Sometimes parents just a need a little advice on how to best proceed when they find themselves in a new situation.
Like realizing your son and his "friend" are actually dating while they shelter in place with you.
Reddit user throwralovemygayson has a big heart and an interesting problem. He's caught on to the fact that his son is actually dating the friend who's staying with them during social distancing.
He wants his son to know he's completely supportive and approves of the relationship, but also doesn't want to overstep his bounds! For advice on the best course of action, he consulted the popular subReddit r/RelationshipAdvice.
He titled his story "My son and his 'friend' are a couple. How do I let them know it's okay?"
"Hello Reddit. Please bear with me regarding my formatting and things. I have read the rules and things, but I'm an old fart who is rather on the wrong side of 40 so I'm not overly well versed in the art of efficient internetting."
"My boy is 20 years old. He's absolutely my pride and joy, and there is nothing he could do that would ever make me love him less. For the first half of his life, I regrettably wasn't involved very much. His mother and I parted ways when he was just a few months old and at the time I was struggling with a heroin addiction and was absolutely not as present in his life as I should have been, nor was I suited to fatherhood at all."
"I saw him, at most, two to three times a year for the first 12 years of his life. I won't discuss details because that's his private story to tell, but when he was 12 he revealed to me that he was being badly mistreated at the hands of his mother and her boyfriend. Despite not being the best father at the time, I didn't want my boy suffering any more so I got myself cleaned up and sorted out in order to get full custody of him."
This father got his life together to raise his son.
"I've effectively been a single (and sober!) father ever since and he has little to no contact with his mother. He's everything a man could want his son to be; he's uniquely kind and fiercely loyal, he's unflinchingly brave, he's incredibly generous and, despite the horrors he suffered as a child, he's unfailingly positive and sunny to the last."
"Somehow I of all people was bestowed with the honour of watching him grow from a sweet young boy to the greatest man I have ever known. I cannot stress enough my pride in him."
"When he was 18, he got accepted into a top ranking university on the other side of the country. I was sad to see him go, but simultaneously overjoyed that he got into his first choice and was starting a new chapter in his life. He comes home once every other month, and on the month's he doesn't come home, I go to visit him."
Of course, the Original Poster (OP) has suspected his son is gay for years.
"He's doing well in uni, has made lots of friends and seems incredibly happy there, which I'm obviously chuffed about. Since his second year, he's lived with his "friend" in a flat off-campus. I've strongly suspected since his early teens that my son is gay, and I now more or less have confirmation that this is true and that his 'friend' is actually his boyfriend."
"So, for this [virus] faff, my son decided he'd rather come home and quarantine at mine than stay at his uni flat. His "friend", however, would be left alone if my son came back as he's a Candian and his family are back over there, and I gather he doesn't have the best relationship with them anyway. He asked if it would be okay if 'friend' tagged along to my house and I said of course, no problem."
"They've been back at mine for about six weeks now. They think they're being subtle I know, but I've caught them doing coupley things on several occasions now. The 'friend' has slipped up a couple of times and called my son 'babe' and 'sweetie' in front of me, which I pretended not to notice for the sake of saving embarrassment. There have been nights where we'll be watching a film with the lights off and, thinking I can't see, my son will have his arm around the 'friend'."
Before long, the signs were impossible to miss.
"One day I walked into the lounge and I'm positive they'd just been kissing and were trying to cover it, though I admit I have no confirmation on that one. The most solid evidence, however, came a few mornings ago. I get up very early to go for runs in the morning (hence why I'm making a reddit post at five in the morning haha). As far as I was told, my son was sleeping in his childhood room and his 'friend' was in the guest room."
"I don't know what possessed me to do so, but on Tuesday morning I cracked my son's door open to check on him like I used to when he was a kid. Lo and behold, they're both asleep, snuggled up together, in my son's bed. That's more or less solidified for me that they're together. I didn't say anything, just shut the door and went for my run, and I haven't mentioned it to them yet."
OP's question is, obviously, how to tell his son that everything is ok.
"What I want advice on is this; how do I let my son and his boyfriend know that I'm okay with them being a couple and they don't have to feel like they have to sneak around in my house? I want them to be comfortable here and I want them to know I support them both no matter what. Or is that not a good idea?"
"Am I better off leaving it alone and waiting until they tell me themselves, if they ever do? I obviously don't want to force either of them out of the closet, but at the same time I hate feeling as if they feel like they're being forced into the closet in my house. What's my best course of action here??"
"TL:DR - my son and his 'friend' are staying with me for quarantine. It's abundantly clear they're a couple, and I want to let them know it's okay and they don't have to sneak around in my house. What's the best way to go about it?"
Reddit couldn't contain their admiration of the Original Poster (OP).
"You're an awesome dad. I'm so glad you were able to clean up your life and become such an amazing father to your son. I hope he knows and sees that too. I'm a lesbian and I can totally relate to what your son is doing and feeling. I like the above advice in just referring to your son's 'friend' as his boyfriend. It's casual and your tone will be the telltale sign in all of it."
"You could also write a letter addressed to him if you wish. I think that would be really sweet and I would keep it forever if I were him. Thanks for being one of the good ones." -throwawayfeelings
Many advised OP that as long as he was supporting his son's choices, he couldn't go wrong.
"First congrats on cleaning your life up and being there for your son, keep being strong. Most of the comments here are great and I think any of them would be fine. Just reassure your son its ok and that you'll love him no matter his sexuality."
"My friends dad left his son a sticky note for him to find that just said he loves him and approves of his boyfriend because hes such a gentleman lol. I think reassurance is best, but i love everyone else's comments." -Known-Citron
Just knowing his boyfriend is welcomed as such will make a difference to OP's son.
"If you like his boyfriend (it sounds like you do!) then I'd say something like, 'I hope you know that boyfriend's name is always welcome in our family. It's clear he really cares about you, and having people like that in our lives is so important.' If you're feeling up to it add, 'I just want you to know that you two are more than welcome to share a bedroom here if you prefer.'" -iamspamanda
Others had been in similar situations.
"My mom sent me a text that said, 'You never have to admit anything to me that you're not comfortable with. But if Jasmine was ever more than a friend, I'd want to make sure she knew she was loved here too'." -MommaBearJam
Perhaps simpler is better.
"I have so many things to say about this post. First my God you are an amazing human and father to get your life together and get your kid out of a terrible situation!!! You are awesome."
"You are also awesome to accept your kid for who he is. Sadly that still doesn't happen and your willingness is fantastic.
As to answer your question, maybe just quietly let your son know they don't need to hide their relationship. I wouldn't make a big deal of it." -cats4evr
Many thought leaving the son a note would also make a big difference.
"A simple way would be a little note. I like the text idea, but I'm a sentimental person and if my dad had left me a note saying how proud he is of me, and how welcome and wonderful my partner is, I think I'd probably cry (happily) and keep it forever." -zephdreams
It seems this father is on the right track no matter what course he decides to take while talking with his son. No matter how you express it, showing acceptance and love is always the best way to parent.