Fear and Speculation, Life outside the closet??
As previously mentioned, my wife and I are thinking about coming out of the closet...at least a little. There’s a lot of apprehension, and uncertainty of course, but I’m optimistic that it will be better than living indefinitely under the Sword of Damocles.
Now, we’re not actually that closeted really. I don’t advertise that I’m poly at work, but I don’t keep it overly secret either. I just figure that sort of thing doesn’t really fall into the realm of any of their damn business. With friends, we are quite open, especially amoung my long term friends at home whom were the first to be told as they’ve known about poly as long as I did. Newer friends where we live now, have probably not known us as anything else. The only ones where our explorations into non-monogamy and poly was kept guarded was with family...and my in-laws in particular.
This idea of keeping information from the family came up in conversations about people coming out to family at Polycamp NW I think. In some cases, it seemed the worst part of the reaction of family members to learning about poly was they were hurt about the secrecy, the lack of trust. I can understand that. But it doesn’t make it particularly more convincing to risk the general inter-familial peace and harmony that exists in ignorance of our love lives.
The largest fear has to do with my brother-in-law, who is an ordained minister for a fairly conservative branch of the Christian churches. It’s generally figured that someone that saved himself for marriage is probably going to have a hard time reconciling non-monogamy in a family member without fire and brimstone kinds of judgement.
My wife has concerns about her parents as well, but I figure they’ll get over it eventually. I really don’t know who has the more accurate view on that one. She’s lived with them all her life, but I’m not so close as to loose my perspective...and I don’t see their treatment of others as being particularly un-accepting.
As for my family, my parents have mostly been kept in the dark because if they knew, it might get back across to her parents. They do talk occasionally. In terms of their acceptance however, it is still a bit of a crapshoot. Isn’t everything? But I know my mother had similar conversations with her parents at one point...so I figure as long as she keeps that in mind, they won’t go ballistic or anything. She was also the one who taught be that even if a girl has a ring on her finger, she’s still fair game! (Only the 2nd ring made them off limits). So the idea that the right people are still fair game with rings or not, shouldn’t be too far of a stretch. Overall, I do have faith that my parents may be confused initially, and worried a little but maybe, but overall will be ok with our choices...or at least our right to make them.
Spending a lot of time around the poly community, and especially with the kids around, we’ve generally figured that if anyone is going to out us, it’ll be them.
We never wanted to keep secrets from the kids, lest they get the impressions we were lying to them, so we don’t hide poly from them. We talk about it openly as we read the forum, host events, discuss relationships. The kids will hear it all. We haven’t explained anything to them about the specifics, but they haven’t asked. They know we have sleepovers, and that people stay at our place, but that’s not exclusive behaviour for our lovers...as plenty of non-lover friends have been welcome to couch surf at our place. But when they’re old enough to ask the questions, then they’ll also be old enough to hear the answers.
We also don’t want the kids to keep secrets. We’ve made honesty very important to them, so there’s no way we can compromise that by turning around and asking them to lie to others on our behalf. We’ve had friends do that to us, make us compromise our integrity to keep their secrets which we never asked for...and it sucks balls, even as a fully grown adult type person. There’s no way on this Earth green or otherwise, that we’d drop that kind of load of $#&* on our kids.
So my wife and I are pretty much authors of our own destruction aka. outing. We’ve made our poly lives very visible to the kids and given them free access to the knowledge, and we’ve imposed no restrictions about them hiding it from anyone, including their grandparents. Under such conditions, it’s not a matter of “Will” the kids out us...it’s a matter of “When”.
I’m looking at coming out as one of those things like having kids, there’s no “Good” time, just less horrible or inconvenient times. Rather than having to be eternally prepared to react and defend for a time which may come at any time...I believe this is one of those best defence is a good offence situations. So rather than waiting, we’ll deliver the news to the family at a time of our choosing, instead of it being up to the luck of the kids.
Having to monitor language around the parents is frankly exhausting. Since I have such great faith in my parents, it’s been decided between my wife and I that we’ll use them as the test case, and see how it turns out before tackling her family. My mother is on FB, so she sees a lot of stuff come across our wall, and I suspect she already has questions. So I’ll be happy to let her in on the full picture so she can stop guessing. She’s already very keen on my Meta’s BF. She sees his posts on my wall, or my wife’s, and has gotten to be a great fan, even without having met him really. Perhaps she’ll be happy to finally have an excuse to friend him! Cross fingers...
As for the time...not this weekend. Apparently Oct 11 is National Coming Out Day...so perhaps that will give the chance to soften up the news with some well placed generic wall posts or something, and we’ll actually drop the bomb when I get back...
Wish us luck...or Lube maybe?!!!