Navigating family relationships can feel like walking through a minefield.
It’s even more difficult when bigotry is in play.
A 41-year-old mother is wondering if how she handled her 22-year-old son’s coming out with her in-laws was right. She turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.
Redditor angrymom321654 asked:
“AITA for not telling my [mother-in-law] (MIL) that my son is gay?”
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
“My (41F) son (22M) came out to us as gay when he was a teenager. He has been with his boyfriend for four years and they are talking about marriage within the next two or three years.”
“My in-laws are extremely religious and intolerant and my son has never felt comfortable coming out to them. He has no real relationship with them other than holiday/birthday pleasantries and we support his decision.”
“We aren’t particularly close to them either for reasons I will not get into here, but my husband feels like the less contact we have with them, the better.”
“My MIL has this bad habit with my son where she is constantly trying to involve herself in his dating life and has in the past tried to set him up with women she either met at church or on the street. One time she tried to set him up with waitress when we went out to dinner with them for her birthday.”
“The other night he was over at the house and MIL called up my husband (44M) on skype. My son participated in the call to give his Thanksgiving pleasantries.”
“My MIL began harping at him about when he was finally going to settle down and find a nice girl to marry so she will get to be a great-grandma. She told him that one of her friends from church has a daughter that he would like and asked if she could give her his number.”
“My son told her he wasn’t interested and asked her to stop. She kept persisting and my son finally told her that he was gay and had a serious boyfriend he was living with and planned to marry.”
“MIL flipped her sh*t!”
“She ended the skype and immediately called my husband and started screaming at him. She told my husband that our son was a disgrace to our family, and started chastising him for not telling her about our sons sinful life.”
“My husband told her that is is not our place to tell people that our son is gay, and if she cannot support him, then she is a worse grandmother than she was a mother and should be ashamed of herself.”
“My FIL and SIL are now demanding that we apologize to MIL for upsetting her and ruining their Thanksgiving. My husband and I are standing firm that we have nothing to apologize for, and if anything feel that they should apologize to our son for the awful things they said about him and his boyfriend.”
“I was talking about what happened with my sister, and she told me that this would have never happened if we had told my MIL years ago that our son was gay.”
“AITA for not telling her?”
Redditors weighed in using four voting codes:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided the OP was not the a**hole.
“NTA. It was your son’s decision if/when to tell them, not your job to out him!” ~ Unlucky-Profession41
“Being outed can be traumatic, even if it goes well. I can’t imagine being outed to to your grandmother, who you (correctly) assumed would flip her lid.”
“It’s a good thing OP let her son choose when to have that scene, even if it’s at the ‘expense’ of a homophobic family member. I hope her son is doing okay.”
“Thinking about your extended family’s horrible reactions is different than living it. I found it tough when I went through it.” ~ QualifiedDragon
“I agree. What is up with OP’s sister?”
“First of all it’s none of her business when [a**hole-in-law] found out and second yes she still would have done this.” ~ WeeklyConversation8
“Absolutely. OP is definitely NTA here.”
“People who judge others for liking other people who have the same genitals as them are though.” ~ TurtleCorp_Bot
“His life, his business. She should have stopped pushing.”
“He knew that she was going to have a cow and didn’t want to deal with her nonsense. If she hadn’t kept nagging, if she had stopped when he asked, then none of this would have happened.”
“Tell [father-in-law] and [sister-in-law] to have her apologize to your son for not accepting and upsetting him.”
“Tell the sister that it really was no one’s business and when you know someone is going to kick off about it and you don’t want to deal, then you just let it lie.”
“OP’s son knew what would happen, he is the injured party here. It’s sad that people still act like this, but because they do, people are going to do what OP and her son did.”
“And that is more on them than anyone else ever.” ~ tphatmcgee
“Your son is an adult. Even when he was a minor, an explanation of his sexuality is owed to no one.”
“It’s his choice who to share it with. It sounds as if he made the correct and logical decision to not have the confrontation with Granny and Gramps when he, correctly, guessed their reaction.”
“If Granny hadn’t been a pushy, medaling, entitled AH* she never would have known. Who the heck does she think she is demanding great grandchildren?”
“Your son and his partner, even if that partner were capable of biologically carrying a fetus, are under no obligation to reproduce just because she thinks they ‘owe’ her great-grandchildren. They should grow their family in any way they choose only if that is their desire.”
“She couldn’t keep her nose in her own business and now she’s paying for it. She ruined her own Thanksgiving by pushing your son past the point of courtesy.”
“He was pushed into a figurative corner and had no recourse other than to confront Granny with news she didn’t want to hear to get her to back off.”
“Good on you Mom and Dad for your support. Good on your son for handling this as well as he did.”
“Congrats to him and his boyfriend for having a loving, positive, committed relationship. This may get me labeled a screaming liberal but I’d much rather see two people of any sexuality in a loving, supportive, positive relationship than see a man and a woman forced together by narrow minded people who can’t handle any relationship that doesn’t result in biological offspring.”
“And don’t get me started on those who think you ‘must’ have children to be happy.”
“Your son is NTA. People need to stop trying to force their normal on others and mind their own darn beeswax.”
“The world is full of amazing people who come in every variety. Stop trying to force people into Stepford norms and embrace the beauty of diversity.” ~ MorpheusesMuse
Coming out is an individual process. Each person needs to decide how they want to come out and who they want to tell their truth.
While her son came out to her, he didn’t come out to her in-laws. His story was not his mom’s to tell.
Her maintaining his confidence and not outing him does not make mom the a**hole.