The public side of things
Lately, I've been pondering the question, "Under what circumstances would it be a good idea to let other people know that I'm poly?"
I'd rather not have to tell people. It's just not my style to talk about the personal side of my life with people who aren't lovers or potential lovers. But if I don't explain that my fiance and I are not monogamous, our mutual friends will think I'm cheating on him if they find out I'm dating someone else, which is all too possible. I don't want to put our mutual friends in the position of thinking I'm being unfaithful, deciding whose side to take, deciding whether or not to tell him, and probably thinking less of me.
If my fiance and I lived in the same country right now, I'm sure he'd be able to make it clear that there's nothing going on that he's not ok with. Back when we were in the same city, this was how it worked. We didn't have to make a point of telling people what our relationship was like. It was easy to simply show them, like if my fiance said to me in front of a group of people, "Hey, that guy seems nice and seems to really like you. I say you should go for it if you feel the same way about him." Maybe some people remember, but chances are, most don't.
So now I, on my own, have to explain that we have a poly relationship, or deal with the messy situation of our friends thinking that I'm cheating on him while he's out of the country. I'd rather not talk about it at all, but I guess I have to. I don't know how to bring it up either, considering that I'm not in the habit of discussing that sort of thing with most people I know. I'm also really not looking forward to possibly being judged negatively for it, though I am lucky to live in a place where people are generally pretty accepting and there are plenty of poly people around.
So I'm curious to know: Have you ever been in a situation in which you felt it was for the best to tell people that you're poly? If you've told anyone outside the poly community, how did you bring it up?