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Elliott 06-20-2010 11:43 PM

*insert generic newbie post title here*

Right, so I have three partners. One is an asexual genderless person, one is a heterosexual trans woman and one is a bisexual cis woman. I myself am a heterosexual trans man. We all have our ups and downs and our problems (not least that only one of us doesn't have a diagnosis of depression or anxiety). But we get through life alright.

My mother has recently demanded an explanation of why and how it is that I love three people. Any ideas on how I attempt that conversation, given that the first time I mentioned that I had more than one partner she told me that I'd ruin the life of myself and everyone I dated just by being open to more than one concurrent partnership?

AutumnalTone 06-21-2010 12:32 AM

Welcome aboard.

Were it me, I wouldn't explain anything to her unless she asked nicely. I just don't tolerate demands well.

As for how to explain it, well, it's just that you find yourself loving multiple people as a natural extension of who you are. Those other people whose lives you're supposedly ruining know all about and make their own choices, so your mother can rest assured they're choosing their doom. ;)

Elliott 06-21-2010 11:23 AM

more info
Thanks AutumnalTone. Quite a few people in real life have told me that I don't need to justify my choices to anyone, especially not anyone who isn't directly affected by those choices.

I realise that my post from last night is sparse in potentially important information. so:
  • I'm 20, at University and I live away from home with H.
  • I'm the hinge in our poly situation. I have three partners, all of whom are open to or looking for another partner.
  • I'm engaged to my first partner H, who has always been fine with me being poly and is currently looking for another boyfriend.
  • My first girlfriend C and I have been together over a year now but I've been keeping quiet about her since my mum got so upset when I told her I had a girlfriend as well as a fiance, nearly a year ago.
  • The reason the topic has been brought up again is my girlfriend E. After about 6 months of being E's boyfriend, I found I could no longer imagine a life without her. For this reason, I asked her if I could tell my family about us (she's already told her dad) and she said I could as soon as I was ready. So I did. My mum appeared to take it well, she said she'd already guessed that we were together. She didn't tell me that I was ruining E's life this time.
  • I recently recieved letters from my family demanding an explanation of my relationships and my transition, calling me selfish and insensitive for never explaining.
  • I have always considered myself more or less banned from talking about lovers other than H at home.
  • Both H and E have recently been diagnosed with depression. My Mum made a joke to the effect that this was somehow my fault.

    That's a lot of background info. I think my mum thinks I'm too young to decide to live as we do yet she doesn't think I'm too young to be engaged.

    My mum has also told me that if I think I can love more than one person, I don't know what love is.

AutumnalTone 06-21-2010 07:32 PM

Oof. I think your family should repeat kindergarten to learn how to play nicely with other people!

You're selfish because you don't provide a play-by-play on your relationships to people who aren't involved in them? Not bloody likely. Them learning the ins and outs of your emotional landscape is a privilege, not a right. You certainly have no obligation to explain anything to them you don't wish to.

Same goes for your transition. They can only reasonably expect to know what you choose to share with them. You have no obligation to offer up anything other than what you choose to offer.

Your mother's assertion that you don't know what love is if you can love more than one person is so much nonsense. I'd reply by pointing out that she doesn't know what love is if she can only love one person. Then I'd ask if she loved my sister, my brother, or me--or which one of the grandkids--seeing as how, ya know, she can only love one person at a time.

I, however, have never been one to shy away from playing hardball with my family when somebody's not playing nice. Not everybody is as willing to simply walk away from poor treatment by family as I am, so I expect my notions here to be subject to radical personal interpretation, should you think to put any to use.

Beyond that, it sounds like you've found some wonderful partners. If you've managed to build a functioning tangle of relationships at a young age, then I'd say you're likely fully capable of determining where to live without having Mom look over your shoulder. You may have to go without Mom's approval, of course.

SchrodingersCat 06-21-2010 09:24 PM


Originally Posted by Elliott (Post 33179)
I recently recieved letters from my family demanding an explanation of my relationships and my transition, calling me selfish and insensitive for never explaining.

I have always considered myself more or less banned from talking about lovers other than H at home.

I'm not sensing a lot of support.

Selfish and insensitive for never explaining... well, did they ever ASK in a way that made you feel comfortable sharing? Or did they only glare at you with judgmental eyes that made you feel you were some kind of freak for not becoming who they thought you should be according to their white picket fence paradigm??

I agree with AT about their demands. Terrorists give demands. They have no right to demand anything from you.

Personally, rather than explaining anything to them right now, I would focus on the way their behavior is making you feel that you have to justify who you are as a person.

Tell them all you want is their love and support, and you need those to feel comfortable sharing your lifestyle with them, and demanding explanations does not make you feel loved and supported.

I just don't like the feeling of entitlement I'm getting from your family, that everything is their business and they have supreme judgement rights over your life.

Perhaps finding a good LGBT group might also give you some support and ways to explain those aspects of your lifestyle, which have different issues than just the poly.

Ariakas 06-21-2010 09:28 PM


Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat (Post 33290)
I agree with Ari about their demands. Terrorists give demands. They have no right to demand anything from you.

:D...thanks, but I haven't posted yet (I actually thought I had, but must have not click submit...) AT is the one who mentioned demands :)

Welcome to the forum, the advice is sound, no need for me to expand on it :D...Enjoy the journey :)

Elliott 06-22-2010 04:42 PM

I emailed my mum..
Thanks for all the help guys <3 I really appreciate it.

I've been having a few phone conversations recently in which I made it clear that I would explain in my own way, in my own time. Since I've calmed down considerably, today I felt calm and level-headed enough to reply. So I wrote an email today and sent it.

I worked together with my partners and some poly friends to write something that purports to be an explanation - but actually gives very little information beyond "We're happy and we know what we're doing".

I haven't gone into the actual form of my relationships (other than to say that H has an eye on a cute boy :P ), the history of my relationships, the boundaries of my relationships, anything to do with sex or sexual health or anything else I don't want my mother to know (like the sexual orientations of my partners for example).

This is what we wrote:


The really important stuff you need to know about my relationships:
• I’m happy.
• My partners are happy.
• Nobody is being hurt.

Other stuff you probably want to know about my relationships:
• We know what we’re doing. We talk to each other about our feelings, our hopes, fears and dreams. We discuss what it means to each of us to be in the relationships we’re in and talk in depth about what we need and want in a relationship and what we need and want in the relationships we’re in.
• Nobody is “cheating” or “being unfaithful” to anyone else because we all discussed and agreed on as couples what is and isn’t acceptable behaviour in our couple. Our relationships are built on trust, honesty, good communication and, of course, love – just like any good relationships.
• I’m perfectly happy for any of my partners to have other partners if they so wish and we have agreed how to arrange this when we need to.
• ALL of my partners, including H, agreed to be non-monogamous before starting a relationship with me. H and I discussed the idea of being exclusive to each other and neither of us wanted to be or saw why we should be.
• None of my partners is jealous of the others and not one wants to keep me to themself. They are all happy with the situation and know that they can tell me or one of the other partners the second they are uncomfortable and that we’ll all work together to make sure they are happy.
• H and I intend to marry. C and E are very happy to be invited to the wedding. If H catches the cute boy H is after, I’m sure he’ll still be happy to attend too.
• We don’t know why we don’t love only one romantic partner at once – but since we do love many people in that way, we don’t see why we should stick with just one.
• Having said that, I don’t date or form relationships with everyone I fall for. There are many people I love who I choose not to form romantic relationships with because they’d be incompatible in some way. With some people I just stick with very casual flirting that is mutually understood to be going nowhere. Some people I just silently admire. I told you about H, C and E because my relationships with them are serious, long-term, committed relationships.
This goes into absolutely no detail as to how each of my relationships works as that is information only pertinent to myself and my partners. My Mum doesn't need to know how often I see my girlfriends and I won't necessarily feel the need to tell her if H ever does get that boy they're after :P

River 06-22-2010 06:22 PM


Originally Posted by Elliott (Post 33179)
My mum has also told me that if I think I can love more than one person, I don't know what love is.

I'd tell her that that's a silly notion, and then giggle.:D

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