Ask Amy: While supportive, mom wonders if daughter is really gay

October 28, 2011

DEAR AMY: My 16-year-old daughter is gay. I love her and accept her for the wonderful person she is. I don’t have a problem with this -- except that I don’t believe it.

Her father and I separated when she was 13 and she was very angry at him for a long time. I think this breakup may have affected her thinking about her sexuality. She says she never thought she was gay until around that time.

Would it be damaging to her if I suggested therapy -- not to change who she is, but to discover who she is?

I don’t want her to think I don’t support her. Family support is a big issue with her and I’m afraid she would misread my intentions.

Would it harm her to let her go on without therapy and to let her solidify her sexual identity over time? -- Anxious Mom

DEAR MOM: Therapy is great -- especially if you find the right fit in a therapist. I suggest it for you.

Your daughter might also benefit from therapy, but so far (at least from your account), you are the one with questions.

I agree with you that sexual identity can be mutable. Your daughter might be gay. She might not be gay. She might identify as gay until -- she doesn’t.

Does your daughter’s sexual identity make a difference to you? Will your mothering of her change if she is gay? Your job as her mother is to be supportive, kind, open to her smarter choices, and in her corner.

Anyone wanting to work on or work out her problems will benefit from talking things through with a competent therapist.

Your daughter may have issues related to the breakup (or breakdown) of her family. You should give her the option of therapy whenever she wants to try it, and for whatever reason.

However, her sexuality is not a problem that needs to be fixed -- unless she says it is.

DEAR AMY: You answered a letter from “Distraught” stating your opposition to pornography. You stated among other things that pornography “desensitizes” people to actual physical encounters.

I, like millions of older men, view porn online, and I’m not desensitized. I’m frustrated because my wife, like millions of other wives, has let herself go and is no longer interested in sex.

Maybe Distraught needs to become more affectionate and try to wear something sexy to get her husband interested!

We know our wives are not 20, 30 or even 40 anymore, but we still love them. We’ve put on weight and don’t look the same as we did 30 or 40 years ago either, but we still want to be intimate with our wives.

I’ve been married for almost 40 years. We have not been intimate in more than15 years. I have bought my wife many sexy teddies and other lingerie, only to be told that she didn’t like wearing that kind of stuff and that these things wouldn’t fit her. I bought her plus-size teddies, but she has never worn them. She never wears anything even slightly sexy.

“Distraught” needs to look in her mirror and ask herself what she can do to get her husband back! -- Frustrated in the South

DEAR FRUSTRATED: You are very focused on teddies and lingerie. I’m not sure, but this might be pornography’s gift to your marriage.

I do know this: The idea of plus-size teddies does not thrill every plus-size woman. Maybe your wife would like to be thought beautiful, sexy and desirable in flannel.

Only one thing is certain: Sexy lingerie won’t fix this. You’re going to have to try to find another way to communicate.

DEAR AMY: “Soccer Mom” said her child’s soccer coach’s own mother was continuously disruptive and abusive from the sidelines.

You suggested that she speak with the coach, but I think this issue should be taken straight to the referee. Our refs have done a good job of limiting “sideline coaching.” -- Soccer Dad

DEAR DAD: Because this concerned the coach’s own mother, I thought it would be best to start with her. But I agree that this is a matter for the refs to handle during game time.

Write to Amy Dickinson at askamy@tribune.com or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

2011 by the Chicago Tribune

Distributed by Tribune Media Services

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