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Published on December 21st, 2012 | by Healthy Gay Lifestyles

Homo for the Holidays

by Healthy Gay Lifestyles

For a lot of us gay men the holidays can really up our stress load a notch (or three). Especially if your not “out” to family or at work yet. I can remember going to countless work party’s alone and wondering if everyone else was wondering why I didn’t bring a date “again” this year (as if they didn’t already know). Or going home alone “again” to spend time with family and being asked if I was dating any women yet (as if that was going to happen). I always thought that if I didn’t acknowledge I was gay they “really” wouldn’t know for sure… right??

For those of us who are already out, we still might have to face a few of our more homophobic family members. It can be very scary to bring a boyfriend or partner home for the first time. Even if nobody verbally attacks you, you might still get a sense that certain people are just simply “uncomfortable” around you. I always feel like I just don’t have common interest with some of the straight men in my family (they all hunt, fish, and talk about football) so I try to be a good listener and ask how their jobs and families are doing.Whether your family is accepting of your lifestyle, or they have their doubts or misconceptions, there are still ways to make the yuletide gay with everyone. To avoid uncomfortable situations check out the following:

If You’re Not Out – Consider telling a trusted family member, colleague, or friend you you’re gay. This can help to relieve some of your oppression and bring you closer to people. Also if you’re not out, it’s probably not a good idea to bring your new boyfriend home. I know from past experience that it’s sometimes hard hide how you feel about your boyfriend, and family may be able to pick up on subtle touches or looks.

Stay Connected – Texting or talking on the phone with friends or your partner about what is going on with family can help. Finding humor with what’s being said or how people are acting can really help to relieve some stress.

Invite Your Partner – If you’re out and feel your relationship is in a healthy place maybe this holiday is the right time to invite your partner home to meet the family. If you ask your partner and he acts hesitant or reluctant he may not be ready for such a significant step yet. However if you’re both ready it could make this holiday really special and help you both feel more safe and secure around each others families.

Notify Family In Advance – If you’re already out to family try to openly discuss with family members the idea of bringing your boyfriend home for Christmas. Pay close attention to any responses that may indicate discomfort. Let your family members know that your partner is a significant part of your life and how much it would mean to you for them to get to know him.

Be Prepared – If your family doesn’t approve of you being gay or is unaware brace yourself for the possibility of an adverse reaction. Even if that happens avoid fighting, shouting, or being irrational since this will only keep you traumatized. Step back and know you will feel more empowered for not backing down and having planted a seed for them to think about. Remember you can never really “change” anyone. You know your relationship with your family and this is something you need to work out with them alone. Don’t involve your boyfriend as this could compromise their future relationships.

Strategize Time With Family – If your family is cool about meeting your boyfriend make sure you act conservatively at first to allow everyone to be comfortable. Focus on sharing family stories and stories about your relationship. Pay close attention to how your boyfriend is doing. You don’t want him to feel alone or abandoned. This will reassure him. His comfort is important to you and he will be happier to enjoy himself with others. While there plan to do things that make you both feel good like listening to music or going for a walk. If you’re spending several days try to fit in a workout to burn some calories and relieve some stress.

Just Say No – Maybe this year isn’t the right year to force it with family. Consider respectfully declining going to your family gathering all together and focus on giving to others in need. You will avoid the stress of dealing with family, spend the holiday with your boyfriend, and feel good about helping those less fortunate.

Be Grateful to Family – If introducing your new boyfriend to your family is a hit, make sure you acknowledge family members for their understanding and kindness. When you recognize and appreciate any strides they’ve made in this highly emotional experience, it will not only strengthen the bond you share, but it will also help bring together two of the most important parts of your life.

Don’t we all just want to be loved for who we are, and to be able to share our loved ones with our families? Consider making this holiday the one you choose to face your fears and who knows maybe you’ll be surprised and find a kind happiness you didn’t think possible.

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