These days, I'm basically entirely out of the closet. Here's the story of how it happened...
In my first couple years in a poly relationship, we were only out of the closet to half of my friends (most of those at my college, but not the majority of those from my hometown), and to the mother of one of my partners. I hated keeping things from friends and family, and pretending that one of my boyfriends was a gay best friend half the time. It sucked.
I wound up coming out to my mother by sheer luck. The documentary Three of Hearts
was playing on television, and she happened to see it and then bring it up in conversation. I remember pressing her and pressing her for what she thought about the triad in the documentary-- she was a conservative Christian at the time, and I couldn't picture her approving. She finally admitted it wouldn't bother her, and she didn't think they were going to hell, and stared at me strangely for badgering her. It all came out in a rush at that point: "Mom, I've been dating A for the last two years." She smiled and told me she thought of him as family anyway, and we hugged and cried and all that jazz.
It's three or four years later now, and I've split with both of those boyfriends and gotten involved with two new partners. My whole immediate family has been really supportive, which has been awesome. K and I are out to his sister (who co-houses with us) and his father (who is worried that Z'll be the biological father of my children, and is convinced it's a mistake in general). We're not sure if his mother knows, and I'd rather he told her, but K's entire family has a very different communication style from mine so I don't judge. Z immediately told his siblings and parents about me and K both (he joined up when K and I were getting engaged), and the reactions have ranged from concerned to outright hostility. I'm hoping that meeting his outraged siblings in a few months for his college graduation will diffuse the tension a bit. In hopes that it might help others, Z's mother found this article in the Boston Globe and said it helped her some:
We're also out to the majority of our friends; we co-house with many of them so it would be difficult not to tell! I completely agree with LovingRadiance; it's easier to just keep friendships that are supportive than to dodge around the subject, at least for me. I've even told several of my coworkers, and plan on letting my bosses know once my contract is signed more permanently-- I'd rather have them know what's actually happening than think that I'm cheating on my fiance.
My limit on coming out is that I won't tell my students or their parents. Even in Cambridge with a lesbian boss, there are limits.
Whew that was long! Thanks for your forbearance, folks...