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-   -   Who Knows? (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=36654)

Renee 01-08-2013 12:47 AM

Who Knows?
 
I'm new to this forum, and I'm not sure if someone else has covered this (the basic phrases I typed into the search engine didn't seem to turn anything up for me).

I'm curious, especially of those of you who have been in long-term poly relationships, who knows about it? Is your secondary just known as a good family friend? Does anyone outside of your relationship know about your arrangement? Who did you tell first? What was the hardest part about opening up? Were you met with any backlash?

I'm just interested in hearing everyone's stories in these matters. Or if this thread has basically been started elsewhere, if someone could direct me to it. Thanks.

SchrodingersCat 01-08-2013 03:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Renee (Post 176443)
I'm curious, especially of those of you who have been in long-term poly relationships, who knows about it?

I'm not the kind of person who feels like being out is a big part my identity, so I tell people if it comes up naturally in conversation. Like if I say "my girlfriend" one too many times and they start to get curious so they ask.

Quote:

Does anyone outside of your relationship know about your arrangement?
My mom knows, as do most of my friends, some of my co-workers, and my ex-boss who happens to be my girlfriend's husband's boyfriend. My dad doesn't deliberately "not know" just we don't talk that much, especially about life-stuff, and it's never come up naturally in conversation.

Quote:

Is your secondary just known as a good family friend?
My girlfriend is known to my mom as my girlfriend.

My mom came with us to my girlfriend's for solstice. I had fun making her head spin afterwards, as I explained the chain of relationships present for the celebration (a vee-chain with 4 hinges), the fact that my girlfriend's husband is transgendered and is therefore a man who was born into a woman's body and how I don't think of him as a man born as a woman, but just a man who happens to like to cook and sew.

[[aside: I think it's hilarious, and terribly sad, that my girlfriend's mom gets so confused by that. "If he likes to cook and sew, why didn't he just stay a woman??" This from a woman who operates equipment in a coal mine... sigh.]]

Quote:

Who did you tell first?
I was out to some friends when I was single. I've always known I'm nonmonogamous, and as I started to learn that there's a word for it, I started discussing it and exploring it in my early 20's. That's how I learned that two of my best friends are poly. They're not out because they have a professional job, but they came out to me (swearing me to secrecy) because they knew about me.

Quote:

What was the hardest part about opening up?
For me, it was pretty easy. I only told people whom I knew would be ok with it. I think it's silly to be out at all costs, unless it's something you need to do to feel honest with yourself. For me, it's not such a big part of my identity that I need to shout it to the world.

Quote:

Were you met with any backlash?
Nope. First time I told my mom, she said "I don't want to hear it." I dropped it for the time being, then I brought it up another time and she was a little more receptive. I just kept bringing it up casually until she was forced to accept it. But my mom is a hippie, grew up / went to college during the whole free-love movement, so as soon as I made it clear that I thought monogamy was for the penguins, she started thinking about it and realized that she'd never really bought into the whole monogamy thing either.

For the record, I now understand that there are some non-penguin, ape-like creatures known as homo sapiens who also follow monogamy deliberately and consciously. Who knew?

Quote:

Or if this thread has basically been started elsewhere, if someone could direct me to it. Thanks.
http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=164
http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=30211
http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2103

hyena 01-08-2013 09:36 AM

For what it's worth, no one in my family knows and I'm okay with that. I was with my primary for about three years before we opened up, and she was very much aware and involved (if not part of) my family. At that point, I considered my options in that sense and decided there was no reason to bother with it. Should I ever get in a secondary partnership that is so involved that I would need/want them at a family gathering in a more-than-friendly way, I would deal with it then.

In other words, for me it's sort of a matter of worth vs. effort.

As far as people outside of my relationship, it comes down to people that I trust. There are a handful of friends that know my situation, who have varying degrees of closeness. Unlike SchrodingersCat, I do feel a need to be out to be honest, so I have to consider how important that is. I basically tell people when I really feel the need to and feel safe to (to get feedback, or to avoid sounding like a total creep, or even just because I want to be closer to them). My only real criteria for telling someone is whether they will be discreet enough; I don't want people that might not be ready to accept my life to write me off, so the people I tell need to be able to differentiate between appropriate times/ways to talk about it.

The hardest part about opening up was maintaining a sense of safety and identity for my primary relationship while still being honest. She has more backlash to face than I.


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