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Old 06-11-2012, 05:46 AM
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polylicious polylicious is offline
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Default 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.
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Last edited by polylicious; 06-11-2012 at 05:48 AM.
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Old 06-11-2012, 08:32 AM
dingedheart dingedheart is offline
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Maybe being hit with these major changes every few years ....leaving the church, mom's bisexuality and almost divorcing ....now poly ...out growth of the former....instability or fear of collapse never goes away. Wanting to be normal or from normal parents....

Would they be apposed to family counseling? Or perhaps the kids could go as a group without you to discuss their isssues and fears....give them a safe place to unload.
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Old 06-11-2012, 09:27 AM
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Anneintherain Anneintherain is offline
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I hate to say this, as I like to think kids are open to different dynamics but.. I'd just keep poly and other relationships out of the house when it's affecting the kids that much.

I am curious, how long have you and your girlfriend have been involved, sounds like about a year? Having somebody spend the night two months after letting your kids know you were dating sounds like too much too soon. Your kids already met your girlfriend? Did they like her when they thought she was just a friend?

I also would hope you aren't introducing partners too soon, single parents also often make sure they've a "serious" relationship before introducing a SO to their kids. And well..yes I think it IS selfish to feel the need to parade your girlfriend around under the situation you describe. Go to her house for overnight dates, let your wife show your kids she's fine with it.

It's not necessary to acknowledge her as a romantic partner when she's around the kids, or to be physically affectionate. You've told them, they know, to them it's just as if you're grabbing your wife's chest in front of them, they don't want to know, they don't care to know, they really want you to just shut up about your love life because it's repellent because you're their parents. Doesn't mean you have to stop being poly, but I sure remember hating being aware of my parent's cheating & swinging. Was NOT my business or something I needed to know. I was glad to know people were my parent's friends - what happened behind closed doors was not my business.
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Old 06-11-2012, 12:48 PM
WhatHappened WhatHappened is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anneintherain View Post

It's not necessary to acknowledge her as a romantic partner when she's around the kids, or to be physically affectionate. You've told them, they know, to them it's just as if you're grabbing your wife's chest in front of them, they don't want to know, they don't care to know, they really want you to just shut up about your love life because it's repellent because you're their parents. Doesn't mean you have to stop being poly, but I sure remember hating being aware of my parent's cheating & swinging. Was NOT my business or something I needed to know. I was glad to know people were my parent's friends - what happened behind closed doors was not my business.
Exactly.

Kids do not want to know about their parents' sex lives in any way, shape, or form.

My mother decided to tell me (in the briefest possible manner) about the conception of my two youngest siblings. I was incredibly turned off by that, and 25 years later still wish she had just kept it to herself and talked to her friends.
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Old 06-11-2012, 02:20 PM
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polylicious polylicious is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anneintherain View Post
I hate to say this, as I like to think kids are open to different dynamics but.. I'd just keep poly and other relationships out of the house when it's affecting the kids that much.

I am curious, how long have you and your girlfriend have been involved, sounds like about a year? Having somebody spend the night two months after letting your kids know you were dating sounds like too much too soon. Your kids already met your girlfriend? Did they like her when they thought she was just a friend?
I am tending to agree, it's too painful for them. Too overwhelming.

It may have all been too much too soon. I think I was partly living in dreamland where everyone would just be one big happy family and my GF would be seen as Aunty T and everyone would be happy. Maybe I should have been born in the 50's and lived in a Commune in the 60's/70's. I think that was my mentality -- it still is... everyone just loving and accepting and getting along with everyone else. Nice sentiment/dream/mindset/DNA however, not very practical when faced with the Reality of human nature.

Previously they knew her to be a friend of mine and my wife, yes.

The bottom line is I suppose, I could and should view it as my 'sex life' and or 'intimate life' and you don't share that with kids. We're not living on a Commune, they are not ok with it (the younger of the 3 anyway) and maybe with time they will be... but how I live and what I do and how I do it and with whom, should be private. And though there has been zero public displays of affection with the kids, just them knowing I'm sleeping upstairs if we're visiting and or sleeping over if I'm visiting...it is too much for them. Plus the fears of losing their Family / Foundation / Daddy and Mommy and the weirdness and hurt of it all against their sense of what is 'right'... maybe we just need to move to BC and find ourselves a Commune and or Community. Calgary has an intentional community I've thought about maybe moving to too. Anyway. Blah blah blah. THANK YOU.
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Old 06-11-2012, 02:41 PM
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SNeacail SNeacail is offline
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You are dealing with teenage girls, they WILL cry and tend toward the dramatic (as do 12-14 yr old boys). That being said, I agree that you should look into some family counciling. They need a safe place to address issues and fears.

2 teenage girls, a preteen and a wife all living in the same house together MY SYMPATHIES!.
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Old 06-11-2012, 05:44 PM
GreenMom GreenMom is offline
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I guess I don't understand why the "kids, we're poly" topic had to come up at all. But then, my kids are only 2 & 4. I just don't see how the fact I'm poly, or bi, or anything else pertaining to my romantic and sexual life is any of my kids business. When my boyfriend comes over, it's no different than when my other friends come over. I don't behave in any way that should raise a red flag from even an older child -- but then, I also don't behave inappropriately with my husband in front of the kids.

I agree with the posters saying that it is probably way more information than your kids wanted about their parents' personal lives. I hope your family can sort it out so things aren't so dramatic in your home and your kids can feel better about things.
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Old 06-11-2012, 02:13 PM
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polylicious polylicious is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dingedheart View Post
Maybe being hit with these major changes every few years ....leaving the church, mom's bisexuality and almost divorcing ....now poly ...out growth of the former....instability or fear of collapse never goes away. Wanting to be normal or from normal parents....

Would they be apposed to family counseling? Or perhaps the kids could go as a group without you to discuss their isssues and fears....give them a safe place to unload.
Very good ideas and thoughts, thank you.
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"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
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Old 06-12-2012, 03:35 AM
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LotusesandRoses LotusesandRoses is offline
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Agreed with others - It's been too much change too fast. Maybe you should consider getting involved with a GLBTQ friendly church, like the Unitarian Universalists. Having a relationship with God is very beneficial for teens, and I suspect Unitarians would also be poly-friendly.

I also agree with Green Mom - I'm not sure why it has to be a formal thing. Then again, I went on a date with a whole family, and the kids were great and didn't seem to be torn to bits by parents making a new friend - I liked the way the couple handles it... They have and make new friends, and seem to super slowly introduce new friends. Kids handle individuals and situations far better than labels. We should learn from that.
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Old 06-12-2012, 04:19 AM
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NovemberRain NovemberRain is offline
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I don't know that this will help, but I have another perspective. I think it's wonderful that your children feel safe enough to BE dramatic in your family. My family wouldn't have tolerated any of that behaviour out of me. Drama AND feelings, basically not acceptable; especially if they were contrary to the prevailing whatevers (feelings, environment, decisions).

I remember lots of my parents friends, my mother loved to entertain, and was likely an extravert. Many years later, I learned that lots of the women who came to dinner, one with whom we were close (went to the cabin, she gave me presents) were more than friends. My parents weren't exactly poly, and I'm fairly certain there wasn't too much ethical going on, but there were definitely things going on that I'm happy I didn't know then.

****
and, the talk of PDAs reminds me of one of my happiest memories. Found my dad in the living room and he just looked all high and dreamy. I might have asked, but he said, 'your mom just kissed me *sigh* and she was wearing the lipstick she used to wear in high school.'
Even then, when I thought kissing was basically gross, it made a huge impression on me. I hoped one day some man would be that silly over kissing ME.
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