My parents don’t like my partner. He’s 10 years older than I am (I’m 24) and it’s causing him to feel uncomfortable when we have to go to relative’s events. My family is overall accepting of my sexuality, it’s just that they don’t like him. He is successful, confident, and I love him. How can I solve this problem?
-Trapped in the Middle
Your parents sound awesome! I'm not kidding! Really!
Consider these three levels:
Hey, our son is gay and I don't want to meet anyone he's seeing or hear anything about his life (sexuality included). He's just a gay yet non-gay person who sort of probably loves somebody and is in a relationship but we don't want to know about it because gross and eww.
Or, hey our son is gay and we've met the guy he's dating and give zero fuks and have zero opinions and will simply have a major double standard because if he were straight and seeing a woman seriously, we'd want to know all about her because we care about our son and maybe she will be his wife someday and bring us grandchildren and we'd have opinions and want to find out common interests but since he's gay it's just like hey look at the guy he's dating. It's a guy. Great. Smile and nod and ignore. Let's all have a horribly silent Thanksgiving dinner together.
Or, what you have, where it's like hey our son is gay and we made a point to spend time with and get to know his boyfriend who maybe will be his future husband and we totally don't like him not because he's gay and our son is gay but because we don't like him. As in he's an actual person and we are actual people and we have opinions which may change later but are what they are now.
That's called life. And you're not going to change your parents. Or ask your boyfriend to change. Just don't overkill the time together and maybe sometimes you'll choose to do one Thanksgiving with your boyfriend and a separate one on another day (or later the same day) with your parents. At minimum, everyone should be civil and friendly enough without being fake and that's just being an adult.
If there are natural common interests, fine and plan some get togethers that involve those. If there is some conflict that can be resolved, then encourage them all to talk it out. But other than that, if you all do spend time together, I suggest a lovely movie. See they turn the lights off and the pre-roll tells everyone to shut the fuck up.
If either your parents or your boyfriend blame you for this and want you to fix it, make demands on you or whatnot, then push back. But otherwise, enjoy having parents and a boyfriend who are real people.
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