I finally got up the courage to let my parents in on the new developments in my life. Through a series of emails and phone calls, I was able to share the following:
- I am gay
- I don’t plan on living a celibate life
- I am taking a break from the church
- I value my relationship with them and hope that this will make us closer
In their responses, they made sure the following was clear:
- They love me
- I will always be a part of the family
- They fear that the happiness I am looking for won’t be there in the end
- They can’t condone my choice to pursue companionship as it goes against their testimony of the gospel and the words of the prophets and apostles
Those last two really stung, even though I wasn’t surprised. I told them that it hurts that they would want me to be alone for the rest of my life when they didn’t have to do the same. It hurts that my happiness won’t make them happy.
A few friends have asked me how their response makes me feel. In all honesty, I feel that a large part of our parent-child relationship has been lost. For the first time in my life my parents made a point to put their own interests above mine. I’m sure they’ve done it plenty of times before, I just didn’t really notice because it wasn’t that big of a deal.
As a child, you don’t realize all the sacrifices your parents make for you. Once I was in college and on my mission, I developed a deep sense of gratitude for them as I realized all that they had done for me. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to realize that they sacrificed even more for the church, and their relationship (especially my dad’s) with my siblings and me were part of that sacrifice. However, I now see them as normal human beings, who make choices in their best self interest, instead of the parents that would do anything for me. Selfish me still wants my parents, even though I am in my thirties and live completely independent of them.
I now have parents who seem too afraid to say that they want me to be happy, as if they would be betraying God and the church in the process. I still want them in my life, I just have to lower my expectations of what it means to be my parent. I think our parent-child relationship has run its course. It’s almost like we are now all adult siblings. We have that family bond that will always keep us together, but as adults, we all have to do what is best for our own families that we are trying to build. It’s weird to feel like I lost my parents, but that is my reality for now.