Wishing I could be there to support you, though at the moment, I'm not sure being physically there would be the best course of action.
I decided to handle this in a very particular way with my parents:
I told them up front what was going on, and that I understood if they were uncomfortable, but that I wasn't going to let that complicate the relationships involved. If they want to talk, they're free to initiate conversations. I keep them informed in the same casual way I did when I was in a mono relationship.
So far, there have been all sorts of criticisms and snarky comments, but we're slowly moving past that stage.
My mom actually went to a festival recently (a witchy festival called Fires of Venus - take a guess what its theme was) and met a poly woman who she really came to like and respect. This woman gave her a new perspective on the whole poly thing, and actually presented a family dynamic that my mom came to understand, and even appreciate.
It's easy for parents to criticize their kids' decisions, and put on a high and mighty face - the kind of "I don't know where you learned that that's acceptable, but it wasn't from me!" type of face. But if it's a situation they have no reference point for, no experience with, sometimes it really does come from a genuine concern about their kids.
When I talked to my mom about the whole thing, she launched into this whole "I don't want to see you make mistakes like this" speech - and stopped, utterly dumbfounded when I asked how she knew it was a mistake if she'd never been here before.
She hasn't been here.
It's really easy to jump to conclusions and get protective when your daughter says something like "I'm staying in a relationship with the married man I had an affair with - and I'm trying to make friends with his wife" or worse "My husband had a string of affairs, and I'm supposed to be friends with his latest girlfriend."
Your parents probably know that telling you directly of their displeasure with Karma will only result in fights and hurt feelings - I'm not saying it's right to talk shit about the whole thing behind our backs, but it might be the only way they know to handle it.
Think about how it irked you that I was talking about J so much, venting all of my anger and frustration, but not doing anything about it. It sounded like I was talking a whole mess of shit about him, but I'm one of those people who has to think aloud - and sometimes my thoughts are not too kind.
Sometimes venting sounds a whole damn lot like gossip, and you don't even realize it until someone says something.
So maybe you should say something. Tell them the stone cold facts and ask them the hard questions, starting with "Do you really have room to criticize?" Cuz didn't you say there was a close female friend living with you all when you grew up?
Kinda smacks of the same thing, doesn't it? Ask them to be respectful, and then ask them if they really are well informed enough to make judgments. They don't have all the facts - it's not even that you've been hiding them, it's more that you've been protecting yourself and your family. Telling your parents that you feel you need to keep them in the dark to protect people you care about is gonna be a helluva slap in the face - but it might be enough to point out that they have no real moral high ground to preach from here.
I'm not saying we should come out about this right now, not saying we should expect that we'll all be happy friends and frolic in meadows with bunnies and unicorns after a few peaceful talks - but my family has taught me that maybe me walking into the whole situation on the defensive immediately makes them think that something is wrong. If they think something is wrong, they automatically assume I've fucked up, and the immediate response to that is to start bitching.
I dunno. Just thoughts. I'm not at all sure how to handle your family.
Last edited by Cricket; 10-10-2010 at 05:24 PM.