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Old 12-11-2011, 08:30 PM
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Default keeping ones poly in the closet

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I wouldn't be a big fan of not being out though. I would hate being someone's partner, yet being known just as a friend. It's not the truth and I hate lies. =P

I think if you were out to her [and she was accepting of it], perhaps you would be at ease around her.
I got this quote from another thread and I thought it perhaps warranted some discussion.

I had not thought of my lack of need to "come out" as a possible lie or untruth. I don't see it that way. I come out when I am comfortable to do so and when the moment arises. I don't attach comfort to people knowing me in such a way. I guess I am a person that prefers to remain a mystery until such time as I trust enough or feel its necessary to the situation to reveal something of myself. That isn't a lie to me, it isn't an untruth, its privacy.

The other thought I had about this is that who am I actually serving when I come out? I am not serving the person I come out to. I am serving myself. That person doesn't necessarily want to know stuff about me. They might be happily unaware and uncaring of what I do in my private life. When I come out to them it means they then have cause to get in deeper with me. Connect more. To me it could be considered a selfish act to give information about myself.

Okay, so having said that. I realize that we all tell our story as a way to connect in the world. Its important and if we want to fit in, feel part of something and be accepted then ya, we need to tell our story. I have come to realize though that divulging personal information is an option, not a right, or a demand we place on ourselves because I some how owe people. I don't owe my parents the rights to my personal information about my life for example.

I can feel like I fit in because I decide to, not because people know my life story in great detail or any detail at all. To me that is part of having a healthy approach and respect of myself and others boundaries. Funny thing is that I generally tell my story a lot! I guess that makes me selfish.

thoughts?
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Old 12-11-2011, 09:45 PM
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I am the same. I love to be open to people and I think I am in a way self centered, because I like to talk about me, things that concern me in a certain way and get feedback on how I view the world. Maybe because I tend to spend so much time on these things by myself already. So if the opportunity arises where I am able to exchange thoughts with other people (even more if those people are in some way dear to me) I want to say what I got to say without censoring myself.

I am not someone who needs to talk about my stuff all the time, especially not when strangers are involved. I am no advocate of my interests, in such a way, that I need to make clear in each and every situation that I am like this, think like that and like to do things like who-knows-how. That would be way overboard.

But now comes the BUT: I want to be connected to people who mean something to me and I feel like disconnecting when I am keeping important things from my life away from them. I need to watch how I interact with Lin around my family at the moment, we considered it as too much to discuss our situation right now, even more at the moment because the holidays are around the corner. If possible we want to delay those news till the beginning of the next year. Because we would consider it selfish to confront them with it and maybe even ruin the mood for the festivities.

It's hard for Lin, because he needs to censor what he says and does when my family is around I feel like deceiving them when I treat Lin like a friend, but even more like being unfair towards Lin because I can see how hurt he sometimes is, when I behave like that. He knows why we handle it like that at the moment, but it doesn't feel right.

To sum it up: It makes us uncomfortable. In regard to our take on the matter, Somegeezer was quite right.
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Last edited by Phy; 12-11-2011 at 11:38 PM.
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Old 12-11-2011, 11:18 PM
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I feel like there are various levels of being out. I have stated clearly that I am polyamorous in my Facebook info section. But, I generally don't push it on people. And, I've found that most people don't discover it on their own but it's right there for all friends to see.

Where it gets hard for me is really when I have to be a secret in important parts of a close partner's life. I think that's relatively more difficult if there's a need to sneek around generally. I don't like that feeling.

I'm relatively less disclosing about my personal life in general. So, lots of folks feel that I'm a very private person. This, I think, is about the lack of volunterring information... I'm just not proactive about sharing. But, will often tell people most anything when asked.

All that said, not being out is only a problem for me in the context of how it makes me feel and if it limits our ability to deepen the connection.
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Last edited by MindfulAgony; 12-11-2011 at 11:21 PM.
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Old 12-11-2011, 11:32 PM
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I dislike the dichotomy between who I'm out about and who I'm not.

When I started my current job back in January I didn't want to be out about dating a married woman, so I asked my new boss if it would be possible to take some time off to help my "best friend" with her new baby after the summer (didn't end up being necessary but at the time it seemed like she and Eric might need help with childcare). I've continued to refer to Gia as my friend or best friend at work even though I call her my girlfriend to my friends. No big deal, right?

But then I started dating Davis and found myself mentioning him in conversation. Since he has no other partners it wouldn't have outed me as poly to call him my boyfriend, but I decided to just refer to him as a friend too so that I wouldn't be acknowledging one partner and not another. But once or twice now I've slipped and mentioned "my boyfriend".

This bothers me a lot. It makes me feel like I'm in the closet, which, well, I am. And coming out of the closet as queer was a really important thing to me, so being in a new closet feels icky.

I remind myself that if a coworker asked what I did over the weekend I would tell them about a bike trip but not a kinky play party. That's not because I am proud of bikes and ashamed of kinkiness, and neither am I proud of Davis but ashamed of Gia. I just don't want to deal with the awkward questions and potential negative reactions I'd get.

The difference of course is that is the kinky play party is focused on sex, which is a very private thing in our culture, whereas my relationship with Gia is about love, which is supposed to be a celebrated thing in our culture. Certainly I hear my co-workers talk often enough about wedding plans and things like that.

My personal compromise is 1) to have pictures of Davis, Gia, and Bee at my desk at work, and 2) to keep checking in with myself to see if/when I'm ready to come out about it.
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Old 12-12-2011, 06:36 AM
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Well, I think it is one of those situations you have to weigh, on a case-by-case scenario.

In the post where you took this example from, there is someone handing out hospitality, and 'good will'. We all know the amount of work that goes into hosting such a production. Christmas and other holidays are rich in meaning for many people. Some meaning is religious, and some meaning is simply family, love and togetherness. Regardless of right or wrong, or our own personal convictions, I think it`s important to respect others rights, and 'timing is everything' if you are going to out yourself.
To 'take' in someone`s hospitality to that extent, yet under a false pretense, is where I personally would draw the line. Bluntly, I think it`s rather odd, that polyamory would promote ethical and honest love, yet some people might 'take' things to benefit themselves, and yet hide a truth.

This can differ in situations where ;
- You are meeting on 'even ground.'
-You have a long history with the people involved.
-You are with your own family.
- It is a fairly casual occasion.
- Or, the good deeds are give and take on both sides.

....Those above mentioned scenarios would allow for different 'rights'.


Sooo,..I guess my thoughts on the subject relate entirely to 'timing'. I don`t think people should be forced to be outed, or forced to be in the closet. That is a personal choice.
However, I do believe that people should examine what respect really means, from all sides, before they indulge.

Last edited by SourGirl; 12-12-2011 at 07:13 AM.
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Old 12-12-2011, 07:02 AM
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If I can, I prefer to be open about being poly. I won't out my partners or rush them, and I totally understand why people choose not be be out, but it doesn't make me feel good. I told my family from the start, and then had to remind them several times when they "forgot". They're all pretty accepting now that they've met our partners and gotten to like them, especially my siblings.

We can't be out with my husband's dad because it would cause strife in his family and that's not cool. So, if I know it wouldn't go well, I don't want to push it. Same goes for our boyfriend's family. I can totally respect that.

In general, though if I would normally say something like, My boyfriend, or my girlfriend, than just saying friend feels weird to me. I resent the idea that other people's prejudice is, well, valid. At least to the point where I should bend my life around it. I dunno, that's probably unfair, but all things being equal, I'd rather make a random stranger confused than feel like a liar, or like I should be ashamed of us and the way we live our lives.
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Old 12-12-2011, 07:44 AM
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Timing is so important with coming out. I totally agree. I think that is more of the issue for me than coming out. Timing is everything really when it comes to why I would want to come out to someone.

This past week I was talking about Derby at work. My co-workers know who she is and while I was talking about her my boss walked in. She asked who I was talking about and I wieghed it all up in a second and said, "oh, just a friend." I had that sinking feeling of having done something wrong, but really, the timing was not good as there was a lot going on, she thought it was work related, and really is not interested in my private life... never has been. I felt after that sinking feeling that I had spared her from knowing me more deeply. It would of been selfish of me to assume that she would want to. I am pretty sure she doesn't. Perhaps if another moment comes up and it is an easy transfer of information and seems acceptable at the time I will tell her... I doubt it, I have known her for years and really, she isn't interested.
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Old 12-12-2011, 10:08 AM
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It's probably just me, but I've never seen the appeal in "coming out." I've never seen the need either - why would anyone need to know that x is my girlfriend or y is also my girlfriend? They're just labels anyway, I tend to refer to people by their names instead of trying to fit them into a society-defined convention of "girlfriend", "just a friend", "wife" etc etc.

To me, there is no dichotomy between who I am and what I display to the various people in my life. My family don't know that me and my primary had sex with another girl last Friday, and they never will. Does that mean I'm living a lie about my sex life when I don't tell them I'm into group sex? Does that mean somehow that I'm in the closet for sex? My friends at work don't know that I do pro-wrestling either, but that doesn't mean that I'm ashamed of it or that I'm afraid they would be negative if they knew. Am I in the closet for my interests? [just an example to show that it's not all sex/romantic things that I don't tell people]

We have so many different people in our lives and all of them know a slightly different version of us. Unless you're deliberately lying to someone, or leading someone to believe that you ARE something you're NOT (or leading them to believe you're not something that you are) then you can still be true to yourself and not have everyone know everything about you.

I think one of the things that helps me (but might make it more difficult for others) is that a) I'm quite touchy-feely anyway, but b) I'm quite happy going without PDAs (public displays of affection), and in fact, unless it's just the group of us (who are in the relationship) I generally don't like lots of PDA anyway - I feel it would be disrepectful to the other people I was with if I spent the whole time touching/kissing my partner(s) when I'm somewhere with friends or family. As an example, me and my primary were at a party on Friday, and we hardly even spoke to each other, let alone touching/kissing etc. Not because anything was wrong, but because we're very intimate when we're alone, and so this is time for us to connect with the OTHER people in our lives. Even then, like I said, I'm very touchy-feely with EVERYONE, so a hug to someone wouldn't seem out of place to anyone - therefore if I brought two partners to a family event, even if they thought I was mono with one of them, anyone looking in would not be able to tell that I was with either of them. Does that make me in the closet? I don't FEEL like I'm in the closet - I just don't feel the need or particular desire to tell everyone everything about myself.

For the record (and ymmv on this) but I've never actually found myself in a situation where I've been REQUIRED to openly state that I'm poly to someone that didn't know.

And fwiw I never call someone "just a friend". If I say someone is a friend though, it's not a lie, because I consider everyone I'm in a relationship with a friend. The most important thing for me though (and I command respect on this one because it's so important to me) is that if I care about anyone, I expect everyone who cares about me to recognise that care I have for them, whether it's my best-friend, a friend I haven't seen for years, a friend I've only known for 5 minutes or a friend who I'm also in a loving relationship with.
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Old 12-12-2011, 11:38 AM
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I like that my quote sparked a new and very interesting thread. =] I don't think it's quite used in the context I meant it though.

I'm all for people not wanting to be out as poly, as I realise, for a start, it can cause problems for people. My problem with it, is the having to lie about who you really are around other people.

Tonberry in the other thread had said it best. - "I would want to be able to be spontaneous and hold his hand or kiss him and all the things you normally do without thinking twice. Having to refrain from doing it would make me feel wronged by him."

If I were not able to be myself around people, I would choose not to be around them myself. I certainly wouldn't lie and act as "just a friend", if I were actually with them. Which also would make it a lot better for them not to invite me, if they really didn't want that information out.

Of course, it's all just personal to me. Lots of people have no problem with things like that. I can certainly see how it really isn't all that much of a problem to just hide who you are around the right people. It's just not who I am. I like sharing myself. Even with complete strangers at times. =P
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Old 12-12-2011, 03:51 PM
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I was actually hoping the quote would be taken as a stand alone regardless of who said it and in what context as I thought it would be interesting to discuss on its own as much as in the context it was in. Sorry is it pointed you out Somegeezer. Thanks for clarifying your stance.
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