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Bionicbora's avatar

Am I wrong to be upset?

Asked by Bionicbora (16points) May 16th, 2014 from iPhone

I’m going to apologize for this being so long. I come from an Arab family which isn’t exactly open to the whole idea of being gay. While my immediate family knows none of them have met my partner of almost 5 years. Just recently, my family was having a cookout and my mother had invited me to come over and introduce him to my family. The problem is is that my sister is married to someone who is occasionally a bigot. I had asked my sister to please make sure she told her husband that not only was I gay but also that my partner would be at my mothers. My intent was to not surprise him or catch them offguard and I didn’t want to make anyone uncomfortable. When I had asked my sister if she had told her husband yet she originally had told me that she did. However when I asked her again she had admitted that she had not told him. She had told me that she thought it was very awkward to talk to her husband about this. She stated that she did not mean any disrespect but just felt weird explain anything to him. Frustrated I said then I will not go to the cookout because I do not want anyone to make anyone feel awkward. She responded with okay well I understand that’s your choice.

Since this happened about a week ago she is not called me text me message me or said anything I just find it extremely frustrating that they continue to say that they want to be part of my life however feel the need to make me feel even more awkward about the situation.

What is even more frustrating is that my immediate family members became upset that I ended up leaving instead of staying. They claimed I was just being a child about the whole situation. However I just did not want to put my partner nor my brother-in-law message situation that would be uncomfortable for both. Secondly I was afraid of the remarks my again sometimes bigoted brother-in-law would have made inappropriate comments which would’ve caused an all-out family feud.

Is it wrong of me to be upset that my sister has not contacted me since this day? Is it also wanted to feel upset about the whole situation in general?

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12 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

You are in control here, and get to stand up for yourself. You get to be the one that demands acceptance from them, or they will not have the pleasure of your company.

Yes, it is not easy, and there are lots of cultural issues at play here, but you are grown and have a partner. You do what you need to be happy. Don’t offer to stay away to make someone else comfortable; show up, stand up for yourself and your partner, and if they get uncomfortable, they can leave. You have a right to be at your mom’s. Don’t let a bigot’s prejudice be more important than your right.

If the brother in law gets between you and your mom, who do you think your mom will choose? You! You are her son.

Write your sister, and tell her you will not be restricted by her fears of her husband. And she doesn’t have to be the one to tell him, but let her know you will not back down at the next family event. And if she does not accept you, then she will lose the privilege of you in her life. Be conscious of your not wanting to be in the life of someone who does not accept. Not accepting you would mean she didn’t love you.

pleiades's avatar

I would be upset as well. Your sister is more concerned about her feelings and her awkwardness instead of sticking up for you. With that being said, I agree with the above! @zenvelo Also I only go to places where I feel accepted. It’s 2014! Why should I waste my time being in some uncomfortable demeaning place?

kritiper's avatar

If it was something that you and your partner both agreed on, then you have no reason to be upset except with the reaction of the others.

GloPro's avatar

Are you planning on avoiding family gatherings forever just because someone may be uncomfortable or upset? If the answer is yes, then there you go. No problems.
If the answer is no, then you need to figure out how to stop running and make a move to stand up for yourself, your partner, and your chosen lifestyle. Those that cannot accept it can choose not to attend family gatherings.

GloPro's avatar

In the future I would not mention your sexual orientation beforehand in order to try to give people time to prepare themselves. Straight people don’t do that, and if you want to be equal, act that way. Arab or not, a bigot making an ass of himself publicly is still seen as the fool, not you.

CWOTUS's avatar

Welcome to Fluther.

Not being gay myself, and not being from your culture, it would be presumptuous of me to answer in a very didactic way that “this is what you should do”, and then list an overt and detailed list of steps you should take. Congratulations to @zenvelo for making that attempt, and if it works for you to do that, then so much the better, but…

In general, I don’t think that anyone can expect others to prepare their partners and associates for the facts of our lives that may upset them. While I wouldn’t say that “it was wrong of you” to ask this from your sister, you should acknowledge that it puts her in a difficult spot. You must understand yourself that as an Arab woman (I presume) married to an Arab man (again I presume), she doesn’t have the same standing in that family that she does in yours, does she? Especially if her husband is already bigoted and unaware of your orientation, for her to say to him, “My brother is gay,” might cause him to instantly lose face with your family because of past statements that he has made. His feeling that way – while in a private meeting with your sister – could make her concerned for her own physical safety, much more than she may already feel about your feelings.

In that sense, it may be highly conceited of you to think that she should place your feelings above her own sense of self-preservation, but I won’t call you “wrong” for feeling the way you do, either.

When the facts come out about your relationship with your partner – that is, when your brother-in-law recognizes the facts, if he does, then how he deals with that knowledge will be up to him. Even if he acts cordial to you and your partner when he learns the truth, your sister may still be at risk for not having told him in advance, or even for having a brother who is “defective” or “degenerate” in his warped opinion. He may be angry with her for allowing him to marry into a “bad family”. You just don’t know, do you? (Even having the advance notice and then realizing that he was the only person in the family could also make him angry, to discover in this way that people thought he needed to be shielded from the truth.)

So… is there any reason that all of this must be laid out and made crystal clear? You’re not going to be kissing your partner at the party, are you? Let your brother-in-law come to his own gradual realization – or not, who cares? – and deal with the truth as it dawns on him gradually. You should even have the grace, I think, to allow your sister to act surprised, as if she had no knowledge about your orientation, if she needs cover for not having explained this already.

You and your partner – and your brother-in-law – should have no expectation or illusion that you can move through your lives without “upset” and “feeling uncomfortable” and “dealing with stress”. How you and he react to those difficult times are how you all grow. You should allow your brother-in-law to come to his own realizations, in his own time and way, and grow – or not! – without trying to manage the process.

You should go to family events without making unreasonable demands on others to smooth the way for third parties. So, you’re not “wrong”, but you could be “more right”.

fluthernutter's avatar

I don’t think you’re wrong to be upset. But I’m curious about what you’re really trying to avoid? Are you trying to avoid your brother-in-law’s (possibly) bigoted statements? Or are you trying to avoid being around people who you feel do not support you?

KNOWITALL's avatar

No you are not wrong for expecting your sisters support. You can go & try or keep hiding.

cazzie's avatar

First of all, no one can tell you your feelings are ‘wrong’. Feelings are what they are. Secondly, it sounds like your brother in law’s bigotry has your sister caught in a horrible spot. Remember, it is her husband’s bigotry, not your relationship, that is the problem here. I would come right out and ask your sister if you could tell your brother in law yourself, or you could just not treat him with any special kid gloves and show up with your partner. You are very nice for your concern about causing upset, but at that stage, it would be your sister’s responsibility if she doesn’t want to tell him or have you tell him. They are married, so he is going to have to know eventually. Now or later, your sister is going to have to deal with her husband about it. Again, Please understand, this is not your problem, but your sisters. I would try to talk to her and impress on her how important she is to you and how important her support is.

cazzie's avatar

@GloPro ‘chosen lifestyle’? Really? I thought people were past that…...

GloPro's avatar

@cazzie Yes, chosen lifestyle. Which is not the same as chosen sexual orientation.
Although I see the poor wording, everyone chooses the path they take in life, and he is not the first to feel like he disappoints someone in his family. It doesn’t always have to relate to relationships. A lot of people have to stick up for their choices. Jobs, children or not, location, and religion (or marriage to a different religion) are all other things that have driven wedges. I see no reason to apologize for any personal choices, and that includes choice of partner, regardless of gender.

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