Dear Dr. Darcy:
I have been with my girlfriend for almost a year and I’d like to take her home for Hanukkah. However, my mother has drawn the line in the sand and forbidden me to bring my ‘lesbian lover’ to the gatherings. I am so distraught about this because my girlfriend is going to go crazy when she finds out that I can’t bring her. I’ve been out for over five years and I don’t know when or if my family’s attitude will ever change. I’m almost 30. At what point is it OK to say that I’m unwilling to go somewhere if my significant other can’t accompany me?
At this point, I too am concerned that you will be solo indefinitely on holidays or at family get-togethers unless something changes. Five years and pushing 30 is long enough to expect some progress on your family’s part. But before you draw a line in the sand, ponder this question: How will you feel if your boundary doesn’t change your mother’s position? You can’t stand on principle unless you’re willing to accept that she might react by digging her heels in. What will you do then? Can you find some peace and contentment in making your own holidays with your girlfriend or with friends?
Maybe it’s an opportunity for you to start a new tradition. At some point, we all do it. We can’t rely on our parents’ generation to host holidays forever—it’s appropriate to take some of the burden off them eventually. Maybe you’ll have to suck it up for one more holiday and plan to host Passover at your place in the spring. Your mother can either choose to attend or opt out, but either way, your girlfriend knows that she’ll be a part of your holidays very soon.
There are a lot of advantages to hosting your own holiday, not the least of which is that you’re not made to sleep in separate bedrooms or forced to share a bathroom with your five siblings. I think it’s a win-win.
Dr. Darcy Smith is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Her practice, Alternatives Counseling, specializes in LGBT issues and is located in New York City. Dr. Darcy’s clinical style is very direct, goal-oriented and pragmatic. For years, the media has been drawn to her unique personality. She has provided expert commentary for networks including E! Entertainment and has worked with television producers throughout the nation. Her blog, AskDrDarcy.com, provides free advice to members of the LGBT community. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 212-604-0144.
*This column is not a consultation with a mental health professional
and should in no way be construed as such or as a substitute for such
consultation. Anyone with issues or concerns should seek the advice of her own therapist or counselor.*