Ask Kim – May 7

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Dear Kim,

My college age daughter will be graduating soon and plans on starting her new life.  Part of that life includes a girlfriend that she will be moving in with soon.  They aren’t just friends.  They’re partners.  I have known for some time that my daughter is a lesbian.  She came out to me quite a long time ago and I hope that she has found me to be an accepting and loving parent. 

Here’s the trouble.  She swore me to secrecy about telling her father.  This was something I honored even though I felt awful about it.  She has decided it’s now time to tell her dad.  I feel like he will be more accepting of her news, than of me – keeping this secret.  Should I tell him now, that way he’s prepared to speak with our daughter?  Shall I keep my mouth shut and let her do her own talking?  Somehow, I feel I’ve painted myself into a corner with this one.



Dear Anonymous,

Congratulations on your daughter’s graduation.  She clearly is a focused young woman who seems to know what she wants.  I also commend you for honoring your commitment to her regarding her secret.  Let’s think about this a bit.  What if the shoe were on the other foot?  Dad has a secret that he didn’t share with you.  How would you feel?  It’s a secret about your daughter.  Now how do you feel?  Everyone feels they are entitled to know family secrets.

If we’re honest with ourselves, there are probably lots of secrets that we’ve held close in our hearts over time.  Some of them completely insignificant, and others we just didn’t want to share with anyone.  It’s not really a matter of trust.  When we decide to share secrets, it’s because we can be vulnerable with the person we’re telling.  Your daughter chose to be vulnerable with you.  She wasn’t ready to be vulnerable with her father.  That’s okay.

Seriously though, while some parents can be caught completely off guard with this kind of news, others will say they knew all along.  When your daughter told you, were you surprised, or did you know already?  Your hubby may know already and has decided to keep it to himself!

As far as telling him before she does – why now?  I say, you haven’t said anything yet so why break the promise.  She may change her mind and not say anything to him.  Let her tell her dad when the time is right for her.  As far as keeping a secret from her father, when he does find out, I would simply say it wasn’t your story to tell.  He’ll understand.  Maybe he won’t say a word.  Someday, you’ll all have something to talk about. 

Have a question?  Ask Kim!

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