Ask Caroline

Caroline Manzo tackles questions on coming out, engagements, and in-laws.

on Jun 6, 2011

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Eric from Atlanta, Georgia says: Hi, Caroline! Hope all is well with you and your family. I'm a 24-year-old college guy who is gay, but I haven't told my mom yet. If you were my mom, how would you want you son to come out to you?

Caroline says: Hello, Eric! All is well with the Manzos, thank you for asking!  

I'm not sure what your relationship with your mother is, so I'm going to assume it's a healthy one based on the fact that there was no mention of issues in your question.  

I can understand your hesitance on a couple of different levels. There is certainly a level of discomfort in discussing your sex life with your mom under what's perceived to be normal circumstances, and now you're adding another layer on as well. To some degree I would imagine you're worried that your mom may not understand and condemn your "choice" for lack of better words.

My suggestion to you would be to find a moment to get your mother's undivided attention where you can have the conversation in private without interruption. I'd be surprised if your mom doesn't have an inclination already, Eric. A mother's instinct is pretty intense; maybe she's just waiting for you to address it. If that's the case, you're one step ahead of the game, because she has already had time to process. On the other hand, if she is shocked by your admission, you have to give her the time she needs to absorb things. Either way you need to make your mom understand the emotions you've been dealing with throughout your journey and explain to her what it feels like to be you. Speak from your heart and be open and honest. 

As a mother I can say with 100% truth that the one thing I want for my children is for them to live life full of health, peace, and happiness. Everything else is secondary. There is nothing worse than watching your child suffer in any way, shape, or form. When you hurt, we hurt a thousand times more, and if we could shoulder the burden and take our children's pain away, we would.

I would have to imagine that keeping this secret from your mom is standing in the way of you living your life in peace and being truly happy. Good luck, and no matter what your mom's reaction is, Eric, I want you to be proud of who you are. I wish you all the peace and happiness that life has to offer. Xoxoxo