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What Would You Do If Your Partner’s Parents Won’t Acknowledge Your Relationship?

Her Mom Treats Me Like a Roommate


Dear Lesbian Life
I am a 31-year-old lesbian. I came out 13 years ago, and I am very proud to be out. My partner Debbie (out for 14 years) and I have been together for almost two years.
We love each other very much and live together.

Even though Debbie has had various girlfriends over the years, her mother still acts as if she doesn't know that her daughter is a lesbian.

I know I have to respect and support my partner, and believe me I do, what I don't really like is her mother asking me questions about "my room" and things like that. If she wants to forget, or not realize the truth about her daughter, it's fine with me, but I don't want to lie about my life.

I have talked about this with my mother (fortunately we have an excellent communication) and she tells me that I have to respect her, that not everyone is fine with it. But to tell you the truth I get mad at my "mother-in-law" for wanting to be so blind. I guess what really surprises me is that she is a psychologist and I thought they were supposed to be open-minded people.

My partner and I have talked about this, but she finds it impossible to talk to her mother. She just doesn't want to fight anymore. What can I do, so that I don't get mad? Sometimes I think it is just a waste of my time worrying about that. Should I accept that my mother-in-law will never accept that her 33-year-old and only daughter is a lesbian?
In the Closet at the In-Laws

Dear Closet-in-Law

I have to say, I agree with your mother on this one. You can’t force someone to accept reality, even when two big dykes are staring her in the face.

If you really think about it, you’re asking her to do exactly what you’re unwilling to do: accept her where she is. She won’t accept that her daughter (and you) are gay. You won’t accept that she can’t quite come to grips with that.

I’m not saying she is right. And I’m not saying you should ever lie about your life. If your mother-in-law asks you about your room, be honest and say “Well, we painted our room blue and the spare bedroom is off-white…”

You can get mad about her not accepting you. And you have a right to. But where is that getting you? Probably making your partner uncomfortable and her already stressful visits with her mom more stressful.

Instead, when you are around her, talk about your life like you do with your own mom. Talk about your jobs and your pets and the vacations you take together, where you went to dinner last week and the charity work you do. Ask her about her life. Get to know her as a person, beyond what she doesn’t have the capacity to do. This is your partner’s mother and if you want to have a good relationship with her, you’re going to have to come to peace with who this woman is.

At least she’s not denying you access to her home and telling her daughter she can’t come over.

As long as your partner isn’t denying who she is to her mom, then there is nothing you can really do about it. The longer you hang onto your anger at her, the more it’s going to be a thorn between you and your partner. Not to mention the relationship with your mother-in-law.

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