Dear Amy: I am a gay man and am having a horrible time coming out to my mother. I have an amazing boyfriend, and I love him dearly but it hurts not being able to tell her that I am gay.
She basically thinks that I am trying to "pray away the gay," which is something she applauds.
She is very religious and it scares me because we are so close, and I don't want to lose her.
I lose sleep over this because part of me thinks she knows and is in denial. I don't exactly try to hide it, but when I'm around her I take extra measures like changing the background photo on my phone to a random picture.
I don't know what to do. Please help me.
— Desperate to come out
Dear Desperate: Your mother might already realize you're gay and is making her own choice to basically ignore it. In this sense, you are both holding on to a version of you that is part fiction.
You should try to help your mother along — and you can start by not overtly lying to her.
Don't deliberately hide aspects of yourself when you are with her. Keep a photo of you and your guy on your phone's home screen, if that's what is normally there.
Introduce your amazing boyfriend to her, but use neutral terminology for now.
If your mother is so religious that she cannot accept you being gay, then you should be able to at least count on her "forgiving" you for your transgression against humanity.
I realize that being forgiven for a crime you haven't committed is several steps below authentic acceptance, but this may be the best she can do, in which case your job will be to forgive her for her frailties and failings. Ultimately, if she can't accept you, it is not her religion's responsibility — it is hers.
Dear Amy: Your advice to "Bad Son" was bad. He has one mother who raised him.
He must attend his mother (not wife) on Mother's Day. He says "I don't blame my wife for not wanting to include my mom." But why does he need her permission to do what is his responsibility?
She should be thinking about her mom. These young parents need to set a good example to the children by honoring the grandmother and then the mother. That way the children will do the same when they grow up and have their own family.
— Man fan
Dear Fan: Very sage advice. Thank you.
You can contact Amy Dickinson via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her on Twitter @askingamy or "like" her on Facebook.