Cheers Sexy People,
Three important and epic things happened since we last spoke, readers – two directly related to the poly world, one related to decreasing stigmas about “taboo” topics that typical, everyday mainstream society would prefer not to talk about:
- My husband and I attended the infertility documentary in NYC to help lessen the stigma for infertiles everywhere, and help us feel not so alone (The Cycle: Living A Taboo).“We’re struggling to define a language and a protocol by which to live through the experience… When the immediate damage dissipates, the heavy work of sifting through emotions begins… to fill the dark chasm, the void that sometimes threatens to engulf us whole… In time, with the benefit of a grieving process, a rebuilding of identity and a new understanding and strength emerges.” I partly filled this void, healed and found a new identity by embracing polyamory whole-heartedly. (pun intended)
- My husband’s girlfriend got married – and my husband, boyfriend and I came to the event together to celebrate the union… I know you are wondering as others keep asking us over and over… YES, my husband still intends to see his girlfriend and YES, her new husband (who is monogamous mainly due to time restrictions) is not only OK with it – he encourages it, supports it, loves us, and looked right at us during his speech to say “Thank you SO MUCH for being there when K needed you.” Yeah, that’s right. This shit can work! 🙂 We all support and love each other emotionally, physically, and sometimes even financially, like family… Just an extended and unusual one.
- I outed myself to two more friends who visited us at our home whom I haven’t seen since their wedding over six years ago. I wondered to myself… what if I don’t see these friends for another six years – should I bother? What if they don’t approve? What if I make their vacation here with us in the nation’s capital epicly weird for them? Then I thought: I made a commitment to myself to out myself as polyamorous to my closest friends, people that I care about, and continue do be more and more open about it as I can be in my daily life… BECAUSE I AM NOT ASHAMED. Why should I be? I am not doing anything wrong – not within my own marriage, not within my own value and belief system, and not within my heart. I am simply living a loving, open and honest life and doing the best that I can every day. Aren’t we all? Some just do it a little differently than the majority of mainstream society. So I got some liquid courage (hey, I’m human!) and told them during a long car ride (to allow time for a little Q & A) in front of my husband, my boyfriend, and my good friend who is the one who first told me about that book everyone keeps talking about: Ethical Slut. Overall, it went very well. Once again, they had never heard of the word polyamory, but were very familiar with “swinging.” I carefully explained the difference, and fielded all of the questions. And then we went about the rest of their stay with us enjoying each other’s company in a very normal way. I even cuddled with my beau in front of them when my hubbie was away one night on a business trip. They seemed perfectly fine and did not run out of my house screaming CRAZY POLYAMORIST OVER HERE – BRING THE COPS! 🙂 I was proud of myself and of them too, actually.
Pretty. Epic. Stuff.
I am proud and happy to say that all three were overall enjoyable experiences.
The past week made me think of some of the points in an article I “re-blogged” yesterday: The Poly Closet: It’s Not Just About You.
On the decision to come out:
When you choose the closet, for sound reasons or not, you become part of the problem that leads more people like you to be closeted… Also, when you choose the closet, you’re depriving people who are ignorant of (or biased against) nontraditional relationships of the opportunity to learn, empathize, adapt, and grow. Many of them really want to do just that, if you give them a chance… I expect my lovers will not suddenly demote me, through words or actions, to “just a friend” if we’re out somewhere on a date and happen to encounter someone they know from another context. … I’m not ashamed of myself or my lovers — and anyone who wants to share friendship, affection, intimacy, and sex with me had better not act ashamed of me either… It’s really hard to reconcile having an approach to relationships so strongly rooted in honesty, authenticity and communication — and then trying to conceal exactly that… People who don’t match social norms often stay closeted because they feel ashamed, vulnerable and powerless. Yet one of the most powerful and effective steps they can take to make life better for themselves and for people like them is to choose to be out. Or at least to be as out as possible.
On my husband, boyfriend and I all attending a wedding together as a “V” (meaning I am the hinge between my emotional and physical relationship with these two men – just as my husband is in a “V” with his girlfriend as the hinge between she and I. My husband and beau are close friends only, just as I am close friends with hubby’s girlfriend):
Off-the-escalator relationships lack social privilege. Part of how privilege of any kind works is that it shapes people’s default assumptions about what kind of people or relationships are “normal” — which means they don’t need to be explained or discussed… Dodging the closet talk lets you pretend that social privilege doesn’t exist; that everything about your relationships is strictly personal. It lets some people pretend they aren’t advantaged; or that others don’t have as much to lose. It lets some people pretend that they aren’t disadvantaged, and therefore don’t need to do more work to protect their own interests… When more people from marginalized groups become more visible, they become less marginal. It gets harder to dismiss them as “those weirdos over there.” They’re your friends, colleagues, neighbors, and family members. They’re full people — enriched but not defined by any single trait or category. And they deserve as much respect and consideration as anyone. The more people are out, the less room shame and stigma have to steer anyone’s choices.
Amen, sistah! If you are going to have a significant relationship with someone in a truly “polyamorous” way as part of your life, then the people close to you and around you might need to be informed of this to be true to that person with whom you are hoping to have a significant relationship with, as well as doing your best to be true to yourself! Important personal relationships are at stake – the one with yourself, the one with your loved ones / partners, and the ones with your friends and family as well.
Aggie Sez from Solo Poly had this to add:
(in response to one of my earlier “coming out” posts. Thank you, by the way!)
A few more points to consider:
- When deciding how out you want to be or can be, you should include your other partners (besides your “official” socially recognized partner) in that discussion, and take their feelings and needs into account. Often, non-primary partners are asked or expected to be complicit in concealing their own relationships — which can really suck and feel disrespectful, especially if those relationships have become very important in your life. Or they may have their own needs or preference to remain closeted.
- Consider clearly why you are in the closet: what you want to keep (i.e., social status, peace in your family of origin, child custody or a job, etc.) and what you fear (losing relationships with friends or family, facing social stigma and unwanted questions, ostracism, etc.) When you consider these goals clearly, often there are multiple ways to achieve them that don’t involve staying closeted.
- Consider clearly what you will gain by being out. Not just no longer having to self-edit, lie, conceal people and relationships you value, live in fear of discovery, etc… But also, consider that by being out, you’re making the world a friendlier place for all poly people. That is, you’re making it less likely that people like you will have to hide who they are in the future, because you’re becoming part of the new normal.
- You don’t really control the information. Whenever anyone knows something about you (whether you’ve told them, or they see something, or hear a rumor, etc.), you are no longer in control of the information about yourself and your relationships. If you do choose to stay closeted in any contexts, think through a contingency plan for how to deal with being outed in a time and manner not of your choosing. That requires as careful consideration as you put into how to out yourselves.
Well said and all great points to remember. One of my readers, JC, has this to say:
It is a weight off the chest. Within myself over time, I found keeping some secrets began to feel like dishonesty from within. There is a need within us to find Peace and Joy thru Loving ourselves, and how can one begin to do so by holding back from others things like this. Now I move forward in my life, and I found my joy can be infectious – much as a smile to someone brings back a smile.
What a nice thought. Feel free to share yours. Opening minds, opening hearts and for some people who maybe live next door to you (who knows!)… opening relationships… What a great week it has been. Sending good thoughts to my friend and metamour (meaning my husband’s girlfriend) and the next chapter of her life. Congrats, guys! Love rocks!
P.S. Happy (Justice of the Peace) Anniversary to my husband today! Seven years ago today, we got legally married, in an office cinder block room so that several days later, we could get married by my Internet-ordained friend (which NC doesn’t recognize) in front of our friends and family. Whoot whoot!
Wishing you peace, love and happiness,
(and thrilling, fun sex too!)