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Maintaining a PG World

For the first time in quite some time I’m going to have to be cognizant of how my sexuality is expressed at home.  John and I have visitors coming, grandchildren.  The kids of John’s youngest son are coming to visit for several days without the supervision of their parents.  Some of them are quite young still and we all agreed that John and I would de-gay the house.  Only the oldest has been told directly about the nature of our relationship.  Of course John and I will still share the same bed, but with the convenient excuse that the other beds will be occupied by our visitors.  Ultimately, this isn’t a really big deal.  We’re putting away some books and movies that might raise questions and placing some security features on the computers to prevent prying eyes.  But really most of what we’ve hidden is pretty mild, and most likely would have been overlooked by children in the first place.  The thing that will be most challenging is curbing overt displays of affection.  John and I hug and kiss and cuddle frequently.

I wonder if John’s son would have been as concerned about his kids seeing their grandfather in a homosexual relationship if his partner was closer to his age.  I understand, parents like to shield their kids from ideas that they might find confusing or frightening.  On the other hand, I think kids have a much greater capacity for accepting things outside the social norm than a lot of parents do.  Kids also seem to be a lot more perceptive than adults give them credit.  Perhaps our relationship isn’t going to be as hidden from them as we might think.  I guess time will tell.

Have you ever had to de-gay your home?  For what reason?

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Five Tips for Introducing Your Age-Different Lover to Friends

During the course of our relationship, John and I have introduced each other to a wide range of friends.  From gay friends to straight friends, close friends to mere acquaintances, we have navigated a wide range of introductions.  These experiences have ranged from pleasant to painfully awkward.  The following are a handful of recommendations I’ve gleaned from our experience on introducing your age-different lover to friends.

1.  Make the commitment that you are going to introduce your significant other to your friends. There are two reasons to do this.  First, if you are remotely serious about the relationship or if you are consistently attracted to people of a vastly different age than yourself your friends will have to know some time.  Such a relationship is doomed to failure if you try to maintain separate lives; you’d be building the relationship on a foundation of insecurities.  Second, your friends are likely to find out about your relationship at some point anyway.  By taking the initiative to tell them yourself you can prevent misunderstandings and introduce your boyfriend/lover/partner on your own terms.

2.  For those that you think may find an intergenerational relationship a challenge, you should front-load the first meeting. Let your friends know up front about the age difference prior to the first meeting, but frame this discussion as a positive or at least neutral aspect of your relationship.  Also let them know what drew you to your significant other.  It’s easy to try to ignore the age issue, especially of you don’t find it a challenge yourself.  However I’ve found that it is better to address this head on so that friends and acquaintances don’t feel blindsided by this minor detail.

3.  Make the status of your relationship clear. Lots of confusion can arise if the nature of your relationship is ambiguous amongst friends and acquaintances.  I remember uncomfortable instances of flirtation from other men at some of the first parties John and I attended together.  Without a clear message about our dating status, that I wasn’t just a little fun, others felt free to make overtures.  In another instance an acquaintance, though she knew we lived together, assumed we weren’t romantically involved.  It made for a slightly uncomfortable conversation; I was embarrassed I hadn’t made our relationship clear in the first place.  Clarifying your relationship with others can also help you avoid some of the assumptions made about intergenerational gay relationships.

4.  If you think your friend may find your intergenerational relationship challenging, make the introduction on neutral ground. Inviting them to your place, especially if you share your home with your partner could be intimidating and could put your friend on the defensive.  Instead, find a mutually agreed upon neutral location such as a restaurant or coffee shop to make your introductions.

5.  Use tact and respect the boundaries of both your friend and your significant other. While I have advocated for frankness with your friends when it comes to introducing them to your lover, this must also be balanced with decorum.  There is such a thing as “too much information”.  Though you want your friends to know how much you like your partner and how into him you really are, you don’t have to share intimate details.

Do you have any other suggestions for introducing an age different partner to friends?  Any outstanding memories of making such introductions? Please share them with us in the comments section of this post.