by Dan Savage
on Fri, Jan 25, 2013 at 4:54 PM
So I am a 31-year-old lesbian who has been in a relationship with a married couple for the last three years. The only physical relationship in our house is between her and I, he gets his physical needs met by women he dates and sleeps with from OKCupid. For the most part ours is a very happy family. We just bought a house together, we just had a baby together (that I carried using their DNA), and we are raising the child they already had together. We all sleep very comfortably in a kingsize bed.
Here is the issue: I've always known that her family could never directly find out about her physical relationship with me because they're all religious bigots and they would disown her if they knew. But it has recently come to my attention that his family has no clue either. On the way to his father's funeral I asked what he was going to tell people about me. I obviously didn't think that this was the right time time to drop the bomb on them but I didn't expect to be told this: "If they ask I just thought I'd say you were so-and-so and you live with us." I was introduced as "so and so" with no additional information given and since I was pushing the baby carriage and spent the whole time taking care of our kids during the service (I had never met his father so I allowed the two of them to mourn without our 3-year-old going insane) I'm sure everyone just assumed I was the nanny.
So my question is what do I do about this? It took me ten years to come out to my family because they threatened to shun me but when our relationship started I let everyone know what was going on and gave them the you-accept-us-all-or-you-lose-me ultimatum. Is it asking too much to expect the same treatment from them? I obviously don't want to lose my family but being stuffed into a different closet is hurting my feelings and quite frankly pissing me off.
Not The F-ing Nanny
My response after the jump...
What a mess.
Coming out to your respective families, what your public role would be, how you would be introduced at weddings, holiday gatherings, funerals, etc.—those are all things that should've been discussed and worked out before you moved in with this couple, NTFN, certainly before you had a baby with them. I'd love to know how they reacted when you issued that you-accept-us-all-or-you-lose-me ultimatum to your family. Did they stand there smiling and nodding? Did they discuss the possibility—the inevitability—of issuing similar ultimatums to their families?
Because that's what they need to do—both of them, as soon as possible. And, I'm sorry, but "bigoted relatives" isn't an excuse. If your female partner loves you, NTFN, if you're an important part of the family that she's created for herself, then she should be willing—she should be anxious—to prioritize your feelings over those of her asshole relations.
Put your foot down: it's time—past time—for your partners to issue ultimatums to their families-of-origin. If they refuse, NTFN, you're going to need a time machine, a really good lawyer, or the ability to tolerate second-class-spouse status.