“I’m gay and I left my husband to be with the woman I love. It was traumatic at the time, but I’ve come through it and feel so much better for not living a lie any more.
My husband was actually really understanding – he said he’d suspected for some time – and we’ve stayed friends. He’s now with someone else. Our divorce is going through, and I hope he’s going to be really happy.
“I was dreading telling my mum as she and I have always had a really close relationship, which I was afraid I might lose when she found out.
In fact, she was absolutely fine – she gets on well with my partner and is happy for me that I’m now living a much happier life and feeling more like myself. My brothers were fine too, although there was some teasing, but the problem has been my dad.
“He and I were never really that close – he gets on well with my brothers and he liked my husband.
When I told him, I expected him to be a bit like, ‘So what?’ – but instead his reaction was, ‘What am I going to tell people?’ That was six months ago and he’s not spoken to me since.
“I tried to contact him at Christmas but he blocked my calls. I shouldn’t care because, as I said, we weren’t that close. But somehow, I do, and I just want him to accept me and my partner for who we are. Is there any way I can persuade him to accept us?”
“Sadly, sometimes when people hold entrenched views, it’s very hard to get them to move past these and change their minds. It can be done but, usually, it’s something that takes time. I wish I could tell you that your father will come around and that he will be happy for you that you’re happy, but I can’t.
“There are many people who have had to cope, over the years, with rejection for being who they are – or who they chose to be with. It’s not always about their sexuality, it might be about the race or character of their chosen partner, or it might be the religion they adopt – there may be other reasons too.
“Often the reason for the rejection isn’t really clear but your father’s reaction is quite telling. By coming out as gay, you’ve rejected his way of life and his way of thinking, and he doesn’t know how to deal with that. Rather than try, he is simply avoiding seeing you, thinking about you or, of course, talking to you.
“He probably doesn’t know what to say. He may not even believe, at the moment, that you really are gay; he could be hoping it’s a ‘phase’ and that you will ‘grow out of it’.
He may feel that if he accepts the situation, he is encouraging you to be something other than what he thought you were.
All these are his problems – not yours…
“There may also be an element of grief too – you mention brothers, not sisters, so I’m guessing you’re his only daughter. That could mean he’s going through feelings of sadness that you won’t fulfil the dreams he might have had for you.
All these are his problems – not yours – I’m merely trying to offer suggestions as to why he’s not talking to you.
“You have been fortunate to have been so readily accepted by your mother, your ex-husband and your brothers so maybe they can talk to him.
Perhaps, in time, they will be able to get him to see how much better you feel and how much happier you are now you’re not pretending to be someone you’re not.
“It may take weeks; it may take months; it may even take years; before your father accepts you and your partner as a couple together. It may be that, sadly, he never does but at the end of the day the loss is really his, not yours.”
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