Here’s a letter from a reader wanting to give advice to a writer in a past column who signed her letter, “Needing To Be Me”:
This is in response to “Needing To Be Me.” She was a new divorcee with children and was unsure what to do about moving in with her girlfriend, and all the ramifications that came with that.
First off, I want to congratulate you on your bravery. It takes a lot of inner strength to admit to yourself and family, divorce, and pick up and move to a new city for a fresh start. I have never been married, but I am a single mother of a 5-year-old, and I know how scary it can be.
In the past year, I have been slowly coming out to friends and family. Most people who know that I am lesbian have been very supportive of me. Some have been supportive of the idea of my being a lesbian, but when it comes down to my dating people, they are not. And still others have been downright hateful and use my son as the excuse for it. “You’ll turn him gay,” is what I hear most often from the latter group of people.
Recently I had been talking to a woman on the computer, and just as we were making plans to meet, she backed out. She said she didn’t want the “extra baggage” in her life that a child would bring. That hurt me and I ended up going to my mother for comfort. Needless to say, my mother didn’t take it well. She is all right with the idea of my being gay, but thinks that since I have a child, I should be alone and celibate until he is an adult and on his own. She feels that I would “mess him up.” But I have left that alone. My mother can feel how she wants to feel. I need to focus on making myself happy. In the long run, that benefits my child more.
I think you are very lucky to have met a woman who wants, and is willing, to be a part of your children’s lives. I haven’t yet found anyone who wants that from me. As for “screwing your children up,” I don’t think that is possible because of whom you prefer to sleep with. I believe it’s better for children to see a loving relationship regardless of gender rather then seeing you in an unhappy relationship. Children pick up on these things and do understand. They are smarter then we generally give them credit for. Your children will be OK with whatever you end up choosing to do, as long as they see that you are happy.
Good luck in what you do; just remember that you do need to consider YOUR happiness above what anyone thinks, or says about you.
A: It sounds like your mother still has a ways to go in her acceptance and understanding regarding your being lesbian and what that means, or doesn’t mean. That is a process that takes time. I’m glad you are going on with your life and not waiting for her to catch up – which she most likely will eventually do. Also, there will be women out there that will love the extra baggage you bring to the relationship, maybe even someone else with kids of her own. Thank you for writing and giving your feelings and support to others. It is not just the previous writer that is experiencing these difficulties. There are many with this same problem out there.
“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt (1884 – 1962)
Have a problem? Send your letters to: “Dear Jody,” C/O Between the Lines, 20793 Farmington Road, Suite 25, Farmington, MI 48336. Or, e-mail: DearJodyValley@hotmail.com