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My family expects me to get married, but I'm more attracted to men and gay marriage isn't an option. How do I convince them I'm not the marrying kind?

Tagged as: Big Questions, Family, Gay relationships<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (16 February 2017) 14 Answers - (Newest, 23 February 2017)
A male age 30-35, *lpet writes:

Hi, I'm much more into men physically/sexually speaking. The hitch is that I live in a traditional and homophobic society.My family want me to get married any time soon. How can I "convince" them I'm not the marrying kind, without telling them I'm mostly gay?

(I'll be 35 in March; I live alone, and I'm financially independent.)

Thanks.

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A male reader, alpet  +, writes (23 February 2017):

alpet is verified as being by the original poster of the question

You're right that I'd have a happier and freer life abroad romantically and sexually speaking. The problem is that it's hard to find a job in my profession, with me being a teacher and translator..

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A female reader, aunt honesty Ireland + , writes (22 February 2017):

aunt honesty agony auntI think you should move to a country where you are accepted. I mean yes I am sure you love your family. But am sure you also want to find love and live your life as a happily gay man?! Honestly you only get one life you should not be wasting it being alone just because you are not what is expected. I guess you need to work out what you want and what is more important to you.

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A female reader, deirdre Ireland + , writes (18 February 2017):

I can't imagine the pressure you must feel. Maybe it is best that you avoid coming out to them for now. If you could find a female friend who is single and not interested in a sexual relationship, someone who could be your friend it might avert too much attention being placed on you. Ideally marrying such a woman would be the best and easiest option but this would be difficult to arrange. Have you tried dating websites? Being in a more liberal Muslim society such as Turkey, it may be easier to find your ideal woman there. Just do not write that you are gay or bisexual in case someone you know is on there. Best of luck x

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A male reader, alpet  +, writes (17 February 2017):

alpet is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Thanks again for the feedback..

WiseOwlE, I appreciate the fine distinction you made between "celibate" and "bachelor". I side with the latter:))

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A female reader, Andie's Thoughts United Kingdom + , writes (17 February 2017):

Andie's Thoughts agony auntDo whatever you need to do to live your life happily, without hurting yourself or someone else. Do not live your life pretending to be straight and never having love because of that.

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (17 February 2017):

Don't delude yourself, if your family is Muslim and traditional; religion is at the root of their concerns.

They are frequently asked by neighbors, family, and friends why you're not married. That's why you're being pressured.

Unless you are a monk or priest; celibates are often perceived as hiding something, or secret perverts. That may be the reason your society looks down upon them. Celibacy is different from bachelorhood. Celibates don't have sex. Bachelors simply prefer to stay single. Gay or straight.

Although being a confirmed bachelor in American-society is highly accepted; most people believe them to be phobic about commitment, or just gay and in the closet. They're usually right!

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A male reader, alpet  +, writes (17 February 2017):

alpet is verified as being by the original poster of the question

My family say that a "normal" personal must get married. As a result, celibates are looked down upon in my culture. Religion doesn't directly have a considerable impact on our social order, though..

I have my own apartment,and have no financial dependence. I've been considering to move to west Europe, but it's hard to secure employment. Here I have a good position.

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (17 February 2017):

If you live in a nonpracticing Islamic society, then there is flexibility. As long as you live discreetly, that is.

You know your parents and their level of tolerance. If you are close and have a tight-nit family; perhaps they will accept that you will never marry, if you simply tell them the truth. They can't force you to, you're too old. The nagging will eventually stop anyway. It may take a toll on your relationship; however.

If your finances are directly tied to your family, it would give them some leverage; and they will likely cut you off. Other than the possibility of being altogether disowned; I see no reason you cannot come-out to them, and marry a woman who understands who you are.

Then there will be the question of children. Which means at some point you must stand-up to your parents and their nagging at your personal-life.

You don't explain very much. So I can only speculate that you are simply afraid to come-out to your parents. I am sure they already know. Most parents do. If they've held-out until you are 35 years-old; I'm pretty certain they do, or strongly suspect. Apparently they've increased the pressure, which is why you've written a post about it.

People are likely asking them questions. No doubt that includes uncles, aunts, grand-parents, and in-laws. So it is unlikely this is going to just stop. The presence of a woman in your life will give them hope and reassurance; unless they are progressive enough to accept that you are gay. That will not excuse you from following the Islamic teachings of the quran; if your parents are traditional in their beliefs and practices. They will expect you to follow Islamic Law regardless of your sexual-orientation.

There is no acceptance of bachelors who never marry in Islamic society. If you still live in your country of origin, you know that. If you live in a country where different religions are openly practiced and a variety of cultures flourish; then moving into a different cultural setting will give you cover.

For the time being, all you can do is tell them you are still searching; until you have the courage to come-out to them. You don't want them to find-out through somebody else.

That too, would be messy!

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A female reader, Andie's Thoughts United Kingdom + , writes (17 February 2017):

Andie's Thoughts agony auntI get that this is a religious/cultural taboo, but are you really going to live your one life for other people?

I know it's not the ideal situation, but you could move to a less judgemental place where you can be yourself and live a happy life. Your family may have to disown you based on their religion/culture, but you can still lead a happy life with people who will accept you.

Don't waste the life you have.

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A male reader, alpet  +, writes (17 February 2017):

alpet is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Hi again, thanks for the thoughtful input. I understand that finding a lesbian girl would be a way out - a beard - but I guess it'd get all too messy, with me going from frying pan into the fire. A mostly lesbian girl would probably remedy the situation. But, this is hard to occur where I live..My society is Islamic, but mostly nonpractising..

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A female reader, CindyCares Italy + , writes (17 February 2017):

CindyCares agony aunt It depends.

If you are a Muslim, the answer is simple : you just can't.

There's no such a thing like " not the marrying kind ". Your parents want you married not just because they'd like to have grandchildren, or are afraid that you feel lonely etc.- but because , as you already know if you are a Muslim, marriage is " wajib "- a moral safeguard , a social necessity AND also a religious duty . Rhe prophet said

" Marriage is my tradition; who so ever keeps away there from, is not from amongst me " . If you have the physical capability, and the financial means to get married you have no excuse for not doing it.

From a Muslim point of view it makes no sense if " I just haven't fallen in love with anybody yet ": because you can be a loving, caring, loyal and devoted husband and family man even without being in love ( ... well, that , they got it right , I think ).

So what can you do if coming out puts you at risk or legal consequences or total social ostracisms : well, the choices are not brullant, tbh .

I think you could :

1) just keep stalling, procrastinating with various excuses , and dragging things on ,( as you probably had to do so far ) , until you tire them out; at some point hopefully they either will figure out by themselves what 's the issue, or else they will get tired of your passive - aggressive stance and they'll give up.

2) accept on condition that you can personally pick your spouse, and then seek someone who is more or less in your same boat, someone who wants or needs to get married soon, with no emotional involvement with you BUT is open minded , understanding, and accepts to carry on, very prudently and discreetly, a sexually open marriage.

3 ) give it a honest try ( after all, you are " mostly " gat, i.e. you are bisexual), knowing that if you feel you just cannot handle it, you can always divorce , quickly , easily, and generally without the heavy emotional drama ( shame, sense of failure ) that divorce often implies in Western societies. Of course in this case the right and honest thing to do would be to talk to your future wife, telling her sincerely that you are marrying to please your parents and perform a social and religious duty, not out of romantic love, so it may work, but also not work. If it is an arranged marriage, you can bet she feels the same, and as long as she is financially safeguarded, she may be perfectly willing to " risk ". Sure, then as a divorced man... in theory you should get married again, but in practice the pressure is all just for the first marriage .

If you are Hindu- it's roughly the same ; marriage is an obligatory duty ( dharma ) ; unless you embrace the religious life as a renouncer, you are expected to marry and lead a householder 's life. Although, for what I have seen, Hindus are maybe a bit more flexible about this , and it's easier to procrastinate longer with the excuse of completing education, or improving your finances, or advancing in your career, etc. So I guess the above 3 options would apply too.

If you live in a homophobic but laical society- screw them ! Brush them off; or stonewall them. People may think that you are slightly a weirdo, or an eccentric, or an antisocial. but at least your family won't have to be shamed, socially ostracized, or excluded from community / ceremonies etc. because their son is not very observant in religion.

Now I agree that all my suggestions are weak and not very satisfactory, but let's be realistic, according to where you live, doing the " right " thing, i.e. telling them " Mom, Dad, I am an adult and I am in charge of my life and my choices etc. etc. " could be in fact the wrong thing to the point of being dangerous.

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (17 February 2017):

It's always good to keep your gay-life low-key and very private when living in a homophobic society. If you live in a strict Islamic or sectarian-society; your parents will be very concerned about their own standing in the community, and throughout your extended family. So stay a very safe distance away. Live discreetly.

It might be nice to keep a "beard." A lovely girl who isn't emotionally-attached, but truly appreciates your company. Do not lie to her, or deceive her in any way. That often helps in cases of parents who are pushy and refuse to stay out of your personal-life. Short of coming-out, you have few options.

Depending on where you live in the world and what your culture is; convincing your parents may not be an option. They are traditional, which means they stick to the old-ways. They will demand the reason why you will not marry. They already know, but they'll wait for you to confirm it. That, or they'll have spies determine the truth.

Hiding in the closet leaves the risk of them finding out in the worst way, or at the worst time. So consider coming out to them, if doing so will not cause you any harm or injury.

I know some sects of Arabic-Islam (or African/Jamaican society) and other religions can be quite strict, and very much intolerant of homosexuality. Please pardon any over-presumption on my part. I have to guess, and may be far off the mark.

If you're 35, apparently your parents have been quite patient up to now. Perhaps you have already surpassed the threshold of listening to them; and can pretty much do as you please.

Let them know you have female company on occasion to allow them to rest peacefully at night. It may even avert too much attention to your personal-life.

Eventually tell them the truth as long as it isn't life-threatening. They don't want you to be lonely or miss any opportunity to have a family. Worrying about you is what parents do.

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A female reader, Andie's Thoughts United Kingdom + , writes (17 February 2017):

Andie's Thoughts agony aunt"I appreciate your concern, but I will not be getting married any time soon, regardless of how often you bring it up."

Without sounding harsh, you are nearly 35 and need to be firm that your life is your own because you are a grown man. Just keep giving them the exact same response as above and refuse to talk about it further.

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (16 February 2017):

"How can I "convince" them I'm not the marrying kind, without telling them I'm mostly gay?"

You can't.

You couldn't even if you told them you're mostly gay. They'd probably claim it's just a phase and you'll get over it.

All you can do is politely brush them off. Telling them you haven't found the "one" and you don't want to settle wouldn't be untruthful.

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