So you have decided to pursue non-monogamy or polyamory and are having some success. You might even be experiencing that wonderful moment when you are falling in love, as your other romantic partner supports and cheers you on. So, if you are anything like me, sharing your new happiness with those you are closest to, or even the whole world, can be very tempting.
My partner and I learned important lessons about communication, specifically regarding our desire for other people, early on in our relationship. But we never thought it would lead us to opening our marriage. We never even considered it an option. But then I fell in love with a woman, and everything changed. Shortly thereafter I sat them both down and proposed what seemed like a crazy notion at that time…what if we were all together? A Triad. They agreed and it was like my world cracked wide open. I finally understood my bisexuality and polyamorous nature, and suddenly my whole life made so much more sense. We all felt a shared excitement and desire to live openly without shame. My married partner and I decided to share the good news with our parents, assuming they would be thrilled for us all… they weren’t. Instead of hearing “we support you and love you no matter what”, we were met with fear, probing questions, concern for our child’s well being, and outright disownment for a period of time. We were shocked and devastated.
Since those early days, things have settled down, but it has never quite been the same. I am grateful beyond measure that my parents and siblings quickly adjusted to the idea, and have embraced my structure, including loving every partner I have had since I came out to them. But other relationships remain fractured, with little hope that they will ever return to their former glory.
Wanting to share your joy with the ones you love is the most natural thing in the world. But when it comes to alternative lifestyles, breaking from the norm can be threatening to people, even to those who love you most. In my case, there were risks of being unaccepted, that I just didn’t see. I never considered how my choices might effect or trigger those around me. Now let me be clear on this, other people’s discomfort with your truth is not your responsibility. Ever. That being said, those unexpected responses can be deeply damaging to your new and exciting Poly ecosystem. Before you begin sharing your news, consider asking yourself a few questions first.
Who do I want to tell?
What do I want to share?
When do I want to share it?
Where is the best place to have the conversation?
Why is coming out important to me?
How public do I want my private life to be?
Taking these questions into consideration might have saved us all years of heartache and disappointment. We have made it through to the other side, but trust us, it was a hard road, and given the chance, we would do it differently.
I hope for each and every one of us respect, acceptance, and joy in our pursuit of love. But remember, not everyone is where you are at. The more deliberate and thoughtful you are when sharing your news, the better off you’ll be. When you care for others, you are also building a foundation of care for yourself.
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