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-   -   Dealing with a new partner's disapproving friends/family (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=4259)

StrawberrySwitchblade 11-19-2010 06:23 PM

Dealing with a new partner's disapproving friends/family
Backstory, I have been in a relationship with my primary for nearly seven years. I recently got into a new relationship with a great guy, who I'll call R. We've had a couple road bumps with him adjusting to poly, but so far so good. However, his friends think I'm the wicked witch of the west and that I'm either using him for sex, or that I'm just out to use him up and dump him and go back to my "real" boyfriend. Neither of which are true, and R knows this. He knows I love him and that I feel there is no cap on love, and he is very important to me.

But while I could ignore the naysayers because my relationship with R makes me very happy and does the same for him, it grates against my nerves when his friends either paster a smile on when I know what they are thinking, or badmouth me to R. I know that's not my deal, that's R's concern, but I don't know how to handle them. Any advice?

Danny40179 11-19-2010 06:53 PM

Yikes!! Sorry that most people suck. :( My advice is this. You and R are happy right? He's working through poly and learning what it's all about right? In that case, EFF WHAT EVERYONE ELSE SAYS!!!! :D

I have a motto. If you don't pay my bills, then your opinion doesn't matter. My life is mine to live and I'm going to do just that. Live MY life. It's not an attitude that goes over well at first with most people, but when they realize that their opinions mean nothing to you, they'll stop being so obvious about it.

I had help with this since I prefer big women. I had to learn early on that I was going to be on the outside because of my preference, but so what. My other option was to deny what I really liked to fit with societal standards. I'm sure you can see where that's not really an option. ;)

So, in summation, if you are all happy and you all know what the deal is, don't worry about what anyone has to say about your relationship and lifestyle. It's not for everyone to understand.

gomugirl1656 11-19-2010 10:10 PM

Strawberry Switchblade, Love the name by the way. Remember that these people who are talking crap are making assumptions on little or no information. What they are seeing scares the crap out of them and they are concerned for the health and safety of their friend.

I don't really see how it impacts you in the long term unless you feel R is likely to be worn down by such behavior and it threatens your relationship. Their feelings, ideas, and actions are just that, theirs. Their reaction is perfectly normal to what they think they are seeing. They have a right to it just as you have a right to what you know to be true for you. Neither you nor R is responsible to change their minds.

So if you have no choice but to deal with them directly, remember it's like dealing with frightened children. Treat them with kindness and patience remembering that you have a happiness and understanding that they may never have.

They may come around, they may not. If you don't have to deal with them directly, don't worry about it. They are R's friends and they will take their cues from him. If he loses them over something like this all you can do is be there for him.
Hang in there. Often the most beautiful places have the longest most dangerous hikes in. peace.

redpepper 11-20-2010 01:38 AM

I had similar reactions when Mono and I got together. I chose to let time show what it will and it did. I chose to be confident in my decisions and not play in to their fear (shown as judgement and assumptions). I'm glad I did as now they are just as confident as I am and I can tell that they have given up waiting for the other shoe to drop. I forgave them as we went along as I knew they were just na´ve. I'm glad I did as I have given little energy to them at all. This meant I could give more to my relationship dynamic instead.

Mohegan 11-20-2010 06:23 AM

Oh how I can relate! Here's the thing, everyone has an opinion. His friends care about him and are worried he is entering into something that isn't healthy for him.

Karma, Cricket and I went through this on a lot of different levels. People thought Karma was using both of us, people thought I just wasn't strong enough to leave my husband who obviously couldn't be happy with just one woman, Cricket was a home wrecker, it was a huge mess.

I got so sick of people who weren't living my life having an opinion. But I realized it was because they cared and didn't understand. Once explained that I was happy, Karma was happy, Cricket was happy, no one was doing anything to harm the other, people lightened up.

One thing that helped was explaining out rules. Which are really simple- Happy, Healthy, Sane. If any of these aren't happening then it's time to re-evaluate the situation.

For me, as long as WE are happy, healthy and sane, what more could we ask for? And once that is explained to those who love us, they seem to accept things and move on.

I know it can be frustrating because it seems like their concerns are a reflection on you, but they don't know you, so don't worry about it. Be yourself and if they come around great, if not, it sucks, but there isn't much else you can do.

Good luck!

StrawberrySwitchblade 11-29-2010 01:51 PM

Thanks for your responses! Rationally, I know it is because they are afraid for R. They are afraid of him getting burned, especially when he's so attached to me, and that the best I can do is be a supportive partner to R and be kind and courteous to his friends and family. I'm actually slated to meet his parents (eek!) next week for a few moments, and I am fully expecting his mom to give me the stink eye, but that's okay. I know why she's not all that thrilled with me, and I am sympathize with them. I don't want to hurt R either. We shall see.

Mohegan 11-29-2010 11:54 PM

good luck! Parents are rough! Cricket met Karma's dad and stepmom a few weeks ago. But they are very open people. Very much the type to live and let live. When Karma and I were there for thanks gicing I could tell his step mom didn't quite understand it, but it wasn't out of disapproval.

My parents on the other hand...yeah. My brother and sis in law know and I hope they can meet her one day. Either here in MD or taking her to Ohio with us. I think my mom would be okay with it, but my dad will not be, so it's hard to figure out how to approach that.

I'm glad he is introducing you, even if they don't approve, at least you've met them. Crickets family was/is unsure of the whole thing, but wen I went to her b-day party, cake and gifts in hand. Taking pictures of her and Karma together, they seem to have started to understand that we are all okay with it.

I know it's hard to have the turmoil of friends not liking the situation, try to concentrate on you guys. Suppoirt eachother and show the nay sayers that it is healthy and he is being well loved and taken care of. Hopefuly when they see that, they'll come around.

FitChick 11-30-2010 05:39 AM

I am mono and my bf poly,and naturally my close friends I DID tell were concerned about me,but they have never badmouthed my bf because they like him and see we are in a difficult dynamic.
What I've learned is that you have to develop a thicker skin with this kind of set up because it is not considered 'normal' by societal standards,its hard sure but if all of you are happy,then it really doesn't matter what everyone else thinks!

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