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  #1  
Old 09-11-2010, 02:53 AM
CowleyRoad CowleyRoad is offline
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Default On coming out, and false friends

My wife and I have only very recently started in a polyamorous relationship. We don't have a lot of friends anyway, and the friends we do have are mostly either socially conservative or very religious. So as a result we don't talk to our friends about what we're doing.

We'd hoped that the message board where we met would be a little more understanding. It's a generally left-leaning board politically, and although there aren't many openly poly posters we thought we'd receive a better welcome if we were "out" there. Wow, were we ever wrong. Just as we were thinking of doing so, there were a couple of threads about group marriage and/or polyamory. It's clear that there are a lot of posters who we've known for years and thought were fairly tolerant on other sexual minorities are for some reason extremely anti-poly.

One of the threads discussed a person who'd had a poly relationship some years ago, but later developed a mono relationship with a woman--who went on to cheat him and leave him. People were falling all over themselves to blame the guy because of his earlier poly relationship...a lot of them suggesting that it was his earlier polyamory that let the woman know it was "OK to cheat." There were a lot of nasty things said about polyamory in general, and not a lot of people defending him.

But today a thread went really over the line. It started as a thread about whether it was OK to socialize with someone in a group marriage. You know, because that's such a controversial topic. One usually fairly left-leaning poster started ripping on group marriage, poly, and swinging in general, and came up with this gem:
Quote:
(paraphrased so it can't be googled) Women who agree to swinging or polyamory relationships with men are almost always victims of sexual abuse, and men in those relationships are taking advantage of them. Those are very sleazy situations.
The upshot of all of this is, as you can imagine, we're not "coming out" on that message board any time soon. And honestly the whole situation has really soured me on being able to talk to anyone (save you guys ) about any topic regarding polyamory.

I guess what I'm asking here is two things. First of all, why are people who are usually tolerant on sexual minorities so anti-poly? You have to realize on this board I'm talking about, if you aren't a supporter of gay marriage, you're all but a pariah, so it's not as if this is some hotbed of social conservatism...and yet the level of anti-polyamory is fairly high. Second, how can you know who to talk to about this? There is one other person on that message board who does know about it...but I wouldn't have spoken to her if I hadn't felt 100% safe that she would keep what I said confidential. Barring that, how can one know that one has a safe haven?
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Old 09-11-2010, 03:54 AM
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LovingRadiance LovingRadiance is offline
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There isn't a way to know that someone is 100% a safe haven really.

We've been lucky personally-but where we live is generally very open-minded and easy going ANYWAY.

We're out to damn near everyone we know. We've all lived in the community our whole lives and we are in contact with people we've known from childhood. But we've had very few people react negatively at all.
The few that were at all negative limited it to "there is NO WAY I could handle that". But they certainly didn't judge us harshly or end their relationships with us over it.

Maca is out to a number of his coworkers.
I don't work, but I'm out to everyone except our homeschool program (which is state run). That isn't so much a matter of not wanting to be "honest" with them, as much as the topic has never arisen.
They KNOW all of us and they know we are all signers for the kids and all of those things. GG participates as a "parent" for the kids there. But they've never asked or inquired as to WHAT the roles are between us adults.

Everyone else-I'm just me. Most of the time the question arises after they see me kiss GG or holding his hand. Once asked I just tell them, we have a polyamorous family and he's my boyfriend, yes Maca and I are still happily married and no we aren't getting divorced, yes of course he knows-we all live together.

Our extended families know. I don't think my stepsiblings on my dad's side know-but we aren't close and don't keep in touch. I don't think that my brothers wife knows-but that's mostly because she doesn't want to, she SEE'S it, just doesn't chose to acknowledge. I don't think Maca's brothers wife knows-but I haven't seen her in YEARS quite literally-even though they live a couple miles down the road.
All of our parents know and GG's siblings know too.

I guess for us-we just don't give a shit what people think, so we don't make an effort to worry about what they will think. This is us, this is our life; take it or leave it.

Even our kids know-ranging from 19 years down to 3 years with the middle ones being 10, 13, 14. They know-they don't care. We've all lived together for most of their lives....
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Old 09-11-2010, 05:55 PM
Quath Quath is offline
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It is way too easy to look down on those that are different then you. I think that is part of human nature to a degree. But we can learn to overcome these prejudices. I grew up in southern USA and I saw a lot of racism. (I am a white male BTW.) Interracial relationships were very frowned upon. But when I talk to some people from back home, that is not really an issue anymore (because they have moved on to gay marriage). However, it is progress. Both the left and the right keep moving left over time. Many conservative parties of today may be seen as liberal by historical standards.

So for me, the short answer is that it is human nature from not being exposed in a human way to someone of that minority. For example, if we talked about furries (a kink in which people who take on an animal avatar and may dress up during sex) I am sure that on here, there would be some who would poke fun at them or pick on them to a degree. But if a member stood up and said they were a furry, suddenly people would get very polite and may actually listen to a personal story.

You can test the waters some by challenging bad assertions. For example, you can ask where the person got their data that women in open relationships were abused. I have heard a similar statistic to "explain" lesbians.

Another approach is just to some out and say that you are surprised by the hostility toards people who have a different relationship model. You may find out there is a silent majority of supporters. Or you may get a lot of curious questions. But if you did that, you may be the token open marriage people until someone else comes out.

I work around a lot of scientists. When the topic of gay marriage came up, there was one guy who was against it. His statement was, "If you allow gay marriage, then by the same concept, you have to eventually allow group marriage." That took several people by surprise because they saw the logic of it. But then they agreed and said, "I don't have a problem with that."

I see it a lot like gay relationships. They won rights by coming out and showing that they were just regular people. I think poly is in that beginning state of winning society's trust.
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Old 09-11-2010, 08:10 PM
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MonoVCPHG MonoVCPHG is offline
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Gay marraige isn't much a stretch for most the people I know. It essentially conforms to all the other societal norms and expectations with one exception;gender. People generally don't see a problem with one person loving another...they understand loving some "one". They don't understand loving more than some one. I am out to everyone who matters. With those select people I am willing to work to normalize and explain my relationship. I don't really care about or invest in a lot of people so there are very few worth the effort to me. I am never surprised by disaproval or negativity....I posses part of it as well and therefore understand the primal resistance to multi-partner relationships. Ironic that I am so happy within my own.
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Old 09-11-2010, 08:23 PM
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Cowley, I don't know what others have said, because I skipped to writing right away, sorry if I repeat as a result.

I think that the person who you quoted should be called out for saying something in terms of generalities. No one should ever make a sweeping statement ever. It is entirely unfair to do so. What the hell does anyone know of a topic in its entirety? no one. I could be poly for a million years and still I don't think I have the right to say that poly is anything but my own experience of it! They should be called on that, because that is THEIR experience and obviously they have no idea what they are talking about in terms of others experiences. It really bothers me that people reading that will also decide the same thing because of what they said. It is disrespectful to make sweeping generalizations of whole communities. It's like saying that everyone who is a polygamist abuses young girls... or all priests abuse young boys. Not true, there have been cases of that, but we cannot assume that that is the norm and always happens, because it doesn't.

My other thought is that mainstream media has told us it's okay to be accepting of same sex stuff... but not poly yet... they are listening to mainstream media and have thought about it and have decided that it must be okay... ten years from now I wonder if they will be singing the same tune about poly and be on the band wagon about bad mouthing something else... we are all such sheep aren't we?
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Old 09-12-2010, 07:28 AM
LScribbens LScribbens is offline
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My only advice is this:

Decide how "out" you want to be, then let the chips fall where they may. As Dr. Seuss said: "Those that care don't matter, and those that matter won't care."
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Old 09-12-2010, 01:13 PM
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Breathesgirl Breathesgirl is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redpepper View Post

I think that the person who you quoted should be called out for saying something in terms of generalities. No one should ever make a sweeping statement ever. It is entirely unfair to do so.
I belong to a Yahoo poly group that will ask for citations, sources, etc. if/when someone does make such a generalized statement. Maybe you could do the same, ask for the source where they got that information. It wouldn't out you &, if there is source work, you might learn something new or be able to find a flaw & argue the flaw rather than the generality.
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Old 09-12-2010, 05:21 PM
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MsKtty89 MsKtty89 is offline
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I agree with LScribbens. Laughingman and I haven't fully come out to everyone yet, just our close friends, and we knew it was a risk. We had one bad reaction out of four friends, but that turned around after a couple days. (We got lucky.) We're still new, too, so I understand it's scary to tell people things! But, ultimately we are trying to be honest and open and if people want to blow us off for it, I guess they're not our friends anyway. Not saying it's easy to lose friends, but it's easier than dealing with their issues.
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Old 09-12-2010, 05:42 PM
LScribbens LScribbens is offline
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You know, I should have added that being "out" to as many people as possible also helps to avoid quite a few future issues, such as who you've told and who you haven't and keeping your story straight as well as having to exclude a partner from social and family events, which can be very hurtful to them.
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Old 09-12-2010, 06:20 PM
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My wife and I aren't out to EVERYONE yet. But we ARE out to MOST.
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