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by Abigail Van Buren

Son Accepts Gay Dad's Gifts but Not His Longtime Lover

DEAR ABBY: Eight years ago, I came out of the closet. I had been married for 18 years and had two children -- a son, 15, and a daughter, 17. At the time, I decided that for 40 years I had lived my life for everyone else, and it was time to live my life for myself.

I have had a lover for seven years. We have a loving and compassionate relationship. At the time I "came out," my family disowned me, and we have not talked since. My son, on the other hand, kept in touch. He and his fiancee have visited my lover and me several times, and we have enjoyed a good relationship over the years. During that time, my lover and I have been very generous to my son with birthday and Christmas gifts, and even bought him a new car. When he and his fiancee visited us on several occasions, we all got along well. They met our gay friends and socialized with us.

Last week, my son called to say they were sending out wedding invitations. I am welcome, but my lover is not. I explained to him that we are just as much a couple as my brother and his wife, or my sister and her husband. He told me that he did not want his friends to know he had a gay father, and therefore, my lover would not be allowed to attend.

I told him that if my lover could not attend, then I would not attend. If he cannot accept us openly, and if he's ashamed of our relationship, then I really do not want any further contact with him.

We are very hurt. For the last eight years he appeared to accept our relationship, especially when it came to gifts and several free trips for him and his fiancee to visit us.

Abby, am I wrong? I'll be interested in your comments. -- SAD IN PALM SPRINGS

DEAR SAD: You are NOT wrong. Being gay (or straight) is not a matter of choice. People who do not know this belong in the dark ages. I hate to see you break your last remaining tie with your family, but I respect your decision not to attend the wedding.