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Old 05-26-2010, 12:25 AM
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MonoVCPHG MonoVCPHG is offline
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Default Knowing your audience

When I was visiting my parents last week, I sat down with my sister and them for some great open discussion about Redpepper and family.

One of the questions asked was specifically how I could share a woman physically with another man. I responded very simply that any person who engages in an affair generally shares someone physically. My dad immediately got it..because it's true and because people understand the concept of affairs. (Anyone who has had a long term affair can tell you that not having sex with your "real" partner is not an effective concealment method.)

For every question they asked I responded not using words I am familiar with in the poly community but in the words that they understood within theirs.

I never once used the word polyamory. Why...because I would have had to explain it. The topic would have become about definitions and not about the details. No thanks, there's better ways to expend my energy. I did this once and the ensuing Google search set me back in establishing the character of Redpepper and Polynerdist.

I used the word non-monogamy because they understand monogamy and understand the hyphenated "non". My sister said "open relationship". Fine by me, I just expanded on the word to explain our dynamic as opposed to jumping on a soap box.

I will admit they stumped me when they asked how someone could "love" two people at once. I don't know how to explain that so I simply told them I see it in some people's eyes including Redpepper's'. I didn't even go into the often used "you can love more than one child" because the majority of people I know including my parents don't see that love as the same kind of love for a sexual partner...sorry to make it about sex Again I focussed on what I saw as opposed to trying to convince them; trying to would have done more harm then good because I wouldn't be speaking from a place of true feeling but from a place of observation of how others can be.


Basically the whole conversation went very smoothly and we covered a lot of information because we spoke the same language. I didn't try to teach them a new one before getting to what they really wanted to hear.

Did I take the easy way out? Perhaps but I was concerned about explaining the healthy dynamic of my life and not about promoting any ideal.

Would I have been a champion of the the poly community? Nope. I'll leave that up to the theorists and activists.

Did I give my family an understandable and believable example of something beyond traditional monogamous relationships…yes I did.

The result is my family has come to have a better understanding of my relationship with Redpepper. Even though they have known about my chosen family for over a year, they now accept them purely as my family.
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Old 05-26-2010, 12:28 AM
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Yes, part of communicating is being able to express it in a language they can understand. That is a good skill to have.
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Old 05-26-2010, 01:52 AM
NeonKaos NeonKaos is offline
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I'm curious why you didn't put this in Life Stories and Blogs. You want me to move it there?
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Old 05-26-2010, 02:48 AM
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awesome post, thx for that. Always good to get some perspective, especially when it's from an intellect. I wonder if it makes any difference if your family see's your relationship as an open marriage or relationship vs polyamorous. I mean the word help people living the life explain to other lovers, but not necessarily to other people. Maybe there can be something learned from your example of good communication, in future conversations we all will encounter.
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Old 05-26-2010, 03:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MonoVCPHG View Post
Did I take the easy way out?
Not at all!!! Makes a lot of sense to me!!! Glad it worked out so well for you!!!
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Old 05-26-2010, 04:27 AM
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I tend to pretty much always use terms like "open marriage" or "non-monogamous" with people who aren't at all familiar with what polyamorous means. I don't think it's just some kind of easy way out, especially when you're going on to explain the details of your particular situation. When I use those terms, I still go on to make sure people understand that I have a real relationship with my boyfriend, he's not just some guy I sleep with. The important thing to me is that the truth of the situation gets conveyed, and if certain terminology would just muddy things for certain people, I avoid it.

Glad everything is going so well for you with your family!
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Old 05-26-2010, 04:39 AM
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*sigh*
Mono, I can only hope that one day my family will want to at least talk about my relationships. I'm experiencing so much growth and happiness, and they just don't want to hear it. They've said they 'don't want to talk about them until I'm done with them'.
I'm learning the futility of expending worrying and energy trying to figure out how to talk to people who don't want to listen.
I very wise person (several wise people actually ) have told me to surround myself with people who love and accept me and just let my family be... for now. I need to stop worrying so much about their approval and acceptance like it's something I must have. It's so hard to let go of that family dynamic and just live life on my own terms.
I really like how you talked with your family about your relationship with RedPepper and her family. If the day ever comes when I can talk with my family, I may borrow some of your wise words
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Old 05-26-2010, 11:00 PM
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MonoVCPHG MonoVCPHG is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by booklady78 View Post
If the day ever comes when I can talk with my family, I may borrow some of your wise words
Here's to hoping you get there soon
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Old 05-26-2010, 11:47 PM
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Very wise Mono. You should of been there to talk to my parents, although I wouldn't wish that on anyone.

We were too in it for too long to be able to even know the language of what they would find more acceptable and understanding. Perhaps talking to friends that we are already out to to get their opinion on what to say would of been helpful?
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Old 05-27-2010, 12:00 AM
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MonoVCPHG MonoVCPHG is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redpepper View Post
Very wise Mono. You should of been there to talk to my parents, although I wouldn't wish that on anyone.

We were too in it for too long to be able to even know the language of what they would find more acceptable and understanding. Perhaps talking to friends that we are already out to to get their opinion on what to say would of been helpful?
But it is done and despite the set backs we're all in a better place with it.

I think one of the big things is making sure you don't talk too soon. Letting things settle and "firm up" is a big part of being convincing in your ideals. If people sense that you are unsure of things it makes the effort of finding acceptance even harder I think.

NRE can sometimes make things seem a lot more easy than they actually will be. Talking to people is one of those things..we get excited and just blurt out whatever we have read or heard as oposed to communicating with what we know and feel for ourselves.

Timing is very important.
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