I came out as a lesbian and polyamorous to my family (and the general world) around the same time. I kind of cheated—I deleted my Facebook account and made a new one. At first, I sent out friend requests only to people who already knew or people who I felt were ready for the news. My profile picture was this:
My “interested in” said “women.”
My “relationship status” said “in an open relationship.”
I was able to list my partners under my “family,” due to a recent update, which was nice but I'm still waiting to be able to list them all under my relationships, like you can on Fetlife.
I never censored myself on this new profile; I was 100% myself. I was coming out as Blue, the polyamorous panromantic lesbian married to a man, who I intended on keeping, and yes, we were happy and we made the choices we wanted to make for our relationship. I was unapologetic. I even posted links to my personal blog as it was updated, and family members read it. Some even reached out to me about its contents. I have nothing to hide. I am not ashamed of what I am.
Slowly, the rest of my family was added to my friend list. I guess it was a lame way of coming out, but I didn't feel the need to really make a big deal out of it. I didn't need to stand before all of them with my poly triad-sometimes-quad-sometimes-pentad (is that a word? it is now.) and tell them to accept us all or lose me. It isn't that dramatic. My family will probably only come in contact with our long-term, committed partnerships, and even then, it will/has been in (mostly) slow and comfortable increments for all of us.
I've been pretty blessed in my family's acceptance of us. I was terrified for a while there and—let's face it—kind of bitter about the “friends” we did lose along the way. You see so many stories about people being disowned by their own parents after coming out of the closet. Do you think it was more for my family to handle, because Ark and I stayed together, or easier because of it?
There are a lot of resources out there for being the “straight spouse” (and a lot of them say that “it's hard to get support during this time.”) Don't think I'm downplaying Ark's pain in this. I think we had plenty of time leading up to it—I discussed my fears and feelings with him thoroughly, probably too thoroughly, so when I finally did say, “I think I'm a lesbian,” his reaction was something like, “Well, yeah, I kinda figured.” But we have the kind of relationship and understanding of each other where he realizes that my sexuality is through no fault or shortcoming of his own—it isn't his fault he's a man, and I love him no less for it.
What I didn't find was a lot of information on couples where one of them comes out gay—but they stay together. This view is usually speculated upon as something that's difficult, unfair; it's said that the gay partner usually was cheating with someone of the same sex, or hiding their sexuality. This wasn't true in my case and I refuse to believe I'm the only one out there who's been honest the whole time. My sexuality wasn't just a self-discovery, it was a discovery for both of us. The decisions we made, we made together, as a couple, for the well-being of our relationship both as a couple and as individuals.
In some relationships, it seems, this is an unavoidable end. But for me and Ark, it was a new beginning—to a stronger, unique relationship. Sure, folks look askance at us. They ask probing questions. They don't believe us when we say, yes, we're okay. Nobody has to take sides. He and I are in this together. ‘Till death do we part.