When Is The “Right” Time To Tell My Children I Am Gay?

June 15, 2011
Female (Age 49)

Q: I am a young widow of 3 years. I was married to a man, but I have known for a very long time the likelihood that I was gay, but I was trying to do what I thought was the “right” thing by society’s standards. Although I was committed to my husband and we miss him, I know that I am a gay woman and I cannot live a lie by being open to dating a man again. It would not be fair to any party involved. I have 2 daughters, ages 14 and 11. When is/would be the right time to tell either or both of them of this aspect of who I am. I know it depends on each individual child. However, is there a sort of guideline, or do you have suggestions as to what questions I need to consider when I begin to ponder of how and when to share that piece of information with my children?

Thanks so much for you help!

A: Dear When To Tell,

First I am sorry for your loss but also honor your bravery and personal courage.  As far as telling your children about your sexual orientation, there are no guidelines for that sort of thing.  It is a totally personal decision.  You have to factor in your relationship with them, their level of maturity, how much detail you share about your private life as a matter of practice.  You should do what feels comfortable to you.  And judge what feels comfortable to them.  You’re the parent so you set the rules.  Sounds like you are a very wise woman.  Trust yourself and I am sure you will do just fine.

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