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August 4, 2012

August 5, 2012

8/4/12

I just got back from my mom’s house. She wanted to speak with me alone, without Mara there. She and my siblings really think Mara has been “controlling” me all these years. She came up with some examples, the biggiest of which is the fact that I have tended to be quiet when we come over to her house and let Mara do all the talking. (I’m using the name Mara here, although she has always gone to family gatherings as a guy, since no one knew.) I explained that, like my father (who passed away about 10 years ago), I have learned to keep my mouth shut in order to keep the peace. For me, this is especially the case when the talk turns political, because I know that my views are generally different that those of other family members; and when people in my family get into a debate, they tend to start shouting, calling names and interrupting. I had told Mara that, if she wants to join the fray, she can have at it. And she does. Also, whenever someone from the family would invite us to come over for some sort of gathering, I would say I have to check with Mara. I told my mom that, of course I’d have to check with my spouse. And when Mara gets an invite, including having dinner at her sister’s house, she checks with me.

We talked about a lot of things, and my mom accused me of a lot of things that I beleive are her fears getting the best of her. It got a bit heated a couple of times. In fact, she started raising her voice and interrupting me, then raising it again when I tried to speak. I asked her a few times to allow me to speak, and she ignored my request. (This is why I try and keep my mouth shut.)

My mom is worried about me because she fears that I’m going to lose a lot of friends. When I said that every one of our friends whom we’ve told have expressed support, she said they were just being polite. She also fears that Mara will lose her job and won’t find another. Yes, even though Mara’s company said they would support her, there are 100 ways to fire someone, and we know that. But I read that about 80 percent of the Fortune 500 companies have diversity clauses in their employment policies, and we are confident that she would not be unemployed for long. Just in case, though, Mara is starting to network. And why didn’t we tell everyone when we started dating? Because, at that time (18-1/2 years ago), there were fewer nondiscrimination laws and diversity clauses, etc., and there was a much greater risk than there is now.

The world is changing. It’s not the same as 20 years ago, or even 10 years ago. I don’t expect anyone in my family to accept us. All I can do is let them express their concerns and ask whatever questions they need to ask. And I know that, for me, I’m doing the right thing.

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