She’s made all the mistakes, so you don’t have to. Ask Erin is a weekly advice column, in which Erin answers your burning questions about anything at all.
I will try to keep this brief. I don’t know what my daughter is doing.
She's young (23), but she's been married for almost 3 years. Recently, she has fallen in love with a lesbian friend of hers.
My daughter and son-in-law have always had a wonderful relationship. There was real love there — until this other woman came into the picture. Over the course of just a few months, she has become someone I don’t know.
She started lying and sneaking around with this woman who's 10 years older than her. We all thought they were just good friends. She has now moved in with the “other woman” and left everything behind. My daughter says she had never had lesbian tendencies before this and had not been unhappy.
I am so confused. We are all so confused. My poor son-in-law is beside himself with grief and confusion. There are so many unanswered questions. In the past, we’ve always been so close and could talk about anything. Now, she won’t talk to me about her new relationship.
I am also concerned because this woman's ex-girlfriend has made threats against my daughter.
My husband and I have always been loving and supportive of my daughter’s decisions. We are trying not to interfere. Is it time to talk to her and say “What the bleep is going on?” I want to be there no matter what path her life takes, but I have so many feelings about this and don’t know how to process them. I feel like I am in such an ugly place. I am not at all homophobic, but it’s a lot to come to terms with.
Can I share that with her? Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Dear Confused Mom,
It is clear that you love your daughter and want to be supportive, which is wonderful.
I get that you’re confused: Sometimes in life, it takes a minute for us to process events when things go down one road when we expected them to go down another.
It's irrelevant whether or not she had romantic feelings for women in the past. She is in love with a woman today.
Beyond sexual identity, it is my belief that we fall in love with souls (not bodies) and that souls exist outside of gender.
The most important thing for you to remember right now is that your daughter’s entire world has been thrown into upheaval. Her sexual identity, her married status, her relationships with friends and family — it’s all been shaken up. It may take a moment for the dust to settle before she is ready or capable of discussing what she’s feeling. She may very well have loved your son-in-law and been happy.
But something had to have been missing. And, very likely, what was missing was she was not living her truth.
Your instinct to not interfere is correct. Make it clear to her that you and her father love and support her, stand by her, and are there for her whenever and however she needs. I believe she will open up to you, when she’s ready.
I also think it’s normal that you have your own feelings to process about this. That’s OK.
But you don’t need to pile that on her, because they are your feelings to deal with, not hers.
There is a wonderful organization called PFLAG that has a wealth of resources for parents, friends, and family members of LGBTQ. That would be a great place for you to start. You can find local resources through PFLAG here.
By being supportive, educating yourselves, and finding your own support to process your feelings, you can be the most help to your daughter. Coming out and coming to terms with all that entails is HUGE. She will need you to continue to be the loving parents you have been.
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