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Old 11-08-2010, 05:10 AM
Coco Coco is offline
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Default Sorting out reactions from friends

Okay. I am struggling. Since I've started engaging in polyamory, I have found myself spending lots and lots of time explaining the philosophy of my choices to friends, and often, defending these choices. My very loving friends, who mean the best for me, but who are largely not familiar with polyamory, always seem to view me as if I am hurting myself, being used by others, or that I am 'in a phase' that will pass when I realize what I really want. In order to defend myself while still trying to keep my intimacy with my friends, I spend a lot of effort trying to explain things, when...what I wish I could do, is turn to my friends for good advice. But they don't have it!

Now, things are in transition in what I viewed as my primary relationship. we have decided to take a break for an indeterminate amount of time. As much as this is mutual and best for both of us because we have found that we are not able to meet each other's needs right now in the right way, it has been hard and very sad for me. I miss him. I am turning to my friends for support. But, I find myself yet again explaining my choices to them. I find the polyamory thing colors their view of how this 'taking a break' thing could be at all positive. They see it as the end of something that they think was destined to leave me unhappy from the beginning... whereas I see it as something that could happen with any relationship... so, even as I am in a difficult place, I find myself faced with the double burden of having to defend myself when I am already down. In fact, most of my close circle of friends consists of monogamous couples, so I also feel like this break with my primary partner...the situation about me that had made my life most closely resemble theirs before...well, I just feel isolated and like no one understands me. My friends want to 'rescue' me by hoping I will become more like them.

On one hand, I think I should just not share my polyamory choices with these friends, because I don't want to have to defend them, I just want to be what I am and experience what I am experiencing. I am just trying to do what feels right for me. On the other hand, i am lonely, they are my social network, and I have a lot of confusion with my own experience and how best to move forward towards my own happiness and fulfillment. I personally think these confusions arise whether one is involved in polyamorous relationships or not. This is just love.

I have one former boyfriend who I can turn to for good advice, but the only other two poly people I know are the person from whom I am 'taking a break' and the other man that I see once a week or so...

I guess I'm writing here to seek all your advice on how you negotiate this stuff...I get the impression every person but me who is engaged in polyamory has some awesome network of poly people all around them and they can live freely and openly and not be judged by friends. Since I have not been doing this for years and years, I don't have a huge volume of experience to draw upon...

Thanks for your advice, and really, thanks for just having a forum where I can feel free to share my thoughts!
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Old 11-08-2010, 06:58 AM
booklady78 booklady78 is offline
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You are living through a fear that I have sometimes. I've struggled so hard to gain acceptance among those I care about, that if something were to merely "change" that it would be viewed as a failure. "Breaking up" or taking a break is a common direction of relationships, but when you've had to defend your life, it's viewed as an "I told you so" which I imagine is so frustrating for you.
Something my therapist told me a few months ago when I was struggling with the decision to be openly poly was to surround myself with people who loved and accepted me. There are many in my circle of family and friends who are intolerant of my life. There are an equal number who are indifferent and then there are the handful that I treasure. I've had to let go of some of the difficult relationships and cling to the ones that offered me the love and support I needed.
If you have people in your life that accept and support you, then you may need to lean on them a little more right now. You can seek out some poly groups in your area or reach out to people on here. I have found so much support and acceptance on the forums, it's on here that I have been able to find hope. There's always someone here who can understand what you're going through, that makes a big difference.
If your friends are pushing you to defend your life all the time, that must be very exhausting. I don't mean to sound harsh, but true and loyal friends make an effort to understand and support your choices. My closest friends were pretty freaked out initially about my husband and I being poly. Once the shock wore off, they became our biggest supporters. They had questions, sometimes they still do. But they merely want to understand and often just want to make sure they "have everything right" and not assume anything or offend us.
I could ramble a whole lot more, I'm still going through the "coming out" stuff with people. Feel free to message me anytime
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Old 11-08-2010, 01:44 PM
GroundedSpirit GroundedSpirit is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coco View Post
.................
I guess I'm writing here to seek all your advice on how you negotiate this stuff...I get the impression every person but me who is engaged in polyamory has some awesome network of poly people all around them and they can live freely and openly and not be judged by friends. Since I have not been doing this for years and years, I don't have a huge volume of experience to draw upon...
Welcome Coco - and thanks for stopping in and sharing with us !

I think it's fair to say that FEW of us have much of a support network all around us. The opposite seems to be the case.
TRUE poly folk are still a large minority and I believe (?) still much underground. The closer you are to a metro area the better your chances may be for finding a discussion/support group. But even that's no guarantee. I've seen numerous folks post here about the same concern that seem to be in some pretty populated areas.

That's where a forum like this can add so much value. We all try to be here for each other and some real bonds obviously form - despite distances involved. I hope the same happens for you until something more local surfaces.

{{hugs}}

GS
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Old 11-08-2010, 01:52 PM
Coco Coco is offline
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Default Thanks!

Thank you all, for your thoughtful responses. Yes, this is definitely tough.
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Old 11-08-2010, 03:28 PM
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Danny40179 Danny40179 is offline
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Hi Coco. Welcome and I hope you find the answers you're looking for. For me I had a lil help with this when I had to tell my friends that I preferred big women. A bunch of people thought it was a phase and I'd find a nice thin woman to make me happy. BAH!! I had to deal with explaining to people why I preferred big girls.

After that experience, I was able to pretty much just tell people this is how I lived my life. I wasn't looking for support or approval, it was just how we lived our lives. At first people were very hesitant and skeptical, but then I introduced them to our significant others and they realized that everyone was...NORMAL!!! That's right, us Poly folk aren't all nutjobs!! Ok, I'm slightly nutty, but that has nothing to do with being Poly.

Anyway, live your life for you and don't worry about what other people have to say. If they can't accept and be happy for you, then maybe they shouldn't be in the picture. I told a few of my friends that and every single one of them is still around.
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Old 11-08-2010, 06:31 PM
Coco Coco is offline
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Default Great advice

Thank you, that is great advice! Yes, I am finding that this just forces me to really find strength in myself and my choices. And to develop the self esteem to give myself space to not know what I am doing and be okay with that. I don't find that I fit neatly into any boxes, but I think that, since I've started living this way, it has changed how I view relationships. I don't think I can ever think the same about my relationships, even if I were to find myself in a monogamous situation again. My friends are always pressing me to define and explain myself, and I find that so hard when I am still in the process of figuring myself out! I think we all are!

Even my monogamous-minded friends are in the process of figuring themselves out, it's just that no one ever questions their process, because it happens to fall in line with the norms of society. It is unfair to have to defend myself all the time, and to not have the right, like anyone else, for my relationships to not work out. I guess this is just what it means to be a minority of some sort.

Again, I am SO thankful to have your insights...
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Old 11-08-2010, 09:20 PM
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Danny40179 Danny40179 is offline
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You're very welcome Cocoa. It's tough to have confidence in yourself especially when EVERYONE has an opinion about what YOU'RE doing with YOUR life. Ain't that crazy?? One thing that has always helped is this motto. If they don't pay your bills, then their opinion doesn't matter. This extended to my mother as well.

Life is FAR too short to try and make everyone else happy. Before you can do that, you have to make YOU happy. Sometimes that's tough, but when that's done you'll see how things just kinda fall into place
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