Aunt weighs whether 'outing' nephew is right thing to do


Published: Sunday, January 21, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 20, 2007 at 10:22 p.m.
Dear Abby: I have a 15-year-old nephew I have suspected is gay for a long time. I recently saw his profile on myspace.com because I search there often, checking on my daughter. I found that he is on there and has listed his sexual orientation as "Bi."
I am sure that his mother, my sister, is not aware of this. I think I would like to know if he were my son, but I am unsure how to handle this. I don't think his parents will take this too well. Is it my responsibility to tell her?
Distressed Aunt in Miami Dear Distressed Aunt: If your nephew were engaging in self-destructive behavior, I would say tell his parents. However, identifying one's sexual orientation doesn't fall into that category. Unless you are the self-appointed town crier of Miami, it is not your responsibility to "out" your nephew - especially since you don't think his parents will take it well.
Your sister and her husband may already suspect, but your nephew should be given the courtesy of announcing his sexual orientation when he is ready. My advice is to keep your mouth shut. When people are told something they don't want to hear, they often resent the messenger.
. . .
Dear Abby: I am very depressed. My 25-year-old daughter is soon to have her first child. Her fiance is a 21-year-old college student.
My daughter asked if she and her fiance could live with me and my son while she saved money to buy a house. I agreed, knowing there would be a grandchild arriving in three months. Now I am feeling trapped and sad at the same time.
I get along with my children, but they are very strong-willed. My son has started bringing women to the house and entertaining them in his bedroom with the door locked. His bedroom is on the same floor as all of our bedrooms.
My daughter doesn't pick up after herself and refuses to get rid of her two cats, who keep vomiting their food and hair balls. I'm having trouble tolerating this, and feel so low I go to bed quite early in the evening.
I feel guilty and helpless. We get along well, but these irritants are getting me down. I hope to be living with everyone for only two years. I really need my own space because I am turning 50 this year and need to spread my wings.
Feeling Guilty in Toronto Dear Feeling Guilty: A wise psychoanalyst years ago told me in conversation that depression is often anger turned inward. You are overdue for a frank talk with your "children" about the rules of your household. Keep in mind that you are all adults.
Everything has a price. If your daughter and her fiance want to continue living with you, she can certainly pick up after herself, and you should insist upon it. If she doesn't like it, she can make other living arrangements for herself and her fiance. Because her cats make a mess, they should be confined and she should be responsible for cleaning up after them.
As for your son, you are not running a boarding house. If his entertaining "ladies" in his locked room offends you, tell him he will have to do his entertaining elsewhere. Under no circumstances should you have to hide under your covers because of what's happening under your roof. You are not powerless. Stand up for yourself. Assert some authority, and I predict you will feel better immediately.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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