Can I Just Stay in the Closet Until My Parents Die?

EtiquetteThe Experts
Can I Just Stay in the Closet Until My Parents Die?
Illustration by Jim Cooke/GMG. :
Dear Jane,
On New Year’s Eve, I got drunk and came out to my mom. It was a mess – I didn’t know how to tell her that I’m bi and that, right now, I honestly would prefer to be in a relationship with a woman. I ended up crying and saying that I’m “kind of gay.” She was not thrilled. She said that I’m in a phase, then listed some of my female friends and asked if it was because of them. Then, she told me she didn’t want to talk about it, and I didn’t want to cause a scene, so I didn’t. She didn’t tell my dad.
She visited me a few months ago and saw that I had a book about coming out. She told me that she’d prefer if I threw it out, in case my dad ever found it. I told her no, and not to worry about it. Recently, when visiting her, I was talking about getting a female friend a gift for her birthday and she said, “What? Is she your girlfriend now?”
I haven’t told my dad because I’m scared of his reaction/him. A few days ago though, he was telling me about how upset he got from reading a story about a young gay man who killed himself because his family disowned him after he came out.
For reference, my parents are liberal democrats, but expect their kids to be “normal,” (?) I guess. Our family has a weird dynamic – my brother and I were physically abused as kids, and I was abused into adulthood until I moved out last year (I’m in my early 20s now). Weirdly, we’re all still pretty close (probably because my parents still scare and control my brother and me). Family is important to all of us, and as fucked up as our relationship is, I don’t want to be disowned.
Whenever I think about it I want to throw up. I want my family to accept me! But after my mom’s reaction, I’m don’t want to revisit the topic.
I guess my question is: can I just stay in the closet until my parents die?

Waiting for abusive assholes to die is a wonderful solution to many problems, but not this one. In doing so, you’ll be neglecting your immediate needs. Have you been to therapy about all of this? It seems like a therapist specializing in PTSD would be a good move for you. You’ve been terrorized your entire life and you’re operating from a place of fear. That is no good for anyone, including whoever you decide to date, you know? If you don’t deal with this directly, you’ll continue beating yourself up and you’ll drag it into your relationships for years to come. You deserve better; do it for the little girl inside you.

Once you tackle this primary issue—that you were abused and are having trouble detaching from your abusers—then it’ll be time to decide how much you want those people to know about your personal life. Right now you’re sympathizing more with them than you are with you. You may find that once you set appropriate boundaries they a) repent and become angels or b) you won’t care so much what they think about who you fall in love with. It will take time and will not be easy, but keep in mind what you’ve already been through. You can do this.

My boyfriend and i have been together about 3 months. Ive met his family and I’ve known then for a while before we got together. Ive known him for 6 years. Weve been talking about a relationship and fooling around for about 3 years.
Hes been talking about wanting to marry me and have a family with me. And while i do want that for our future, when he talks about it, it seems more near than im comfortable with. I feel this pressure to keep in his parents good graces and not let on that i dont feel ready for marriage or kids soon. I dont know how to tell him or even if i should. Its been going on for about a month now and hes gone as far as to talk to my friends about it. Im worried that the engagement is sooner than i expected.

And then she followed up:

Hi jane, i really dont mean to bother you in any way, and i know you get a lot of advice questions, but i was wondering when youd be able to reply to mine? And if you already have, please let me know. Again i really dont mean to bother you but im walking on glass with my situation right now.

I left in all the typos to prove a point: I believe you are a child. Children should not get married. Tell your boyfriend’s parents we said that if anyone comes at you with this preposterous proposal. If you happen to be a YA, same advice: You’re too young to worry about any of this. Once you’re old enough (30? 40?) you can marry someone after knowing them for five days for all I care, but right now you need to be growing your brain and nutting all over the place.

First, I love cats. I’ve always had cats. I had two cats their entire lives until they died. One cat I let poop all over my basement, because she was sick but not enough to put down. Then six months later, I got two new cats. It was supposed to be great. They were my new forever cats. My new cats are terrors. Or maybe I’m the terror. It’s just not working. We’ve had them for six months. They are jealous of the baby. I play with them a lot. It’s not enough. They randomly scratch and bite baby. The one cat as soon as I stop will go wake up sleeping baby. If I put her or baby in a different room, she claws the doors. I put up tape, she rips it off and goes about her business. The other cat is always under my feet if I’m with baby. I have back problems that I’m addressing, and I’m carrying baby trying not to fall with a cat that zigs, zags and changes direction when I do. Also, cat scratches me now when I try to avoid stepping on him. My other kids are afraid of boy cat. He hides under furniture and attacks them, because he is a cat. The cats are also very destructive. Tape, deterrents, scary noises, they don’t care. They want to destroy stuff and will. Should I keep my cats anyways?

Nah, get rid of these fucking terrible cats. Who wants these terrible cats? FREE CATS!

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