Since coming out to many family and friends, I have struggled with the decision. No regrets, but the impact that it was had on some of the relationships I have with my family have made for some very difficult times.
I have been fortunate enough to find a poly-friendly therapist who has been helping me to accept things. Accept that it's not up to me to 'smooth things over' with my family. That they own their reactions and judgments.
I have been learning to appreciate that I am certainly not alone. Not only do I have 2 of the most wonderful men in the world as partners, but that I do have other family and friends who love and support me.
My father has not been accepting of many things in my life, including my being non-monogamous. He and I have been coasting along for months, avoiding the 'elephant in the room'. He refuses to talk and has forbade me to bring it up and so I'm left with few options. Try to talk to him which is likely to anger him and do nothing but upset me. Keep hiding my life from him, bearing his disapproval with compliance and silence. Or perhaps just tell him how I feel and leave the 'discussion' option open.
I wrote this today, I'm still very unsure if I will ever send it to him. I told my Step-Mom about being non-monogamous and she opted to be the one to tell my Dad. He and I talked to me shortly after, which went poorly. I was unable to really express to him my hurt about his reaction, just let him spout his judgment then went home. Before he left he hugged me and said that he and I would "always be OK". He was under the impression that I would 'come around' at some point and agree with him.
You said "We're always going to be OK".
That's not true at all, you and I are definitely not "OK".
You've put me in a position where I either have to lie to you or talk about something you have forbid me to bring up.
When you ask a simple question, "What did you and T do this weekend?" how do you expect me to answer when I spent part of it seeing a movie with C and T spent the night with M and her family? You said that you didn't want to talk about my non-monogamous relationship so what am I supposed to answer? Do you want me to lie? Do you want me to tell the truth? Do you want to give me a minute to create an edited version of my weekend that meets your approval?
Who are you to judge my marriage and the relationships I have? You are by no means an expert on the health of marriage, twice divorced, admitted adulterer, do you want me to go on? Right or wrong, those relationships were yours to manage. I do not think of you as a poor husband or father because of those choices. You are my father and you do not have to defend your past to me. What matters to me are your actions now, your words now. Provided you are not abusive, what goes on in your marriage is not for me to judge. I would never dream of telling you that the choices you make within your marriage are 'shameful'. You and your wife are consenting adults who are more than capable of maintaining a relationship that makes you happy, that works for you.
I have a loving and committed relationship with T. We are honest with each other, we communicate our thoughts and feelings without reservation. We don't keep secrets from each other, we don't lie to each other, we don't disregard each others feelings.
I also have a loving and committed relationship with C. We are honest with each other, communicating our thoughts and feelings as we continue to learn about each other. We have no need for secret rendezvous or the supposed 'excitement' of an affair. Our relationship has flourished with T's support and knowledge.
I find it shameful that friends of only a few years can offer their unconditional love and support while a man who has known me since birth is not able to offer the same. You don't even want me to talk about it, you are unable to look past your own discomfort and confusion and educate yourself on what responsible non-monogamy is.
I have not, nor will I ever claim, that there is anything wrong with being in a monogamous relationship. I do believe that two people can be capable of providing for the needs of each other. I also believe that it's possible to maintain committed, loving, mature relationships with multiple partners. I do not judge one as more successful or 'right' than the other. Because if we were to start comparing, you might say that I have been more 'successful' in my non-monogamous relationship than you have been with your monogamous ones. I have never cheated on my partners. I have never made vows to my husband and in front of the world proclaiming one thing, then broken them when it suited me. I have not proclaimed to love one person in sickness and in health as long I shall live, then ditched that promise when things went sour. I have made simpler vows and created reasonable expectations within my marriage, that respect and honesty reign above all else. I love T, now more than ever. If that should ever change, my heart would truly be broken. But I know that our marriage will not likely end to infidelity or due to one of us acting dishonorably and hurting the other. Life may change our situation, change our feelings, but in our 14 years together that hasn't happened. We remain committed to the life we have built together and still as in love as the early days of our courtship. I am proud to have him, and C, as my partners in this life.
So why do you get to proclaim that what I'm doing "can't last"? Why is what I'm doing so shameful to you?
We have found that we are capable of being in love with other partners. This has not diminished any feelings for each other, in fact it has strengthened our bond. The first time I saw T hug M, do you know what I felt? Happiness. I didn't feel the slightest twinge of jealousy. To see him hold her so gently, his head resting upon hers, eyes closed, both with smiles, it was beautiful. And why do I share this intimate moment with you? Because what exactly are you worried about? If I can accept the fact that my husband is in love with another woman, and it doesn't bother me, then why exactly am I supposed to take into account about how you feel about it? I'm not married to you. I'm related to you, but I don't share all the same values as you. I'm vegetarian, you are not, but you respect that choice. You did not approve of T at all at first 14 years ago, but I continued to date him. I am not obligated to share the same opinions as you and hold the same values, but there's still a fundamental difference between you and I. I don't judge your life and the choices you have made and will continue to make. You and I have never discussed religion, abortion, politics, same sex marriage, etc. and yet you probably assume that I hold the same values as you. You might be surprised.
You are free to judge my life and the people in it as shameful. In fact I encourage you to remain as judgmental and ignorant as you choose to be. The fact is I have a choice too. I can choose to surround myself with people who love and accept me.
I have a loving and committed marriage with T. I have a loving and committed relationship with C. T has a loving and committed relationship with M. I wake up everyday knowing that I am happy, helathy, and loved. I live my life dedicated to the people I love, to ensure that they are happy, healthy, and also feel loved. There is no room in my life for ignorant judgments, for conditional love, for secrets, for hiding. You can choose to accept that not everyone makes decisions with your opinions in mind. You can choose to make the effort to learn about my choices before judging them. You can choose to remove the conditions of your love and support. You can choose to have an honest, open dialogue with T and I about our life.
And this is what I choose. I choose to finally tell you how much your reaction has hurt me. I choose to give you the opportunity to come to me with questions, with concerns, with love. I will not hide from you anymore nor I will not lie to you. I will stop pretending that everything is "OK".
I like it.
Well written, thank you :) I think this is a well thought out way to achieve what you want and need...
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