No, I do not have a son. One of my readers does. She wrote to me and asked if I had any advice for her. I will paraphrase her letter and omit certain names and places to protect her identity.
Dear Dr. Smith:
I don't know if you can help me, but I don't know who else to ask. Please don't reveal anything that might identify me. Life is hard enough for me without that.
My 25-year-old son is gay. He told me a little while ago. I had suspected this for a few years but never asked him. He graduated from college, has a good job, and lives alone. Recently, he found someone to love and so he decided to tell me and his Dad.
My problem is this my husband went nuts. He refuses to accept the fact that our son is gay. He doesn't want to talk about it with our son or with me. He says that he will not allow his son to bring any "fag" into our home. He also said that he will not visit our son anymore and ordered me to stop giving him meals or money.
I feel as though my heart has been ripped out of my chest. What can I do? I don't want to lose either my son or my husband.
Thank you for listening. If you have any suggestions, I would be grateful.
A Pennsylvania Mom and Wife
Dear "Mom and Wife,"
I could cry for you. The two men in your life have put you in an awful position. If you go along with your husband, you risk alienating your son. If you stick by your son, your marriage could suffer greatly. You are in a "no-win" scenario.
Giving you advice is a hard thing for me. I am not a mental health professional, and I believe that your husband and son need the benefit of a trained therapist. They both have critical issues to resolve in their father-son relationship.
First, your husband's reaction is a fairly typical one. Many men are homophobic and do not easily accept gays and lesbians. For some reason, men consider it a failure when a member of their family confesses to being gay. Instead of love and acceptance (or at least tolerance), anger and alienation take over.
I doubt that there is anything you can do or say right now that would help your husband change his attitude. One thing you might try tell him that you love him and wish that he could love his son more than he hates his son's life style.
And, you can tell your son to respect his father. Until his Dad's attitude changes, he should not bring his lover home. He shouldn't violate his father's home rules.
What your son does with his life outside your home is his own business. Once a child becomes an adult, his life is his own. Parents may not like what the child does, but they can no longer control him.
One thing let your husband know that you will continue to love and support your son. Even though the meals and money might stop, your love and concern will continue.
There is no reason that you can't visit your son and have a relationship with him. Do not hide your visits from your husband, but I might not be too quick to tell your spouse much about your son. Perhaps, one of these days, your husband will want to go along for a visit.
Once again, you are in a tough position. I am a mother and I know how deeply we love our children. Perhaps, with time, your love for the two men in your life can overcome the negativity. Hang in there and let me know how you are doing.
If you would like to contact Dr. Smith, she can be reached at her email address: email@example.com or in care of this newspaper.