Updated: July 19, 2013 3:26PM
Jamie and Jay are in their 50s — gay and married.
Jamie says that as much as gay marriages are just like hetero marriages, there is one important difference.
“That’s the lack of meddling in-laws. All of the coupled gays I know happily report the same thing: The in-laws keep their psychic distance. The relationship seems too different to them, which is silly because it’s not much different — we just have better furniture.”
To Jamie, the lack of meddling in-laws is a positive. “I don’t particularly like mine. They’re just, well, awful people. There, I said it. So the more distance the better. That’s actually one argument against our ever marrying. I cannot imagine throwing a party to celebrate our union and inviting them, which we would have to do.”
Jamie met Jay in a martini bar 10 years ago. He was attracted, although he could see Jay was “a troubled soul. I know, I know, you can’t fix anyone, and you can’t change anyone. But I like a project.” Jay moved in with Jamie six months after they met.
Jamie believes the source of all Jay’s problems are his family.
“On the surface, it’s all love and sugar and spice. But in truth, Jay’s father is an alcoholic who physically abused his wife and children. And most of the kids (Jay included) display signs of sexual abuse. Did I mention I like a project?”
Jamie came out years before he met Jay. It wasn’t easy — he’s from an old-world, small-town family — but his mother was instantly accepting. “Dad took a bit of work, but not much, and my siblings really didn’t care. In the end, for my family, it was no big deal.”
Jay is also from a small-town family, and coming out was difficult. His mother eventually accepted him. His father is “a disaster zone.”
Jamie says that he dutifully attended Jay’s family functions for seven long years.
“During that time, his dad never said a single word to me, not even hello. I put up with it until at one function he wouldn’t let some of the nephews play with me because he said I would abuse them. Given his own past, this was particularly bitter.”
On the surface, Jay’s siblings are accepting, “but it’s clear they don’t embrace our relationship the way they do their own marriages. We’ve been together for 10 years and not one has ever been to our home, and several of them live a few blocks away.
“We’re invited to their homes for large gatherings, but we’re always seated at the table near the bathroom, and I’m made to feel mildly uncomfortable.”
Since Jay’s father remarks about the nephews, Jamie no longer attends Jay’s family functions.
“Jay goes without me. Ouch.”
Next, why are Jay and his siblings so devoted to their father?
Are your in-laws sabotaging your relationship? Send your tale, along with your questions, problems and rants, to cheryl firstname.lastname@example.org.