WAY OUT PARENTING: How to Recognize Straight Parents with Gay Relationship Envy

It’s hard for gay parents to imagine that straight parents could possibly envy them. And yet, strangely enough, they sometimes do. At some point during your many encounters in the Mostly Straight World, you’ll be with a straight couple—having dinner, drinking a glass of wine while your collective children play or fight in the next room—and one or both of the parents will let down their guard and utter comments like this:


You two seem so in sync with each other. What’s that like?


It must be so nice to share the childcare equally.


I need a wife, too. God, everyone should have a wife.


We don’t even like the same foods.


She wants to have a conversation. I want to watch the playoffs. I bet that doesn’t happen to you.


I’m always the one who has to do the night feedings.


Why doesn’t she get out and get a job like both of you.


I bet you two have deep conversations. We never talk.


She wants to dissect every little thing. I bet two guys don’t do that.


I’m so sick of seeing chick flicks. Gay guys get to watch sports all the time.


You can wear each others clothes and have twice the wardrobe.



When you hear comments like these, you are experiencing the surprisingly prevalent concept of gay relationship envy. Believe it or not, some straight couples actually wish they had what you have—or what they think you have. You may be tempted to point out that you don’t like the same foods either, and it would never occur to you to share your clothes just because you could, and you’ve never been a fan of any sport. But this really isn’t about you. Don’t go into your complex relationship roles. Just smile and change the subject quickly, before the deep unspoken core of their envy bubbles to the surface and you hear information you would rather not know:


I bet it’s nice sometimes not to have a penis in bed with you.


She holds it like it’s a bird that going to break.


He wants it all the time. I could be dead asleep. I could have the flu. We could be shopping in Walmart. It doesn’t matter. Why does it work all the time for them? Why are they always ready?


She never wants it.



Comments like these are your cue to look at your watch and say, “Oh my God, it’s so late.” Get out fast.

© 2008 by Carrie Smith. All rights reserved.

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