NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Q: Noah, my dad constantly bugs me about my dating life. I'm in my mid-20s and this gets annoying. The fact is I'm gay and I suspect he has figured this out.
I really need to come out to him. We have a very loving relationship, but I am still nervous about what his reaction might be. I have asked some trusted friends for advice and would love to hear what you have to say as well.
: Thanks for trusting my opinion . . .
Love and sexuality are highly charged and intense subjects to bring up with parents.
You suspect your father knows of your sexual preference. Perhaps your dad's consistent need to question you is an invitation for you to "come out" to him.
Regardless, it is very difficult to predict how a parent will react when their child announces their sexuality identity.
Do not imagine or assign a particular outcome to this discussion. You should allow for misinterpretation, or even your father's hurt feelings at not being included sooner. It's obvious that he loves you and is trying to negotiate this delicate territory with you. Unfortunately, though you may want his questions to lessen, they might for a period actually increase.
Once you confirm or announce this information to him, your dad will need time to really process what he's hearing. This should not be discouraging.
You're playing the role of teacher here, educating him on your identity and shaping the way you will discuss your love relationships in the future.
It would be best to have this discussion on your schedule and when you feel ready. You may want to invite him to dinner at your place or cook for him at his. Make sure you're in a private setting when you do have "the talk."
Lastly, be careful not to reveal that you are gay by way of an argument or in passing. This conversation deserves some actual sit-down time.
From a practical perspective: Tell your dad you love him and that is why he deserves to know this about you.
State your ample evidence that you are in fact gay based on your own feelings and through actual experiences you've had (if you're comfortable). Grant your father the freedom to express his own emotions surrounding your sexual identity.
You are going to do great. I look forward to hearing how it went.
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Have a profitable and peaceful week,