Day 3: What have been the best and worst experiences you’ve had coming out as non-monogamous?
I don’t really have a worst – the worst is probably just neutral and panned out well in the long run. That one was when I told Musician (an ex-boyfriend of several years). We were on our 2.5 date (the third date was scheduled for Valentine’s Day, but we had an impromptu movie date at my place. At the end of the movie I sat him down and explained that I was polyamorous and what that meant to me. He nodded and said okay. I asked if he had any questions, and nothing. But we figured out how we were going to structure our relationship during those first 6 months or so and how we were going to handle dating other people when it came up. We ended up having very different styles for relationships and that didn’t work out well in the end, but it was very neutral when it happened.
This ties with when my sister found out. I was dating Horus at the time. My sister was coming up to where I lived at the time (with Musician) and I had scheduled a play date with Horus for beforehand. The plan had been for the play date to be over long before my sister arrived, but she showed up early and we had only started doing aftercare, so we had to wrap stuff up pretty quickly. She had met Musician before and knew that the person I was with was not him. So we had a little discussion of what was going on. She was aware of non-monogamy/polyamory as a concept, so I didn’t have to explain much to her. The only thing that stands out about it was she made some comment comparing non-monogamy to her smoking (totally a secret from my parents – I’m not sure that they know even now), which irked me.
The best was my parents. I had been thinking about doing it for a month or so beforehand and decided to seize the opportunity when I was over at their place when it was just me and them. So I told them I wanted to talk to them about something and had them sit down in the living room. I was super nervous, but I took a breath and started in on it. I told them I was polyamorous and explained the concept to them and what it meant to me and my relationships, then left the space open for them to respond. My dad takes a deep breath, then goes on this fire and brimstone and damnation speech which might have been frightening if it hadn’t been done in an almost laughing tone that belied the whole message. That cracked me up and helped me calm down. Their basic message after hand was that they would be happy as long as I was happy and they wanted to make sure I was safe. That was it. And that made me so happy to have that kind of reaction.
We have had other discussions since that weren’t quite as comfortable, but sometimes that’s needed to make things go comfortably in the long run. I only hope that the coming out to my extended family and the portion of my social group that doesn’t already know goes half as well. I suspect that it won’t be, but this is something I will be going over in therapy – one of my goals for therapy is to come out with a solid coming out plan.