My boyfriend is having a lot of issues at home. He recently came out to his parents as I did mine, where mine were very supportive, his mother told him it was a passing fad and he was looking for attention and that he was going to get hurt because he would be a secret, which he is not, and I would leave him broken hearted when I leave for college. This is neither true nor going to be the case. Recently his mother has been screwing with him saying he can’t go to one of our school’s campuses then saying he can then changing her mind. She has also been treating to kick him out and make him live with his crazy religious grandparent in order to “fix” him. I can’t stand these crying phone calls anymore when I am not there to hold him. Please help me!!! How do I get his family to see how much they hurt him? I feel so inadequate not being able to whisk him away to stay with me, but us both being in college, we both don’t have the means to support a life together right now, so he must stay at home, but his home life is so terrible and tonight he called me crying saying he has had thoughts of suicide again, but won’t do it because of me. Please help, we are both in dire need of assistance.
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Your boyfriend is incredibly lucky to have you, and you clearly make an enormous positive impact on his life. But you’re right—you two need help.
First things first: tell him that if he ever feels he’s going to act on his thoughts of suicide, he should call 911 or get to the nearest hospital emergency room in order to be safe. He also needs to find supportive people to reach out to and share these thoughts of suicide with. Simply having the opportunity to discuss them with a caring, understanding adult could really help. Does he have an older sibling sibling, relative, doctor, teacher, therapist, or school counselor he could talk to? Do you know someone he could talk to? Could he talk to your parents? It sounds like you’re a huge help to him, but he needs all the allies he can get when facing so much opposition at home. He can also call the Trevor Lifeline 24/7 at 1-866-4-U-TREVOR (1-866-488-7386) and talk with a Trevor lifeline counselor about what he’s feeling and experiencing. The counselors are experts in these situations; some of them have lived through it themselves. He can also write us here at Ask Trevor, or IM with a counselor on Trevor Chat.
Don’t beat yourself up for not being able to fix this on your own—you’re doing a great job of supporting him during an incredibly difficult situation where so much is beyond your control. You are the opposite of inadequate—you are going far above and beyond what could be expected of someone your age. His mother is the one who is inadequate—it sounds like she is seriously failing her son.
How can you get his family to see how much they hurt him? It’s unclear from your letter what kind of relationship you have with them. Perhaps you could try talking to them yourself? Or maybe you could ask your parents to talk to them? Be warned, though, that it is very difficult to talk to people about the way they’re treating their own children. It may be that there’s no convincing them—at least for now. We all hope that our parents will be as supportive as yours, but unfortunately some people (especially in the older generations) don’t just understand how natural and harmless homosexuality is. The fact that his mom thinks he needs to be “fixed” demonstrates a dangerous level of ignorance. The odds of changing his parents’ minds in the short term are probably low; meanwhile, he needs a plan. Specific advice is hard to give without knowing more logistical details, but he should try to move out if his home environment is putting his life in danger. Could he possibly get a job to help support himself? Maybe he could find a part time-job through his school.
You guys are going though a really hard time right now. Stay strong—there’s so much waiting for you on the other end of all this. There’s a whole world of people out there you just haven’t met yet who are ready to know and love you for who you are.
Also, don’t underestimate how much of an impact all this stress in your boyfriend’s life may be having on you. Just because your parents were supportive when you came out doesn’t mean you don’t have the right to feel down. Feel free to make use of any of the resources listed above on your own behalf, in addition to your boyfriend’s. Good luck!