that telling your family goes well. Hopefully your family comes to accept the situation and love you as much as they always have. You should come back and update us!! I’m on pins and needles!

  • StevenPortland

    As a gay guy, I understand the stress of coming out, especially to family. I agree with much of what has been said in the comments, mainly: (1) plan for the worst, but be hopeful for the best; (2) it is likely that things will end out better than you think that they will; and (3) give everyone time to come to terms with things. They will likely go through the stages of grief. And remember that now they will each need to come out as well. They have to learn how to tell their own friends and other family members that you are lesbian/bi, and are marrying a woman. I think our community forgets that while we have prepared for coming out, our families have to start from square one in how to do it. Keep strong, keep positive and give your family time to evolve. And remember, not only are they having to come to terms with you being gay, at the same time they will need to handle the fact that you are engaged. That’s a double whammy to throw at them. I would love to see a post from you in 3 months, 6 months, or a year telling us how things have turned out. I bet it that will be an uplifting and surprising article for you to write. Best wishes and congratulations!

    • ART

      That is such a compassionate way of thinking about the types of family members that are sometimes really hard to feel much compassion for. Thank you for pushing my boundaries a little more this morning :)

    • Helen

      yep. Me and my girl have spent the last year navigating this exact thing with her family. Giving them space to work things through has been really hard when all I want to do is shake them and yell a bit. BUt it’s working, slowly, slowly. Her deeply christian mother is even flying half way aroudn the world to Sri Lanka for our wedding! And yeah, give them a chance to react better than you think. It did for us.

  • Lindsay Rae

    Congratulations on your engagement and cheers to your chosen family as being an amazing support system!

    Along with the rest of the commenters, I really hope your families surprise you :) Would absolutely love to hear from you again on how everything is working out for you two!

  • LifeSheWrote

    Congratulations and best of luck to you both! Powerful post!

  • http://cafeaubride.blogspot.com/ Catherine

    Oh geez, this hit me. It breaks my heart how awful and inconsiderate and selfish families can be when it comes to this shit. I’ve been dealing with it from my mother for three years almost. My partner and I are getting married in June, and just now, after a huge blowout, is she seeking weekly therapy. We still don’t know if she will be at the wedding. I know the panic and pain. More than anything, at the end of the day, it just makes me pissed off at how selfish and ignorant people are. They are the ones that will be missing out on the love. I’ve done so much to try to make my mother understand, to cater to her, to help her be “okay with it” and a lot of the times at the end a good Fuck You is all that remains. Sorry to sound bitter but I firmly believe that there is not a single worthy reason to abandon your child. It’s the worst thing you could do. So let yourself feel the grief and pain and keep fiercely protecting your new family. You deserve a family that loves you for exactly who you are – nothing less. I’m happy you have found such love.

    • http://cafeaubride.blogspot.com/ Catherine

      I should add, after reading the positivity of everyone else’s comments, ha, that my bitterness comes from my own experience, and that I know my mom so well, I saw all of this coming.

      • Alyssa M

        I wouldn’t feel awkward about showing your bitterness, when everyone else is so positive. It’s great that so many families are surprising, and a great hope for the author, but a lot of families are just disappointing. If things don’t go surprisingly well, or it takes years of pain before they come around, I hope your comment would make the author feel less alone.

        I also really hope that time can open your mother’s heart. because you definitely deserve a mother who loves you for everything you are. *HUGS*

  • Grace

    I will never, ever understand how anyone could be angry or upset about an expression of love between two adults. You are so lucky to have found love that you want to commit to for life, and you deserve to be able to share that love with your community. I hope that however you decide to tell you families that you find you have more allies than you thought. The idea of having to choose between immediate family and a wife is heartbreaking.

  • Cee

    First of all, congratulations and love to you and your fiancée! I was finally able to legally marry my partner in December (we’re planning the “real wedding” for June) and it is so, so wonderful to be able to do that. And yes, I want to echo much of what has been said— my extended family is devoutly Mormon, and I have heard nothing but joy and celebration. Whatever their private feelings about same-sex marriage, all they have said to me is how happy they are that I’m happy— even my former-missionaries, stake president grandparents, who called to congratulate us the day of the civil ceremony. We’d never talked about it beforehand, since I’m sure they knew but not from my own mouth. It was a really delightful and joyful surprise to find out that they were so supportive of me.

    That being said, though, it’s possible that your family won’t be supportive, especially at first. My partner’s extended family is getting hit with the married/gay thing as well, and the reactions have been very mixed. A dear friend of our doesn’t even dare to come out to her mother (she has very, very good reason). It happens, and it sucks, and if this is your situation, I am so so sorry that you have to deal with that.

    But your chosen family, ultimately, is the one that will be your refuge and source of your joy, and that is as much “real family” as those who share genes. When my partner and I went to the courthouse, we went with our “sister-friend,” a woman who is as dear to us as any of our siblings (and we love our siblings, it just wasn’t super convenient to drag everyone up for a 6 hour wait in line— our civil ceremony was a saga). I am so so happy that she was there to be our friend and our family. And sometimes those are the people who “get it” the most and are the best support for you.

  • Arielle Stroman

    This article resonates with me, but in an opposite spectrum. I used to live with my mother, and during the course of living with her, I came out to her as pansexual. Swinging in whichever way a great, potential mate swung me. She got overly excited, almost uncomfortably so, because she’s a lesbian and has never really been a fan of me dating men, especially white men. I established a strong friendship with a guy (with so much underlying romantic and sexual tension it seemed like we were together) and we kept that up for a year. I moved from her house for personal growth and recovery,and started dating the guy who I had connected with for so long. He came back to my mom’s house with me to help me pack up the rest of my stuff and met my mom, who seemed to react fairly nice to him.

    Well, when she came around for Christmas she acted as if she hated him. Ignored me the whole time. Talked a lot of shit to everyone else but me and him. I called her a few days after she had left, and she told me if she had it her way, I wouldn’t have a boyfriend, and anything that he had to say, he could “save it” and she wouldn’t be bothered with anything concerning “us.” I’m scared on what to do when we get engaged, which really isn’t that far off. How to tell her and what to tell her once it happens. Even though shes 300 miles away, her opinion and feelings and thoughts have given me anxiety for 7 years, and still have that residual effect on me.

  • Ashlee

    I hope this doesn’t feel like a whole lot of people pretending like they know your families better than you do, but, coming from the other side of telling the family, I have to echo the sentiment to give them a chance to surprise you. It’s not fair, but for a LOT of people, it takes having someone close to them want to marry a same-sex partner to smack them in the face with their intolerance.

    I was so afraid to tell my dad that I was dating a woman, and I’ll never forget that, when I finally did, and as I was pouring out words to fill the silence after the initial proclamation, I said that we had been together for a year, and he suddenly said “A year?” with this pained look on his face. He explained more months later, but, in that moment, he realized just how scared I was of his reaction that I waited an entire year to tell him this big life news, and I think that was enough of a reality check to make him think about what really mattered.

    Now, it’s not like he’s been perfect and ready to march in a pride parade, but the honesty he’s shown me and the support he’s given me since I told him that I’m now engaged to that woman have been so much more than I expected. He struggles, still, with the tension between what (he thinks) his faith tells him and his fatherly instincts to support me, but the fact that he talks to me about it, and that he’s done some things that are clearly on the “fatherly support” side, gives me all sorts of warm fuzzies for him and the state of the world on this stuff.

  • Gina

    I admire your strength and your joy. Remember to focus on the positive reactions and don’t dwell on the negative ones–they aren’t personal, even though they feel like it! And I agree with everyone else that, even if someone’s initial reaction isn’t what you’d hoped for, they may surprise you down the road.

  • Mezza

    It took my mother two years to speak to my girlfriend (now wife), let her in their house, or discuss our relationship without trying to convince me it was wrong.

    Fast forward eight years to this past June, and my mother is cutting all ties with my dad’s side of the family because they won’t attend my wedding for religious reasons. She refused to exchange Christmas presents with them and hasn’t spoken to any of them except to post pro-equality videos on my aunt’s facebook wall, and my parents aren’t attending my cousin’s wedding next month in protest that he and his parents refused to attend mine.

    This is to say, coming out can be rocky, but time can really do wonders. Eight years is a long time, and I hope your families are able to reach that point much more quickly and painlessly than mine. Either way, your wedding will be lovely and you’ll have a great time celebrating with the friends and family who choose to be happy for you! I am still struggling with essentially not having one side of my family anymore, but on the day of my wedding it was completely overshadowed by all the people who were thrilled to be there.

    • Mezza

      I feel like I should add that while I don’t exactly agree with my mother’s guerrilla equality warfare techniques (facebook walls? are we 15?), it’s the shift in her attitude that’s really striking to me.

  • Rachelle

    Wishing you both luck and love on your coming out journeys. Also, in your new married life with your new baby family <3

  • JDrives

    +1 for chosen families! Your friends sound like a wonderful group that is throwing you all kinds of love and support. Catch onto it and hold tight. And, I hope so much that if/when you do come out to your families, that they might surprise you, even if not at first. Growing up, my dad made no secret about being homophobic. I was terrified for my brother to come out to him, and when he did a few years ago, my dad was not only OK, but so supportive and now is publicly supportive of gay marriage and doesn’t take any anti-gay crap from friends and relatives. I hope your story has this same kind of happy ending, but it seems to me like you’re building a happy ending of your own with the help of your partner and lovely friends. Cheer and all the best to you both!

  • Jenni

    I don’t know if this is helpful at all, but my mom went through the same thing after she and my father divorced. And it was hard on her, and hard on her family (I was young so I just remember being really loved by a lot of women) but everyone got over it. And when she died three years ago she was holding her partner’s hand- the same partner who had been by her side for 17 years. So I hope that your families are able to accept your relationship. And I hope that it goes better than you’re expecting. But more than anything I hope that you guys have a love like that. Because it will make everything else completely worth it. It was the best love I’ve ever seen, and I’m lucky to have witnessed it.

  • tripthelight

    Congratulations on your engagement and best wishes as you move through this new chapter… I’m right there with you!
    My own story is similar: when my girlfriend proposed to me a few months ago, my happiness was clouded with the anxiety of telling our families. And it wasn’t unfounded. My dad still thinks this is a phase. Her mother gossiped to her brother, who gossiped to her grandfather, who is now trying to reconcile his religious convictions and figure out if he can still speak to her.
    I’m happy to hear you’ve got a supportive network of friends. We were overwhelmed by the outpouring of love from our friends. These are the people who cried with joy when we told them, and who have already offered to help with our wedding, and it’s been a blessing to turn back to these messages when feeling so distant from our families.
    It feels silly to say that it will get better over time, because no one knows if that’s actually true. But I can tell you that my mother is getting better with every phone call. She’s still hurt that I put our engagement on Facebook without telling her, even though I assured her I was careful with the security settings. But she has taken it upon herself to get to know my fiance, and calls her when I’m out of town for work. She’s expressed that her dreams of helping me plan my wedding have been dashed… but she’s slowly more receptive to the idea that this can still happen.
    All of this is to say… it feels really encouraging to see your story on my screen, to know that I’m not alone in what I’m experiencing. So, I wanted you to know that. When you’re in the thick of it, know you’re being thought of :)

  • Kathy

    Congratulations!! I so hope for this kind of result for you – http://themoth.org/posts/storytellers/catherine-smyka

    Her grandmother said, “There will always be a place at my table for you and whoever you love.” A great story to listen to that lifts my heart (and makes me laugh) every time I hear it.

    Wishing you loads of happiness and joy.

  • M

    There isn’t much I can say that hasn’t been said, but I’m going to echo it anyway in the spirit of support. My partner of 6 years and I are getting married in June. My family is great, but hers is a small, devotedly Catholic family who is very much of the belief that marriage is between one man and one woman. And they still are. When my partner asked if they would be present at a ceremony, she was met with silence for a while. It was incredibly hard for my future MIL to reconcile her beliefs with her daughter’s realty. And it’s hard for me to come to terms with the fact that this is the new family that I’m getting. Sometimes, families react exactly as you expect them to, at least at first. But we gave her family love, and they have been trying ever since. Baby steps are still steps. It was a huge adjustment for her family, and they did not handle it with grace. As so often happens, they had growing pains. The important thing, though, is that they GREW! They’re coming to the ceremony, her father is walking her down the aisle, and they wanted to contribute by buying her dress. So basically, it’s going to be hard for everyone. But you will make it! So will your family. Best of all, you and your partner will have a whole life together to help your families along the path toward acceptance. Give it time and love.

  • http://www.clairestelle.com/ clair estelle

    looks like a cool wedding read!

  • thesaraheffect

    Late to the part but….
    Big love from one Sarah to another!! I feel for you so much, lady. I didn’t come out to my family until things got serious with my girlfriend because, surprise, surprise, I had never fallen for a woman the way I had for her. So thank you for making me feel like less of a loser and coward. Now we’re talking marriage and, before we make some big announcement, I have to come to grips with the idea that there is a very big chance my dad won’t walk me down the aisle and a pretty good chance a few of my best friends won’t be my attendants.

    But all of that seems kind of small when I realize there are people, like you, who have even less support than I do. It makes me want to wrap my arms around both of you and say “I think what you have is beautiful and exciting and worth celebrating!”

    My only bit of “advice” would be to look for victories and blessings and hold on to those! When we’re not allowed around a certain someone’s children, I remind myself that my brother’s kids love us both and we are invited to every one of their birthday parties as a couple. When my dad says that God will never bless my relationship, I try to remember that time my mom, without prompting, fixed my girlfriend a plate of leftovers from a family dinner (to which she wasn’t invited). Each is a tiny ray of light through that huge wall of ignorance and fear and that light is what keeps you from losing your joy, something precious during this time.

    Since it’s months after the fact…I’d love to hear how things are going!