gay couple holding hands walking together

When my boyfriend came out to his family, his father attacked him. That was nearly 20 years ago now.

For a long time he’d make attempts to get in contact with his siblings or his mother every couple years. They never went well. They were only willing to welcome him back into the family if he renounced his life and married a woman. He would end up having to block their phone numbers after their disappointment turned into threats and condemnation.

A few years ago, he decided he wasn’t going to contact them any more. We’d gotten married, bought a house, adopted a dog, and surrounded ourselves with a great group of friends. We had our chosen family and that was enough.

Last year he started having vague symptoms that something wasn’t right. He went to the doctor a few times before things were taken seriously. We knew something was really wrong, but weren’t surprised that his generic complaints weren’t getting him access to the tests we thought he needed.

Finally we got a diagnosis. It wasn’t a “good” one.

We thought we’d put the family issue behind us. But now we’re back to mulling it over.

Do we owe them a last chance to make amends? Does he owe himself one last opportunity to have his family’s support? Or is it just inviting trouble into our lives?

While we’re legally married, we’ve heard enough horror stories of long-estranged family members suing spouses for assets or fighting to take back POA. The potential for danger seems high.

But I know he’s always held out hope that one day down the line they would learn to accept him. There is no “one day.” It’s now or never.

Written by Guest Author
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61 Comments

  1. I’ll never understand how any family can disown their child/children, never!

    Reply
  2. They are Still Family,Everyone has Fears and Anger.
    Frustration about the way things are .Sit and Talk Honestly about the Situation.
    Calmly breakit down so Everyone is on Same Page.
    IT WON’T BE EASY! All you can do is Your Best and Try.

    Reply
  3. If they have not been there for you in the past , they won’t be there now except to criticize!! Keep moving forward.

    Reply
  4. I vote unless you choose to and are following your heart, then no. Make peace with it though however you need to do it.

    Reply
  5. Nothing, we owe them nothing. I’ve had a sister in law tell people that she thought I was making him sick! (Early onset Alzheimer’s) then a brother who visited once in a year and a half-suddenly my husband is in the nursing home and he’s there all the time, but won’t speak to me on the phone. I owe them nothing. They weren’t there for my husband and they sure as hell haven’t been there for me!!!

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  6. We don’t owe anybody, anything. We either choose to help or we choose not, too. We’re all adults here.

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  7. My two older sisters let me and our mother down a long time before mom got dementia. THEY have mental health issues. You’d have to in order to ignore, abandon and reject your mother. They got older but they never grew up and still view the world as a child–from a very small and short-sighted lens. I expect nothing from them. What mom and I owe them is when her death is imminent, I will call them and let them know. What they do with that is on them. They have been disinherited years before mom was diagnosed and I’ve kept all of her paper work so let them fight it. I’ll see them in court and blow them out of the water.

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  8. Dont worry about family they haven’t been there for anything else

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  9. So sorry you are going through this.

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    • It does hurt but time softens it

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  10. not a damm thing. you want to whine and complain about how you never see your father now that we live 12 hours away? what was your excuse when we lived 2 blocks away? you want to complain how you never talk to your brother? i can’t imagine why, his phone number hasnt changed in 6 years.. must be you don’t bother to call. you want to fuss and tell me how he’s YOUR family and you have the right to know how his money is spent? Sorry, you only want to know because you want it coming into your house. You want to bitch and guilt trip me because you’re not allowed to talk to his doctors? NOPE! Haven’t seen your face since BEFORE his diagnosis and he was diagnosed 6 years ago. You didnt come to the hospital. you didn’t call., you didn’t visit. You made him feel like crap for wanting a ride to his own mother’s funeral. You drove by our street 3 times a week for over a year. For 2 years you drove right past our house. For a year you lived 2 blocks from us. You can NOT visit, call or be involved just as well now as you did then. You don’t contribute anything to his quality of life except guilt and stress; neither of which is allowed. I don’t owe you squat. Move on with your life and continue to stay out of ours. Honestly? We’re doing so much better without you.

    Reply
  11. Stay away from them. Continue loving each other. Keep your current circle of friends. Sadly, people don’t change.Especially during the tough times.

    Reply
  12. Nothing!! Everyone always wants to be involved in something even if they have no vested interest

    Reply
  13. Evidently, and hypothetically speaking, you (supposedly) owe them half of everything, even when they didn’t help out (except for 3 hours in the early years of this scenario they sat with their mother, before she was totally bedridden and left her to sit in her own waste until the other sibling came home and had to change her) and made the sibling taking care of everything on their own miserable the whole time. Even though they got $169,000.00 from their parent’s insurance and retirement (and they tell everyone who will listen that they were cut totally out), they still want half of what the parent gave exclusively to the child that gave up 5 years of their life to care for the parents with terminal illnesses 24/7 with absolutely no help from them. No offer of meals, financial, changing diapers, doing laundry, cleaning, feedings, yardwork, groceries, meal planning, doctors appts, house maintenance, car maintenance, offer of a few hours of respite, can we take the kids to the park for a couple of hours, can we sit with our parents while you take a break, hospitals, insurance, depressed parents, depressed sibling learning how to be a single parent while taking care of terminally ill parents at the same time, nothing.. NOTHING! The sibling taking care of their parents couldn’t work anything but a couple hours a day (in between feedings and diaper changes), maxed out credit cards and emptied savings and retirement funds. Even after the sibling that did everything broke their foot and had to have surgery and use a knee scooter for 6 months, the other sibling didn’t offer one speck of help or relief, but now the sibling that did nothing still has the balls to contest the will and demand they get half. Why? They didn’t do half the work? They didn’t do anything….yet they still want half. They have a nice house, they have a steady job, they have retirement funds, THEY DON’T HAVE TO START OVER IN THEIR LATE FORTIES AT SQUARE ONE! They gave up nothing. But, that sibling that they left to do everything on their own, that sibling is blessed beyond anything financial. That sibling got to spend precious borrowed time with the parents. Their children got to know their Grandma and Grandpa on a deeper level than they will
    ever know and they, they can take financial worldly things away, but they will never be able to take those precious memories away.

    Reply
    • Oh I so know where you are coming from. My mother has written my siblings out of the will, but they will most likely contest it. It is incredible the amount that one child has to take on to look after parents, and get nothing in return as far as finances go. Don’t get me started… I live this on a daily basis, and have for 17 years.

      Reply
    • Same thing happened to me, only help I had was from my son.

      Reply
  14. We owe them nothing!!!!!!

    When my older brother decided to abandon my mentally ill parents and leave me alone to care for them is the day I became an only child.

    I even told him to change his last name as he no longer deserved to have our family name. Him leaving us meant he allowed my parents and me to suffer even more while he was able to go enjoy his life free from the despair of being a caregiver.

    Reply
    • I have walked in your shoes as a caregiver for my parents….alone,

      Reply
    • Joni Renee O’Shields it’s not easy. I wished I had a sibling to share the burden.

      Reply
    • Agree! I have an older brother AND sister who have turned their backs on my dad and handicapped sister. Leaving me and my husband to solely care for them both! I wish my bro would change his last name also! I speak to neither one of them!

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    • Lorne Sobczyk doesnt mean they would help and that hurts more than being alone.

      Reply
  15. You cannot, actually, make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. Do not contact them. They deserve to go to their graves knowing they have shunned their own son and he is gone forever. Nothing good will come of your efforts, they will stress both of you to the max, and tell your husband ‘God is punishing you for your sins, serves you right.’

    Reply
  16. I was debating this very thing in our lives.
    I ended up blocking the family I found. Only thing they wanted was money. It wasn’t a good idea, but I know I did all I could. I just have to forgive. Over n over n over again.

    Reply
  17. It’s like everything else in life, it could go either way. In my experience, people don’t change, and stressful situations magnify what is already there. Giving second, and third, and umpteen chances to people just wound up getting me screwed over by the same people over and over again. I suppose it’s worth a try but be prepared that these people may not rise to the occasion.

    Reply
  18. I’m glad my mom has no one estranged from her. But if I did…it would be her choice first, if unable to make choice, I guess it would depend on the reason for the estrangement in the first place.

    Reply
  19. Everyone deserves to make peace with a loved one. No matter what our feelings are.

    Reply
  20. I don’t think it is black and white. I feel for your spouse. I have been shunned by my father and stepmom and it is devastating. Thank God for my mom and stepdad!
    My dad has taken three all family vacations that exclude only me. I have worked so hard to rebuild my relationship with my three sons, two brothers and nieces and nephews that it almost kills me to be left out. Literally. I get horribly triggered and suicidal and unraveled in months prior and especially during the trip. By the time they leave and get back (three days ago) nobody is speaking to me again and I am near losing my job from all the anxiety. I would eat mud for the chance to be near my family. The cruelty of it makes me feel hopeless and worthless.
    I really wanted to die this time.
    I’m so sorry your love experiences this pain and is losing his battle. Thank you for loving him to the end.
    Sending you both love and hugs.

    Reply
    • Totally agree. If I told family it would be at the very end when they could do minimal harm.

      Reply
  21. If that is what they want of course and our does no harm in any way

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  22. Yes but not if they just showed up trying to get money from inheritance

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  23. Definitely NOT. They chose how they acted. Do not put yourselves through anymore stress and/ or rejection yet again. Thoughts are with you . Take care in this difficult situation

    Reply
  24. Thank you for sharing. Such a personal decision. He will never be what his family expected/wanted so part of me says why open himself to the grief that may occur. But again, personal choice. Perhaps he wants to clear the air and say his goodbyes in some fashion. He can have his say, make his peace and walk away knowing he did what he needed/wanted to do. Thankfully, he has you and the love you share. Hugs for strength…prayers for peace.

    Reply
  25. No. And after the funeral we all go our separate ways.

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  26. I did. Sucked it up like ‘Melanie’ on ‘Gone with the Wind’….lol! Just cuz they don’t have a heart doesn’t mean I don’t. Stay strong!!

    Reply
  27. I say let sleeping dogs sleep. Sometimes stirring up old issues are just starting the whole mess all over again. With that much passed time….I call it done.

    Reply
  28. No matter what the differences are they are his family. Without them you wouldn’t have the man you married. He is terminal and they do have a right to know.
    Contact them and let them know, then you’ve put the ball in their court and the choice is theirs.

    Reply
  29. All you can do is try. It’s on THEM to make an effort as well.

    Reply
  30. Nothing is black and white, We dont know the reasons why they were estranged in the first place, I think its the right thing to do.

    Reply
    • They could not accept he was gay, after trying to reach out to his family he eventually had to block their calls because of harassment and threats. Pretty clear reason for the estrangement.

      Reply
    • I was just answering the question on the post without even reading the story, I was referring to the question in general

      Reply
  31. I think it all depends upon you and your guy. If you’re both feeling second thoughts and want to male sure there is peace for your guy at the end … Maybe it’s worth the effort and potential fire storm… Definitely make sure his and your legal stuff is legit and will stand up if contested.

    Reply
  32. You might as well leave estranged ppl where they’re at. They will never act right.

    Reply
  33. They didn’t mind being estranged from us

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  34. They are Still Family,they just handle problems Differently,Grief,Scared,Anger,Frustration and Many Other Emotions.As a Loved Passes Everyone Should Respect and Give Dignity and Respect to those Who are Passing.

    Reply
  35. No! they’re estranged because they ran out of ‘chances’

    Reply

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