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home : columns : dear harriette April 14, 2021

12/19/2020 1:34:00 PM
Reader worried about Gay ex's impact on child

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.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am not very good at doing my own hair. I have to travel for work a lot, which leaves me minimal time to make and get to a hair appointment. I have hired a hair stylist to come to my home and to travel with me sometimes. She is great. Most styles normally take two to four hours.

Lately, her time doing my hair has increased significantly. When she arrives, she takes an hour to settle in and set up; she used to get started right away. She spends a lot of time making calls on her cellphone, and she stops doing my hair for these calls. This means everything takes longer. She seems to be having family problems, including a lot of arguing, so I feel uncomfortable telling her to stay off her phone, but I can't keep having these extra-long appointments when she gets distracted. What should I do? -- Hang Up

DEAR HANG UP: Talk to your hairdresser. Check in with her about what's happening. Tell her that you have noticed that she has a lot going on, and you want to support her, but you need her to be more focused on her work with you. Clearly state the amount of time you can devote to working with her and ask her to refresh her schedule. If she needs time off to deal with personal issues, ask if she can recommend a temporary replacement.

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