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Unread 04-22-2011, 11:49 PM   #1 (permalink)
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HoH girl/Deaf boy

Hi! I'm a HoH 16 yr-old (35-45% loss). I have hearing aids and I'm almost finished with ASL 1 at my high school. I have been in normal classes all my life, but I have a 504 plan with priority seating so I can understand the teacher. I LOVE ASL and I've been going to the Silent Dinners in my town since I started learning. I even plan on applying to Gallaudet for college.
That being said, at the last silent dinner I met a Deaf guy who recently graduated from my high school (he's 19 now). We instantly clicked and despite a few language barriers we kept talking the nearly two hours I was there. We started chatting on Facebook and texting and occasionally video chatting, but we never get to hang out because my mom is really strict about the age thing.
And I think I really like him.
I want to ask my mom to just meet him, but she just doesn't really understand Deafness. We talked about it and she said something along the lines of "I'm sure you appeal more to him because you're cute and younger and hearing..." She also says that I'm "hearing impaired" no matter how many times I correct her.
I'm just hesitant to keep going with this guy because I don't know a ton about Deaf culture, and because my mom is so weird about it.
Help?
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Unread 04-23-2011, 12:12 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Moms can be like that! I was not allowed to single date until I was 16. It didn't come up, but I'm sure my mom would not have allowed me to date anyone who had already graduated from h.s. (although my first date was in fact with a senior of 18 when I was 16. Kissed him, too. Whooo-woooo!!)

Anyway - in your mom's eyes, this fellow is almost an adult, while you are still "her little girl." She's probably nervous about the age difference especially if this fellow is out on his own, as compared to h.s. boys still living with their parents. She doesn't want her little girl going to an adult man's apartment, for good reason.

How does this compare to any other boyfriends you have had? Have you dated anyone before this guy? Has your mom met any of the boys you have dated, if there has been anyone?

I think you are following the right impulse to have your mom meet him. It's never a good idea to sneak around behind your parent's back. If you can maturely explain to your mom what you like about this fellow, what interests you have in common (besides hearing loss), what you like about his character, then maybe she will be open to meeting him.

Is there a school dance or anything like that that you could invite him to? Maybe your mom would not worry so much if you were going to an activity like that where there would be chaperones around, and you would not be out alone with him.

Moms worry. That's what they're for. ;-)
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Unread 04-23-2011, 12:23 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I have in fact dated someone nearly his age. My previous boyfriend was a senior and 18 when we started dating-- and we dated for 9 months. My mom loved him and was fine with me dating someone that much older than me. I'm actually less hesitant about having him meet her for the age reason than because she knows so little about Deaf culture and isn't really willing to learn. I don't even think she knew there was such thing as Deaf culture before I told her when I started taking my class and wanted to go to a silent dinner.
I have no intentions of sneaking around behind her back, but I'd like to hang out with this guy more so I can really tell if I like him as a friend or a boyfriend, if that makes sense.
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Unread 04-23-2011, 12:25 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Plus, thus guy still lives with his family, goes to college in town, and doesn't act 19.
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Unread 04-23-2011, 12:33 AM   #5 (permalink)
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In what ways does he not act 19?

So if I'm reading this right, you haven't actually yet asked your mom to meet him? You're nervous about that, more so than your mom actually saying she won't or does not want to meet him?

You are growing up and soon will be making your own decisions about who you want to spend time with.

Your last sentence about wanting to spend time with him so you can tell if you like him more as a friend or as a boyfriend totally makes sense to me. Can you imagine just telling your mom exactly that, just about word for word what you wrote?
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Unread 04-23-2011, 12:37 AM   #6 (permalink)
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He's witty, easy to hang out with, and our minds seem to be on the same level. However, I've never really acted my age, so that could be it...
To your other questions: yeah, that sounds just about right.
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Unread 04-23-2011, 12:51 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Well, that's where I'd start, with just telling your Mom exactly what you wrote, that you have no intention of sneaking around behind your back, you'd like to spend time with him to see if you like him as a friend or a boyfriend, and that you would like your Mom to meet him - so she can see for herself what you like about him, you could add.

Good luck with it. If you and your mom have always had a good relationship, you will be able to navigate through this bump in the road.
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Unread 04-23-2011, 01:15 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Many hearing parents are very unaware of Deaf Culture etc ... it's a fairly common situation that Hoh/Deaf have to navigate with our families and it takes time and patience on all sides.

I'd suggest that you initially look at forming a solid friendship with this guy - work on that and learning more about each other, while you learn more about Deaf Culture (and find ways to gently pass info on Deaf culture to your family.)

For what is hopefully fairly obvious legal reasons (it's illegal in North America for a minor to engage in sexual relations with someone over 18), it's not an advisable thing to get too involved romantically too quickly with this guy - regardless if he's hearing, Hoh, Deaf, green, blue, yellow etc. You can use this time to become close and connected as well as to help your mum become more comfortable with the situation.

Only time will be able to tell if the two of you will work out ... and only patience and understanding will help your mother explain the idea of Deaf Culture (and Deafness as NOT being a "disability" but a cultural identity) etc.

I'd suggest asking your ASL teacher to suggest some ways you might be able to help your mum understand - including if there might be any classes/courses you could take together that might explain to you both more about what Deafness, ASL and Deaf Culture "is" and "means". You could also contact your local disability services, Hoh/D services/resource organization in your area as they might have some additional ideas to help your family become more (Capital "D") "Deaf Aware"


Hope that helps.
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Unread 04-23-2011, 08:56 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I try to help my mom understand, but she either rolls her eyes and walks away or smiles and continues with what she was saying.
I have no intentions of, as you said, engaging in sexual relations with him. We are both Christian and active in our respective churches. Regardless, I think in my state there's a "four year law" if the younger is over 16, it's okay as long as the older is within four years of the younger's age. I'm not sure on that, but it doesn't matter in this instance.
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