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  #91  
Old 07-22-2014, 01:54 PM
dingedheart dingedheart is offline
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I got this email from another forum member who was dating a married man.

Because of continued hostilities even after they broke up 6 months ago she didnt want to post it herself....in fear of potential harassment.

Quote:
The effect of poly on children is not limited to the primary relationship.

I was a secondary for several years. Head over heals in love with a man who was not only my lover but my friend. As our NRE grew, so did his desire to spend more time with me. In the beginning, he could only come over every other weekend when my kids were with their dad. To make more time happen, we had discussed him meeting my children so that he could be present when they were at home. He was excited to do that and honored that I would trust him and care for him that much to introduce him to the 2 most important people of my life.

They got along famously. I believe they brought out a jovial, carefree, fun side of him that he maybe didn't even realize he had. He taught them new things, showed them new places, made them giggle and smile. His presence was never intended to be that of a father figure, but a fun friend who made their mommy smile and included them. They have a wonderful father, replacing him wasn't an option or a motivation.

But his partner thought otherwise. In the midst of a long list of other issues she was suddenly having based on her own jealousy and insecurity, she had drawn a line in the sand, created a hard limit and demanded he cease all interaction with my children. I wasn't aware of this at the time. He would suddenly make excuses on my kid's weekend and reschedule for a weekday once they were gone, or cancel altogether. After several months of this, and dealing with my children asking if he was coming over, why didn't they ever see him, feeling it was unfair that I saw him and they didn't, starting to wonder what they were doing wrong, making promises that this time they would go to bed on time or not fight or whatever to ensure he came back, I finally asked. And he told me. Her Hard Limit. His partner feared that I was scouting him to be a father to my children and would hence leave her for me and my kids.

Really? Seriously? Are you f'ing kidding me?

Not only that, but it was confirmed that to coddle her, he told her that he was annoyed by my kids and that he didn't want to be around them so he would stop. How do you think that felt for me to hear that? These are my precious human beings with hearts and minds that he asked to get to know, and I agreed, that he was fucking off on, on her command.

He did break that commitment to her a couple of times but my kids, by that time, had grown distant to him, scared for their feelings, aloof, acting out, not the same kids who had grown to enjoy him. Then when I explained that to him, he was hurt, offended, upset that I thought it was a mistake to introduce him to my precious children. But yes, if I had known that she would exert such a command and he would abide, I would have thought twice.

As a single parent, one of the biggest challenges I face is when to introduce a new boyfriend to my children. I can say that there have only been 2 in my 7 years of dating. Children get attached and they mourn when they lose someone close to them. When someone just walks away, like in a divorce or friendship, it is a roller coaster. This person CHOSE something else over them and they DO take it personally. Maybe it doesn't manifest right away, maybe it takes awhile but they do feel it. And it is damaging.

As a single parent, I am keenly aware of the effects of ANY relationship I have with ANYONE other than them. Relationships with their father, with their stepmother or step-family, relationships with my friends or family, relationships with lovers or boyfriends.

Yes, through a divorce, there is loss. Absolutely. But usually the other parent is still around to varying degrees. But in these poly breakups where there is no emotional or legal stake, it is pure loss and in their eyes, rejection. Often they are also witnessing and scared or confused by the feelings of loss by the parent left behind, or confused and scared as to who is going to enter, then leave again. It is inevitable that there is detachment from someone in the family.

We worry about who our children interact with outside the home. Who are their friends, who are they dating, who are they hanging out with, who are they meeting when they go out, who will influence their decisions. How about who are we bringing into their lives and realistically how long will they stay around , we know most of the poly relationships are very transient and hardly life long... how much interaction should they have, how much acceptance is expected, how much do we expose them to and why should our personal love and sex lives have to be shoved in their faces? Kids are kids for just a short while and it's tough enough today to be a kid. Why would we make that any more challenging on them than it already is?

I know there are many other Secondaries out there who have felt a similar loss when the Primary partner(s) suddenly decide to change all the rules of engagement. We are left behind to not only pick up the pieces of our own lives from being disposed of often due to jealousy and insecurity or a sense of entitlement or boredom, but then to explain such a stupid loss to our children.

I am dating again. But it will be a cold day in hell before any man ever has that chance to get that close to my kids. There will be a ring on my left finger and a date set before I ever go down that path of jeopardizing their emotions needlessly again.

LR ..

..didnt macca move out twice as a result of being hit with poly or being unable to deal ?
How did you insulate the kids from the tension in the build up to that ...and they were fine with him leaving...they didnt miss their dad ??? How long was he gone each time ? Of all the people you know in real life and through forums and internet chat is your situation the rule or the exception ?
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  #92  
Old 07-22-2014, 05:20 PM
Hannahfluke Hannahfluke is offline
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Our kids were almost 13 and almost 15 when we opened up our marriage. Since we weren't sure exactly what was going to happen, we didn't tell them for a few months. Then one night, after me, my husband, his girlfriend, and another friend went to a concert together, my 15 year old (they'd both had their birthdays by this time) walked into the garage where my husband was giving his girlfriend a goodbye hug and kiss. At that point we sat them down and told them that we had opened our marriage, that Dad loved his girlfriend also, and that it didn't mean we were getting a divorce. That the only thing that it changed is that Mom and Dad now were also dating other people.

That was five years ago. My husband is still dating the same girlfriend and has also dated a few other people. I've dated people but am not really dating anyone right now. Do my kids know we have sex with these other people? Yes, because our bed can be squeaky and because they aren't stupid. Two adults disappearing into a bedroom together for a while usually means one of two things. Do we directly talk to them about it? Not really, because they don't ask questions and so we figure they don't really want to know. We try to respect their feelings.

How do they feel about us being poly? They think we're weird and initially said it wasn't something they could do. The younger one, who is 18 now, still says that he doesn't think he could date someone who is poly and doesn't want to be poly himself. The older one, who is 20 now, says that dating someone who is poly would certainly make explaining his parents' love lives a lot easier. When we've asked, they've commented that no, they don't think us being poly has been detrimental to their lives.
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  #93  
Old 07-22-2014, 05:21 PM
HelloSweety HelloSweety is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClockworkDragon View Post
I recently told my 6 and 8 year olds about our polyamory. I wasn't really wanting to, but my husband insisted; he's been bringing his girlfriends home, and spending time around the kids, and was tired of having to hide hand-holding and snuggling.

So we told them that sometimes grownups love other people. That mommy and daddy weren't getting divorced, but special friends might come over sometimes. And that just like when we get naked sometimes (we've been caught a time or two) what happens in our family is only our family's business.

That's enough, for now. IF they out us, we'll deal with it. WE're not out, yet; he's told his sister, but that's it.

The kids? Don't care. THey're young enough that it's no big deal. THey know that a shut bedroom door means no entry, and that's plenty.

I had to have the Talk with my 8 year old the other day since she caught us on the couch. They're smart kids. Though we haven't been at this long, honestly, it hasn't affected them. They like my hubby's girlfriends, and my oldest is playing with her daughter tonight. MOre playmates are good, right?

Time will tell how it goes from there.

This I agree with. You explained things as they are. You reassured them that this doesn't mean divorce, and you left things open for them to ask questions. You also acknowledge that there human and intelligent. And I'm glad it's going well for you
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  #94  
Old 07-22-2014, 09:01 PM
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Re: http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=70736 ... have read it and now responded to it. Important thread and certainly an example of how poly can hurt the life of your children. I have to say, Jane being away for 4-5 days per week is ridiculous.

Re (from HelloSweety):
Quote:
"When kids want to know something they will ask."
Hmmm, interesting. I think I'm inclined to agree (though it's a rule with possible exceptions).

Okay, example exception. Everything has appeared normal (read: monogamous) up until the day a woman (whom the kids have never met) shows up and sits with Dad on the couch. The two hold hands, kiss, snuggle, etc. ... The kids stare at this spectacle but don't want to ask (perhaps out of fear that this means Mom and Dad are about to break up, and not wanting to know that). In that scenario, perhaps it would be wise to give the kids notice ahead of time about what they might see and what it does and doesn't mean?

Although ... in Hannahfluke's post ... notice ahead of time was not, as turns out, needed. I suppose a lot of it has to do with knowing the unique mindset of each of your kids -- as well as the details of the context.

Re (sent to dingedheart):
Quote:
"After several months of this, and dealing with my children asking if he was coming over, why didn't they ever see him, feeling it was unfair that I saw him and they didn't, starting to wonder what they were doing wrong, making promises that this time they would go to bed on time or not fight or whatever to ensure he came back, I finally asked. And he told me. Her Hard Limit."
Ugh, he should have made that known long before she had to ask him. Removing yourself, without explanation, from the lives of kids who love to see you, is not cool.

Re:
Quote:
"He did break that commitment to her a couple of times but my kids, by that time, had grown distant to him, scared for their feelings, aloof, acting out, not the same kids who had grown to enjoy him. Then when I explained that to him, he was hurt, offended, upset that I thought it was a mistake to introduce him to my precious children. But yes, if I had known that she would exert such a command and he would abide, I would have thought twice."
Yeah I agree with her. He should have told her ahead of time if his removal from her kids' lives might happen at the drop of a hat.

Re:
Quote:
"I am dating again. But it will be a cold day in Hell before any man ever has that chance to get that close to my kids. There will be a ring on my left finger and a date set before I ever go down that path of jeopardizing their emotions needlessly again."
Reasonable enough.
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  #95  
Old 07-22-2014, 10:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dingedheart View Post
LR ..

..didnt macca move out twice as a result of being hit with poly or being unable to deal ?
How did you insulate the kids from the tension in the build up to that ...and they were fine with him leaving...they didnt miss their dad ??? How long was he gone each time ? Of all the people you know in real life and through forums and internet chat is your situation the rule or the exception ?
Yes-Maca moved out twice, I don't know that I can honestly say it was due to being hit with poly, but that was certainly the "last straw".
His psycho ex-wife who was harassing us for 10 years was certainly a MAJOR part of the chaos and trouble in our relationship.
But-the more important point I think is; how did we insulate the kids.

First of all, our issues were never about the kids. Unlike many people, we chose to be conscious of that. From the very beginning of our relationship, our priority was to never undermine any of the parental-adults in the eyes of our children. That included my current boyfriend, because he was already a key parental player to my daughter before Maca and I ever got together.

When Maca moved out, we found a place for him that was walking distance from our house. The kids were told that he needed some time to work through some issues he was struggling with and that was hard to do in a busy house (a concept they understood perfectly well because as home school kids they often needed to go to the library to find a quiet place to do their work-because SO MANY people lived in our household).
There was no "schedule" for them. They had keys to both homes and could come and go as they pleased, as long as they left a note.

Additionally; we weren't at war. We *all* realized we were trying to find solutions to problems that most people just walk away from. We knew we were going to have to be creative and that it wasn't going to be easy to find what would work.

Maca and I continued to have date nights while we lived apart. We talked on the phone. I still managed the finances (which meant paying bills for two homes, coordinating groceries for both homes etc).

We didn't and don't try to keep it a secret that we have encountered issues and struggles in our lives. We do try to make a point of teaching the kids that issues and struggles WILL arise in ANY situation and the key is facing those issues head on, taking time outs when you are emotionally keyed up, using creative, out of the box thinking to find solutions that are win-win for all parties involved.

To be frank; I think one of the biggest issues children face today is parents who try to insulate them from the real world.
In the real world, we encounter all sorts of situations that SUCK. That's called LIFE. Learning how to navigate shitty situations while simultaneously prioritizing your own well-being, upholding personal boundaries, being considerate and conscientious of other peoples well-being and personal boundaries, treating others with respect in their differences ESPECIALLY when you don't agree with them.... these things are lessons children NEED TO LEARN.
People learn best through experience. So, don't hide away the troubles. Do they need to see people beat the crap out of each other? NO WAY
Do they need to see people berate each other, screaming and condemning and demeaning one another? NO WAY

Do they need to see adults face down difficult, painful, problematic situations in healthy, constructive ways? ABSOLUTELY.


**did we always do everything right? of course not! But-have the kids grown and matured and come through it with positive attitudes, healthy opinions about relationships (some mono, some undecided), good understanding of the importance of creating and maintaining personal boundaries... yes. **
I don't think poly is a necessary component for raising healthy, productive, happy kids. I also don't think monogamy is a necessary component.


Of all of the people I know; hmmmm how are we defining "know". Of the people I consider most meaningful in my life, my attitude about raising kids tends to be the norm.
HOWEVER-I observe people in poly and mono and single and divorced and player lifestyles raising kids with absolutely no attention to how their behavior is teaching their kids to be royal assholes. People who make excuses for why they "can't" behave appropriately to others for any number of reasons. Excuses for why they "can't" do the considerate, caring, compassionate thing or "can't" work with someone else for the best interests of a third party. Hell people who have excuses for why they can't actually parent their kids-but refuse to let anyone else do it.

MY conclusion is that most people shouldn't be parenting at all. They have no self-control, self-accountability, self-responsibility; without those things solidly in place, they have no business having children at all.
I don't think it's a poly/mono issue. I think it's a faulty assumption that parenting 'comes naturally'. It does not. Parenting requires a great deal of attention to detail and skill. It also requires a great deal of maturity beyond the self-centered "me, me, me" attitude that prevails currently.
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  #96  
Old 07-22-2014, 10:22 PM
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For my own part, I have no idea whether good poly parenting is the exception or the rule. For that matter, I don't know whether good mono parenting is the exception or the rule, either. Though I admit, the OP of this thread doesn't propose to put monogamy on trial, it proposes to put polyamory on trial.

Re:
Quote:
"I don't think it's a poly/mono issue. I think it's a faulty assumption that parenting 'comes naturally.' It does not."
Well said.
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  #97  
Old 07-26-2014, 08:24 AM
Attarax Attarax is offline
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Had to come back to the top and post a warning after typing the rest. This is ungodly long winded and I apologize in advance. Rambly and poorly written, but hopefully, even if you skim it, you'll see what I was trying to say.



So...*wow need to shake the head a bit* I read through most of the thread. (sorry the point and counterpoint discussion on the Dr.'s opinion piece was a bit much to really read it all, I just gleaned the info.)

I did want to add my small part since I am poly and do have children. Both are male, one is 13 and one is 12. I came out to them because the situation with the hubby and the bf was getting to a point where my kids would start noticing.

...funny enough, we didn't give them enough credit because they noticed long before we thought they would...more on that later.

To hash it out without over expanding, I guess you could say I was poly from when my kids were just starting school. I'm talking one in 2nd grade and one in 1st. The first poly relationship was very long distance, he lived on an opposite coast from the hubby and I, so visiting was a rare occurrence and he was considered "just a friend". That lasted for a little over a year and then circumstances and life happened.

I went away to visit my parents abroad with my children and stayed away for 2 months. The hubby thought it would be fine (my parents were the ones who wanted to see their grandkids, it wasn't a case of me wanting to run away or anything.) but then he realized he missed us, missed the noise, missed just family life in general and that the bachelor life of gaming, sleeping late, working, etc. just wasn't for him anymore. (yay! right? o.O)

The 2nd time we had a 3rd in our life happened by accident. At this point I had already "fessed" up to my sister (she is 8 years younger than me) about what I've gotten myself into lately (Her reaction? "Well, you've always been the black sheep of the family...and of all of us are the happiest...soooo...gah, why are you so weird?!" Then she punched me in the shoulder as siblings do and laughed.)

Anyway she found our second 3rd online while I was chatting on a vidchat site. By this time, my kids were about 7 and 8 years old. That 3rd ended up moving to the same coast but a state away. Visitation was more often but still not a common occurrence. It was common enough, however, that my children did end up forming a connection to him and saw him as another adult to have company with.

That relationship lasted about 3-4 (or is it 4-5 years?...I can't really recall) and unfortunately for me ended badly. The hubby and that 3rd remained friends, but only because I had to honestly tell the hubby he could. My hubby has always put me first, as I do him, when in situations such as this. I had to put my hurt ragey feelings aside to analyze and deal with later and allow his friendship with our ex-3rd to continue...because really they became great friends.

The only negative effect it had on my kids was that they saw me really really f*cking depressed. I never took it out on them, and when they asked why I was sad I told them that I was hurt, that a really close friend hurt me and I'm dealing with it but not to worry. As sharp as they were/are they asked me if it was the ex-3rd. I said yes. They asked if they should be angry too. I said they didn't have to be but whatever they were feeling was what they were feeling. My eldest told me that he was mad because ex-3rd made me cry and made me sad, but as long as I got better, he wouldn't be too angry at ex-3rd. My youngest just spend more time with me giving me hugs...he wasn't as articulate in expressing himself verbally.

Now..at that time, after that I felt Poly wasn't for me. That I had made a mistake, that ... it was affecting my core family. And so I chose not to be anymore. I chose to just continue on with my life, with the caveat that if my hubby found new love then I would support him as much as he supported me (and god help him if he dissapoints in the bedroom because then I'd be embarassed. lol)

The hubby gf thing never happened, though we had a few mutual female friends who did get a shot at him. (and thankfully were satisfied). Other than that, he just felt as if putting forth the effort to "pull" was just something he wasn't in to, and had no time for (he is the major breadwinner of the family).

So now...our kids are 13 and 12...I/we came out to them at 12 and 11.

The one rule in the house is honesty and don't lie to me....only because my children have 100% of my trust, given freely, and not earned, but they have understood that if they ever do something and lie then they have chosen to intentionally lose that trust and the % decreases monumentally and they would have to give precise intellectual arguments for whatever it is that I then would need to "trust" them on. Harsh, yes, but so much more lenient than when I was growing up...which they know.

So...funnily enough, when I came out to the boys as poly...I first had to come out as bi. Coming out with my sexual orientation was never in the cards, but it's a part of me and I wanted to "test the waters" as it were with my children with this one issue before broaching the other...as well as see what type of children I had.

My eldest had this lightbulb flash over his head. "OH! So that's why (*close female friend*) was always hanging out with you and you guys would go dancing a lot." *blinks* "(*close female friend #2*) too?!" I just kind of nod and wait....then he looks up at me and goes "Niiiice." (Have I mentioned my eldest is kind of a dork?) Then I bring up why I had to come out to him...and said "Do you really want to know the next part? You don't have to, it's your choice, but realized I disclosed my orientation...so the next thing is bigger than that." I kept folding laundry and waited. My eldest shrugged and went "Sure. Why not right?" So I started with "Okay..so you know how (current bf name) is always hanging out and sleeping on the cou-..." "Oh that? Yeah I figured that out a while back." *picture me stunned and looking at him as he laughs at me*

"Uhm. how?" Apparently my son had in the morning come in at one point to use the bathroom (we have a 3 br 1 br house, the br is connected to the Mbr via sliding door)...and the sliding door was left open. He saw me sleeping in bed with who he assumed was his father spooning up behind me. (Normally bf slept on the couch but we had a raucous night out and got sloppy with sleeping arrangements) he did a doubletake when he realized that his father had already left for work. He saw it was (current bf) and apparently put 2 and 2 together at that moment and continued on with his day.

When I asked him why he didn't say anything before he replied "Because it was fun? Just kidding, because it didn't matter....aaand because if I asked you'd answer, but I figured I'd let you tell me when you were ready. That's how it works right?" .... other standing rule.... if my boys have a question we will answer to the best of our ability. Be it sexuality, politics, religion...we will attempt to give an answer that encompasses both sides of an argument and let them decide on their viewpoint.

I then asked my eldest if I should tell his younger brother. He nodded at me and told me that since he knew, if his brother didn't then his brother would feel left out and angry...besides, it would be fun. (*facepalm*)

So I called my youngest into the room...and looked at my eldest as I started with. "What do you think of gay people?" ... My youngest looked at me like I was a moron and said "Duh. They're People?" (in that honest yet condescending tone only children could muster.) my eldest at that point laughed out loud and my youngest snickered at me. After we all calmed down and I finished feeling my high of "my sons are neat", I told my youngest I was Bi....he gave me the same look...and told me that he thought friend #2 was cuter than friend #1. *facepalm again*

At that point I felt pretty good about confessing the other part of everything but I stalled and looked at my youngest, my eldest seeing my hesitation said "Hey, remember that thing we talked about?" *youngest gave him a quizzical look* "We were right, mama, papa, and bf are together." at that point my youngest went "Psh, is that all? I figured that out a while ago...anything else mama or can I go back to my game?"

....whew...so I could've summed that up faster, but I wanted to tell it the way it happened with the needed back story snippets.
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  #98  
Old 07-26-2014, 08:25 AM
Attarax Attarax is offline
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(continued from above)

My sons go to public school. They are not bullied. When they were younger, they were, but beyond one physical confrontation that my youngest had (he's actually the bigger of my two sons) nothing much else affects them. They are pretty mature for their ages though they are still kids..okay teen and pre-teen, and really don't care much for their own age group or the drama that happens in school. My eldest is into choir and acting, my youngest is into choir and football. They are both gamers be it tabletop, console, or computer.

The view our current bf as a "man child" (their definition not mine, though I snorted coffee out my nose when they told me this) and my youngest has said that he feels comfortable speaking to my bf first before speaking to the parental units...basically running ideas/questions by an impartial adult before speaking to the parents. My eldest views the bf as a nice guy and a personal chauffeur...and both my kids view the bf as family.

The bf has moved in with us, he and the hubby bought a king sized bed for the mbr (it's for our dog mostly...big thing thinks he's a lap dog *sigh*), and life goes on as normal.

Am I worried about being "outed" to strangers and extended family someday? Eh..some days yes, some days no. My mother an father in law ask about the bf when he doesn't show up. My mother in law met the ex-3rd before and she commented that "It's like you have a second husband!" when he had to stand in for the hubby during a family outing. (Hubby couldn't get the day off work.)

The bf has spent holidays with my inlaws. My sister and youngest brother know, my friends and ex co-workers know, one of my cousins is also in the know because she asked me about her situation...other than that people who honestly ask...pointedly, not hemming around the bush digging mind you, I will tell. We don't advertise but we don't hide. We also don't engage in overt displays of affection. We are well past the honeymoon stage.

I'm sorry if I got off track with this reply...but I just wanted to add my experience to this....and even though it sounds all good...and it is, really, there is still all the inner me issues I'm dealing with that I hope will find some resolution because of this forum and the people in it.
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Old 07-26-2014, 04:50 PM
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Thank you for those posts Attarax, that story is wonderful and it gives me a sense of encouragement. Whatever you need to work through, we, as a forum, will try to help.

Sincerely,
Kevin T.
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Old 08-10-2014, 09:32 PM
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Just now caught sight of a post relating to this thread:
My only cavil is that the individual studies don't have web links to them; I guess they're accessed via an old-fashioned library?
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