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  #11  
Old 12-13-2011, 03:16 AM
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I am considered a very private person, and in reality, it's only because I don't volunteer information about myself. I'm not intentionally private, if someone asks me a question, I'll answer it, but people rarely ask questions about my life.

I've always figured if somebody wants to know something about me, they'll ask. No, I won't be having a "coming out" anytime soon. Don't feel a need for it.
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  #12  
Old 12-13-2011, 04:35 AM
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BigGuy, I'm not trying to pick on you, but I'm curious, so let's imagine for a moment.

If you were at an office party would you potentially ever introduce your wife to your boss by saying "This is my wife, Sheila" or would you only ever say "This is Sheila"? If the former, would you also potentially ever introduce your girlfriend, were she also at the party, by saying "This is my girlfriend, Sue?" [names made up]

For many married/primary-coupled polys with other partners, I think the answer would be yes to question one, no to question two. I feel then that, for them, saying "I'm just a very private person" ducks the issue. It makes it sound like they just don't care to publicly mention their relationships, but if one relationship can be mentioned and another can't, it's not really about that. It's about being in the closet about poly. I think some people would prefer to frame things such that they can believe they're not really in the closet when in fact they are.

I apologize for using you as an example if this doesn't apply to you. And if it does, no judgment. As RP pointed out there are valid reasons to stay in the closet, such as not wanting to push people out of their comfort zone, which the concept of poly very much does for many people. But if we're choosing to closet ourselves I think we should acknowledge that fact rather than mask it.
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  #13  
Old 12-13-2011, 04:52 AM
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Originally Posted by zylya View Post
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.
As per my post above directed to BG, in my opinion if you're openly acknowledging one relationship ("this is my wife, Jane" regarding your wife) and not another ("this is my good friend, Andrea" regarding your girlfriend), then yes, I'd say you're in the closet regardless of who you hug.

Gay people are almost never required to tell strangers that they're gay, but if they present their partners to their families as friends rather than partners then they're in the closet, in that arena at least, yes? Same thing, imho.

Again, I'm not saying this to shame anyone or tell them they should be making different choices. But I think it's important to at least get clear on what we mean when we talk about being closeted. I'm curious as to whether anyone disagrees with the perspective I've articulated.
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  #14  
Old 12-13-2011, 05:31 AM
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Note that I wouldn't consider the "lack of acknowledgment = closet" thing in the same way when it comes to someone who is a sex partner but not a relationship partner or someone who you've been dating a short time, as in those cases you might well not acknowledge the nature of the relationship to people like co-workers or family members even if you were mono. Nor is the way you introduce someone all it's about.

Basically it boils down to this, in my mind, when it comes to people in marriages/primary-relationships who also have other partners. Think of the your secondary partner. Imagine that he or she is your only partner and that you two have been mono since the start of your relationship and fully intend to stay that way for the duration of the relationship. If that were the case, would you, under any circumstances, mention to family or co-workers the fact that you're dating that person? Now snap back to reality where that person is not your only partner. Same question. If the answer is different, you're in the closet at least some of the time.
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  #15  
Old 12-13-2011, 05:45 AM
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I'm astounded you guessed my wife and girlfriend's names. j/k

Part of it is the "Hi, how are you?" meme. Ninety-nine percent of the time when someone asks you this, they really don't want to know how you are. It's just a greeting. They REALLY DON'T WANT to know how you are. Because, if you told them, it would make them uncomfortable. Socially, there are levels of intimacy that people are comfortable with, and certain information breeches social etiquette. In the same way, ninety-nine percent of the time, they don't care what your relationship status is, particularly if it is defined by how often you rub your naughty bits together. (unless they're looking for drama fodder)

I don't consider myself to be any more in the closet by not disclosing a romantic status, than I feel gagged because I can't disclose how I'm really doing.

That being said, how "out" I want to be is something that I think about, alot. Not so much as to how it affects me, but rather how it would impact others in my life. My wife and I are both divorced with kids, and custody is an issue. So, for now, I will tend to err on the side of discretion. Its unfortunate that this is the current state of affairs, but to spare the kids the potential drama, it's a small price to pay.

As for Sue, I would introduce her as my girlfriend. But, my humor is deadpan. I say outrageous things with a totally serious expression. So, they'll probably think I'm kidding. But in the end, it doesn't really matter what they think. Does it?
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  #16  
Old 12-13-2011, 06:10 AM
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Another thought. People tend to mirror others in new situational dynamics.

After my divorce, I was a pizza dude on the side to make some extra money. One time, one of the administrative assistants from my primary job came into the store, and for some reason, I got all embarrassed and uncomfortable. As a result, she got uncomfortable.

By and large, a substantial portion of the general population want to know how to react in new situations. They want to be led. If you acknowledge the unique dynamic in a manner that is comfortable, relaxed, and no big deal, chances are good they'll follow your lead.

For those people who believe they have a stakehold in how you live your life, then it really doesn't matter how you tell them. They're going to react to the extent they feel their paradigm is threatened.
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  #17  
Old 12-13-2011, 10:09 AM
zylya zylya is offline
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Originally Posted by AnnabelMore View Post
As per my post above directed to BG, in my opinion if you're openly acknowledging one relationship ("this is my wife, Jane" regarding your wife) and not another ("this is my good friend, Andrea" regarding your girlfriend), then yes, I'd say you're in the closet regardless of who you hug.

Gay people are almost never required to tell strangers that they're gay, but if they present their partners to their families as friends rather than partners then they're in the closet, in that arena at least, yes? Same thing, imho.

Again, I'm not saying this to shame anyone or tell them they should be making different choices. But I think it's important to at least get clear on what we mean when we talk about being closeted. I'm curious as to whether anyone disagrees with the perspective I've articulated.
Ok, I think we should make a clarification here. I don't have any desire to come out, which means that either I'm not in the closet, or I'm happy in that closet. TBH, if people have a consensus that what I do means that I'm in the closet, then that's fine, because the situation I'm in is one I like. To put it another way, even if I'm closeted, I don't feel trapped. I don't feel imprisoned. To me, being in the closet is only an issue if you don't want to be.

I personally believe that by coming out, you're essentially saying "this isn't normal, which is why I have to explain it to you in some big talk." As I said, I don't like defining things to other people, because in a lot of cases they won't understand, it will cause them discomfort and often they just don't really care that much. Instead, I turn up, with or without people and act how I naturally want to act. If people are desperate to figure it out, they'll ask. But sitting someone down who's neither ready nor willing to hear it is not something I'm into.

For me, being in the closet would be acting in a way I don't want to act. My "non-disclosure" attitude is probably at odds with yours, which is why it seems like I'm hiding things. But it's not that I'm hiding (or maybe it is and I don't even realise!) it's just that I don't want to discuss my relationship structures with other people. That causes resistance ("oh but no girl would let you date someone else") whereas seeing two or more of us interacting happily and normally causes much less resistance, even if they don't know the whole story.
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  #18  
Old 12-13-2011, 11:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zylya View Post
If people are desperate to figure it out, they'll ask. But sitting someone down who's neither ready nor willing to hear it is not something I'm into.
I think I have a problem with this one. For example my dad - who doesn't know about us yet - would never think to ask something like that. I know that he's quite suspicious already because I'm traveling to see rory in a different country very often and I guess it's not very normal to do that with friends. But he doesn't know what's going on and my guess is he would never think of asking the right question - especially considering that rory is a woman and my dad doesn't even know I'm bi. So I think he knows that I'm hiding the real reason why I travel so much. But still, I think he might never be ready or willing to hear the truth. So if I followed that guideline, there probably wouldn't come a day when I'd have to tell him.

For me, the problem with not telling is that I feel it's making us more distant. I feel like I can't talk about my life normally and I have to be all careful about what I say. And because rory is such an important part of my life, I feel like I'm hiding something really big from my dad. Also lying makes me feel sick, literally. I'm really bad at it and when I do it, I get physical symptoms. So in general I prefer telling the truth whenever I can, but there are situations where it doesn't feel very reasonable and then I lie and suffer.
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  #19  
Old 12-13-2011, 12:07 PM
zylya zylya is offline
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I think I have a problem with this one. For example my dad - who doesn't know about us yet - would never think to ask something like that. I know that he's quite suspicious already because I'm traveling to see rory in a different country very often and I guess it's not very normal to do that with friends. But he doesn't know what's going on and my guess is he would never think of asking the right question - especially considering that rory is a woman and my dad doesn't even know I'm bi. So I think he knows that I'm hiding the real reason why I travel so much. But still, I think he might never be ready or willing to hear the truth. So if I followed that guideline, there probably wouldn't come a day when I'd have to tell him.

For me, the problem with not telling is that I feel it's making us more distant. I feel like I can't talk about my life normally and I have to be all careful about what I say. And because rory is such an important part of my life, I feel like I'm hiding something really big from my dad. Also lying makes me feel sick, literally. I'm really bad at it and when I do it, I get physical symptoms. So in general I prefer telling the truth whenever I can, but there are situations where it doesn't feel very reasonable and then I lie and suffer.
Sorry to hear it's hard for you I did try and mention my "non-disclosure" attitude, in that I don't really talk about relationships with anyone (apart from with the people with whom I'm in relationships) so there's never any "hidden" stuff. I relate to my family and friends just the same regardless of what relationships I have (or don't have).

I guess in your scenario, if he's never going to be ready or willing, is that one of you is going to have to feel the discomfort, either you of not telling or him of having to hear it. If it's an issue for you, then obviously you'll have to tell him at some point (or keep suffering which isn't a great option). I was saying that FOR ME, there's no suffering on my part by not telling, and therefore I have no incentive to tell people. But at the same time I'm never afraid of "spilling the beans" because even if I did tell people something that helped them figure it out, I have no problem with them knowing. That's the crux of it for me personally, is that it's just naturally a part of who I am, so I'd never "come out" because that is a process of telling people, whereas I'm not concered whether people know or not. If they know, great, if not, great. As long as they don't give me grief either way, then I'm happy.

Last edited by zylya; 12-13-2011 at 12:10 PM.
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  #20  
Old 12-13-2011, 12:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigGuy View Post
I'm astounded you guessed my wife and girlfriend's names. j/k

Its unfortunate that this is the current state of affairs, but to spare the kids the potential drama, it's a small price to pay.

As for Sue, I would introduce her as my girlfriend.

But in the end, it doesn't really matter what they think. Does it?
Responses in order:

I lol'ed.

Absolutely

Cool!

It does not.
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