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Old 07-27-2013, 09:02 PM
sparklepop sparklepop is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 467

I am so truly, truly sorry to hear what you are going through. I am also terribly sorry to hear that you were, or are, not well. You have a hell of a lot on your plate. The first thing to remember is that you are not alone. And truly - congratulations and seriously well done for having the strength of character and belief in your own values to voice your polyamorous preferences to your family.

You have asked for personal experiences, to help you feel that someone relates to you, so I will share some with you before I offer you advice.

My situation hasn't been as severe as yours at all; but it hasn't been as wonderful and supportive as I aim to be with my daughter if she grows up and comes to me, petrified of what I'm going to think about something.

My girlfriend's situation was worse than mine. For a while, things between her parents and her were very frosty indeed. My girlfriend was in pieces for a long time. Even as adults, we subconsciously need our parents' approval more than we realise. The lack of it can send us into complete depression. My GF would take me on family days out, where I was in the company of her mother. Her mother literally pretended I wasn't there - looked right through me; didn't address me, etc etc. She told my GF that she felt it was no better than adultery, that it was unnatural (both the poly and the bisexual part)... all of the usual excuses people come up with to justify their own discomfort. Her sister was much like yours - she defended the reaction of their parents and said that GF had to understand their perspective. GF's Dad didn't like it either - though, in comparison, he was very nice to me. We met him for dinner and he just came straight out, when he and I were alone, and said that he didn't agree with it, but I'm a human being and he had absolutely no issue with me personally. His wife, however... hahaha... well, she says that I am not welcome in her house, because she wants to protect their teenage boys. And yes... she has gay friends too. It's funny how many outwardly liberal people freak out when something liberal lands on their actual doorstep.

One thing to bear in mind is that everything seems worse when it first happens. Give things time to settle. After a year, my GF's family are easier to deal with. More importantly - my girlfriend realised that if constantly reaching out to (and trying to persuade) her family was going to cause her rejection and hurt, she had to stop doing it.

That being said, now really might be the time to ask yourself if you really do want to continue to seek the approval of your family.

The 'blood is thicker than water' thing... it's nonsense. We have biological ties to our parents that affect our psyche as we develop. That is as far as it goes.

Counselling could actually help, with deeper issues. We are all effected by our parent-child relationships. They can manifest in limitless ways. For example, my own mom hasn't been as supportive or loving as I would like, about my poly pursuits, the fact that I mostly like women, or other things in my life. This got me down for a while. I also realised that it had an effect on my adult life and relationships. If therapy helps you uncover some issues like this, it can help you mend them.

My GF's parents were both very irresponsible when she was growing up. She has termed them emotionally abusive, for certain. She had therapy during her twenties to help her let go of the responsibility she felt; particularly towards her mother's reactions, feelings and behaviours in general. YOU are not responsible for the absolutely diabolical reaction of your family - they are. And more shame on them - for you are the truly enriched one; whilst they are lacking in many things.

One thing that did help my girlfriend, when she was really, really struggling with her parents' reaction to poly, was an analogy I gave her. She couldn't understand why they were so prejudice. This, in turn, naturally made her angry, confused, distraught. Again, in turn, it made her do what we all tend to do - try to persuade, teach, enlighten the ignorant party. What we don't realise is that when we do this, we actually look like we are trying to push them - and this can make them recoil even more. Even worse, and more importantly, we end up feeling more and more rejected.

The analogy I gave my GF, I will give to you. Imagine now, in your own mind, one thing that you might be prejudice about, or that you might find uncomfortable. It could be the idea of sitting around a table with a religious cult. Or a bunch of coke heads. Something else that doesn't land in your comfort zone. If you judge nothing, go more extreme. Think about how you'd feel sitting in a room full of convicted criminals. You think people in prison have done wrong, right? Even if you were open to hear their stories, even if they were wrongly convicted, even if they had good reasons for doing what they did and you came to see things differently, would you not initially judge them, based on your own moral code? And based on this, would you not feel uncomfortable?

For some people, homosexuality, polyamory.. anything that deviates from *their* idea of normality... really, literally, feels as wrong to them as murder or theft or some other kind of crime. It doesn't fit with their moral beliefs. Now, of course, you aren't hurting anyone. But that isn't the point. They think that your way of life is *wrong*. And this makes them uncomfortable.

If you can get inside their heads that way, it can help you find understanding - at least in terms of why they are reacting this way towards you. It could help you realise that none of this is your fault - it's all them. It's all to do with them.

Their extreme reactions mean that they are ignorant and, sadly for them, incapable of understanding. Incapable of real love. It is sad for them - take stock of how dark their lives are in comparison you what you have. You have real love - you have it twice, with two wonderful partners. You have self-conviction. You have compassion; you tried to keep your family together. You have loyalty, you have honesty, you have many wonderful treasures that they are void of. Take comfort in that; because it really does mean everything.
Me: 32f, evolving

“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without." ~ Buddha
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Old 07-28-2013, 02:28 PM
Nadya Nadya is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 528

I am sorry that you are hurting. Your coming out to family sounds like the worst-case scenario imaginable.

I have had to deal with rejection from my parents - not because of poly, but anyway. It is so painful, and it takes a lot of time to recover from, but the recovery is possible. Other people here have given you good advice... maybe you want to look into my blog on this site, there is something about this subject, too.
sharing my everyday life with
CJ: legal husband and
Mark: partner
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Old 07-28-2013, 05:59 PM
tree166 tree166 is offline
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 31

I haven't come out to my family yet... partially because I'm currently only with one person, and partially because I'm a coward. At this point in my life I'm dealing with some pretty serious health issues and don't think I have the emotional strength to deal with that conversation too. Someday I'll probably feel differently, but I applaud you for being brave and honest about who you are and who you love.

That being said, I thought Dan Savage had some pretty good advice about coming out. He actually said it about gay kids, but it applies here too. He said give it a year after you come out for things to settle down and for your family to sort of get used to the idea that you're not living up to the same societal standards that they are. Give them time to adjust to the new reality. Don't push them, don't try to educate them. That's something they have to do for themselves. If after a year they still reject you, make a new family. The best weapon you have in your arsenal as an adult child/sibling is your presence, and you should not have to hide who you are just to make sure that they can stay within their narrow comfort zone. As another poster said, make a new family. With your partners, friends, whoever loves and accepts you for the complicated and interesting person that you are. Blood means nothing.
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Old 07-28-2013, 09:10 PM
Flear Flear is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Chilliwack, BC
Posts: 116

while not related to poly, more to lesbians & gays, ... but aside from that it's all the same issues.

a documentry film "for the bible told me so", they followed and talked with quite a few christian families and their strong views of what is and is not acceptable sexuality.

many came to accept that their children were still the same when they came out, it took those families a long time, coming from a christian background these families had to really sit down and re-examine their faith, at least re-examine what it meant, what it says is and isn't acceptable more than just how it's interpreted.

a few though unfortunatly never got to reach that point, as their children came out they were not accepted "oh it's just a phase", ... unfortunately for those families they'll never get to see their children again.

yes it's important for so many that the ones that accept them the most be their family, that's so very important for so many people, ... and when that acceptance does not come, they just can't handle it.

then it's doubly as hard on the parents when they realize fully how serious and important to their children it was to come out to them.
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Old 07-28-2013, 10:49 PM
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LovingRadiance LovingRadiance is offline
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 5,510
Thumbs down

How to deal-one step at a time.

My closest "family" aren't blood. But we are very tight. Over 20 years of dedication.
My childrens "uncles" are all chosen family members.
As we have grown up, married, had children of our own the "family" has expanded to include uncles, aunts, cousins, grabdparents. None of whome are blood ties but all of us family in a much more cohesive unit than ANY blood families I have ever met

It IS painful to realize that people you care for are not all you hoped that they would be.

My advise-throw yourself into living an authentic life of your own. You will find that your true "family" will grow and fill in the gaps where you need companionship and support.
Spend some time looking into grieving. Then-work through the grief consciously. Death is the loss we most often speak of. But death isnt the only loss warranting patience and tlc. You HAVE lost your bio family through their unwillingness to love and accept you as you are. Grieve that loss.
But don't fight to keep them. Like a loved one who dies, we need to let go of them in order to move on with our own lives.
"Love As Thou Wilt"
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Old 07-29-2013, 11:27 PM
starmonkey starmonkey is offline
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 26

It seems like some parents have a well honed skill at shaming their children for not following what they think you should be or do. Does not strike me as the unconditional love I would expect to see from good parents. It does not surprise me to hear they were abusive.

I never got a chance to come out to my parents about my being poly, their reaction to my sexuality (bisexual) summarily disqualified them from further privilege of being in my life. It was incredibly painful at the time, but I took back all the power they were trying to take from me by laying it out to them in black and white:

You are not entitled to have a relationship with me unless you can accept who I am. This is not a negotiable issue.

The day I laid this out to them I stopped being parented by them and stared parenting myself. I turned out to be a much better parent: my first successful action was to protect me from 2 abusive adults. I also established that a relationship with me was not their right, but a privilege - this reinforced my feeling of value. I get to call the shots in my life, not them.

Thats the best I have; I wish I had something I could offer you besides my experience to make you feel better in the moment.
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Old 07-30-2013, 07:10 PM
BoringGuy BoringGuy is offline
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Nowhere
Posts: 1,640

The only way these people can have power over you is if you give them it.
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Old 09-10-2013, 07:31 PM
gorgeouskitten gorgeouskitten is offline
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Join Date: May 2013
Location: New England
Posts: 364
Default 'coming out' to accquiantences/strangers?

Hi everybody so today I have a general poly question thats on my mind, in part cause I now have a weekly poly column and this weeks column is about "coming out". Case in point, Nudge and I work together, and i was just outside talking to a girl I know in the building and take smoke breaks with. i referenced an outing with Nudge in discussion, discussing our going to bars/clubs etc, and also referenced my spouse. im not sure she thought anything of this..maybe she just assumed we're friends, maybe she was curious. Granted, its none of her business...but I did FEEL like saying he was my partner but wasnt sure how she would react. This has happened with other people from the building to who see us together.

Any one have experience with this? would you just say it, and be damned what their reaction is? I like being be able to reference him as my partner cause i adore him and all. We are not 'out' to the world, some of our friends and family know, and we dont hide anything while out in public.

Your opinions will be helpful while I think about writing my column on it too
keep on keeping on
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Old 09-10-2013, 08:21 PM
london london is offline
Join Date: May 2013
Location: UK - land of the free
Posts: 1,635

I've told people, friends, just because it can be obvious that I am seeing two different people and I don't want them to think I am cheating. Work situations can be different if you have one of those kind of jobs where they like to control your life like I do. It doesn't seem that you have one of those jobs and so I guess you could tell people just so you can be natural with one another. Being different is sometimes a cause for people to isolate you though, out of fear more than anything. If you, like many people do, gain a lot of social interaction through their colleagues, you might want to be really selective with who you tell. It might not be worth the fallout.
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Old 09-10-2013, 08:35 PM
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YouAreHere YouAreHere is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: SoNH
Posts: 1,341

Being mono, I get dealt the "victim" card by some folks, so when it does come out, I tend to have to go into over-explaining mode to make sure they realize that no, I'm not being used. yes, it's a good relationship. Yadda yadda.

My friends at work know that P is poly (well, that he has another LTR - the word "poly" seems too loaded, so I say "non-exclusive" instead), and they're cool with it.

P and I have some mutual friends, however, that just took it horribly. I'm the victim. He's the user. Right now, it's kind of turned into a stupid sitcom where the wife of a mutual friend (who's known P since 3rd grade) wants to invite only me to their housewarming party, so I can invite P as my date, rather than inviting both of us and having P take M1 as well (who seems to be persona non grata among some of the friends).

So far, I haven't seen an invitation, so maybe she's just not inviting any of us. C'est la vie.

I end up getting stranger looks because people in town still think my ex and I are married. It seems every few months or so, I'm telling someone else that no, we're divorced, and they're quite shocked. Probably because my ex and I still attend school functions for the kids together and talk and whatnot (and I still get along great with his mom and her BF), but I find it amusing that he hears people say "I saw your wife" and doesn't bother to correct them.

The most recent time I explained to someone that yes, we divorced two years ago, I added, "so when you see me at a function with a strange guy, now you know what that's all about." The reply I got was, "Well, you never know what people do in their private lives" and I had to laugh inside and think "if you only knew!"
Dramatis personae:
Me: 46/F, Divorced with 2 kids, 2 cats, fish, a tarantula, and a 1930s house with many projects.
Chops: 47/M, Partner of 6 years, lives half-time with me, half with Xena.
Spinner: 52/M, Friend I've been on a few dates with. Divorced, Mono, wrapping his head around it all.
Xena: 47/F, Chops' other nesting partner of 6 years
Curls: 50/F, Chops' partner of 1 year

Supporting Characters:
Choplet: Chops' son
DanceGirl: My oldest daughter
Pokégirl: My youngest daughter
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