How do I tell Family and Friends?


image

My partner “Van” has met and hung out with my mother and stepfather and my daughter and her boyfriend and even my church members.

And they have been mad cool and accepting.

“I feel more welcome with him than I did with that ex-wife of yours,” my stepfather said.

That was a huge compliment, considering it came from a from a 71-year old, Black Air Force vet sports fanatic who you would have thought would be most homophobic.

Peeps can surprise you.

During Thanksgiving Van even met my best buddy since high school “Sherrod”and his girlfriend. I think they figured out what was up but I never had “the talk” with them.

We just hung out and drank wine by an open pit fire and talked shit.

But at one point Sherrod said snidely. “Well I guess this is the real reason you left your wife.”

I just laughed it off and ignored him.

But I can’t keep laughing it off and ignoring it.

I am pretty well liked among my family and straight social circle so I get asked to hang out alot.

Dinners. Happy Hours. Holiday get-togethers. What have you.

I have been going alone but eventually folks have to meet him. I can’t keep excluding him from a big part of life.

But how to do it? Many of these folks knew my ex-wife. I mean these are my cousins and aunts and uncles and buds I have had since 5th grade.

Do I have to go into a long explanation with them? Or just bring Van and plunge in?

My late buddy “Kenyon” was totally open. His family ands knew his two female ex-wives and his male lovers.

But I’m not as crazy brave as he was.

Can anyone give me some advice?

39 thoughts on “How do I tell Family and Friends?

  1. I kinda feel the same way, how do I bring my prospective partner around family and friends? Hmmm part of my solution would be just “dive in”. But then am I really ready to say to everyone ” hey this who I am and I’m gonna be happy”? I think Immanuel they have shown you that they love you regardless and they accept you and Vans relationship. Like a female friend told me recently you’d be surprised everyone may already have known and they aren’t as closed minded as you think…hmmm?

    • Ok this is an older blog but really it fits the current situation. I recently met someone, a great guy established, comfortable with who he is as a gay black man and we’ve been attached at the hip since our first date. I’ve met his family and he’s met mine, we are having dinner with my family today to plan for a trip we all are taking for my sisters wedding, my nervous feeling is my ex girlfriend is close to my family and is coming according to my sister giving me a heads up, Thanks! How do I make this evening comfortable for her because shame isn’t an option..

  2. My advice to you is to bring ‘Van’ along and introduce him as your good friend. Like Jmz stated, they may already know. You have to be comfortable with your life and ‘Van’ seems to be a big part of your life. A borrowed quote..’Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who matter won’t mind, and those who mind won’t matter.’

  3. Immanuel ma dear, Oh how I envy you!! That your peeps and social circles are substantially evolved that you are even considering introducing him to them. You are so fortunate my brother, and dont for even a jiffy take that for granted. I would say, go with what your spirit tells you. We usually know how these things intuitively, and thier outcomes, so I would ask that you meditate upon this decision and go with what your spirit tells you.
    Back in the Motherland,I would be the luckiest puppy alive if I was just acknowledged that I exist before these Bible thumping homophobes lynched me. So Immanuel, take a step of Faith for those of us like me who would not dare open that closet door if I wanna see the day tomorrow.

    • Fortune I forget how blessed I am to live in the United States and how difficult it is for my LGBTQ brothers and sisters in parts of Africa. I will let the spirit lead me. In the meantime please be safe over there.

  4. Considering I am no where near you and your situation. I get uncomfortable with a guy I have messed with being 50 yard radius of family and friends, so I got nothing to really add. Usually if I got nothing insightful or funny to say, then I don’t say anything at all. I’m curious though, what does Van think?
    I mean if you are coming to us for advice, I’m sure you have discussed it with him. Where does he stand on the situation? Does it bother him or what? What’s his position, ultimately he’s the one you have to go home to…or whatever it is you two do?

    I want to piggy back off something JMZ said, and about being surprised about what people already know. He’s telling the truth but there is another side to that. People may have their thoughts and opinions and ignore them until they are faced with the truth. I know a lot of people who believe someone in their church is gay, but they ignore it. Let that person come out completely to them all and all hell will break loose. Even if they all knew, even before they knew they were gay, it is different when the real truth comes out.

    Personally I would take my time, and take each social event case by case. But I am honest, I might not be the best one to take advice from.

    • Hey The Blog Artist Formerly Known As YB&DL (See I used your full name!). Van lets me handle it on a case by case basis. If I have a family event and I think it may be awkward he will do something else while I attend. But this is getting stupid. I’m grown. I work hard, support my family and play my bills. My Mom has said, “Fuck what folks think. They don’t pay your bills.” My late friend Kenyon was the same way. This year I’m coming more out because this DL shit is silly. It’s like saying being straight is something superior to being gay when really it’s like just different. Not better. Not worse.

  5. It sounds like your immediate family is cool with it but you’re worried about the extended family and friends. Am I right?

    Let’s flip the script a little. Your college age son comes to you and he’s visibly troubled. You and your wife are still married and you’ve noticed a change in his behavior lately. He breaks down crying and admits to you that he’s gay. He’s tried dating girls in high school, but it just never felt completely right.

    He tells you he met someone special and they have been dating for two years . Your son is a mature young man of 21, athletic and outgoing. The young man he’s met is his age, equally mature and has a good head on his shoulders. Your son is proud of his man and he wants to include that man in the part of his life that’s outside their circle of gay friends.

    Your son’s troubled by the thought that his straight friends and family won’t accept him. He’s afraid he’ll be ostracized. He’s afraid that some people won’t like him anymore. He’s even afraid to tell his mother because she cracked a gay joke one time and he can’t seem to forget it. He’s conflicted and confused. He’s scared. He needs guidance and he turns to you.

    What would you tell your son?

  6. Maybe you shouldn’t have ignored Sherrod’s comment about your wife. Maybe he was joking. Maybe he had had enough to drink to even bring it up. Does not sound like you made it easy on him (and, trust, I don’t care about making life easy for your pal). Anyway, there is a fine line between joking and being snide. Way too fine, probably.

    Do your thing. Let people in when you want to let them in. Really, you don’t owe them shit and can’t control what they think. I will say, after my friends and family met “T,” the questions about when they are going to see him next have not stopped coming. Everybody loves the man, and I get it, he’s a great guy. Give people a chance. Sounds like you want to, and maybe you have been waiting for the right man to introduce people to and maybe you are thinking Van is that man? You describe him as basically, “a guy I see,” so maybe not. What up? Only you know. Who cares what people think? Make sure it’s the right guy though. Most guys don’t want to bring a merry-go-round of men to meet the people who have known them for a long time. Can imagine you do not either.

  7. Well it sounds like you’re already doing it right. You don’t really have to give an entire backstory to people about Van. If that’s who you’re with, introduce him as as such and enjoy the damn potato salad at the barbecue!

    -_Cogito

  8. I agree with Nayquan, time to enjoy the potato salad with Van. And when you receive the invitations seems like the perfect time to ask if you can bring Van. Eventually the invitations will include him and if you arrive alone they will be asking why you didn’t bring him along! I would put money on the fact that everybody knows anyway as you are already “out” with so many of them, not like they are keeping a “secret” for you. They know your ex-wife? That is what the x is for, and they can invite her to a different gathering, they want you there. When your friend Sherrod “joked” with you seems like he was trying to open communication with you, not sure why you “laughed it off” and ignored it, might have been the perfect time to just laugh with him and say “Oh Yeah”, time for Van to look at you and smile lovingly. All that aside, do “we” take on too much of the responsibility of trying to “protect” family and friends from their own possible discomfort? If it’s “gayness” that makes them uncomfortable (or worse) then our OWN presence is enough, who we bring with us is secondary, no? By going alone do we make it “easier” for them to “pretend”, or us? Or are we acting in our own “self-defense”, by going alone (if we go at all) we hope to minimize any rejection? And thus we bring on our own attacks of mindfucking only to discover that most all of the family love and care about us to some degree or other and care very much about those that we love and care about. If not, why are they inviting you in the first place?

    • Thanks for the advice man! My mom advises me to do the same thing I’m still a bit cowardly though. As you said I’m mindfucking myself. And it’s not a good feeling. I will try to follow your wise words.

  9. Immanel, how do you regard Van if you post full frontal pictures of him on the internet. Is that respectful? Let him post his own selfies. Immanuel you are a father. Do your children know of your multiple sexual partners , whose HIV and STD status you do not know? How would you disclose to them you becoming HIV+ if you were to contract the disease? My point is that you CAN still be a good role model for your family but be careful what you are modeling. At this point in your life, with your children raised, you can date whom you like. Your site, while titillating reveals someone whose private activities are something of a risk to yourself, to your significant other, and possibly your children if you become HIV+, meaning your children would have a father who has HIV+ and risk losing him to the disease. Van, if you like him, deserves to not be put at risk for an STD and vice versa. I get that part about having to marry a woman, have kids and do the traditional thing because it is the NORM. I get perhaps wanting to make up for ‘lost time’ by having a lot of male sexual partners, having not have had the chance to partake in that earlier in life. I get all that. Just be careful.

    • Oh I’m careful. Believe that. And I practice safe sex and get regularly tested for STDs. I’m negative and plan to stay that way. Van knows I post photos and videos and approves. Hey I’m sexually active and proud of it. I live my life honestly. That is the example I would like to leave my children. As my mother taught us while growing up, “If you want to grow up to be whore or a garbageman be the best damn whore and garbageman you can be.”

      • Yeah, as my grandmother said, as it relates to ugly people having all that sex, “its not about the beauty, its about the booty” LOL

  10. I hope you don’t mind Immanuel if I respond to Rick before you do… BUT… Rick, it’s not a selfie when someone else takes the photo, i.e. Immanuel is posting a pic of Van and it’s not the first time. And Immanuel wouldn’t post it if Van didn’t know or want it posted. About being a father (I’m father of three sons), personal AND private life isn’t shared with your kids! Immanuel blogs his personal and private life, so yes, this part of his life isn’t private for anyone going to his blog, but what would his kids be doing going to his blog? …and if they do, they have invaded his privacy! That “threat” shouldn’t dictate his private or personal life. It traps us, keeps us in the ”closet”, keeps us on the “down low”… no more and no less than “What if your kids/parents/family/friends/coworkers discover that you… want gay sex, have gay sex, have had gay sex”… and even WORSE… like it, celebrate it, and have lots and lots of it. In your comment Rick you also express concern about practicing safe sex. Have you read Immanuel’s posts about his keeping sex safe? How safe can we make it? Well, yeah, no sex is the safest, monogamy runs a close second but there is always the what if factor… then comes no mucosal contact (from dental dams to sucking condom covered cocks and no kissing). So what kind of a model is Immanuel? Well from what I have read he and ALL his partners practice safe sex so if his kids are going to take after him, they will have more than one partner in life and they will practice safe sex. And since neither of his kids is married they aren’t “making up for lost time”, I assume that they are having the time of their lives, which is what I assume Immanuel’s advice to them would be. Rick, I’m glad you ended with Just Be Careful. I’m going to add Keep It Honest… which in this blog Immanuel does in spades (and with spades) and finally to Immanuel… in one of my recent comments I reflected on your being hedonistic and ethical. In this one I’m going to thank you for exploring personal and private boundaries with us here, in the privacy of your blog.

    • Way2ec thanks for the comment and the support. You hit it in the head. Appreciate that. I could psychoanalyze that guy’s comments all day but I won’t. When you expose your personal life you must be prepared for critics so I’ve learn to roll with the punches. I also don’t monitor comments and only post ones I like (except some personal ones posted by an ex that were just lies). Really what he said is no sweat. I’ve been called and accused of worse.

    • One Idiot co-signing for another Idiot. One idiot post all his personal business on the WORLD WIDE WEB rather than just do as he does in private, then another idiot backs him doing that as a father himself. The idiot co-signing on Immanuel’s behavior says “if his kids are going to take after him, they will have more than one partner in life and they will practice safe sex.” This is why the HIV epidemic is out of control in the black community is out of control. The more partners the more the possibility of having contact with someone who has HIV but does not know it. I don’t knock Immanuel having a healthy sex life with a significant other, but the going back to adolescence and having lots of sexual partners and posting all of that online is juvenile and inappropriate for a man his age.

  11. Good morning Immanuel. I know you slept well last night all snuggled next to your man Van. I know you’re a big boy and don’t let small things bother you but I read a couple remarks from a saint name Rick in your blog. lol.. It must be nice to live a perfect life like Rick and judge others. I didn’t know we had perfect people in our society. I hope he is comfortable in his little glass house throwing stones. Now he should be a role model for young people… Name-calling prefering to people as (idiots) is a testament that he lacks intelligence. We not you but we are not the cause of HIV in our society. Education or lack of is part of the reason. Thank God for modern medicine that have been introduced to people living with HIV that people are living longer with the disease that affects us all as a society. In closing my man, your blog is a inspiration to me. Continue to be you a fine friend, wonderful father, caring family man and a gem to Van……

    • Marcus thanks. I slept very well. What Rick wrote made me smile. People really tell more about themselves in the things they write. I wish Rick nothing but love. Oh and thanks for reading my blog and hope to see you soon!

    • Do you know how expensive HIV medications are? Do you know what it feels like to feel sick quite often because your immune system is not strong enough to find off common bacteria and viruses? Do you know what it means to lose friends because they feel they are not able to do anything really to reverse the progression of the HIV virus, and back away from you? Do you know what it means to have a medical provider decline to administer care because he or she does not want to deal with people living with HIV/AIDS? Do you know what it means to have an employer fire someone when they learn an employee has HIV/AIDS? I am not saying stop having sex. I am saying that having sex with people of unknown HIV or STD status is a gamble. As one ages the body does change. If Immanuel does not have any of the laundry list of the health problems that black men have in his age group (hypertension, high blood pressure, heart disease, etc) he is ahead of the game. If he has ANY of them already, then throws HIV+ on top of that, watch how things will change.

      • Thanks for the advice Rick. And I’m sorry if you are HIV Positive and experiencing such awful things. As I said before (but you don’t listen) I practice safe sex. I am HIV negative (tested 2 weeks ago). I do not have raw sex. I do not have high blood pressure. I do not have diabetes. I work out regularly. I might have a class of wine a week and a cigarette every few weeks when hanging with friends. Oh and I have lots of sex which relieves stress, helps blood pressure, is good for the prostate and burns 200 to 300 calories each pop!

      • Rick, am I reading you right? Practicing safe sex isn’t good enough? only monogamy? no multiple partners? what about serial monogamy? and I’m an idiot if I do have sex with more than one person, whether or not my kids know?… even if it IS safe sex? And just for the record, although I’m not sure you’re listening, but maybe to complicate your calling me an idiot, yes I’m a father. I’m divorced. (I met my wife at a gay party so she knew from Day 1, and not divorced because of my “gayness”) Been out and about for years and I practice safe sex. And the main reason I’m revealing this here is that the need to be “out”, open and honest about our gay sex lives INCLUDES needing (gay?) people like you to come to grips with ALL our various realities. Is your describing being HIV+ an attempt to share here on Immanuel’s blog? And by sharing it, are you hoping to influence all of us to continue being safe in our sex lives? Meanwhile, my man and I enjoy knowing that Van and Immanuel enjoy watching each other enjoy other men, even wearing out a bottom between them. I try to read between the lines about how they avoid jealousy, deal with the men who see them as hot big black dicks or the others who would fall in love with one or both of them and want to become a threesome that would defy stereotypes. Rick, you joined this on a post where Immanuel was asking for advice on how to integrate Van into his family gatherings and I appreciate your concerns about safe sex and the future of his kids and all… but this being Immanuel’s blog… after he figures out how to integrate Van into the family, I will be waiting to hear how he brings that hot sexy third guy along to the BBQ, or what if he meets a total stud there… and drool baby drool, what if he posts one of those hot pics again and it turns out to be stepdad’s long lost cousin or something… OR what will Van do when Immanuel BECOMES a grandpa!

      • Thank you for sharing some of the thoughts in your mind. At its best this blog encourages us to talk to each other and voice feelings, concerns, hopes, dreams and fantasies. It is the safest thing going (lol). And it is all constructive. My point is that sex and having a sexual life should not be a damaging thing. Those who have not been as careful are suffering hardship ( from HIV and compromised health). Believe me. Some have said it is NOT realistic for gay men to be monogamous, even in the name of SELF-PRESERVATION. Black men struggle disproportionately with health issues and often we face some barrier to getting good, quality health care when ill. President Obama is trying to fix that by requiring all Americans to have some form of health coverage. But, I think that an underlying reason gay men will take greater sexual risks because in many cases that one night stand is the only affection we are getting. We sometimes live isolated and in our isolation do not get the love we should be getting from our families of origin. That lack of love dates back to childhood, for some. We will drive miles to a sex party for that embrace and that sexual release. The need for that ‘love’ overshadows protecting ones health, overrides self-preservation.

  12. The same way you are talking to us via this blog. You have to be direct and shoot straight from the hip, as you are a grown man & yo man is also grown.

    You sit them down, at least the ones you deem as important enough TO tell anyways, & you talk to them. Let them know what’s going on in your life, and be open to a Q&A session.

    The genuinely ignorant will want to know SEVERAL things that they are & have been curious about for YEARS. Others will probably think twice about socializing and interacting with you, but that’s OK: you prolly don’t need them in your social space at this point in your life’s chapter. Some will still invite y’all over for Sunday dinner, others may want to go clubbing with you. You’ve had this coming out “party” before, so it’s a “same script, different cast” kinda setup.

    This recommendation may not be all encompassing, but it can lead to a promising start. Y’all will be fine. & Be Well 😉😊

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s