Dear Amy: I am 44, and my daughter is 23.
She is gay, and I have treated her and her partner the same way I treat my son and daughter-in-law. Everyone acknowledges this. I respect their commitment to each other and am joyful that they are very happy.
However, I cannot accept the fact that she just got “married.” She has now told me that she needs to terminate her relationship with me because I will not accept her marriage.
She is aware of my position on gay marriage. The suggestion to agree to disagree is not an option. What say you?
Dear Wondering: Many parents would be delighted for their kids to choose marriage. A wise parent knows that forcing offspring to choose between them and a romantic relationship often results in the younger person choosing the latter. Your daughter knew the risks she was running with you when she and her partner chose to marry. She did it. You may assume that she is as stubborn as you are.
Because you rule out the option of “agreeing to disagree,” you really left your daughter no option but to terminate the relationship. I can only urge you to try harder to find a way to reconcile.
What I don’t understand is how you can simultaneously “respect their commitment” and be “joyful that they are very happy” while also maintaining an abstract and apparently compartmentalized “position on gay marriage.” I know many people DO hold their family and loved ones to a different standard than they do the rest of the world. And others (as in this case), allow an arbitrary rule to cause pain and even estrangement in a relationship that is otherwise (apparently) respectful, joyful, and loving. What I don’t understand is why–or how they justify it.
If this person’s stance on this issue is of paramount importance to her (a religious conviction, etc.), she can’t claim to be against the marriage but supportive, respectful, and joyful about the relationship. If it’s not, I don’t see why she’s clinging to a position that is hurtful to the daughter (and others), damaging to their family, and not actually benefiting her in any way.
When your life reveals that a rule no longer makes sense, you drop the rule, not your life.