When the kids are not taking poly well...
About 2 months ago we sat down our kids and told them about me, their father, being poly. They knew their mother to be bisexual for the past 3 years (when she came out to them) and they knew she has dated women once or twice (they were not cool with that either). Our kids are 18, 16, 13 and 11. We are former LDS/Mormon (so yeah, on top of societal and cultural programming, and having lived all their lives in a mono-mindset, there's vestiges of religious expectations likely floating around too -- though these are never expressed by us or them).
18yr old son asked if we were divorcing, seeing and hearing we weren't, he said "ok, it's cool with me if you're Open".
16yr old daughter put up her hands to her ears and said "what?! No! This is not happening!" and left the living room. A few weeks later we were going to have my girlfriend visit (and sleep over... she's a 2.5 hour drive away) and my daughter looked at me with tears in her eyes and said "please don't do this to me" (we didn't). I saw her facebook from the week we told her and it was full of allusions to her crying and her family having gone 'cray-cray'.
13yr old daughter was quiet. Since then she's met my girlfriend and visited her home with me and our 11 year old and my wife on a few trips. Talked, walked, fished, hung out. About a week ago I learned she's been crying herself to sleep 'almost every night' though she smiles and talks like she's 'ok', she's clearly not. She also will about weekly share that she's not ok with this arrangement, but no vehemently, more matter-of-factly.
11yr old daughter hyperventilated. Bawled. Could not be consoled for a full half hour. We thought we'd have to take her to the hospital. Over the past 2 months she has daily cried and expressed fears of losing her parents, losing her father, being left alone, asked why I hate her so much, why I'm leaving her and the family, why she's not enough for me, why is mommy not enough for me, why is our family not enough for me.
I've answered her questions the best I can, however it's not really all that much better. There is progress though - she's not hyperventilating all the time, but the crying is intense and the emotional pain is, well, it's really like I'm hurting her is how I feel and how I experience it, me, her father, is inflicting this huge emotional anxiety causing pain on my daughter. And now it's about me not wanting her to have this pain (and me not wanting to feel the pain of causing her pain). I tried the narrative thing and just let her talk and vent and answer her questions and help her feel safe and see she's safe and see our family is safe. We tried the bring her to visit the girlfriend and get to know her and see we're all safe and that Mommy is good too (we all would visit and hang out etc.). We've tried everything we know how to do.
I read here about examples of children getting better when they find out... but now I think it's me who's hit a wall and I don't think I can last another 2 months or 2 days. I feel like a horrible parent and selfish person for causing my children pain and I don't know how to make it better except to either stop doing what I love and what completes me (poly and my girlfriend) and or lie to them and say we're back to just being friends (this 'lie' is what they believed the first 10 months of our relationship as we never told them otherwise).
Anyway... open to advice.
Maybe I just needed some narrative therapy myself.
Thanks for listening.
"You're neither unnatural, nor abominable, nor mad; you're as much a part of what people call nature as anyone else; only you're unexplained as yet -- you've not got your niche in creation." ~ The Well of Loneliness, 1928 — Radclyffe Hall
Last edited by polylicious; 06-11-2012 at 05:48 AM.