Once the smoke clears from your mind after the engagement happens and the high you felt from being so loved tames it hold on your chest…what’s the first thing you thing think about? Telling the world! You want to scream it from the rooftops and dance in the streets. That is until your realize you have no clue who to tell first and that there’s a right way and a wrong way to telling your loved ones.
First, there are a few considerations you need to take. The most important people who deserve to hear and need to hear about your new life plan are kids. If either of you have children this is where you start your marital declaration. This may change where they live, it gives them a new step mom, and it may affect them and how they feel about having a gay mom. I mean, even if your kids know, having your mom MARRY (I don’t use those other “less than” descriptors such as domestic partnership or civil union) a woman changes a kid’s life a little.
Next consideration is traditionally the bride’s family gets to find out next. Oops! You have two brides! Here’s my suggestion, determine whose family is most supportive of your relationship. Tell that family first. At such a happy time of your life you not only deserve to share the celebration with supportive family members, but it helps strengthen you in the event one family just isn’t ready to celebrate with you, just yet.
But wait, tell me your supportive family has met your bride-to-be at least once before. No? Then you may want to make a trip to meet the family and then a second to announce the engagement. Meeting a new person (or a whole family if you’re the other bride) is stressful enough even if you are accepted by each other. In the case that you can’t make more trips in the near future here’s my suggestion: who ever’s family is being visited that bride should find a way to tell mom and dad or brothers and sisters away from the addition to the family. Giving your loved ones that consideration will allow them to openly express their concerns or greatest excitement for you. Plus, you don’t marry a person YOU MARRY a FAMILY. Your family also is now married to your bride.
It is also very important to determine if one side of the family is not supportive. This is another time where you may want to go in solo for the announcement. If it’s your family you will naturally not want to expose your future spouse to any type of unpredictable statements that their disapproval may cause. There will be time in the future for the two of you to sit down as a group once heads have cleared.
In the horrible event neither of you have support of family get your friends together and celebrate with them before you have to tackle families. Friends are the family we choose after all. They are part of the community that we surround ourselves with and can supplement family support for the time being.
If both families are supportive or equally in objection of the idea make it simple, tell the family geographically closer to where you both live. If you both have families that will be supportive this makes sense because you are just both going to be so happy you will want to share immediately with someone. Secondly, if you follow this rule…there’s no fighting…plain and simple, who you tell first is already spelled out. Also, consider that even a supportive family will have questions and concerns and when you as on top of the world as you two will be, it stings much more than it normally would. A shorter trip back to home where you can find support for your choice before launching to tell family number two may be in order.
Now, say you have the bad luck of having to tell two unsupportive families. Again, telling the family who lives closer helps prepare you both for the second let down by family number two. A 3o minute drive home after the pain that might be felt is easier than a plane ride or a 3 ½ hour drive back to a place of support and sanity. Let that shorter trip encounter prepare you for the second, it will prepare you better seeing how getting back to the safety of home can’t come soon enough. Again, good news or bad news, it doesn’t matter. Tell your parents or immediate family face to face if you can. It’s much harder to look in your daughter’s eyes and tell them damaging things. When someone you love hurts we hurt too, so mom or dad may be forced to be more vulnerable and that may just inspire a little better communication. One can at least expect that they will see you as being more vulnerable and less defiant. Expect there to be crying, from someone. Be it you, your family, or even your bride-to-be if you include her in the confrontation meeting. If you do include her, you do all the talking. It’s likely after hearing your family say things that hurt you she will just say things that won’t help, let’s be honest.
Now, for telling friends…I seem to find out most often on Facebook. I find this really, really lame. My fiancé and I shared with friends first, mostly because I had already spoken to my mom about proposing to her already. My mom even surprised me with how cool she was with the idea, in fact, she even encouraged me to follow in the traditions that I grew up with. Family always comes first, and she thought it was time that I started my own.
Check back in with us next week. We will continue our sharing about how to tell your family and friends. If you have a story about telling your family that was very supportive OR a story about telling family who still could not accept you decision and you would like to share please send it for consideration to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be sharing both stories uplifting and disheartening to show the full gamut of what one can expect. We will be discussing this topic for the rest of April and will also talk about engagement parties and whether to have one or not.
Each month we will have a new topic that we will discus and share others stories about. If you have questions you would like answered or a topic you would like to see covered, please email me with suggestions. Again, this is a place for you to gather ideas, share concerns, and tell your story. Join me in sharing for those who may need a little help, courage, or just direction. The topics covered here aren’t ones that there is much information on, even out on the web.
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About The Athlesbian
Meg was born and raised in Chicago where she became an avid sports fan the moment she laid her eyes on her first ball. She has a knack for picking up any sport quickly as most four sport high school athletes would. Meghan played two sports in college and spent her post college years playing women’s pro football, capturing a national title, before having to quit due to injury. She still plays numerous sports in rec leagues around the city and boasts at a recent team tryout knocked out 51 consecutive push-ups in a minute. Always willing to try something new she just played in her first rugby match. Meghan currently works as a fire-medic and is finishing her Master’s degree from University of Chicago, and no, unfortunately, its not in sports reporting!