DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband and I were married for only a few years before he finally told me the truth: He is gay. We divorced quickly, as he already had a boyfriend. They moved in together and started a life.
My ex and I share custody of our son, who is just starting school. This situation is all new to me, and I am worried about my son being with his father and his boyfriend. I don’t want my son thinking that he is supposed to like men like his dad. I don’t want to be insensitive, but it is a real concern of mine. I will love my son no matter what, but I just don’t want his young mind to be confused. Any pointers on how to explain to my son that all people are different? -- Explaining Love
DEAR EXPLAINING LOVE: Good question. Love comes in many forms, and you can talk to your son about that. You can describe the love between friends and family members. Describe how treating people kindly and respectfully is a demonstration of love. Tell him that some people who love each other choose to spend their lives together as a couple. While your son is young, that may be enough. He sees that your ex and his partner love each other. You can point out other couples who love each other. Do not cast judgment on anyone. Instead, talk about the power of love to bring joy and healing to people’s lives.
But truly, for a young child, it’s enough to talk about love and respect without describing romance. When your son starts asking questions, you will get a sense of what he wants to know more about. You and your ex should talk about how you discuss being welcoming of his union. Children learn by what they see. Your son, hopefully, will witness loving relationships. When it is his turn to explore romance, love should be what inspires him -- and his orientation will not be something he learned from his father.