Hi Jake,

Let me start by saying that I’ve never written a letter like this to a website, but I knew about this column and something so utterly “cray” happened in my weird, gay life that I felt like I had no choice but to reach out.

So, I’ve been seeing a guy for two months now. We met initially on Grindr for a casual hookup earlier this summer, and quickly that evolved into a relationship. However, last weekend, he introduced me to his parents. To my horror, I noticed upon laying eyes on his father that I had hooked up with him once three years ago, before even knowing his son. My sense was the father in question didn’t recognize me until the end of the meeting, but said nothing.

I am now very conflicted about what to do. Do I… A.) Pretend I do not know the father, B.) Tell my boyfriend that his daddy was my “daddy” in a past hookup, or C.) Just wash my hands of all parties in this unbelievably strange situation?

I need some serious “fatherly” advice! 😂

Daddy’s Little Secret

Dear Daddy’s Little Secret,

Wow! This story is giving major Euphoria vibes, and just like Hunter Schafer, it seems like you’ve unknowingly gotten yourself into quite a predicament (glitter eye-shadow optional).

I often hear of people in the gay world sleeping with various people inside their friendship groups, or even in the workplace. It’s a small gay world, after all. But rarely does it cross a… generation gap.

First of all, just whoa. This is a lot. Give yourself some time to process the shock (and trauma, honestly) of what’s happening here. I would imagine you are pretty freaked out, and maybe even a little scared.

Is your own real life Eric Dane going to tell his son first, and upset your relationship with your boyfriend? Does this have the potential to come out and expose your “daddy” as being secretly gay, if he’s indeed still with a woman (perhaps even your boyfriend’s mom)!? Could there be coercion or threats involved to keep you quiet?

You might need some serious support and self-care during this time.

Again, I don’t know if your boyfriend’s father is out of the closet or not, but if he’s not, it’s evident that there’s clearly a lot of daddy’s (literally) out there on the D.L. Perhaps you live in a small town, where the Grindr options are limited, or the stars simply aligned to put you in the most random of predicaments.

Regardless, what’s apparent here is there is a previous relationship that not everyone in the situation is privy to.

Your boyfriend clearly has no idea what’s up, and if he did know, it’s not like this is just another friend of his, which would be weird, but maybe eventually palatable. This is his father, and he might be really creeped/freaked out, so you’re going to have to tread lightly.

I don’t think it’s a good idea to pretend you don’t know the father, and not mention anything to your boyfriend. Holding something so deeply personal and important from your partner is only going to create a wedge between you. It’s never good to have secrets, because unconsciously those affect intimacy and closeness with one another.

At the same time, if you come right out with it to your boyfriend, you might be unwittingly outing his father, and coming out as gay or bisexual is a very personal experience between any two family members. Perhaps his father was planning to come out to his son on his own terms, or in his own way. You don’t want to be the atomic bomb that comes in and devastates the entire family.

Since walking away doesn’t seem like the right thing either, I’m going to propose a fourth option here. What if you were to contact “daddy” directly, and talk about how you can both handle this in the best way possible? That way, you can find out from him where he is in terms of coming out, and if he’d rather tell his son directly.

This might sound scary, but what you’re doing is passing the responsibility onto him first. After all, he’s probably the one holding the even bigger secret. You might even agree to both sit your boyfriend down and tell him the situation together.

If he ends up threatening you, or trying to silence you, don’t forget you have the power here, because at any moment you could reveal his secret. Mention to him that unless he tells your boyfriend first, you’re going to have to do it eventually yourself. After all, it’s unhealthy to keep a secret this big. I might even think about telling a close friend about the situation as well, just so there’s someone else in the know, in case things should ever feel unsafe (god forbid).

Eventually, whether it be before, after, or alongside his father, you’ll need to calmly and respectfully explain the situation to your partner. Remind him that this is not something you had any control over. After all, who would have ever thought you would eventually be dating his son? Make room for lots of feelings and reactions, and maybe even some anger directed towards you. Those are valid feelings, and they just need a voice.

If your boyfriend loves you, you can get past this. It’s going to be a tough time for him to adjust to the news, both in how it affects his relationship with you, and also his father. Give him space and patience when he requires it. At the end of the day, it’s not your fault that two people who are related both had the same attraction towards you. Clearly, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Ask Jake is our advice column by Queerty columnist and Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist Jake Myers. If you have a question for Jake, please email [email protected] for consideration.

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Queerty’s licensed mental health professional helps readers navigate questions related to relationship dynamics, sex, gay culture, and more, all through a lens of releasing shame and living authentically.

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