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Need help navigating uncharted territory with my gay son


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Hey all- I am looking for some guidance.  My almost 16 year old son has not come out to me but I recently came to learn that he is gay. This is not really a surprise to me at all and I am accepting of who he is.  He is a great kid and I think we have a good relationship.  

Here is where I need help.  I want him to be able to talk to me about whatever is going on in his life. I imagine that he must face struggles as a high school student trying to navigate relationships or to fit in or find his place (he has a good group of friends so maybe this is not the case). I want him to know I am ok with his sexual orientation and it changes nothing for me.  I love him for who he is and just want him to be happy.  

I have suspected he is gay for quite some time (years) and have tried to take little opportunities as they come along to express my support for the LGBTQ+ community.  I try to phase things in such a way that I don't assume gender when asking questions- like for homecoming I asked if there was anyone he was considering asking, was there a girl or a guy he had his eye on?  He just answered, no, his friend group was all going together as a group, no dates.  He is 1 of 5 children, he is the youngest in the family.  There have been discussion in the family about dating and relationships etc.  There is no judgement coming from anyone and we talk about who is dating who etc. The overall sentiment expressed is that is love is love.

I feel like I have made an effort to show my acceptance so that when he is ready he would feel comfortable coming out to me.  

Here is my concern.  I have come to learn that he made a very dangerous choice to meet up with an older guy (late 30's) who he met on the internet.  They apparently met up just once although they were texting for some time.  I see this as very risky behavior and it has me worried.  This is quite a shock to me since I think my son is generally a very sweet, gentle, laid back kid who is just easy going. He generally has good judgement, but then again, at 15 I know he is going to make mistakes.  I don't know how he came about to meeting this person (he is into gaming but usually is on a private server with friends) but could have meet through gaming or if he went online looking to meet someone. I don't know.  I bothers me that an older guy met up with essentially a 15 year old!  

I want to talk to my son about this but I feel my hands are tied because he has not come out to me.  If it were my daughter meeting an older guy and I found out about it I would talk to her about it but this feels like I would be violating his boundaries since he has not come out me yet.

I really need some guidance here in how to best support him and protect him.  Thanks.

 

 

 

 

 

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Ohh dear 😕 .

I was about to say yes, leave him be to reach out about all of this.. until or unless he is 'ready' to do so... But, this is another kettle of fish!

I know you don't want to make him see you as a traitor or anything and you 'can trust mom'..... 

Sadly, at this age, they are still NOT mature at all.  And do make some poor judgement 😕 .

Is there any way you can find out who this other man is? And reach out to him & give him H*****?

HE needs to be aware of your sons age ( as you're not sure IF your son has lied about that...etc)?

As you, being mom is willing to protect your son and I agree, one way or another, this should not be happening 😕 .

If you can't manage to get through to find out who this other man is, Is maybe best for you to just admit to your son you know about all of this and try to have a 'heart to heart' talk with him... about it being so wrong!  And this is something he should NOT be doing--- that you do know how he is (gay) and that's alright and all.... But, your concern is him getting involved with someone that age!

 

 

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I too am the mother of a gay son. He too didn't disclose to me when he was a teen although I knew. He finally let me know when he was in his early 20s.

I too thought he didn't trust me with knowing his orientation. But it wasn't that. He just felt he wasn't up for a discussion, so he chose to keep quiet.

Your son is a minor and he probably knows you're keeping an eye on his social interactions. I would tell him you've discovered through typical Mom concern that he's planning to meet an adult male and that you need to talk to him about it out of your love and concern for him. He needs to know it's not OK for an adult to be interacting with him. It would be the same if it was one of your other children who was being contacted by an adult.

Hopefully he will understand you are concerned (not "controlling") because you love him and he's willing to have an honest and open discussion with you.

Good luck.

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15 hours ago, redsox22 said:

Here is my concern.  I have come to learn that he made a very dangerous choice to meet up with an older guy (late 30's) who he met on the internet.  They apparently met up just once although they were texting for some time.  I see this as very risky behavior and it has me worried.

This is very risky behavior for a 15-year old, whether you are gay or straight.

15 hours ago, redsox22 said:

I bothers me that an older guy met up with essentially a 15 year old!  

I think it should bother you!! Your son is still a child, and this is a grown man. 

What would you do if your daughter was meeting up with a man in his late 30s?

Would you see it differently?

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15 hours ago, redsox22 said:

 I want to talk to my son about this but I feel my hands are tied because he has not come out to me.  

Sorry this is happening. Don't let being politically correct come in the way of basic internet stranger safety.

You can use neutral terms. Older "people", etc. Just as you would with an opposite sex encounter between a teen and an adult. 

How where and when did he meet this man? Keep in mind boys are sold into prostitution, pornography too. He may also be having high risk sex.

Don't put blinders protecting his hidden sexuality in lieu of protecting him as your minor child.

Since you have the data from his phone/computer,you could take it to the police.  Soliciting sex from a minor is a crime. Not a politically correct situation.

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Thank you for the replies. To answer some of the questions asked, I found out through one of his siblings. I don’t want to betray their confidence and damage the relationship between the siblings by disclosing to my son where I got this information.
 

I would feel the same way if it were my daughter interacting with an older man - this is not based on being gay or the fact that he’s a male. I would have the same feelings regardless.

I do not know how he met this person and I’m only speculating that it was either through his online gaming or perhaps he went online looking for someone. I don’t have access to any computer data -I don’t have any way of knowing who this person is or finding out without directly speaking with my son.

I’m told that he’s no longer in contact with this person so I’m not sure that going down the road of finding out who this person is is going to have any positive outcomes for my son or my relationship with my son. Although it bothers me greatly that this person would take advantage of a 15 year old. I’m on the fence about what to do about that. 

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I feel strongly that I need to protect my son and that means talking to him about what’s going on. My concern is because he has not yet come out to me that I’m going to damage our relationship and put him in a mindset to not talk to me about any of this. In which case I would be closed out and not be able to continue to have a good relationship with him to help him navigate some of these challenges.

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If he were masturbating to gay porn, fine that's private, who cares. But he is a minor meeting a 30 y/o man for a sexual encounter. Your responsibility, legally, is to protect your son from predators, not be the "cool parent".

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Also consider the next 15 year old might not be as fortunate as your son was. I guarantee this predator has done this before and will continue to do it to other children.

Talking to my son about his sexual orientation has not ruined our relationship. I will concede that he was an adult when he disclosed to me (although I'd known for years... I'm his mother, after all).

Do you talk to your other children about dating and sexuality? If so, why not this son?

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Bolt- talking about sexuality is not the problem. It’s about having a conversation where I basically out him and the damage it may cause.

 

I don’t know how old he told this guy he really is. I don’t want to assume he knows his real age. But I’m disturbed by all this. 

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I guess I don't understand why telling him you're aware of his orientation would cause him damage, especially since you plan to talk to him in a loving and supportive manner. I know young people whose families rejected them or shamed them, but you're not going to do that. I imagine he'd be relieved he no longer has to hide a big part of his true self from you.

I also wouldn't assume that man didn't know your son is a minor. If you can get any kind of info on him and pass it on to the authorities they can decide what the next steps will be.

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I don’t know if it would cause him damage or if it would damage our relationship. I guess that’s why I’m here asking what others think about that and if they have any experience with something like this. Meaning experience approaching somebody before they actually come out to you.

 

I’ll see if there’s any way to figure out who is older guy is.

 

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1 hour ago, redsox22 said:

I basically out him and the damage it may cause

Unfortunately this is a case of the lesser of two evils, so to speak. His knowing you are aware of his sexuality is by far Less damaging than him meeting up with a strange adult man for sex.

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7 minutes ago, redsox22 said:

I don’t know if it would cause him damage or if it would damage our relationship. I guess that’s why I’m here asking what others think about that and if they have any experience with something like this. Meaning experience approaching somebody before they actually come out to you.

 

I’ll see if there’s any way to figure out who is older guy is.

 

My son didn't "come out" to me. He simply brought his partner along when we met up for brunch one day. I wasn't going to ask him anything while the other young man was there so I texted my son later that evening. I simply asked him to call me when he had a few minutes. He did, and I asked him "So, is N your friend or your partner?" And he answered "My partner". And I simply told him I have no prejudices against anyone and all I wanted was for him to be with someone who treated him well. And for him to be happy. And he said N does, and he is. Up to that point he'd never even mentioned he was dating anyone. They LIVED together and I had no idea, but I realized why he'd never invited me over to his place. I guess he just wasn't ready yet.

I realize my situation is different, but getting this out into the open improved our relationship, it didn't damage it.

Your son knows you love him, but he may be fearful you won't accept him. Assure him you love him for who he is, no matter what. And you accept EVERYTHING about him. 

Your son being a minor is different because like any minor child he does still need your protection from people who might harm him.

I believe this conversation will go well and you'll both be happy you two talked. 

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Could you potentially start a conversation about just about he's getting older and you just want him to know you're always here if he wants to talk. 

I know that sounds a little after school special-ish, but! hear me out.

What kind of conversations do you have now? 

When I was 15, my dad and I were usually the first ones home from the day. We did have a lot of talks. I can only think of two that were serious... I got in a fight at school.  ugh! (little Lambert! who knew!) and once his business partner had a psychotic episode at work.  

My point is- we talked about these things because we talked to each other when we got home and it was not a newsflash.  The conversations were not deep- they were more like this happened today, I want you to know, and I'm ok. And while I don't remember the exact conversations, I still hear his voice in my head... helping me navigate life, but especially, as a young person making choices etc.

So maybe the way to start is to look at the conversations you are already having and try to build on those.  Make opportunities to talk about anything- a regular thing.  It's no guarantee he'll confide about some on line guy, but get your voice in his head. 

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Consider finding some recent articles on how someone was lured by an online predator through gaming, and call him over to view one of them. Speak about your concerns with his online gaming--and how important his safety is to you. Talk about the details you've researched and cover those with him.

You can leave his sexuality out of it, and you don't need to expose what the sib confessed to you.

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I guess I agree with Wiseman2 that talking to your son about this, and fairly soon, is "the lesser of two evils".

I think that although it may ruffle some feathers either between you and he, and/or between he and his siblings, if he finds out his sibling was the one who revealed he was seeing this older man, that that is a far lesser evil than this very dangerous, and illegal dating of a man in his 30's.

I think if you approached the matter with a lot of love and compassion, which you clearly have, that hopefully any upset would be temporary, and it would be clear, at least when the dust clears in a day or a week or a month (hopefully not that long!) that you were raising this issue purely out of love for him and that you accept him completely.

I agree with another poster who suggested I believe, finding a documented real-life case, where an older man took advantage of or hurt a young man, and use that as an example of why you were so concerned when you learned on this encounter he had.   That might possibly make your son more accepting of why you are bringing this up with him.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm somehow sensing it would be good to be honest and admit you found out about this thru the sibling, as your son will surely ask how to found about this, and he will suspect your sibling anyway, so trying to hide that might just make him more upset and mad at both you and the sibling?

I suppose another alternative is to try to work this whole thing thru with a family counselor, or at least to get the advice of a counselor, although they may possibly be bound legally to treat this as a legal matter with the police, and I'm not sure you want that right off the bat or not, in terms of having it upset your son, and having it seem like a big "betrayal" of his privacy or not.

If the man was in fact aware of your son's age, he should be pursued by police IMO, but I'm not sure if having that happen as the first step here is too much of a big shock for your son's sake or not?

But I do agree with other posters that one way or the other, probably the responsible thing is to somehow broach this subject with your son, and just try to minimize as much as possible any upset that causes with your son regarding his being gay, and his having this encounter for that matter.

At any rate, so sorry you're having to deal with this, it must be very, very traumatic and very worrisome for you.   

Good luck on finding the best possible solution, I wish I had a magic answer for you.   

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2 hours ago, Stargazer2 said:

You're very welcome redsox22.   

BTW, my concern with getting the police involved is that your son might be dragged into a police station and asked/forced to tell all about a gay sexual encounter with an older man, perhaps to a police sergeant if you were unlucky might not make much of a secret about being anti-gay, since that's the kind of traumatic event your son might really hold against you, or that's my concern.

Simply letting him know you know he's gay, and that's he's had this encounter would be fairly minor compared to the trauma and shock of that, from his point of view I suspect.

It's kind of one those catch-22 situations I am thinking, where ideally you want to be able to hold this older man accountable (assuming that in fact he knew what your son's age was), versus not traumatizing the heck out of your son in the process.

But how do you do that?   Perhaps the police do have the sensitivity and the means to do that, I don't know, I suppose that varies from police department to department, but that would be my concern.   

Maybe you could somehow make an anonymous phone call from a pay phone (assuming you can find one of those) and ask your local police department how they would handle this type of case, and minimize the trauma to your son in the process).

I think if I were in my shoes I would just let him know that I found out about this encounter, try to strongly caution my son about not doing this sort of thing again, and keep police involvement as a possible later step, basing that also on what your son let's you know about what happened and whether this man was deceived about your son's age, etc., etc.

Good luck on finding the right course of action.   My heart goes out to you!

 

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I personally would hate to read on the news or see on the TV a story about that man doing something even worse to someone else's child.  

Since your son doesn't seem to have been the victim of a crime (thankfully), he likely would only need to provide whatever contact info he has for this possible predator and the police will take it from there.

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           I am probably going against what others are saying here, but I think I have experience that your son might be going through. I'm a gay man who talked to a guy that was 30 when I was 16 years old.  Not saying that it was right at that time or ever; however, I would have been so embarrassed if my mom found out that I'm gay and also told me to not talk to this 30-year-old man anymore or worse call the police and press charges (when this guy did not even do anything sexually with me). I'm not saying that it is right because the adult should know better than to talk to a minor.  Luckily, this guy was a very sweet and caring who did not pressure me for sex or anything, and I was the one who finally came to my senses after several hang out times with him and friends (Thank goodness for my awesome friends who did not encourage me to be alone with him!). By the way, he did know my age, and I truly believed he cared about me at the time; even though I look back at this situation now and think "what was I thinking and what was he thinking for being interested in me to where he could not find someone who was at least a consenting adult." There are truly sick people in the world, and luckily for me I ended it very early on before anything major happened. 

       One difference is I came out to my mother 6 months before this situation, and I felt comfortable about telling her about being gay, so please give him time to share that part of him before jumping down his throat about talking to an adult male (and honestly he probably already knows this is not right). Even to this day, (I'm 32 now), I don't believe my mom still knows about me talking and hanging out with a 30-year-old guy (even though it did not last long). At the same time, I don't regret it at all. I think it made me stronger and made me question other situations as I went through college. Just like there were many other situations that my mom doesn't know (unless my friends told her, and she has kept it inside this whole time). I'm sure there will be additional situations that he will go through, that he would not want his mom to find out about, just like I'm sure you made some decisions as a teenager that were dumb looking back at it now. 

           I would approach this topic lightly for your son because it seems like he still is not wanting to come out to you yet for whatever reason. I would continue to love and accept him for being him and ask him how he is doing daily and show him that you care, but don't be too pushy either.  I would agree with having more discussions with him over an article (that was mentioned earlier from other posts), about interactions between an adult and teens (and it doesn't have to necessarily be a gay relationship either), using the internet wisely, and using a public place to meet up with people online (and always go with friends!). We all were teenagers once, and there were plenty of dumb decisions that I made looking back; however, I don't regret any decisions that I made. Honestly, I think those decisions helped me in future situations to avoid other bigger situations that some of my friends faced in college and beyond. 

I'm also wondering if your son already knows that talking to this adult male is wrong (like me at his age!); however, I think back to when I was a teen. I was desperate to find a boyfriend, and to find love when the rest of my friends were dating guys (I know, silly!). Being a teenager who is gay is very difficult in regard to many different things (friends, bullies, etc). Luckily, I had a really supportive friend group (like your son does), and I wasn't bullied at all. Most people were actually more accepting than I was!  I think one of the hardest things for me back then was finding a boyfriend because I was seeing my friends get into relationships (and I guess I kind of felt lonely?). There is not much (or any) of a selection at this age; therefore, I think most homosexuals do turn to the online portion, which maybe the case for your son. At least for me, it felt good to feel wanted in a loving, non-sexual way from an adult. I soon realized after a couple of hangout times with friends that I needed to find someone around my age because it would have been weird to bring him home to my family. Luckily, I did meet him through a friend's boyfriend who worked with him and not online. Not sure if your son feels the same way, but I just wanted to share my perspective on the whole adult and teenager thing. 

Again, I'm not saying this is ok with this situation because there is a lot to be concerned about especially if they are having sex. I'm just not sure if confronting him and telling him to not talk to this guy is going to help. I feel like this is something that he needs to come to terms within the sense that this is not realistic such as mine was not being able to bring him to home to meet family, etc. While I understand he is a minor and you have to protect him at all costs; however, it could possibly be even more of a reason for him to continue meeting up with this guy or other adult males in the future if you go into protective mode. I would continue talking to him in your loving way and accepting him for who he is and having those discussions about meeting people online and always bringing friends along because honestly, I think that is what helped me a lot! 

If you can, try to find more details about this adult.... If possible?? Maybe if you feel comfortable, ask his friends who could be concerned, but not sure how to tell you? He had to tell at least one friend unless he is not out to his friends??  If you think he is being harmed in anyway, please definitely intervene and get police involved or if his mental health is not going well, then definitely get help from a counselor! 

Hopefully, he will come to his senses that this guy is not for him before he gets too deep into whatever this thing is.... 

 

 

 

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