Dear Coleen: 'My parents can’t accept me living with a boyfriend'

-Credit: (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Dear Coleen

I’m a 23-year-old guy and have always been fluid when it comes to my sexuality.

I’ve dated girls and boys, and my last serious relationship was with a trans girl I knew from school.

My parents and my siblings are as straight as they come but, to be fair, my mum and dad have never interfered in my ­friendships and relationships. They also did me a massive favour by moving me to a progressive school when I was eight because I’d been getting bullied by my classmates, and they realised I’d be happier in a less traditional environment.

Now, however, I’ve met a slightly older guy I’m really in love with and I told my parents we were moving in together.

I was blown away by their reaction because it wasn’t what I expected.

My dad’s opinion was: “You’ve had fun, you’ve enjoyed experimenting, isn’t it time to get serious and think about meeting a woman to have a relationship with?”

They’ve obviously been hoping all along that I’ll end up conforming to their ideas of what a relationship looks like. They just don’t get it.

I don’t live at home, so I’m avoiding them, as I can’t face arguing and having to explain myself – again. How can I get through to them that I’m not going to change who I am?

Coleen says

I hear you! You feel your parents haven’t really opened their eyes to who you are and haven’t taken you seriously, which is very upsetting and frustrating.

It sounds like a combination of ignorance, fear and denial, and probably the expectations and attitudes they’ve grown up with themselves.

Look, you’ve never tried to hide who you are and all you can do is stick to your guns and be clear that you can’t change for them or for anyone else.

I know it’s difficult because, naturally, we all want our parents to approve of us and be supportive but, if they’re not, it shouldn’t make you feel ashamed or under pressure to be anything other than you are. You can’t live a lie, pretending you’re moving in with a woman to keep them happy.

I think a way forward would be for you all to be open to having an honest conversation and to keep the dialogue going. Honesty and openness should be at the heart of this.

There’s a good organisation called FFLAG, which supports families and their LGBT+ loved ones. You’ll find lots of great info at

As difficult as this situation is, I hope once you move in with your boyfriend your parents will start to realise this relationship makes you feel happy, secure and loved. As a parent, that’s what you want for your kids. Don’t let it stop you living positively and leaning on other people in your life.

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