your thoughts/advice are welcome (long, sorry!) — The Bump
LGBT Parenting

your thoughts/advice are welcome (long, sorry!)

So in my TTT, I mentioned that I am dealing with something DD is saying after coming home from daddy's house that is not cool.  It has happened enough times now that I have already attempted to have a discussion with him about it which did not go well.

A little background...I was married and we had a child together. He always had a degree of control/manipulation to him (hindsight is 20/20) but this elevated to a whole new level after DD was born and he was not the center of my attention. Looooong story short, I ended things before DD turned 2. I could not let that be an example for her and it was not healthy for any of us.  Not long after I left him I discovered my feelings for women and had my first GF. XH eventually figured this out of course. I ended things with that GF when it became clear things were not what I wanted them to be. I now have a GF who is quite honestly the best thing ever. There is mutual respect and love and honesty and all the things necessary for a successful relationship.

DD has come home from her dad's saying that "mommy doesn't like boys" and essentially that it is the reason that mommy and daddy aren't together. Mind you, DD is FOUR. And I am certainly not closeted, in fact my daughter will only ever remember me being affectionate with women. I am not opposed to explaining things on a four-year-old level to DD, should questions arise. However, I find the language he is using not appropriate for a four-year-old. To me it infers something that a four-year-old knows nothing about. And though he may choose to believe that my being gay is the reason I left him, it's not.

When I confronted him about it he said he's going to tell DD what he wants and what he believes to be the truth. I told him that my being gay is my thing to tell her, not his. He later sent me a scathing email about how I handled the situation and suggested that we sit down at another time to discuss. I emailed back and said I would be happy to discuss and asked that he suggest a place and time. This was 2 months ago and he never responded.

So...part of me says let it go and just tell DD that's silly when it comes up. But part of me also says this is crossing into ground that is confusing for DD and I don't want her to face confusion when mommy and daddy aren't telling her the same things. Maybe counseling for DD would help? But maybe that's too much.

Anyone have any thoughts on this? Thanks. 

Re: your thoughts/advice are welcome (long, sorry!)

  • I'm not sure on how best to deal with him refusing to budge on this issue, but I agree with you 100% that is completely inappropriate for him to be saying that to your DD.  At 4, that statement can be very very confusing and misleading.

    I think that letting her know that mom and dad just didn't get along anymore (or however you want to word it), but both still love her very much is definitely a more appropriate explanation for her age. (I am a child of divorce myself FWIW)

    In time, she will come to understand your sexuality as she is ready to, and as you live your life openly, answering questions as she has them.

    It's so unfortunate that your X has chosen to be so combative in this sense.  Perhaps try to explain to him that in saying that to DD it doesn't send a good message to her about the relationship between the two of you. Growing up, my divorced parents could Not Stand Each Other, but I didn't now it 95% of the time, and I am very grateful to them for that (though the facade was dropped when I got older!). It's hard for a child to grow up feeling secure when they think their parents are against each other.  Maybe if he can see it as an issue of your child's well being rather than an issue of a disagreement between the two of you, he'll see how important it is for him to stop telling her that.  It seems like he wants her to know that you are the "bad guy" - and that is not a healthy dynamic.

    Thinking of you.

    Mrs._F
    sahm ~ toddler breastfeeder ~ cloth diaperer ~ baby wearer

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  • I really don't have any advice for you, but that is one of my fears! XH and I are on great terms and we co-raise LO, but sometimes he jokes about me and stuff (to my face and I know he's kidding) but DD is right there and when she's older I think she might pick it up! Eeek!
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  • At 4 Sprout has no idea what "gay" means, but he does know that families can be made up of mommies/daddies, mommies/mommies, and daddies/daddies. He knows that when he grows up, he can love anyone he chooses.  And thats about the extent of it.  At 4, kids are way too literal to understand something like "Mommy doesnt like boys" and it could effect your daughter's perception of your relationship with other men in your life.

    Unfortunately, you are caught in a really tough position.  If he's not going to change, all you can do is deal with the fall out and help DD deal with her father's words.  Being a foster parent, i've got more experience than i care to in this department...

    Next time she brings it up, I'd say something like "I don't know why daddy says that. I like grandpa (or whichever male figure) don't I?  I think what daddy means is that I dont want to marry a boy - and thats okay! People can marry whoever they want."

    short, light, and positive. but be prepared to have a more in depth conversation in a couple years - kids grow up quick! 

    good luck!

  • I totally agree with CT. The boys have no concept of gay but they know that families are made up differently.

    I would also take the ball out of his court and YOU name the date/time/place for you and XH to sit and talk.


    good luck!

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  • Thanks for the advice and suggestions ladies, I knew I could count on some sage wisdom from you all. I really appreciate having this board as an outlet and place for support. This board rocks!

    I have essentially been telling DD this since the first time it came up about 3 months ago: 

    imageMrs._F:

    I think that letting her know that mom and dad just didn't get along anymore (or however you want to word it), but both still love her very much is definitely a more appropriate explanation for her age.

    But it has continued to come up after several visits now and it is frustrating. As one of my IRL friends said, this is his way of getting to you because he has no other way to control/manipulate you now. And she's right. But I want to do right by DD and help her through this. I recently bought some of the 2 mommy/2 daddy, and other family books for her and am going to start giving those to her now that the holidays are over.

    Thanks for this CT, that's a good angle I haven't tried yet and I love the way you worded it...I will definitely use this with her the next time it comes up:

    imagectbride08:

    Next time she brings it up, I'd say something like "I don't know why daddy says that. I like grandpa (or whichever male figure) don't I?  I think what daddy means is that I dont want to marry a boy - and thats okay! People can marry whoever they want."

    And yes 2brides, you are right...I need to take control and set up the meeting. He has no vested interest in meeting because he's just going to keep telling her whatever her wants.

    Thanks ladies!

  •  I know I have never posted on here, but I do lurk

    I would just like to offer a little advise as a child who's parents divorced and then raised by two women. 

    My parents divorced when I was 6 and I am the youngest of three.  It had nothing to do with my mom's sexuality.  A year later my mom's partner moved it.  She never really explained things or talked to us about it.  We just figured that this was how life is.  My father battled alcoholism and said some very mean things.  We didn't speak to him for years.  When I was in middle school and my brother in high school things started to happen.  We got our lockers spray painted and death threats because of our family lifestyle.  We then transferred to a more diverse school where my father was a teacher.  From that point on we have had a wonderful relationship.  We celebrate family functions together and my parents nad their spouses get along great.  I would not trade my life for anything!  It has made me a better person.

    The reason why i posted this is because I wanted you to know that it may be hard now with you XH, but in time things can get better.  Keep your head up and do what you feel is right.  My mother never bad mouthed my father and always said she understood our anger with him but didn't want us to loose contact.  

    Good luck with everything. 

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