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Old 10-12-2012, 11:07 PM
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MusicalRose MusicalRose is offline
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Originally Posted by AggieSez View Post
Thanks @musicalrose

Yes, considerations of jobs, housing, extended family, custody, etc. can certainly complicate decisions about poly outness. I certainly don't begrudge anyone their choice, as long as they're clear and up front with their partners about it.

That said, as I mentioned in my post, often despite our best efforts to control access to our own personal info, often people do get outed by others against their wishes or before they're ready.

I'm curious: given how much you & your partners seem to have at stake, do you have a contingency plan to handle unintended or premature outing?

Thanks for the proofreading. Will fix that typo when I'm back on my computer.
We are hoping that IF they are outed at work and IF one or both of them is fired for it, that they won't have too much trouble finding work elsewhere. There are at least a few people in the office that are also personal friends of ours and already know and would probably act as professional references for them. We aren't sure they would be fired, but we are treading carefully for now.

If we are outed to my fiance's parents, we will just deal with it. It isn't ideal for them to know, but it won't be the end of the world if they find out either. Either they will eventually drop the subject or accept it on a basic level, or they will raise enough hell that my fiance will stop dealing with them. I'm trying not to stress out too much about it. Right now our secrecy with them is preferred rather than necessary, at the very least until our wedding goes through. We don't want them to interfere with the wedding planning or cause a scene.
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Old 10-12-2012, 11:19 PM
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Alleycat Alleycat is offline
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To our friends; Me and the wife are very open with how we operate, everyone who knows us knows how we have additional relationships which is nice because when one of us ends up with an additional partner they usually have a much easier time integrating into our social circles as the behaviour and relationship model is long since known and accepted.

Actually with the mention about "couple privileges" and "openness" and such;
Part of the reason that we are as open as we are with our social circles is specifically so that anyone we get involved with outside of each other isn't made to feel like a dirty-little-secret/shameful-something-on-the-side/etc. Frankly I think it would be horrible if I couldn't walk down the street in public holding my girlfriend's hand. In my mind not being able to openly celebrate or address a bond with someone would be lending a tone of invalidation the relationship.

Our families are aware as well, and accepting of it but for the most part prefer if we're not exceedingly overt around the elder members of the family (most of them anyway, I've got a great-aunt in her 80's who's curiously . . . . . . well versed . . . . . on some of the ins and outs of multiple partner relationships, and rather joyful to meet any ladies either of us get involved with ) Of course this is also the way my wifes family treats wifes bisexuality. Which is to say they recognise it, but don't really approach the subject in detail.

At work several of my co-workers who've know me and/or my wife for years know we're poly and what that involves, but for the most part its not mentioned around the office and management isn't privy to that information.
Not that it could have a negative impact on me professionally, but because I keep most details of my life outside of the job on a need-to-know basis, and for the most part my employer does not need to know more than the most scant details about how I live outside of the work day.
I don't see it as being any of their business really.
(In fact as far as the job goes, I'd be more comfortable and likely opening up with being poly than say, my religious beliefs and practices or my social politics)
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Old 10-12-2012, 11:52 PM
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gomugirl1656 gomugirl1656 is offline
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Default Out

I am out to my family, and many of my friends know if they are close to me.
Work wasn't an issue since I worked for my father-in-law.

Mad Science: out to family and friends but not at work, it's not really a big deal at this point.

Prof: out at work and with friends but as far as family only his mom knows

Self honesty, communication, respect trifecta of a good start.
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Old 10-13-2012, 12:54 PM
JaneQSmythe JaneQSmythe is offline
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This just came up in some other threads I was posting in here so I will quote myself again in answering the "how out are you" question":

... we are not "out" to the world at large - and won't be, at least until I retire, due to my profession (morality clauses and whatnot).

I can't say that this particularly bothers me - there are many areas of my life that I keep "private" from the world at large. But then again, I am a generally private person - I do not develop social friendships with coworkers, for instance. I tend to divide people into three spheres - professional/public, family/acquaintances, chosen family/close friends.

How I present/interact with Dude (or my female FWB for that matter) depends on which "sphere" I am in. In a professional/public context - he is my husband's best friend who I am also close to. I might tell a story about a meal he cooked for us, we might be seen eating or shopping together (with no PDA), I will introduce him as "our friend" if I run into people while we are out.

In a family/acquaintance context - people know that he lives with us but not that we are "together", I might tell a story about how he answered the door in his underwear, I will refer to him as "our roommate".

In a chosen family/close friends context - people know he is my "boyfriend", I might tell a story about a funny thing that happened during sex, or talk about how our feelings have evolved over time.

These levels feel natural to me. I don't think "everyone in my life" - from my boss to the maillady - has a right to know my personal business. My family is great - but they are related to me by accident of birth, not by choice. Acquaintances may be nice people - I interact with them around certain activities or talk with them on limited topics. Just because family/acquaintances share some aspects of my life, doesn't mean that they have to share ALL of them. Chosen family and close friends are the only people who, I think, are entitled to the "real me" - otherwise they aren't chosen family/close friends - these people love ME. They might not agree with me but they get the whole ME.
I talk about this a little more in my "Notebook" blog on this site where I add:

Luckily for me, my two boys understand and concur with my analysis. We are not at odds about this. I have encouraged Dude to share and seek support from friends (many of whom we have yet to meet) if he wants to. Apparently he has chosen well. He tells me that the few people that he has discussed this with have been of the mindset of "As long as you are happy...." MrS's/my mutual friends were tentatively okay with it as they puzzled it out and realized that #1.) no one was being manipulated/abused and #2.) this did not necessarily change our relationships with them (i.e. no one else was expected to by poly just because we were).

Actually, my biggest fear comes from what happens when Dude decides to start dating again (he's been pretty caught up with his NRE for me/us and hasn't seen anyone new since he moved in.) He says that anyone he dates would have to be okay with him continuing to see me (although the shape of our relationship might/will change) - but I worry about what happens when they argue and she threatens to "out" us. (I hope this is paranoia talking - his last GF, CrazyGirl, is seriously nuts, knows that we are somehow 'involved', partially blames me for their last break-up, and STILL hasn't tried to ruin our lives...)

PS. In the public/professional sphere I tend not to be vocal about my political or religious views either...so most random people will assume that I am a "straight-monogamist-republican-protestant christian" because that is what they expect of someone of my age/gender/profession - when in fact I am a "bisexual-polyamorist-libertarian-agnostic". Most of the time I just sit back and chuckle at how their assumptions manifest themselves.
JaneQ(Me): poly bi female, in an "open-but-not-looking" V-plus with -
MrS: hetero polyflexible male, live-in husband (25+ yrs)
Dude: hetero poly male, live-in boyfriend (7+ yrs) and MrS's BFF
SLeW: platonic hetero girlfriend and BFF
MrClean: hetero mono male, almost lover-friend to me, ex-FWBs to SLeW, friends with MrS
+ "others" = FBs, FWBs, lover-friends, platonic G/BFs, boytoys, etc.

My poly blogs here:
The Journey of JaneQSmythe
The Notebook of JaneQSmythe
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Old 10-13-2012, 06:01 PM
AutumnalTone AutumnalTone is offline
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Originally Posted by AggieSez View Post
In that post, one of the first points I make is that sometimes it can be really confusing to figure out how out someone is -- especially if they aren't thinking or communicating about outness very clearly or honestly.
There's the fundamental problem I have with this discussion. It's not clear how any given person relates to others when encountered in public. I've no idea, based on just looking at random people in public areas, whether they're mono or poly. That couple could be married, could be dating, could be close friends, could be having an affair--I don't know.

Now, with that being the normal course of affairs, the idea that poly folk should behave in some fashion that everybody can know they're poly just from encountering them seems silly to me. I have to say that when I've been out in public at restaurants with my wife and amorata, we haven't hid anything. Yet, nobody looking on casually would be able to tell which of the ladies is the wife, nor necessarily even that I share romantic connections with each.

It also appears to me that much of what you attribute to couple privilege has nothing to do with privilege and a great deal to do with very practical matters--the possible loss of employment and the like, simply for openly loving too many people. If such situations weren't part of the picture, then I could take complaints about couple privilege more seriously.
When speaking of various forms of non-monogamy...it ain't poly if you're just fucking around.

While polyamory, open relationships, and swinging are all distinctly different approaches to non-monogamy, they are not mutually exlusive. Folks can, and some do, engage in more than one of them at a time--and it's all good.
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Old 10-13-2012, 06:44 PM
AggieSez AggieSez is offline
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Default Thanks for the responses -- and what do solo poly people think?

Thanks for the many thoughtful responses to this thread.

I've notice that the vast majority of these responses came from people who are part of a primary-style couple. I'd also love to hear views from solo poly/open people -- that is, people who don't have (and who maybe aren't seeking or don't want) a primary-style relationship of their own.

If you're solo (or maybe just consider yourself "single") and are or have been involved in poly/open relationships as a solo/single person:
- How out are you about being poly/open? In what contexts?
- Why are you out (or not)?
- What issues have you encountered regarding how out your significant relationship partners are/have been -- especially if you've been involved with people who do have a primary partner?


- Aggie
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Old 10-13-2012, 07:11 PM
AggieSez AggieSez is offline
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Thanks, AutumnalTone

To clarify my remark that it can be difficult to tell how out someone is about being poly/open -- I wasn't really talking about walking past a stranger on the street and being able to tell whether they're poly.

Rather, I am talking about being able to discern how out someone who you are in a relationship with (or are becoming intimately involved with) really is. Especially if that person already has a primary partner. Because IME that's often not really obvious. People often don't think clearly and honestly, or communicate clearly or honestly, about how out they are or are willing to be.

Consequently, it's common for nonprimary partners to end up getting treated more or less like a secret -- regardless of whether they want or would agree to be closeted. That's a VERY common problem for nonprimary partners, especially for solo poly folk. Often this truth only emerges after a nonprimary relationship has become well established. Months or years down the line, the primary partner starts stumbling over previously undisclosed and non-negotiated (and non-negotiable) boundaries, exclusions, or requirements. This can be especially painful if your partner has a very public primary relationship, yet treats you like a secret, and expects you to be complicit in this secrecy.

Many people (especially straight primary/married poly couples) are quick to justify this closeting as a practical necessity driven by professional, legal, financial , or family concerns. Sometimes that is very clearly the case. (I mean, hell, it's still legal to be fired for being gay in over half of US states.)

However, I've also known several poly/open primary couples, even married ones (a few living in conservative states or communities), who do not conceal their additional relationships -- and the sky hasn't fallen. They haven't lost their jobs, their families haven't disowned them, their children haven't been confiscated, they haven't been evicted.

So, respectfully, I'd like to submit that perhaps such justifications often are really based more on assumptions that also conveniently happen to preserve couple privilege.

I say this because when I speak to poly couples who choose to stay in the closet and who expect their additional partners to keep this secret, I've found that usually they appear to be mostly clinging abstractly to those assumptions and fears. Generally they do little or nothing to research the facts about those risks, or to explore options to mitigate those risks which don't involve treating nonprimary partners as a secret or requiring them to closet or censor themselves on your behalf.

What do couples get out of preserving couple privilege? The many, many social recognitions and benefits that come with presenting as a committed primary couple, especially a hetero married couple. Plus the personal benefits of partners reinforcing primacy to each other. ("You're really #1, because I'll always put any other partners needs behind yours.") But if you have additional partners who stay closeted on your behalf, those benefits don't come free. Someone else is paying for them -- perhaps unwillingly.

- Aggie
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Old 10-13-2012, 07:15 PM
AggieSez AggieSez is offline
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correcting a typo:

I meant to write: "Months or years down the line, the non-primary partner starts stumbling over previously undisclosed...
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Old 10-13-2012, 11:29 PM
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Arrowbound Arrowbound is offline
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I'm out to the people that matter, the ones closest to me. I'll be out to any potential partners in the future. Anyone else might or might not find out in their own time. I don't worry about it at this point.
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Old 10-14-2012, 12:35 AM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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Originally Posted by AggieSez View Post
. . . I am talking about being able to discern how out someone who you are in a relationship with (or are becoming intimately involved with) really is. Especially if that person already has a primary partner. Because IME that's often not really obvious. People often don't think clearly and honestly, or communicate clearly or honestly, about how out they are or are willing to be.
I find this a very strange statement. I mean, if I (solo) were considering getting into a relationship with a married guy, this is all definitely part of what we would discuss. And if what he said wasn't clear, I would keep asking questions and pose scenarios until it was clear. I really don't see how cloudy it could be -- certainly a married person would know how to answer, if asked, whether or not he could engage in public displays of affection with a non-spouse around his family or co-workers, for example.

The world opens up... when you do.

"Oh, oh, can't you see? Love is the drug for me." ~Bryan Ferry
"Love and the self are one . . ." ~Leo Buscaglia

Click here for a Solo Poly view on hierarchical relationships
Click here to find out why the Polyamorous Misanthrope is feeling disgusted.
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