An Absinthe-Loving, Polyamorous, Kinky, Sex-Positive Couple talk about all things Sex, Kink, and LGBTQ.

When Relatives Collide

A couple weeks ago I got an email from my mother.  In this email she explained part of her reasoning in how she’s trying to come to grips with my Bisexuality.  For those who do not know, my mother is of a very deep conservative devout Lutheran nature.  This nature has only been intensified since my father retired from the U.S.  Air Force as a Lieutenant Colonel and immediately enrolled in Seminary to become a Pastor for the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.  His path to ordination saw him and my mother both become further entrenched in the religious dogma that is as close to Catholicism as a Protestant Denomination can be.

It is within this framework that my mother has advanced from the belief that all non-hetero-normative people are hellbound abominations of nature to this evolved belief instead: ” I believe that brain anomalies, chemistry imbalances, or dysfunctions are responsible for homo or bisexual feeling or desires.”

When I read that line, I screamed at the computer screen. A long string of obscenities poured forth from my mouth like the rushing floodwaters from a broken dam. Tears were a river down my face, dripping unceremoniously from my chin.  I called Mrs. AP in hysterics, and only through her loving kindness and soothing tenderness was I able to reach a point where I was able to talk calmly again.  I kicked Mrs. AP the email to get her thoughts, and did my absolute best to soak in her response and understand why these sentiments from my mother affected me so deeply.

In retrospect, Mrs. AP is very likely to be correct in her opinion that I should never have come out to my parents.  Her opinion is that sexuality should be kept to the bedroom unless within proper safe congregations of friends who either already know or won’t give a flying fuck.  By and large I agree with this sentiment — who’s fucking prerogative is it to know what I do or don’t do in my sex life anyway? — but at the same time, the framework around which many people build their interactions with others are based on assumptions about the proclivities of said others.  My reaction to my parents for most of my childhood and all of my adult life was to hide from them.  When I came out, I was weary and wanted the kind of freedom that I thought full disclosure could bring.  As such, I proclaimed not only my Bisexuality but also my Polyamorous nature in one fell stroke.  Thus did I permanently damage the relationship with my parents.

Truth be told, our relationship had been strained for years.  Much to their consternation, I never have been one to call my parents just to chat.  It’s not in my nature; I look to my friends to share in my high and lows, trials and tribulations, and my parents have never been inside the circle of friends.  They are authority figures, issuing policy from on high while demanding obedience.  Yes, they are available for love and support, but they have never been the kind of people with whom I could feel comfortable just talking about daily life and it’s cornucopia of concerns.  This stems, I’m sure, from the combination of growing up with a military father, a strict mother, and the innate knowledge that what I believed deep inside did not coalesce with the beliefs they sought to instill in me.  As early as first grade, when I was trying to read books they found “damaging” because of the mystical elements within the fantasy genre, I knew I was at odds with their beliefs.  Hiding my thoughts to avoid conflict became second nature in dealing with them.  From a distance, this has been easily managed by simply not engaging in much communication.

In one small way, I think I wanted my coming out to push my parents away.  In bigger ways, I wanted to test them.  I wanted to shock them out of their bubble and have them realize that their Victorian Era beliefs about human sexuality were incompatible with the modern world and that they could embrace change by embracing their son.  My hopes had built up on that, hinging on the presumption that parental love could overcome religious conditioning.

I was crushed when they proved me wrong.

I was crushed again when my mother, nearly 3 years later, declared to “believe that brain anomalies, cheistry imbalances, or dysfunctions are responsible for homo or bisexual feeling or desires.”

She claims she wants to reconcile.  I cannot reconcile how she can hold these beliefs, these very beliefs that have been refuted in the medical community and still think that a common ground can be reached in this area.  Frankly, when I read that comment from her, I thought she was accusing me of suffering from a mental disorder as a way to deny my personhood.  I felt that she was calling me broken.  In a way, it felt like a clever way to disown that aspect of my personality while still trying to convince me that it’s not my fault, as if somehow I should run from who I am.

Mrs. AP is right in her stance that, for my mother, this is progress.  It’s not the full extent of the progress I would like to see, but my mother is approaching 60 years old and was raised by deeply Christian parents. She has continued to tradition, and as is common in the Southeastern United States, appreciation of the fluidity and dynamism of the human sexual range is astoundingly low.  Considering this, yes, my mother has made progress.  If the recent fantastic wins for Equal Rights in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington state are any indication, the country as a whole is making strides as well.

I want to find a way to patch things up with my parents, but I’m faced with the challenge of knowing that I will either have to fight tooth and nail to educate them or reach an understanding where we agree to disagree and just don’t discuss certain subjects.  It’s a dilemma, undoubtedly.

This is one of the challenges of being non-hetero-normative within the United States.  I didn’t sign up for this, I didn’t make the choice to face these kinds of situations, but here I am.  Fighting.  Struggling.  Overcoming.

Thank goodness I have Mrs. AP to help me, else I’m not sure I’d stand much of a chance.


Stay SINful, friends.

12 responses

  1. I feel for you. My parents are Catholic, but have lived long enough to know that there are gays in society. I think if I did come out, they’d just say, “Oh, well.” I have thought a lot about it, about coming out to parents, siblings, co-workers, my kids. In my case, I don’t see what value would be added to anyone. Bi folks have the advantage of appearing to be straight given the fact that many are in primarily heterosexual relationships. My family and friends assume that I am straight so why shake things up? I don’t share details of my sex life with the kids or my parents or neighbors – that’s what blogs are for.

    I think the best way to patch things with your parents is to remove your sex life as a topic of discussion. Let them have their beliefs, but don’t give them the option to discuss it, since you wont be bringing up the topic. In 20 years, I don’t think society will consider this topic anymore controversial than mixed-marriage was when I was a kid.

    November 19, 2012 at 6:56 am

    • Mrs. AP says basically the same thing: remove some things — politics and sex in particular — from the equation. I presented that basic idea in my response to my mother. We’ll see how it goes.

      Stay SINful
      Mr. AP

      November 19, 2012 at 11:54 pm

  2. The fact that your mother is sending you a message and explaining what she thinks is progress, I think. And maybe she needs your acceptance of her thoughts just like you need her acceptance. Of course, neither of you can really get that need met because your thoughts are so diametrically opposed. So, that sucks.

    It sounds like you won’t ever have that intimate relationship with your parents. Is there a way to have any kind of a relationship with them though? As much as is safe, it is good to have a relationship with one’s parents. IMO.

    November 19, 2012 at 10:08 am

    • I recognize that progress is there, and I hope for more. I think the option for an intimate relationship with my parents has really been off the table for some time, but a cordial one is still salvageable. Shooting for that seems like my best option.

      Stay SINful
      Mr. AP

      November 19, 2012 at 11:58 pm

  3. Kat

    I agree with jbf on the note that one day I believe who you love will be no more interesting than mixed marriage. I am sorry that your mother hurt you again but not surprised based on the conversations we have had in the past. As I see it she did at least reach out to you and that is something. I feel sorry for her honestly, she is missing out on so much. She misses out on a relationship with Tank and Princess and Mrs. AP. She is missing out on the evolution of you that all your blog followers have gotten to see. She misses out on so much based on nothing more than gender. I am sorry for her and your father.

    November 19, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    • It’s true that she’s missed out on much. I like to think there’s still time to make some reconciliation and foster a relationship with all of my family instead of focusing on only my ex-wife and my bio-kids. We shall see.

      Stay SINful
      Mr. AP

      November 20, 2012 at 12:01 am

  4. Oh this was heartbreaking to hear. I am so sorry. I can sympathize and empathize with your desires and have a reasonable relationship with a parent who is seemingly incapable. It IS heartbreaking. It leaves such a hole. Time and support from your marvelous Mrs. AP are what will see you through. I am soooo sorry. Know that there are many many people who love you just the way you are. Just the way you are meant to be. You are good and right and perfect just the way you are. Mrs. AP is your family that you need to focus on right now. Good luck. I’m sending good energies your way.

    November 19, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    • Thank you. Mrs. AP is wise enough to see the pain I’ve been in due to this gulf between my parents and me, and strong enough to support me in my efforts to come to the terms with my own feelings and reactions. She believes this is a step toward some form of reconciliation, and that belief bolsters my hopes. Fingers crossed.

      Stay SINful
      Mr. AP

      November 20, 2012 at 12:05 am

  5. I am so sorry. I agree with Sir’s MLB, you are perfect just as you are. Supporting you and holding that vision for you…

    November 19, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    • My deepest thanks. This community truly is the best around. I’m infinitely blessed to have found you. All of you.

      Stay SINful
      Mr. AP

      November 20, 2012 at 12:16 am

  6. Mrs. AP sounds like a very smart woman. Always good to have a reliable (and loving) sounding board when your parents do something stupid. Seems they never grow out of making us feel inferior, and we never grow out of trying to shock them or get their attention. Good luck. But, honestly, if they love you, they’ll come around – at least part way.

    November 19, 2012 at 11:16 pm

    • I think they’re trying. I also think Mom is the harder sell than Dad, despite the fact that he’s the ordained minister. Mrs. AP has been the absolute best in helping me navigate this tumultuous landscape. I’m a lucky man.

      Stay SINful
      Mr. AP

      November 20, 2012 at 12:37 am

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