How to approach topic with Parents/friends?
Hello everybody, to save space this is the situation i am in: http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=40214
My question here is, how on earth do you approach friends and family about this? my parents are very conservative and i am fairly sure wont understand and his family is way more liberal but not really in terms of non monogamous relationships. How did you all approach tell friends and family? How did they react? did it make you have seconds thoughts because they made you feel guilty?
I took a lot of cues from the LGBT community in dealing with it in terms of friends. I basically just came right out and said that I had made a significant personal discovery, I was poly, and let everything else fall where it did.
The vast majority of my friends were alright with it, some of them weren't surprised. I think I was actually more surprised at how neutral the reception was. People were supportive but no one lost their shit. I had expected at least one person to get strange but nobody did. I actually am yet to have anyone actually get really and truly bent out of shape over it. That was actually the most surprising thing; that nobody really got worked up in any respect. I had kind of prepared for a showdown that never came.
Family is a different matter. They dont know mostly because while they're all very "live and let live" on most issues, normality is a big deal. Appearing and acting "normal" is very important to most of my immediate family and they're not great at dealing with people who fall outside the societal normal. My brother in law also hit the Jesus juice pretty hard and as a result, I worry that if he found out that I'd be denied the ability to see my nieces and nephews whom I'm probably closest to out of anyone else in the family.
Family makes it awkward though. My mother will groan and sigh, asking when I'm going to get married and have kids (she knows about one of my ladyfriends, has no idea about the others). I've tried to prime her for the idea but I think its just too much of an out-of-context problem for her to consider. My father I could care less. He'll make a group sex joke and then ignore it entirely. If it doesn't interfere with what he does, he doesn't care.
From what I've seen, I think most people over-estimate how negative the reaction of people around them will be and there's one or two people whose reactions completely blindside them for good or for ill.
I think it really depends. People all have different types of relationships with their family. For me, I was happy to come out to my mother. Of course, it was freeing as getting away from my mother as a child and as a young adult was difficult. She was abusive, full on Mommie Dearest and then some. So DH and I would actually enjoy telling her that not only are we the only stable relationship she's ever seen, only stable child she has, but we are comfortable with poly and not being straight. (Just to see that twitch when she knows she can't say anything back.)
Meanwhile, there are family I have not come out to at all. I know they are conservative and love me and would try to accept it all just as they have tried to accept other decisions they may not have agreed with. Personally, I don't feel a need to come out to them as they are not doing well and may not be long for this world. Considering how little impact my other relationship has on them, not going to worry about it.
"Coming Out" whether about poly or sexuality or kink even, isn't something you just do in one fell blow. It's a stages thing. Who you come out to, when, how much. There's a lot more to it. If you feel it's important to let family know, start simply. If they already know you are in a relationship and are assuming it's a committed one, they are probably assuming monogamous. Sadly, that's just how it is. The biggest hurdle I see people go through is explaining how you can be in a committed relationship, but NOT monogamous. It's like misfires in their brain!
So maybe just start with how the two of you have realized you love each other, and that you enjoy being able to share that love. Sometimes together in your relationship, sometimes in other relationships. You are still figuring things out, but you are amazed at how comfortable you both are with being able to express your feelings for people openly and honestly.
There will be questions of course, up to you how much detail you give from there.
I've never felt the need to "come out" like it's this big thing. I just am what I am. People will figure it out eventually. I mean, how many people "come out" to their friends and family about being straight or monogamous? Why should I need to "come out" about being non-straight and non-monogamous? That's so last century.
When I do tell people about it, I tend to approach it casually. It just is what it is. It's amazing how effective that is. If you treat something like it's no big deal, people will be almost afraid to make a big deal out of it. It puts them on the spot if they do.
I talk about my girlfriend the way anyone talks about a partner. Some people will clue in that I'm also married, and if they're curious they'll ask if I mean my "girlfriend girlfriend" or my "friend who's a girl." [I was once asked if I meant my "legitimate girlfriend" which my gf got a huge kick out of... "Yay! I'm legitimate!"] I might get questions about it, which I just answer matter-of-factly, and let them process it.
I was poly before I met most of my friends, so I never felt this need to come out to them and worry about whether they would still like me. I figured, if I met someone who couldn't handle it, then they probably wouldn't be the kind of person I'd want for a friend anyway. The only exception is my bestie, and we've always had the kind of relationship that would endure any personal discovery like that.
I don't have a lot of family that I'm close to, so I certainly wasn't going to call up my aunt whom I've only met about 6 times in my life and be all like "hey, guess what!"
My mom and I were watching a Dr. Phil episode about non-monogamy once, and she made some disapproving comment about it. I told her "hey, I'm like that" to which she replied "I don't want to hear about it." I wasn't seeing anyone else at the time, so I didn't push the matter (see "no big deal"). I just kept bringing it up casually every now and then until eventually she got used to the idea. Now that I'm married and have a girlfriend whom she's met and really likes, she realizes that it's not this big bad thing. Actually, last time we talked about it, she even admitted that she'd never really been "into" monogamy either.
I've never actually told my Dad. We don't talk all that often and it's just never come up. See above about "no big deal." He's pretty cool though, and I doubt he would care or make a big deal about it.
Thank you guys for the replies, The boyfriend in the situation here. I suppose i'll just be who i am and not really make a scene, we have a friend who has done that with him being Gay. He just moved in with his partner and they just are who they are, everyone knows it so he doesn't feel the need to make a scene
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