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OkNewbs 03-19-2012 01:14 AM

How to...?
 
Hi there.
We're new to the scene, haven't actually ventured into it IRL, but are on the lookout for an opportunity.

Here's your warning: I'm insane. Lol. I'm a worrier & an over-thinker & extremely high-strung sometimes. Be gentle! :o

I (Steph) am, I think, naturally poly. I crush a lot, and even fall for people while totally committed & in love with current partner. I am now married to a wonderful man (Pat). I have never cheated, because I fear losing the one I'm with.
Not to air dirty laundry, but we had a bit of an issue with him falling for someone else a little bit, before either of us had ever imagined Poly was a real thing. In trying to heal that wound to our then-new marriage, we came across the idea of an open marriage. With a few tweaks, P & I have decided to try an actively poly lifestyle.

But it feels very complicated. We've laid ground rules & have decided on the baby steps to take in testing the water.

We believe in "the sanctity of marriage" & that our bond is the MOST important; bf/gf scenarios can be transient or long-term but we are committed to each other for life. We agree that we need to be able to accept the "extras" as good enough for each other, but we don't have to enjoy their company necessarily. In case that was too convoluted: I have to feel his gf is not going to be detrimental to his health or happiness or our marriage, but I don't have to be friends with her, and vice versa.

But we have an 18m old toddler. We want our child(ren) to know that they deserve a partner's whole heart & are worth more than some side-action. Obviously, they will be free to choose their own path at some point, and we don't want to stifle them, but at the same time we don't want to inadvertently teach them something negative. We fear that eventually the LS will not be able to be kept secret. Kids are waaay more observant than adults give credit for, oftentimes.



Can anyone out there give us some tips???
How do you keep your kids out of the loop? Once they are old enough to understand the nuances of the human heart/mind, understand that love & sexuality can be fluid (oh man...how do you come out as bi to your own child??), how do you tell them? And how do you know when they're old enough?

Then there's our "vanilla" life to think about: his work, our church :eek: , parents, etc. How do you live freely without incurring judgment, etc?

I may come across a tad neurotic, I am. I'm an over-planner. Our baby is still a baby, and we haven't put ourselves out there much right now, so it's not like an urgent matter...but can someone please put my mind at ease?? :confused:

redpepper 03-19-2012 06:28 PM

Try doing a search in the tags for "parenting" "kids" etc. There have been discussions before about your topic.

Personally, having been poly IRL for 16 years (ish?), and having a 9 year old, I tell him I love his dad and I love my live in boyfriend. He recently found out that my gf is also a love of mine and more than a friend. I tell him that my love has no limit and I chose to express that. I think he thinks all my friends are partners, lol. ;)

Now that he is older I tell him that not all people agree with me, but I am not worried because I don't see how I live as a negative in his life or anyone else's in our family. So they just don't know about it. He's a smart kid. He has found his own way with that info. He calls my bf his "best buddy." A term he came up with. He explains to everyone that he is lucky because his best buddy is also his roommate. Also came up with that.

Kids don't know details or care to know. To them its all normal because its a clean slate for them. Its only when adults make it a big deal or treat poly as abnormal (or anything for that matter) that it becomes so. So I don't apologise for who I am and don't make his life seem abnormal by acting as if it is.

OkNewbs 03-19-2012 06:43 PM

Fantastic. Thanks, RedPepper.

I have a feeling a lot of things work themselves out once you just start. I just need to loosen the reigns a bit. ;)

strixish 03-21-2012 12:15 PM

If you want to teach your child that he or she is worth "more than some side action," then be sure to treat every relationship partner with dignity and as a whole person, so no relationship is ever reduced to just "side action." And, of course, choose partners who treat you well. I think that the way you interact with people has a much bigger impact than the number or configuration of the people in your life.

Also, here's how my friend (who is actually mono) came out as bi to her kid (when he was 4 or 5). "Sometimes boys like girls and sometimes boys like boys. Daddy likes girls. Mommy like boys and girls. You don't have to decide who you like until you're much, much older, and you can always change your mind."

Derbylicious 03-22-2012 05:24 PM

I have no desire to keep my children out of the loop. I have a 7 year old and a 5 year old and they are both very aware that their mom and dad have others in their lives who they love. We've never "come out" to them as such with any kind of formal talk we just live our lives. For me, anyway, I think that trying to keep things from your kids is probably far more detrimental to teaching them about relationships. If you are hiding things from them you are teaching them that you think that what you are doing is shameful and that there is something wrong with letting yourself love freely. As long as you are treating your partners with dignity and respect your child will learn to love the same way.

Do you have a dream that your child will grow up and marry monogamously and live happily ever after? Who knows, your child might grow up to be heavily involved in a lot of outside activities and might not want a full time relationship and may be perfectly happy being someone's something on the side. And there's nothing wrong with that. Live your life with integrity, answer your child's questions with honesty and everything will work it's self out.

OkNewbs 03-22-2012 05:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Derbylicious (Post 129955)
I have no desire to keep my children out of the loop. I have a 7 year old and a 5 year old and they are both very aware that their mom and dad have others in their lives who they love. We've never "come out" to them as such with any kind of formal talk we just live our lives. For me, anyway, I think that trying to keep things from your kids is probably far more detrimental to teaching them about relationships. If you are hiding things from them you are teaching them that you think that what you are doing is shameful and that there is something wrong with letting yourself love freely. As long as you are treating your partners with dignity and respect your child will learn to love the same way.

Do you have a dream that your child will grow up and marry monogamously and live happily ever after? Who knows, your child might grow up to be heavily involved in a lot of outside activities and might not want a full time relationship and may be perfectly happy being someone's something on the side. And there's nothing wrong with that. Live your life with integrity, answer your child's questions with honesty and everything will work it's self out.


Thanks for the response.

I think, when you get down to it, my dream for her, and any future children, is happiness. I think I want certain things, selfishly, sometimes, but bottom line I just want my kids happy & healthy & satisfied no matter what path they choose. While I may not *I'm going to sound hypocritical* choose an alternative lifestyle for my kids due to the social stigma & issues that come with that choice, I will support & advise best I can no matter what. They're my kids... I mean, how can you not love & support your own babies? But at the same time I want to pave an easy path for them, and I would hope their path remains easy. I know it's not realistic, but I'm Mommy & it's how I feel. ;)

However, and it may not be an issue but one never knows, socially we feel we cannot share our arrangement with the vast majority of people. Kids don't understand that concept for quite a while, and even then it can be confusing. "Why can't so-and-so know? Why can X know, but Y can't?" There are concepts that children cannot grasp until older. Society can be tricky, even as an adult. While we are not ashamed of this arrangement, and are actually - I don't think I'm overstating our stance here - pretty damn excited about this chapter in our lives, in order to minimize drama, etc. it is best to keep this a quiet matter, shared only with certain people who have proven true.

Yesterday we did share with a like-minded friend (we didn't know that when we told, but he said after hearing us), but he was the first person we told outside of this forum. Our siblings & parents, our church ( :eek: we're poly baptists! OH NOES! :rolleyes: ), and some friends who we value, but recognize cannot be trusted with such knowledge for various reasons, would not understand, respect, or even just leave be, this lifestyle.

I guess my worry where Bits (daughter) is concerned, is confusing her or causing upheaval in her life once friends/classmates/teachers/"outsiders" really become a factor.

OkNewbs 03-22-2012 05:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by strixish (Post 129757)
If you want to teach your child that he or she is worth "more than some side action," then be sure to treat every relationship partner with dignity and as a whole person, so no relationship is ever reduced to just "side action." And, of course, choose partners who treat you well. I think that the way you interact with people has a much bigger impact than the number or configuration of the people in your life.

Also, here's how my friend (who is actually mono) came out as bi to her kid (when he was 4 or 5). "Sometimes boys like girls and sometimes boys like boys. Daddy likes girls. Mommy like boys and girls. You don't have to decide who you like until you're much, much older, and you can always change your mind."

I meant to respond to this sooner, but got distracted. Apologies!

I absolutely love the approach your friend took. Thank you for sharing that!

Also, in regards to the first paragraph, that makes perfect sense. I guess my concern/confusion comes from kids, at least in my experience, seeing things as very black or white. And maybe I just don't have enough experience yet to truly form a proper opinion. I always accept the probability that I don't know enough yet. In my dealings with toddler/children/even young teens, all the nuances can get lost. If something is ok, then it's ok no matter what & you can tell everybody & they can't say anything bad. But unfortunately it doesn't really work that way.

Does that make sense?

Sometimes my thoughts can get convoluted and even I get lost lol. If I'm being unclear, feel free to ask questions & I'll do my best to clear it up. :)

SNeacail 03-22-2012 06:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by redpepper (Post 129427)
Kids don't know details or care to know. To them its all normal because its a clean slate for them. Its only when adults make it a big deal or treat poly as abnormal (or anything for that matter) that it becomes so.

This! Teenagers, however are an entirely different animal all together, especially girls. However, that will be the case no matter what you spent the last 15 years demonstrating and teaching them. Then they enter their 20's an become human again :p.

I am a mom of 2 boys (16/12) and we have a number of friends also with children (OMG! They're all over 21 now:eek:), but we have been close to them for over 10 years. Not only do the kids not care what goes on in the bedroom, they don't want to know. They do NOT talk to their friends about their parents sex life, that would be admitting that your parents actually have sex and that's just too "ICKY" to even think about. Don't try and hide anything from them, it won't work. Just be yourselves.

When your teenager starts spouting their (in my case) "grandparents" political/social nonsense and views, now it's time to step in and have a deep discussion.

OkNewbs 03-22-2012 06:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SNeacail (Post 129969)
This! Teenagers, however are an entirely different animal all together, especially girls. However, that will be the case no matter what you spent the last 15 years demonstrating and teaching them. Then they enter their 20's an become human again :p.

I am a mom of 2 boys (16/12) and we have a number of friends also with children (OMG! They're all over 21 now:eek:), but we have been close to them for over 10 years. Not only do the kids not care what goes on in the bedroom, they don't want to know. They do NOT talk to their friends about their parents sex life, that would be admitting that your parents actually have sex and that's just too "ICKY" to even think about. Don't try and hide anything from them, it won't work. Just be yourselves.

When your teenager starts spouting their (in my case) "grandparents" political/social nonsense and views, now it's time to step in and have a deep discussion.


So much truth! It's funny, as a kid/teen, I swore I would never fall out of touch with what it's like to be a teen, yet just a few short years later here I sit. :o

The grandparents would be the issue here, too. :rolleyes:

AnotherConfused 03-27-2012 03:06 AM

The other day my 5 year old told me she hopes our state makes it legal for girls to marry girls when she's grown up so she can marry her best friend. In the next sentence, she told me she wished this best friend was her sister. To kids this young, love is love is love. They don't see that the way mommy loves daddy is different from the way mommy loves grandma, so they don't question the way mommy loves any of the adults in her life. As long as you're not referring to them as your "lovers," the kids don't have any incriminating knowledge to blurt out at church functions. And hopefully by the time they get old enough to be aware of sex, they already understand that these relationships have a solid foundation of love and respect (I would hope -if you're swinging you might want to shelter them from that for a few years more!).

My husband worries about our kids too. He wanted to bar C from being around them. I chose to halt the intimacy in order to keep C in a healthy relationship with me (not hidden from my family). Now my husband realizes that it's better for the kids if we're not treating C differently from other friends, so my kids know him as a man I sometimes hang out with.


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