Daddy issues

How do I tell my dad I know he’s gay?

He’s a great guy, and a good father.

But.

Though 52-years-old, he’s gone to great lengths to conceal his sexuality: He’s staunchly conservative, a Trump voter who thinks Pope Francis is “too progressive,” and a devout Catholic to boot. So how to approach the issue that he’s gay and his son knows it?

Related: Teen says being gay is “disgusting,” now this concerned dad needs serious advice

That’s the question bibleguy420 is posing to the Reddit community, writing that his father is

mostly open-minded about people and he’s never been homophobic in any way (he once met one of my gay friends who’s very open and was very respectful albeit a little hesitant around him).

So how does he know his father is gay? There are a few subtle indications:

I know he’s gay because after my mom died, he’s never dated. For my entire childhood they had separate bedrooms (he claimed he didn’t want to disturb her because he’s an insomniac). The real kicker, though, is his “assistant”. My dad has a construction company… but spends most of his time with a young guy who’s pretty much my age (he’s 24).

They go to dinner every night, he comes to our house several times a week and spends the night (because they’re working on “projects”). One night around 3am, I went down to the basement where we have an entertainment room and saw them on the couch snuggled together with my dad rubbing his leg.

“Bibleguy” loves his father and wants him to be happy:

I would hate it if his sexuality is making him miserable because he’s always been my role model throughout life. I know that he’s kept secrets from me before and he’s been very good at it (apparently he was addicted to painkillers pretty much my entire life up until I went to college… I never knew the entire time). With this, it just hurts.

Redditors were quick to offer their advice.

Related: I didn’t realize this song was my closeted dad’s gay anthem — until it was too late.

Writes FeistyGUMMYBEAR:

“I think u should just sit down with him and just let him know how much you love him and that you’re there for him whenever he needs you. And then smile and give him a hug. Just make it more comfortable for him to get closer to you should he want to.

That’s what I do when I want to tell people that I know their secret without telling them directly that I know their secret. I just take them out one day and hang out with them and we’ll take a drive around, and immediately after, they start opening up. Works every time.”

“This scenario is like a reverse coming out,” says OhDuvv, “so I think the same general rules apply.”

“I wouldn’t specifically mention the word ‘gay’, as I think it can come off as a little heavy. I would say something along the lines of ‘You know, Dad, if you’re happy Im happy. No matter who you are with or what you do, I just want the best for you.’ You could also talk about how you look up to him, and how much you admire him like you seem to suggest.

Just remember to be oh so delicate, it can be very stressful to bring this type of thing up :)”

“I’d tread carefully with him,” says paulsmt.

“I’m bisexual and I love having sex with men: Similar issue with wife not having sex, etc. However, I’d be uncomfortable with my kids coming to me and ‘outing’ me, if you will. I’d feel I failed in hiding it well.”

“I was raised catholic like him and I guess he has been fed a lot of guilt (one of the reasons I left it behind) about sexuality, and being devout, he probably has challenges reconciling his upbringing with his desire to be intimate with a man.

I found out about men after I was married for a long time and in a sense I wish I had learned that before getting married (still love my wife but sex is a different issue).

He seems to be happy with his companion. I’d just give him space. He may feel self conscious and just stop the relationship altogether to prove he’s not gay, which may even be worse.”

On an altogether different note, HashtagShadyApe advises that he should

“Message him on Grindr.”

What advice would you give this young man? Have you ever found yourself in a similar predicament? 

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19 Comments

  • Richard 55

    The son should not impose gay identity politics onto his father. It’s offensive and wrong.

    The son needs to accept that his father is a mature man who is entitled to make his own choices.

    • Donston

      Dudes who persistently say things like this:
      Gay men obsessed with retaining some sense of conventional masculinity and “manhood” status, gay men who are still looking to retain some sense of hetero-normalcy and still want to date women or at least receive some ego-comforting romantic/sexual attention from them sometimes, Megalomaniacs and narcissists who can’t handle being “defined” and whose behavior and sense of self is driven ego and fetish.

      Then there’s Brian-Richards, who’s a misogynist, rotted out (likely old) queen who has fake data every week, whose perspective opinions are contradictory and ever-evolving and who doesn’t even know what the hell “identity politics” means.

  • Donston

    …. This pathetic queen just won’t quit …

    The father sounds like another uber conservative older man who’s obsessed with young’ins. Annoyingly old story. I have no advice.

  • luichiede

    Why would the dad chase a young guy? Can’t he find someone his own age or at least older than the child he’s seeing? Dear lord

    • Matt1961

      Hmm, is there a book somewhere that tells you who you should fall in love with? Let me know, because as a 56 year old man who’s in love with a 26 year old man, I’m finding this comment a little shallow.

  • Herman75

    Why is this 24 year old kid still living at home? And the Dad being sexual with an employee seems a little sketchy. Could be anyway.

    That said, the son could try some simple dialogue. Ease into it over time.

    ‘Dad, you like working with Jerry? He seems pretty cool.’

    • Heywood Jablowme

      I’m not surprised a 24 y.o. is living at “home” – that’s depressingly common nowadays – but I wonder why he says his dad has “always been my role model throughout life.” Role model in what, exactly?

    • Tobi

      Here in London we have thousands of adult kids in their 30-40-50’s still living at home with their parents. It’s just not possible to rent a flat let alone buy one unless you’re earning at least $100,000 a year, and even then, you’ll be lucky to get a tiny studio within a hundred miles of the centre.

    • phallictomato

      In New Zealand, houses are so unaffordable that you literally have to have inherited a house from your own parents, and even without having to worry about paying weekly rent, it’s still extremely hard to survive because without a mortgage, you still have to find at least $50,000 a year – BY YOURSELF, because it costs 50K per year just to survive (food/groceries, dental/health, insurance, water, internet, rates, power, gas/heat pumps etc., maintenance on house/unexpected repairs or damages, petrol, cleaning products etc.) – and you need all of that even without a mortgage. Add to this, being gay, and in turn, having a lower chance than your heterosexual counterparts to find someone, add to this the fact that it’s harder to find jobs as a gay person because of discrimination at work etc.

      You literally have to find someone and marry the crap out of them, and have 2 incomes, just to survive. The first person’s salary basically pays off the essentials (assuming that person makes 50k a year, most jobs only pay 35-40k) – that’s also assuming you don’t have to pay for rent or pay off a mortgage (which is highly unlikely). Then the 2nd person’s salary is extra, or if both people’s salary makes, say, 35k each, that’s 70k total. 50k per year just to walk the planet, you’re left with 20k profit per year, IF you don’t have to pay weekly rent (of $600 or more) or pay off your house – which pretty much everyone doesn’t have the luxury of. Oh and then there’s tax too… so yeah…

      Living is so unaffordable, and people wonder why more and more people are living with their parents? :-/ if jobs paid more, maybe, just maybe, we can get ahead in life, but usually the government makes sure you don’t have a penny to your name by the time you’re dead. It’s life, unfortunately, and it really sucks.

    • Bryguyf69

      In Asia, especially mainland China and Hong Kong, living with your parents into your 30’s and beyond — even after marriage — is common and even expected. And it’s not necessarily about money. Even attorneys and doctors do it. It’s simply part of the family structure. Either the child continues living with the parents or the parents move in with the child.

      One of the [racist?] complaints against Chinese students in California universities is that parents often visit to help with cooking and laundry. Whereas non-Chinese students see this as intrusive and negative interdependence, sociologists generally praise Asian families for their harmony and stability.

      Bottom line: Just because you don’t want to live your your parents at 24, don’t criticize others for doing so. Gays, especially, should be cautious about judging others for bucking societal norms.

  • dustashed

    What’s so depressing about living at home at 24y.o.?

    I happen to love my home and if circumstances were different, I’d have loved to stay home. I left when I was 27 and tbh I still wanna move back. Who doesn’t love free food, free house, free laundry, free housekeeping, not having to do the dishes etc

    It boggles my mind why western kids can’t wait to ditch home. Just ridiculous imo

    • Heywood Jablowme

      ??? – They did all that for free? Didn’t you have any f*cking job at all? And they didn’t even teach you how to do laundry or dishes? – WTF? You must be totally helpless now. :)

  • Bryguyf69

    Leave a copy of the classic made-for-TV movie, That Certain Summer (1972), where he’d find it. It’s about a young teen coping with finding out his dad is gay. Pretty daring stuff for 1972 — especially for network TV. Martin Sheen (father of Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez) plays the father’s lover. It also starred A-listers, Hal Holbrook as the gay dad and Hope Lange as his ex-wife. Pretty impressive cast. And of course, curly-haired teen heartthrob, Scott Jacoby, played the confused son. His sensitive performance won the Primetime Emmy for “Best Actor in a Supporting Role in Drama.” At 16, he was (is?) the youngest winner ever.

    I’ve been meaning to upload the movie but have never found the time. Although I’m only in my 20’s (and straight), I think it’s one of the best gay-themed movies out there.

  • ronmsyr

    I separate from son’s and their Mother at 42 years old. It took me 17 years to speak the unspoken trough. Both sons were married with kids and Marines, one son was home for Christmas with his wife and son and cousins arranged a get together. I called him and asked if I could bring the 225# invisible bear in the room. My other son called me from Iraq, I asked the same question because his wife and daughter. I didn’t finish the sentence they both said yes.
    Invite him to dinner and tell him to bring his cub.

  • Donston

    I didn’t even read the part about the bf being an employee. Just a really messy, stereotypical situation. Honestly, the dad is in his 50’s, conservative, closeted and hooking up with young employees of his. There’s a pretty good chance he doesn’t want to fully embracing himself and be public. I’d just leave it alone. However, he was brazen enough to do something in the house his son is in. Proceed with caution and delicacy and be non-nonchalant. No matter how comfortable and accepting someone is of their sexual orientation on a singular level, no matter how long they’ve been living a certain “lifestyle”, on a social level it’s a completely different, often convoluted and twisted thing.

  • Matt1961

    I came out when I was 49. Divorced and now have a boyfriend who’s 31 years younger. My kids have been the most supportive and positive people in my life, as I have been in theirs. The Dad is still coming to terms with his sexuality, and thinks it will diminish his accomplishments and status, even in the eyes of the son. However if he’s pretty much openly in a relationship with the young ‘assistant’ then he’s begging for a confrontation about it. The son should just bring it up, tell him to go for it if the ‘assistant’ makes him happy, then ask where the spare light bulbs are or what not. A passing comment, no big deal, and move on.

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  • cdndmf

    “He’s staunchly conservative, a Trump voter…” So, his cover is to actively injure the gay community. The question I have is, Why are we so gentle with these butchers? Virulently homophobic men (and yes; voting for Trump means that you are) – closeted or otherwise, are the enemy of the LGBT community, and of a tolerant society at large. Now, I’m not saying we should stone the guy, I’m just saying that I’m not sure I care about the feelings of someone who wouldn’t cross the street for me if he thought it might blow his useless and insulting, ‘cover’.

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