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-   -   The public side of things (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3905)

Shades 10-06-2010 10:20 PM

The public side of things
Lately, I've been pondering the question, "Under what circumstances would it be a good idea to let other people know that I'm poly?"

I'd rather not have to tell people. It's just not my style to talk about the personal side of my life with people who aren't lovers or potential lovers. But if I don't explain that my fiance and I are not monogamous, our mutual friends will think I'm cheating on him if they find out I'm dating someone else, which is all too possible. I don't want to put our mutual friends in the position of thinking I'm being unfaithful, deciding whose side to take, deciding whether or not to tell him, and probably thinking less of me.

If my fiance and I lived in the same country right now, I'm sure he'd be able to make it clear that there's nothing going on that he's not ok with. Back when we were in the same city, this was how it worked. We didn't have to make a point of telling people what our relationship was like. It was easy to simply show them, like if my fiance said to me in front of a group of people, "Hey, that guy seems nice and seems to really like you. I say you should go for it if you feel the same way about him." Maybe some people remember, but chances are, most don't.

So now I, on my own, have to explain that we have a poly relationship, or deal with the messy situation of our friends thinking that I'm cheating on him while he's out of the country. I'd rather not talk about it at all, but I guess I have to. I don't know how to bring it up either, considering that I'm not in the habit of discussing that sort of thing with most people I know. I'm also really not looking forward to possibly being judged negatively for it, though I am lucky to live in a place where people are generally pretty accepting and there are plenty of poly people around.

So I'm curious to know: Have you ever been in a situation in which you felt it was for the best to tell people that you're poly? If you've told anyone outside the poly community, how did you bring it up?

spaghetticat 10-06-2010 11:16 PM

I decided to tell some very close friends that we have an alternative relationship after an incident. One couple I did tell them a bit more but not *who*, because since we are so close I know I would say something just with how comfortable I am.

On the other hand L lives a bit far away so its not like I really run into the same people and we don't do any PDA if we end up in the area I live in. Hope you figure out what works for you :)

MTmozat 10-07-2010 12:59 AM


So I'm curious to know: Have you ever been in a situation in which you felt it was for the best to tell people that you're poly? If you've told anyone outside the poly community, how did you bring it up?
Yes, I have been in this situation before. I told my two friends that i've known for 15 years that I was in a bi-poly. relationship. I didn't sugarcoat it or anything like that, I had them meet me at my house and just straight-up told them. They were kind of surprised and they expressed their concerns about the pros and cons of poly. relationships but I told them I will learn to accept any downfall that occurs. They said some hurtful things while voicing their opinions, but I knew they were just worried about me being hurt in the long run. I told them if they no longer wanted to be friends with me I would understand and would not get mad if they decided to cut me off. They told me they just hoped I found what I was looking for and didn't want to see me hurt. It took them a few weeks for them to adjust to how I changed and I didn't try to force it on them. Since then, they got used to me and our relationship is back on track. I don't regret telling them and i'm grateful they continue to stand by my side, despite their feelings on the poly. lifestyle.

Tonberry 10-07-2010 01:59 AM

On another forum, I posted pics of me my my boyfriend (who's a member on that forum as well) and my husband was the first to post a comment about how we made a good couple. I think one person asked a question (wait, weren't you married to someone who isn't him?) my husband answered "yep, that would be me" and that was pretty much the end of that.
People have been referring to it here and there but there was no explosion of anything, no judgement, no nothing.
And now we can be open on that forum that we all frequent, which is pretty nice.

redpepper 10-07-2010 06:44 AM

There has been much talk of "coming out" on this forum. I suggest that you do a search and see what you find. There might be a sticky also.

I tell people on a need to know basis. If I think they should know or find that I can't talk to them if they don't then I tell them.

I wrote on another post recently


Originally Posted by redpepper (Post 47487)
There is not real trick that I have found other than to be confident and honest. I talk like it is nothing and ignore the stares I get when I talk to people. I just let them deal with their surprise/horror/lack of acceptance/intrigue.. whatever that expression is.

I usually come out to people quickly because I find I can't talk about my life unless I come out and it means I at least give the new relationship an opportunity to be honest and open before people get to know me and me them.

Most often people either don't talk about that part of my life at all, or they ask a million questions and base our whole friendship on their intrigue, or they don't care that much and like me for me and we get along just fine. usually its the latter two, cause after all, how many do we find that is close to us in life? Not many.

ray 10-07-2010 07:54 AM

I do sometimes worry if people who don't know think that something is going on and assume that my SO is cheating on his wife or that I might be participating in that. Everyone sees us flirt, we have a hard time not acting silly about each other sometimes even though we don't show PDA in front of people who don't know. I think a lot of our friends probably guess that something might be going on. It'll be interesting to see if anyone ever brings it up... Makes me a little nervous!

geminigirl 10-07-2010 08:02 AM

And for the record, a few of us here are actively campaigning (legally, even!) for the right for polyamorous people to feel comfortable being open about their relationship choices. Hang in there; the day will come.. :)

new2poly 10-10-2010 07:00 PM

I'm involved in a FMM Vee and I've not hidden it at all from my friends. Of course this is all new to me and quite freeing... so maybe I'm not being smart by being 'out'. Some of them definitely don't approve, some just wonder what the heck is going on... I don't feel the need to explain.

DrunkenPorcupine 10-11-2010 05:24 PM

I'm iconoclastic and being poly is something I identify as. Just about everyone who knows me knows that I'm poly. "Are you dating" comes up in friendly conversations pretty often and it's usually a good segway.

gomugirl1656 10-13-2010 03:02 PM

Coming out
We sort of have and sort of haven't come out. J's parents know and seem ok with it as long as R and I don't PDA in front of them. Cool.

My sisters know I am into new adventures in relating so they don't care but it wasn't a big deal.

R's parents don't know. He feels like his mom would be ok but not his dad. We are also sort of out on facebook. When we joined there wasn't an "open relationship" designation so when that changed J changed his relationship status. I did too to show unity and the boyfriend remains "committed" or whatever. We had a couple of comments and some questions which we answered privately. My sponsor was a little worried but after I explained my position it was cool.

The kids don't care and would rather not know and they are grown so it's irrelevant. So not a big deal for us. My relationship with R is LDR though so maybe that makes a difference. He introduces me as his Girlfriend and that's that, he says if they want to know more he will tell them but it hasn't come up. J and I will be taking our first trip together to see R in his town so no doubt he will go in Tuesday morning to questions but we will see. His people may not even notice.

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