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I need neutral opinions, please.

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cmego posted 7/18/2013 07:48 AM

I need some neutral opinions, please.

The old-timers around here know that d-day was over 3 years for me...and my ex was exposed via ONE of the men he was having gay affairs with. So, yeah, total mind-fuck for me. Ex is now in an openly gay relationship with a "steady" guy, probably moving in together in the next year. I've spent a lot of time in therapy and probably 90% healed from the mind-fuck. A few left overs that I work through when I hit them.

MOST guys, when I tell them ex is gay don't make much of a response. They kinda shake their heads and might ask a question or two, but overall most are...respectful.

But, last year I didn't tell a guy until our first date. He would order a beer...then say, "What?? HOW? I don't understand!??" Then order another beer. I think I counted 6 or 7. I wasn't interested...too much drinking for a first date.

I had a guy that was very interested in me last week... "poof" the second I mentioned my ex was gay.

I received an email from a pretty decent sounding guy a day or two ago, and we were discussing child custody arrangement. Long story, I just said that ex would be moving in with his bf "soon".

The reply back was something along the line of "I really want to make a gay joke...but I don't know how sensitive you are about the situation."

I think I want to "next" this guy. I understand that people want to joke in order to handle difficult topics...but I don't feel like baby sitting these men or their opinions. Really? At 44 years feel the need to make a gay joke?

Two of my IRL friends think his reaction is OK, "normal" male behavior to make jokes about something uncomfortable. I, on the other hand, don't want to hear gay jokes. I have two kids with a gay Dad, I don't want anyone in my life that thinks making gay jokes is acceptable. I don't think making fun of anyone is acceptable. I do occasionally poke fun at myself, and my lack of "gaydar", but I don't poke fun of ex.

So...what do neutral parties think? It put a bad taste in my mouth, but then I wonder if I am too sensitive about this issue? The guy didn't actually MAKE the joke, just said he "wanted to, but didn't know how sensitive I was".

I didn't respond yesterday, and took some time to sort through my feelings a little. I responded back that "bottom line, I have 2 kids with a gay Dad and I am teaching them acceptance". I went on to normal "get to know you" type email...but I want to NEXT this guy over it. Overall, he seems really decent...50% custody of his kids, good job, educated, a rather dry sarcastic wit, respectful "get to know you" emails and kinda cute. I'm not really physically attracted to him...but kinda.

So...what say SI?

hotcoffee posted 7/18/2013 07:56 AM

You are right to feel uncomfortable about that reaction from an educated, respectful, 44 year old man. I can be sarcastic but if I am unsure that my audience would "get it" or be sensitive, I bite my tongue. I don't say "I have something hilarious that I could say but you are probably too sensitive to get it." Doesn't seem like great judgment.

5454real posted 7/18/2013 08:12 AM

So what situations are safe to make a joke about? Is self-deprecating humor the only "safe" form? Would a joke that starts off, "A priest, a Rabbi and an Imam" or "A blonde, brunette and redhead all..." be offensive?

If the joke is not specifically denigrating would it be ok? I'm bald, bowling ball references don't bother me.

I do occasionally poke fun at myself, and my lack of "gaydar",

Turn it around. What if that had been the new guy's response when you told him about X?

ladies_first posted 7/18/2013 08:16 AM

D-day was over 3 years for me...and my ex was exposed via ONE of the men he was having gay affairs with. So, yeah, total mind-fuck for me

So it was a mind-fuck for you, and it took you 3 years to accept the situation.

Can you see how someone who "just found out" might be feeling a little mind-fucked and not *immediately* able to accept the situation?

7yrsflushed posted 7/18/2013 08:30 AM

Question for you and I am not asking to offend or upset just curious, why do you feel you need to tell potential dates that particular piece of information so early in the process? It's your perogative but I can see how that would blindside someone. I am not excusing his response at all and at the least it's insensitive but it's so early in the process you have no way to know if he just has a weird sense of humor, was uncomfortable, or a bigot in disguise.

I am 37 and would not have made a joke or hinted at one but I don't think that makes me any more or less mature than anyone else my age. If anyone saw my 35 year old brother and I hanging out they would probably consider us the most juvenile people on the planet but there is a time and place for everything.

She11ybeanz posted 7/18/2013 08:35 AM

I think there is still a part of you that is still very sensitive to the subject matter and rightly so. No one ever said you had to be completely over the situation with your ex and it is OKAY to still have underlying issues regarding that situation. However, you need to own the fact that it is still a sensitive topic for you and to recognize that it is a trigger for you when others do not react in a robotically perfect way towards the news. It is a bit of a shocking revelation for anyone and *I* of all people would have probably poked fun just to lighten the mood.... (and I have a gay older sister.... so its not because I'm insensitive or rude). I think a lot of people use humor as a coping mechanism.

I agree with some of the others that since this still sounds like a touchy subject for you....I would most likely steer clear of revealing this information until you are much further into a relationship and see it going somewhere more long-term.

Just my 2 cents. ((BIGHUGZ))

SBB posted 7/18/2013 08:58 AM

People say stupid things when they don't know what to say.

What was his reaction to your email? Did he apologise? I have a strange sense of humour and may blurt out something insensitive whilst trying to be witty/ease the tension in person but in writing? I'm not sure I would.

What would you like someone to say? What would you have said to someone before you yourself were in this situation?

I think I would like for someone to say "My god, I can't imagine what that was like for you - to find out something like that by way of cheating is unimaginably cruel".

IMO there is a particular reaction many men and women have towards homosexuality. They are what I like to call the 'I'm not homophobic, but...' brigade. They are accepting of it in terms of not setting out to try to have it outlawed or anything like that but they do still hold some uninformed views about it.

To me it is just as awful that he cheated on you as it is that he knew he was gay yet continued to deceive you for years even when not cheating. That he is gay does not excuse or validate the cheating any more than that my husband wasn't happy validates his cheating.

He should have told you and divorced you if he realised or accepted it after your marriage. If he knew before then he, like the X in my situation and many other here wore a mask and presented himself falsely to you and also to himself.

I don't know whether you are reacting as a betrayed wife of a gay WS, a mother of sons of a gay father or as someone who is intolerant of any amount of bigotry. Or all of the above.

Either way I don't think you are overreacting. I think you DO need someone who reacts in an empathetic way - or if they blurt out something insensitive unintentionally then at least apologise and be more mindful.

I can't tell from this one scenario whether he was surprised and reacting stupidly or whether he does have a view that is incompatible with yours here.

For me to continue getting to know him I would need to know that he understood why what he said was inappropriate and out of order beyond the fact that it hurt my feelings or that I found it distasteful.

cmego posted 7/18/2013 08:59 AM

I think it is more of me protecting my kids for as long as possible. We are already hitting the snide remarks at soccer (seriously almost slapped one of the other Mom's who said, and I quote, "Do we need to get a bow for your ex to hold his hair up? He is being such a pussy..." when he didn't go out to play soccer with our son). She said it with my daughter within earshot.

I WANT someone around me, and eventually my kids, who is at least accepting of my situation and doesn't feel the need to tell off color jokes or snide remarks. I will not tolerate that in my house. He IS their Dad and my first priority will always be my children.

So...I'm a little...touchy. I just don't like being in the position between defending my ex since he IS their Dad, and a lot of conservative opinions.

I tell men early because there are a LOT of men who cannot handle this news. They don't like gay men, don't want to be around them, don't understand, etc. I'm in the middle of one of the most conservative states in the US. I don't want to become attached to a guy and later find out he can't handle it. I would say about 30% have a "problem" with a gay man in my/kids life.

I KNOW when I tell guys they are going to be shocked. This is the first guy whose initial response is to crack a joke. Most say, "Wow, that must have been tough..." then ask more questions later. Those are the ones that CAN handle it. I know it is a lot for some people to wrap their brain around because it is a political, religious and social issue.

But, if someone told me they left their ex because of...say..drug use....I'm not going to crack a joke even though I'm surprised.

I don't tell guys he cheated, I don't go into any details at all. I think with xSO, it was a month or two before we really talked about it. I offer nothing else unless the guys ask. I simply say he is in a long term relationship with his partner and sees our kids e/o weekend. Or, like this guy, I simply said I teach my children acceptance.

but it's so early in the process you have no way to know if he just has a weird sense of humor, was uncomfortable, or a bigot in disguise.

^^^this is what I'm trying to figure out without coming out and asking him. If he is a more discussion. My gut is leaning that direction.

Sad in AZ posted 7/18/2013 09:26 AM

If you're comfortable letting them know about your ex's situation, why not ask if they are biased against gays? If you're going to be open and honest, go all the way. It doesn't have to be confrontational; be matter-of-fact and let the chips fall where they may.

I have no tolerance for bigots and make no bones about it.

[This message edited by Sad in AZ at 9:26 AM, July 18th (Thursday)]

SBB posted 7/18/2013 10:01 AM

I would come out and ask him. Most bigots are pretty open about their views if you listen carefully and ignore the PC wrapping.

Amazonia posted 7/18/2013 10:06 AM

Personally, someone acting like a bigot tends to be enough for me to "next" them. Circumstances notwithstanding. Just sayin'.

[This message edited by Amazonia at 10:06 AM, July 18th (Thursday)]

Ashland13 posted 7/18/2013 10:12 AM

Yes, there is a post that asks how come you feel the need to make mention of the Ex so soon?

I understand he is on your mind as I have that too, but maybe there could be a way to guage a potential date's thoughts about the topic, without bringing up your Ex?

Maybe it doesn't have to be so personal right away and could somehow just be general conversation or questions you ask them, as I do understand a need you would have to know their thoughts on it.

In my inlaws family are a bunch of gay people, or those who have changed from one sex to the other. It is all stages; some hide it and some don't. More are not hiding it as the family ages, so I can relate on a very personal level to your frustrations and worries on this topic.

One of my biggest sources of support is a man who is gay and divorced and helping me through. He supports me and DD and Mr. Peckerwood, who is his brother, if you can imagine. On "my side" are family members who are more closed-minded to the lifestyle and they simply have to learn how to accept the friendship as he becomes more a part of my life and daughters than he was before.

FWIW to have yet another opinion, I agree that the attempts at humor could be a way to cover up someone's feeling awkward, as that is often the way or culture in the in law family as well...especially with regard to this topic.

turned123 posted 7/18/2013 10:16 AM

I agree with sad and strong. I would explain how you are feeling and that you have no tolerence for them choosing to bash someone for their beliefs, sexual orientation et all. There are many people in my life who are important to me who's views are different than mine but I wont tolerate others harassing them because of it. It doesnt need to be a confrontation, more a clear statement of belief to establish the boundries that are important to you.

devistatedmom posted 7/18/2013 10:25 AM

I think the "problem" is, when you are still in the chatting/getting to know you/trying to decide if you should meet stage, or even the first meeting, is how do you want them to react? They don't even know you yet, and you drop this's kind of like the How I Met Your Mother episode where Ted keeps seeing everyone walking around carrying their baggage. The thing is, this guy, or others, may be perfectly able to handle it, not have two thoughts about your x being gay, but when I don't even know your last name yet, what's the proper response to that? Gee I'm sorry? Hey, that's cool? Ignore it? And since you put the info out there, they feel they have to respond, but don't know the proper way. If you get to know them better first, and you both like each other, then tell them, their response might be different, you know?

I've seen people here talk about not going out into a first meet with a OLD person and blurt out that my x cheated, blah blah blah...really? It's none of their business. Once we actually start to date, somewhere down the road they can find out more about the inner workings of my life and family. They don't need to know right away.

It doesn't mean you need to hide it...but too much info too quick can also make people back off before they even know how wonderful you are and that you handle it all well, because it makes them wonder gee, she sounds like she's dealing with a I want to get mixed up in this because they *think* you may have a lot of hang ups before it. They pre-judge, just like we all do, without having all the facts. You do the same thing (as we all do), prejudging them, from one comment, when they are scrambling for the right response.

I don't know if what I've said makes sense of if I got my point across properly, but the main thing is, give someone a few dates before you decide they are homophobic or the dating stage, one little comment doesn't have to be the end...I mean, if it's I hate gay people, yeah, but if they are stuck for words, I'd give them another chance.

GabyBaby posted 7/18/2013 10:29 AM

Question for you and I am not asking to offend or upset just curious, why do you feel you need to tell potential dates that particular piece of information so early in the process?
I agree with 7yrsflushed.
It isnt something you necessarily need to go into (especially right out of the gate). You can say you're divorced and even that there was infidelity on your ex's part and change the subject. IF the guy you're dating is around a while, then you can get into specifics...just like a M/F infidelity situation.
Personally, I always felt a big of a yellow/red flag when my potential dates gave me such a level of detail on their exes so early. I came off as bitter and/or that they weren't over it yet.

As far as the gay joke thing, I agree that a lot of guys in my circle make stupid jokes when they are uncomfortable. They aren't trying to be offensive, but depening on the topic and the level of sensitivity on the receiving end, it could be hurtful.

ladies_first posted 7/18/2013 11:00 AM

I tell men early because there are a LOT of men who cannot handle this news.

How about a new rule? Instead of telling a guy on the first date, how about "dropping the bomb" on the (pick a random number) 7th date?

A first date is
judgy. We're judging everything. We're looking for a reason, any reason, to run away home to our safe place.

I like Catwoman's ethos: The goal of a first date is to *get* a second date.

I think you'll enjoy men -- and dating -- more if you look at them as individuals. Not as homophobes. And perhaps much of what you are reading as homophobia is just regular old first date jitters.

ETA. devistatedmom said it better than I!!

[This message edited by ladies_first at 11:06 AM, July 18th (Thursday)]

cmego posted 7/18/2013 11:09 AM

I suppose I want them to react with vague...understanding... of a difficult situation. I can handle the, "Wow. Really? I've never met anyone that has actually been through something like that!" Plus, honestly, those guys will usually comment on how grounded I am. I do not bash my ex...I might vent on SI some or to a very trusted friend...but never around my kids. I vent about his behavior, not that he is gay. His choices are mind boggling sometimes, I understand heterosexual men are not going to understand. Most are quite confused how he could have sex with both me, and various men. They just keep saying, "I don't understand...." I reply with, "Well, you are heterosexual. He isn't." Most want to know if we were having sex...and yes, we were.

So, I feel like I'm walking a tightrope. I have a good handle on him and my life. Someone new has to understand this is my life, and needs to be at least open to understanding the tightrope I walk. I have zero interest in someone who gay bashes, and I include gay jokes as "bashing".

I don't mention he cheated unless the guy asks, and never in the beginning or before the first date...again, unless specifically asked. I stay focused on MY life, what I am doing now, my school, my hobbies, my interests, my volunteer work. I rarely revisit the past unless I have to talk about it to a new person.

But, I have found through trial and error it is best I mention it weeds out the obvious bigots.

At this point, I haven't heard back from the maybe he self selected out. I made it pretty clear in my response that I "am raising my children to be tolerant and accepting" of all people.

I'm going to t/j my own thread... let's change the direction of this conversation. When would you want to be told of something YOU have a religious/political/social problem with? I'd want to know upfront so I can think about it. If a potential date was unfaithful, I want to know early. If he had a drug problem/alcohol issues in his past...I'm gonna want to know. His ex is batshit crazy, lost custody of her kids with a drug problem...I'm gonna want to know.

But, I understand...that is me and my need for information. I don't want anyone controlling the information I receive. Yes, left over crap from my marriage...I understand. He controlled what I knew about him. Now, that is a deal breaker for me. I'm not saying full disclosure on the first date...but before we become exclusive.

meaniemouse posted 7/18/2013 11:31 AM

cmego you've received a lot of good advice from people about when, if, how, how much info to share with people about your situation. I guess I'm more concerned about you being down on yourself for your lack of "gaydar" or anything else related to your ex's sexual orientation. Don't be. It's who he is and doesn't reflect on you any more that you being straight reflects on him.

I have to disagree with some of your friends IRL who think making fun of a person who is gay, or their family or their children is "normal" behavior. It isn't. It's mean and hateful and doesn't make anyone less uncomfortable. Being gay or straight isn't a lifestyle choice, it's an integral part of a person's identity. I don't think you are too sensitive at all and I would very definitely "next" someone who thought it was ok to make jokes at someone else's expense, especially around this issue.

That said I think I'm with the others who say to hold off on the information about your children's father. Until someone is going to be a key person in your life, they don't need to know. Frankly I'd rather not say anything and find out if a person I'm seeing has homophobic ideas or behaviors BEFORE they know anything about the situation. Then I would know for sure that they wouldn't be a part of my life and certainly not a part of my children's life. Father who is gay or not, I don't want people like that around me or my kids.

From your posts it sounds like you are being a trooper in a very stressful situation that may continue to be tough for you and your kids. Good for you, hang in there. There are lots of people without narrow minds who will accept you and your situation with respect and love. Don't waste your time with anyone who won't.

tabitha95 posted 7/18/2013 11:53 AM

At this point, I haven't heard back from the maybe he self selected out. I made it pretty clear in my response that I "am raising my children to be tolerant and accepting" of all people.

I don't think this means he is homophobic, but I do think you may have scared him off because you are coming off really defensive from the starting block.

I agree that you've had a lot of good advice on here.

I reversed it and thought how would I react if someone told me this on the first date?

I would think that this was TMI for the first date, and also that the person telling me this is going to come with a lot of baggage (whether true or not).

ladies_first posted 7/18/2013 12:16 PM

I'm not saying full disclosure on the first date...but before we become exclusive.

huge>Huge>HUGE gap there.

Usually I'm telling folks here to look at the big picture, but I'm encouraging the opposite here:

Little picture. Look at him. Get to know him. Learn that he is not your xH.

He might not be "The One." You may never get to Exclusive.

Sometimes a date is just a date.

Stop being so judgy.

Start having fun!

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