My son is seven years old and has become very close with a little girl in his class. I have had her over for play dates, but I had only met her father, who seemed like a very nice man. When I asked to meet my son’s friend’s mother, however, the man chuckled a little uncomfortably and stated that his “life partner” was a man. They have been together for seventeen years. He wants to invite my husband and I over for dinner this weekend and I am incredibly uncomfortable with this. My husband doens’t see what the big deal is but I don’t want my son hanging around gay men. I certainly don’t want to have dinner with them. How do I politely say no?
---Keep It To Yourself
Dear Keep It To Yourself,
I know this is out of your comfort zone, but try to have an open mind for the sake of your son. He clearly enjoys being with their daughter. Instead of taking her away from him (which you will inevitably be doing if you close the door to this relationship with her family) why not take a step back and try to look at the situation dispassionately.
The world has changed. I know, this is a hard reality for many people to accept, but there are a lot of ways to make a family and to raise children. The most important factor in a child’s life is that there are people in their life who care about them, who love them unconditionally, and who support them. Regardless of the sex of the parent, kids just need loving parents. So, try to momentarily (just momentarily!) think of what it would be like to be in their footsteps. If you were a gay person, wouldn’t you want a chance to have people judge you for who you are and not your sexual orientation?
I find it interesting that your husband isn’t having the same visceral response as you are. Perhaps he is looking at it from a different vantage point. Pick his brain and ask him why it isn’t an issue for him in the way that it is for you. You may be surprised by his response.
Often times, when we fear something, it is because we don’t know anything else. If you give these men a chance (really, what’s the harm in one dinner?) and try to set your judgments aside until after you get to know them, perhaps you will feel differently about them. Watch them interact with their daughter. Are they loving? Affectionate? Supportive? How do they interact with you? The fact that they have invited you over for dinner is a very nice gesture and a harmless one at that. Who knows? You may hit it off with them and really enjoy their company.
The world is full of interesting and unique people. But we are all connected by the single fact that we all just want to love and be loved. Surely on some basic level of humanity you can relate to them in that way. You both have children you love. You both have partners that you love. Find your common ground and start there. You don’t have to embrace their lifestyle to accept the fact that they are human beings just like you.
Good luck and thanks for the question. I would love to know how the dinner pans out!
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