One issue that everyone whom engages in alternative or counter-culture lifestyles will eventually have to face and come to terms with is whether or not to be open about their lifestyle, to what level, and to whom. It does not matter if you are gay, bi-sexual, non-monagamous, a fetishist, a swinger, or a polyamorist. These lifestyle choices are against the norm, and there is often a great deal of anxiety involved around the honest expression of our choices.
These choices are very personal and I do not have any solid advice to give because Ally and I are not necessarily honest about our relationship to our friends and family. Ally has reservations about coming out to her parents as a bi-sexual woman, so our families do not know. I encourage her to be honest with herself, and others, but I would never push her into doing something that she is not comfortable with and ready to do. For the most part we do not conceal our polyamorist activities from our close friends. We do not flaunt it, as it is our sexuality and part of our private lives, but we are ready and willing to discuss it with anyone that has questions or would like to know more. They know and for the most part are cool with it, or at the very least accept it. There is an exception to this however, that I would like to discuss.
We have a fairly close couple of friends that did not take our coming out very well. We have known one half of this couple for a dozen years. We used to go to dinner parties at each other's houses, our kids are best friends, we would double date . . . when they got married I stood up for him at his wedding . . . we were close. When we decided to let them in on our lifestyle, just a lil bit, we anticipated a bit of shock. Some questions perhaps. What we got was much worse. The female half of this couple freaked out! She has made it clear that she wants nothing to do with us. The male half has been forbidden to even enter my home, for fear that mere proximity to sinners such as us would result in him being pulled into some sort of carnal orgy just by crossing my threshold. Truly, it is ignorance personified. The funny part is we have absolutely no interest in them sexually, we just wanted to share with them out of respect for them and a desire to be honest with those we consider close to us.
I have attempted to make amends by providing information in a non-confrontational, informative way, but she does not care. I have reestablished somewhat of a relationship with the male half, but it is strained as he is placed between his wife and his friends. Silly games we play. So close-minded of her. I am sorry for her really.
I share all that with you dear reader because I feel it is important to consider all possible reactions and outcomes as you decide whether or not to be open with those close to you. Understand all of the possibilities, and be prepared to mitigate any misunderstandings and irrational judgements.
I feel that living openly and honestly is the best choice for your sanity and if the people in your life truly care for you then they will accept you as the person your are, in totality.
We are in the predicament of trying to decide if we want to share this with any of our friends (family is definitely off the table). The problem being that I believe my job would actually be in jepordy if I “came out” as I work with kids for a portion of my day. It’s a small tight knit community and my family is well known. Essentially if it ever became public we’d have to move. What a horrible position to be in. I appreciate this article as it reminds me why we haven’t taken steps to let our closest friends in on our secret.