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Dear Gay Uncle: He’s got a problem child

Q Dear Gay Uncle,

I’ve been dating a fantastic guy, he’s middle aged, but fit and trim, loves hiking and very outdoorsy, but is also equally happy in a city cocktail bar. We started hooking up three years ago, he’d been married to a woman and was going through a divorce. We enjoyed spending time together, so the hook ups became going out to drinks, the theatre and meals out. We officially started dating last summer.

His divorce has come through, he’s good friends with his wife and she knows about his sexuality, and we’ve even been going out as a foursome with her new fiancé. Everything was going really well, until he told his 12 year old son about his sexuality. His son handled the divorce really well, they kept everything amicable, and his son was very well adjusted. But the son hates his Mum’s future husband, for no apparent reason other than he asked him to move his bike from the driveway, and now he’s kicking back at his Dad because he’s gay.

I wasn’t allowed near the house when his son was staying over, as they didn’t want to upset him until he was mature enough to be told. Now that he’s been told, I have to distance myself further. I’ve met the son a couple of times, but this was years ago, and just as his Dad’s friend. His son now knows I am his Dad’s boyfriend and is causing an uproar.

His son has now moved in full time my with partner, after a major bust up with his mother and her boyfriend. His Mum is devastated and wants her son home with her, and my partner is upset as he can’t spend time with me while his son is around.

We now grab moments here and there. I feel his pain and he’s offered to let me seek a relationship elsewhere, but this isn’t what I want, and he doesn’t either. Is there anything I can do to help this matter?

Janson A.


A Janson,

Blended families can produce challenges. The one thing you can do is be there for your partner. You’ve invested a few years in your relationship and been patient with his personal circumstances. This is another time to be patient and let your partner and his ex-wife sort things out.

Children do lash out and say things they don’t really mean. His son has lashed out at his mother about her partner and has now has turned his anger toward your relationship with his father. He’s angry; we all go through this in childhood to varying degrees.

Family therapy should help here. This would be between your boyfriend and his ex-wife and their son, and over time her new partner and you would be introduced into the mix. Having someone independent to act as a bridge between them can open up communication and help balance things out.

It’s clear in your letter that your boyfriend is feeling the kickback to all this emotion, and he is conscious of how you are feeling in this. You sound like someone who’s good at handling a difficult situation. Keep up the support and review the situation as the year goes on. However, be prepared for some more tough times.

It does seem as though your boyfriend and his ex-wife have some challenges to address. Hopefully it won’t last until the son is 18 and off to college!


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photo credit: Kevin Spencer, cc.

JONATHAN WELFORD heads up, a relationship and dating coaching practice.  Writer and author, sometimes TV presenter, Jonathan is a trained Life Coach specializing in dating & relationships. He lives with his Scottish husband in Manchester, UK.

Follow Jonathan on FacebookTwitter, Instagram, and on his website GayAgonyUncle.



  1. Larry Clement /

    I disagree. Certainly if it had been a straight relationship and the son began acting up, you wouldn’t expect the couple to have to wait until the son finally came around to accepting.

    A good sit-down with the son with straight-out asking him, “What’s your problem?” might go a long ways to finding out exactly what’s behind the hostility.

    I,like so many children, had to deal with divorce and then stand by as both my parents remarried and I wasn’t asked if it was okay, because it was not up to me. Divorced parents have a right to go on with their lives, despite their children’s disdain for it.

    As long as the boy is not going through any abuse, or asked to change his own life dramatically, then he simply has got to see the relationship for how it is and learn to accept it. This couple should not have to wait years for this boy to come around, if ever, or until he is grown and out of the house.

    Of course, family therapy might help but it should not be seen as the panacea to fixing what is not broken. Some outings with all three might help the boy to get to know his father’s new love and for him to come to realize that the guy is not so bad after all. If that doesn’t work, then of course let him know he is loved, but this relationship between the two men are going to continue, though he likes it or not.

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