Monogamists say the darndest things: The top 4 responses to coming-out as a throuple #Relationships#communicating#polyamory April 8 | Guest post by Briana By: – CC BY 2.0 The three of us have all been in a relationship for about two years. We're out on Facebook — not that we're lewd about it, but we certainly don't hide the fact that we are all together. We all say "I love you." We all compliment one another as pretty. Yet it still happens that people in our lives, usually casual friends, suddenly discover that we are in a throuple. I think it may be that we as humans refuse to an extent to see what doesn't fit our schema for The Way Things Are. And then, usually because we want to be honest and let some person in — to trust them as friends instead of just acquaintances — one of us will say: "We all love each other." And The Way Things Are goes out the window for those people. In their shock, however, the majority of people we've told have said hurtful things, effectively shutting down what might've been a constructive conversation. Some of the rudeness stemmed from ignorance, and some of it was actually well-meaning. That said, I hold strongly that these reactions are mostly made in panic, shock, or confusion. I would like to go over them. I hope that people who have been here can find some solace in this, and that — if any of you are ever on the receiving end of a coming-out — this entry prepares you to hear as openly as you can. Reaction 1: "If I didn't know you, I'd judge you for it." While judgment is the speaker's Constitutional right, it's really the first clause of the sentence that's a problem. "If I didn't know you…" is offered out like a gift — special treatment because to the speaker we are human beings instead of a statistic. All of the statistics are people, too, though. Every polyamorist is a human being. But the speaker is holding out this gift of friendship, as if to say "I forgive you because we're friends," and all we can think is: I don't need to be forgiven. Related Post My husband and I are "in the closet" about my polyamory To the world, we're your typical interracial, interfaith, heterosexual, monogamous couple skipping through the grassy hills. In reality, I date and maintain intimate relationships with... Read more All of this is not to say that we cannot understand someone disagreeing with our choices. By all means, if the speaker felt strongly enough about our relationship to lose respect for us, he or she is welcome to say so and terminate the burgeoning friendship. We know it's a junction — that's why we wait to bring it up, instead of mentioning it to everybody and their brother — and if that's where we part ways, that's okay. What's not okay is telling us that you'll go easy on us, against your leanings, as a sort of favor. We don't want that sort of acceptance. No one would. The speaker is not being the better person. The better person would just say something like, "I can't accept those choices," and move on. Reaction 2: "Who's the home-wrecker? Are you the home-wrecker?" None of us were home-wreckers, actually. Sure, there are probably throuples or other polyamorous situations that may have arisen out of such situations, but ours most definitely didn't. Every step in this direction was a choice we made: not home-wrecking, but home-making. Reaction 3: "That wouldn't be my choice." Maybe it's not clear how rude this is to say. What if I confided to the same person that I didn't want to have any kids? Sure, s/he could say, "That wouldn't be my choice," but what would be the point? It's not that person's decision. They can have as many children as they want; my choices have no bearing on their choices. Further, if I tell some other person that I don't want any children, I think they would understand that I was simply confiding a fact — not looking to be shamed for it. We're not trying to intimidate anybody or make a statement. We're just being ourselves and, when someone takes our honesty as an opportunity to police our lives, we regret trusting that person enough to speak up at all. That's a lonely place to be. Reaction 4: [relentless flirting, propositioning, or otherwise disrespecting/ignoring our significant others] Just because we are in a relationship with more than one person doesn't mean that we are sex-fiends, or that we have no regard for commitment, or that we have no standards. In our case, we are a closed throuple. It is still possible for us to cheat, and it would be just as devastating to us all. In fact, it might be more devastating. Now there are two people to hurt with infidelity instead of one. Now maybe it's clearer: we're not flippant about love or sex. In fact, we have PLENTY to lose if we're not careful. Maybe people think that it's impossible for us as significant others to feel jealous, because we are polyamorous, but that's not true. We can and do get jealous, and hurt, like anybody else–just not about the relations within our triangle. It's not funny when others treat us like we're fair game because our commitment is not like theirs. It should be enough that we are committed, and others should do their best to respect it. Those are the basics. None of this is meant to raise anybody's hackles about their freedom to opinion, just to give a perspective that many people understandably don't have. Maybe it will help someone to walk in our shoes before they talk about the path we've taken. Reporter Name * Reporter Email * Original text Enter the original text here. Edited text* Enter your suggested copyedit here. Notes You can add a note for the editor here. * Required information. Fix Typo Guest post written by Briana Briana is a writer who would like to also be an author. She has Cerebral Palsy, two husbands, and a great, great life. http://moonmissives.wordpress.com PREVIOUS Healthier-than-normal, no-bake, peanut butter banana cookie recipe NEXT Getting real, real fast: The pros and cons of family communal living Show/Hide comments [ 79 ] I think the idea of a third individual in a solid, committed relationship sounds lovely. I just have no clue how you make that happen, starting from a 2 person relationship, since everyone has to have fairly equal feelings for everyone else, I would think, for it to work out long term. Also, I'm not sure if the reality matches up with my (likely romanticized) mental version. Personally, I say, "that wouldn't be my choice," fairly often when confronted with a multitude of life decisions I wouldn't personally choose, but always paired with something like, "but I think that's great for you!" Is it still offensive or rude when paired with the second sentence? I admit I honestly never considered it an unpleasant statement, even when used toward me, so I'm genuinely interested to hear how others feel about it. (Although by itself it makes me go, "ok, good for you?") I don't always know when I'm doing something socially inappropriate. 19 agree Reply No, I think with the added positivity you're, of course, fine. I have literally had a person tell me, "that wouldn't be my choice," period. Just as you say, my gut reaction is to go: "Okay…? I wasn't going to, like, try to recruit you…" It's a weird thing to just say. It's not as if we share out of a need to be supported so much as a need to not be secretive. Maybe that's where the person who said this to me was coming from. And yes, it grew into an equal thing. This started as my welcoming a boyfriend for my husband into our relationship, then became over time what it is today. It's definitely a long process, and tough to build, but it was so worth it. Thank you for your kind and open comment! I love this community. 15 agree Reply Yeah, that might have been my first reaction too. Let's keep in mind that "That wouldn't be my choice" is also probably saying "I'm uncomfortable with this notion." Sure it's not happening in their life so it's none of their business, but humans are not that rational when faced with unexpected news. Of course it shouldn't be the end of the conversation, but I wouldn't think it's necessarily a judgement on you as much as admitting that one can't process the idea right now. Even if the blog post brings up good points, I have to say I'm not exactly comfortable about the choice of title (even if tongue in cheek). 3 agree Reply The title is just a play on an old TV show, which was essentially about kids saying odd things about concepts they didn't fully understand. No hate intended, just a nod to how knee-jerk responses do have a lot to do with not full understanding a concept. I understand how it could rub you the wrong way; I was rubbed the wrong way when I wrote it. And yes, it probably does mean "I'm not comfortable with this." It's irrelevant, though. Like Megan, I would never want to have kids. That doesn't mean that when someone tells me they're expecting, I go, "Oh, that would be terrible for me, I don't like that." I just congratulate them. They're sharing, not asking for opinions. 11 agree Reply It is indeed irrelevant, but it's also asking a lot of normal human beings to be logical, sensitive and aware of other people at all times. People are messy and say hurtful things without knowing it, and most of the time it's not because they judge you. Knee-jerk reactions are what they are : irrational. As for the child-free/pregnancy announcement parallel it works, but to a point. If I've known you for a while and you're telling me there is this whole thing central to your life and worldview that I didn't know about, then this whole concept of what is "you" has just been turned around and I have to find new reference points. It's neither bad nor good, but there's this nagging feeling that what I knew about you before isn't true anymore and that I was blind to very evident things. That's where the knew-jerk reaction is from, for me at least. A pregnancy announcement really doesn't have the same bearing on the relationship I have with the future parent. Then again, 20 minutes later or so, the rational mind will kick in, tell me "wait a minute, this was a shock for me but it must have been really difficult to say" and then the questions will start flowing. I guess what I'm trying to say is: yes, people are hurtful, but it's not necessarily directed at you or your lifestyle, even if it hurts anyway. Of course, the context of you having a hard time making new friends since your change of relationship type, and the broken link with your father, does shed light on some of the anger I feel in you reply. It is a difficult situation and I'm sorry you're not finding supportive people around you. As for the title, I know the TV show. I just don't appreciate my choice of relationship type being used to lump me into a group of people likened to clueless toddlers. 1 agrees Aldebrana, That level of us/them attack was not at all my intention, and for that I am sorry. I think there's a lesson in this for me as well, and that's to take my own advice: watch how you say what you say. It's what I'm getting at with the initial post. Of course we all, as humans, are going to be confused and flustered and even angry… but we must try, try, try to watch how we say what we say. When I initially wrote this post, the word "monogamist" gave me pause. I had never heard nor used that word. I'm still not sure it even IS a word. I forged ahead because, honest to goodness, I don't feel like a "polyamorist" until someone freaks out over my relationship choice. That is, I don't think monogamy is wrong. I love being monogamous. I could've been happy the rest of my life with just my husband, provided that nothing awful between us occurred. I don't believe humans are meant to be polyamorous, or that monogamy is an unachievable ideal. I don't believe in the us/them staunchness I have come up against, and that is where the tongue-in-cheekness really comes in. That it reads, out of context with my full self, as sincerely elitist (closest term I can come up with) is a pity. I don't mean to actually lump–I *feel* lumped in with something that is bigger than my one choice, my one life. It's not central to my world-view like that… Unless you mean my view that love is love. I do hold that one. But the people I am friends (or almost friends) with are not anti-gay marriage, you know? There's no political suggestion that I could've seen their reticence coming. I don't think my relationship with two people (over one) has any more weight than the pregnancy announcement, but again–this needs context. If we're having this conversation (the hypothetical friend and I), s/he already knows we live with the other man, they see how snuggly we are, and I'm telling him/her because I have found the first natural opportunity after we have become close enough that telling him/her doesn't seem like over-sharing. Up to that point, I have been looking for a non-awkward way in. Thank you for sharing all of your reactions and thoughts, and thank you for listening to mine. I will try to take my own advice :-). 4 agree To be completely honest, I am probably more prickly than most on the "us against them" issue on this question because I have been (more than once if you can believe it) in conversations with people who were determined to make me admit 2 people monogamy made my relationships "less evolved". I've also unfortunately encountered some of that mindset in the research I did on polyamory (different from throuple, but the research does converge) when one of my friends informed me he was transitioning his relationship a while ago. (I admit I am the worst at first reactions, so I do make sure I get informed to not put my foot in my mouth again.) As for the further context you've provided: Yes, well they aren't very perceptive people then, are they? I can see how they were not supposed to be exactly blind-sided by the "new" information. I do hope you meet that close bitching friend you mentioned in another reply. They are precious and a lifesaver when you just need to let it out so you can think properly. I'm also glad we had this conversation. It made me think a lot over the past few weeks. 🙂 2 agree Oh my goodness, that's awful. I would never intentionally make someone in a monogamous relationship feel like their love was less worthy than mine. Thank you, I hope so too. Sometimes you just need the ear. And yes, that's why this community is so great. It's hard to find people on the Internet who expect to have a real discussion about an idea. I'm glad for your perspective. 🙂 1 agrees I was about to write the same thing. I think I would be likely to say 'that wouldn't be my choice, but that's great that you are happy' and it wouldn't have occurred to me that this could be taken negatively. It certainly wouldn't have been said in a judgemental way. I found this article helpful but personally I would have liked more information about what might be good to say/different ways of phrasing responses. I'd hate to have a reaction that could actually been seen as rude and disrespectful. Thanks so much for sharing. 12 agree Reply That's fair. I admit that, when I originally wrote this post for my blog, I had just had one of these discussions with a family member. Mostly I was just looking for an outlet at the time, and I definitely could've been more constructive. I feel like the safest way to go is to ask questions. When we judge, we signal that we don't want to know anymore; when we ask questions, the dialogue stays open because it is clear we want to learn. Even the home-wrecker question is a fair one… just maybe without the word "home-wrecker." Instead: "How did all of this start?" Thank you for your comment! 🙂 7 agree Reply That's a brilliant response, thank you. I love the suggestion about asking questions to keep the dialogue open. 4 agree Reply I've found most of the people in my life who say things similar to this come off as somewhat offensive. A good thing to consider is, why do you feel the need to specify that you wouldn't make that choice? It's not as though when we come out that we're asking you to do the same. We're just letting you know who we love. 🙂 7 agree Reply Thank you for understanding. Reply I like that Briana used the "having a kid" conversation as an example. When people tell me "I'm having a baby!" My immediate response is "Holy fuck. That wouldn't be MY choice, but hey good luck with all that." But I stop myself from saying that (and maybe worse) because, really, that moment isn't about me, or my issues, or my choices. When you get down to what that moment is… that's a human sharing something intimate that they're excited about with me. It's the same with sharing any information that's both exciting and intimate. So I bypass the part about what I would have done differently, and go with a simple, "congrats" or "wow, how exciting for you!" Because ultimately it's not about me in that moment, my opinion on that matter is secondary and, because the choice has been made, it doesn't really add anything. 45 agree Reply This. I don't want kids either, but it doesn't occur to me to share that info when others say that they're expecting. They're not asking about me, they're sharing their lives. 10 agree Reply Agreed. I don't want kids either, and now am unable to. I only ever bring up not wanting kids if someone asks me directly. If someone tells me they're expecting, I just give good wishes and ask questions…when are you due, etc, etc. It's choosing being kind over being selfish. Making anything someone shares with you all about you is a HUGE pet peeve of mine. My husband's best friend does this and it drives me nuts. "I just had to have this procedure…" "Oh yeah! I had that done, too, and mine was worse!" "I just started making this particular kind of jewelry…" "OH! I used to do that, too!" (without ever asking for specifics about the jewelry making). Batshit. The woman drives me batshit. 2 agree Reply This is a bit off-topic, but I just wanted to present a different way of looking at your situation with the best-friend woman. See, I'm really guilty of doing that exact thing, because my social skills aren't great and so when someone brings up an experience that I have some affinity with I get really excited and want to bring up mine too (and I'm like 'Yay! Middle ground! Bonding! Go me with the social connection!') Unfortunately I sometimes get carried away in the excitement of 'Me too! We are the same!', and before I realized that I was doing it, it was probably insufferable. Now I'm aware that it's really annoying I can usually rein myself in and I've learned to listen better (I hope). Anyway, what I wanted to say was that maybe this woman wants to find some common ground with you because she wants to be friends with you as well a your husband, but just isn't handling it right? Maybe 🙂 9 agree I actually do find "that wouldn't be my choice, but I think it's great for you" a little uncomfortable, because the first part is really unnecessary! I mean, if I've just told you about my relationship, we're talking about me here, not you. If I told you I was pregnant, would you say "I wouldn't want to have a baby, but that's great for you!" Not likely. If I said I was dating Bruce would you say "I wouldn't date Bruce, but that's great for you!" Chances are the poly person who's just told you about their relationship already knows – or assumes – you're monogamous, because on average people tend to be. She's not trying to recruit you, she's just telling you something about her life. I don't think "that wouldn't be my choice" is malicious, by any means, but think about why you feel compelled to say it and maybe just say "that's great!" instead? 9 agree Reply YES. We don't expect "oh my goodness, me too!" Although, true story, I did have one fabulous encounter where I opened up and the girl was like, "Dude, really? …Really? …SO AM I." And no, of course "not my choice" is not taken as malicious. Just a little baffling. Conversation-ending. Awkward. It leaves me not knowing where I stand, or how to respond. That's all I really intended for this post, to arm people so they don't shut down a conversation without really meaning to. There's nothing that says you can't come back to the issue later, either. "Hey, so about that thing… I was so surprised, I didn't ask… how did that come about?/Are you guys happy?/Do you ever get jealous?/Do you need to talk, or… everything's good?" No scorched earth in my corner, for any of the people who have reacted these ways, just fear and worry 🙂 Thank you so much for your comment! 2 agree Reply So what would a good response be? Because if someone were to tell me they're part of a throuple it feels like something I should have *some* sort of response to. I feel like right now I'd be along the lines of "Oh, huh …" pause while my mind deals with the idea of throuple "…cool." pause again while I second guess my tone and how sincere it did or did not sound and general social angst. 12 agree Reply That response isn't judge-y, though, that's you processing. Processing is fine. I know that we're weird (not to be self-deprecating, but to be self-aware), and of course it's going to take a minute (or twenty) to take in news that you don't hear every day. In response to another comment, I suggested questions. Because of course you don't know how you feel about a thing you don't know much about, and asking means you care enough to get all the facts. What I, and my other loves, keep butting up against is people slamming the metaphorical door on us because they don't want to know any more. 1 agrees Reply I have been told this – and it was before I read a bunch about polyamoury on Offbeat Bride so I had no idea how common it was. What I said was "Wow, thank you for feeling comfortable telling me…you're following tax law right? Because I don't support none of that [cheating on taxes]" (the tax thing was a joke as we were in an accounting class together and likely wouldn't fit for everyone, likely even be rude for some.) Do you know what happened? She fucking cried! She laughed first and started talking about what actually brought the subject up and without realizing it she was crying. We both hung with a super liberal LGBT lovin' group in Toronto [which has gotta be one of the most 1) Tolerant 2) Then Accepting cities in the world] and yet she had encountered so much defensive, close-mindedness that she was overwhelmed by the experience of me a white, cis, straight, vanilla woman really not thinking I was personally affronted by this (why would I be? How is it my deal?) that she expressed that wholeheartedness with tears. I felt ten times fuller that day. TL;DR A great response is probably "Thank you for sharing with me your family set-up. So all three of you are sharing one car you said……" 5 agree Reply Ha! Your response is perfect. And I fully believe that she cried. I cried when my mom was like, "Okay, invite [Other Husband] over!" I was astounded. My face went numb, literally numb, with shock. "How is it my deal?" Exactly. I think a lot of the confusion on this is, well, if it's NOT your deal, why am I telling you? Why am I handing you this bombshell if I don't want your personal opinion on it? Admittedly, knee-jerk, this admission probably seems like I'm airing dirty laundry. We must be talking about my sex life now. In a sense, yes, sure we are. But it's so much more (or less, if you like) than that, too. We touch hands when we're with friends, and I don't want you to think I'm cheating on Legal Husband, or that he's cheating on me; I don't want you to struggle with the idea that you know something we don't, should you assume there IS cheating going on. I want to invite you to our Thanksgiving, where we all talk about how thankful we are, for all three of us as a throuple. Other Husband is as important to me as Legal Husband, and I want you as a member of my community to know that. I'm just trying to share, not… confess. And it doesn't have to be an uncomfortable fact, knowing that I have two people instead of one. It's just like knowing I am married to Legal Husband. Does that mean I'm telling you I have sex with Legal Husband? Probably. Reasonably, yes. But telling you that doesn't seem as personal, because it's more normalized. Sorry, totally went off on a tangent! Thank you so much for chiming in with your experience on the other end; it does me a lot of good to hear. You're a wonderful friend to that woman. 7 agree Reply ALL OF THIS. "Well if you don't want my opinion, why are you telling me?" Because the love between me and my partner's isn't subtle and I don't want you to think it's some sort of poorly hidden affair. And because when you invite one of us somewhere that we can take a +1 you may end up with the invitee and one of three other people. If you only say we can bring significant others you'll end up with 4 people. If we are hanging out regularly, you should know because you probably won't assume. There's a lot of logistics in a 4 parent household and if we are going to make plans with you, you should know. That's. All. 5 agree Reply At first I agreed with you completely that "If I didn't know you, I would judge you" sounds exactly like they're offering their "forgiveness", and sounds super rude and degrading. However, to put a positive spin on it, that could be them admitting that being exposed to something they previously judged has now made them realize their own prejudice. It could be less like, "Well, you're a friend so I'll forgive you, even though I don't approve" and more like "Huh, if you hadn't told me, I'd continue to wrongly judge people from afar, so I'm glad you changed my perspective". Of course, it all depends on how they say it and how they act towards you and people they don't know in such situations. But even if it's a knee-jerk reaction on their part, and they're letting you know they typically judge such choices, it's a start towards changing their perspective, and that's a good thing. 🙂 19 agree Reply You know, that's a great point. I do hope that the people who say things like this are actually imbibing food for thought. 🙂 6 agree Reply This goes for SO many things. I am a young mother, and I often hear comments like "You're such a good mom for your age", "I thought all young moms were [insert judgey thing here], but now I know some of you are normal", and my favourite – "Oh, well that's great that you've managed, but I think that nobody should have kids until [arbitrary judgey statement/self-respect/marriage/morals/money]". Really? The only thing my age and parent status tells you, is my age and parent status. That, and I guarantee that I know more young parents than they do. The vast majority of us are happy, effective families. Same with polyamory. You have multiple partners? The only thing that says about you is that you have multiple partners. If there's anything else about it that is somehow my business, I'll ask. Otherwise? I'll make sure to set an extra place (or two, three, etc) if I invite you all over. 2 agree Reply Yeah, I can imagine myself saying something like "huh… that's interesting" and then depending on my relationship with the person asking some questions about how they deal with jealousy and if one person always steals all the covers or something. I've always been a monogamist. Before I met my husband, I told myself I was going to "casually date" because I never had before. I've always just gone from relationship to relationship. I think it's just how I'm wired. I find it so interesting how differently other people are wired. It's weird and cool and interesting how people find life situations that work for them in such different ways than mine. 6 agree Reply This is the first time I've ever tried anything like this; I was always monogamous–fiercely so. I believe in monogamy very strongly, despite the way my own relationship has evolved. I don't insist, for example, that monogamy is unnatural or anything like that. I think any love that is consensual, and does not include abuse, secrets, or lies, is just right. 🙂 8 agree Reply "I think any love that is consensual, and does not include abuse, secrets, or lies, is just right." Definitely. That's what makes other people's situations interesting rather than "scary". When I hear about situations that do involve abuse or other negative things, that's when I get judgmental and worried. 5 agree Reply Right on. (And, on a lighter note, yes–Legal Husband is a wicked blanket-stealer.) 1 agrees Reply I found your last point really interesting. Before I met Husband, I was absolutely that person who would have seen your throuple as hit-onable and not realized that I was potentially causing problems. I've always been told/taught that polyamorous folks AREN'T jealous, that they've "risen above" such a petty feeling, (Maybe not the nicest way to phrase it, but it always seems like that's what poly folks are trying to say.) and it's never occurred to me that a poly relationship would have the same potential emotional minefields as a monogamous relationship. How do you explain to people that your relationship is closed, or do you explain that? When you get that person who views you or your partners as up for grabs, how do you handle that? 4 agree Reply As someone in the same arrangement as the author, I personally find it easier to explain to people that our relationship is closed. While I know we "technically" are polyamorous, my specific relationship feels much more like "monogamy among three," and I think other people sense that. Even if they don't know about polyamory, they understand a pair-bond, and it doesn't seem like too much of a stretch to add another person into what is an existing structure in their head. Obviously this varies by relationship, but I actually feel more aligned with monogamy (I'm in between poly and mono, and I'm bi – I either fit nowhere or everywhere!) so I would honestly be confused if someone were to treat one of us as up for grabs! 2 agree Reply Ahhh. Well, there is a thing called "compersion," and that's getting joy from your partner finding joy in another person. So that's real. But I wouldn't say jealousy is completely eschewed just by being poly (or that we've risen above it). It's easier to feel compersion when you're getting enough time with your other person(s), easier to feel jealousy when everyone's busy or one couple is getting a lot of time together while the third has a rough week at work. And I totally get… if not jealous, super annoyed when people talk up one of my boys as if they're single. We do explain. Other Husband (as opposed to Legal Husband) is just very blunt about it. "Oh, I'm flattered, but we're closed." If they persist, he just keeps reminding them that, no, really, he's serious. 1 agrees Reply I don't know if it's reasonable to be offended by someone hitting on you when you say you're in a throuple if you haven't also said "and we're closed" or something along those lines. I think part of nonmonogamy is trying to break down people's assumptions that if you're in a couple (or, parallel, in a throuple) it automatically means you're not interested. Lots of people assume that I'm "taken" but I'm not, and I think we should stop making those assumptions, generally, unless told otherwise. 1 agrees Reply This is interesting. I've "come out" as polyamorous to my friends and family and have received very different yet repeated responses. My top 4: 1. Does his wife know? 2. Does your boyfriend get to have girlfriends too? 3. You must not respect yourself/think you deserve to be someone's only partner. 4. [personal thoughts on relationships and why they couldn't do that/should probably do that and will I teach them how] 3 agree Reply On your 4th point: I love it when people ask me to explain how we make this work, because… we have no idea. It feels like a relief to express that. We're just in love and working it out. It feels like the planets just aligned, and we made a relationship out of who we were together. We hit roadblocks and then we deal with them. There's a lot of talking. And there was never a… a grand plan to buck tradition. We fell into this, and we're always, always working on it. On your 3rd… Sigh. I'm sorry people jump to such conclusions. 4 agree Reply "We're just in love and working it out" could be the slogan for every healthy relationship. 5 agree Reply I'm super interested in poly relationships and am definitely someone who would respond to this particular revelation with a lot of curiosity and some #4-ing. There's just not much resources/groups or anything about it here. Or maybe I don't get out enough Reply Curiosity is king :-). Answering questions is my favorite thing. 2 agree Reply My psychologist pulled number 3 on me, that was fun. I ended our therapeutic relationship soon after. 3 agree Reply Good for you!!! 2 agree Reply Good for you! I had a similar experience. Reply for me, it helped to realize that all people who have / are ANYTHING out of "normal" know this: the same questions over and over by more or less well meaning others. i try to educate myself to get to know the traps of the various brands of special, some obvious (hey, blind people do not want random strangers to help them cross the street at all times!) but some not so obvious. so i aspire to have a gracious heart whenever i meet somebody asking me yet again if these two identical looking boys are indeed twins, and yes, they are a lot of work. i try to counter negativity with positivity as much as possible and remember that it is not my job to educate every well meaning person about all twin facts ever and my personal story in detail. i take it as a reminder to try and think before i talk to somebody about their special thing. actually, it often breaks the ice to ask about the top three things people say to them. and still, i do say a lot of dumb shit to a lot of nice people, and i am sorry. but, briana, if you were my friend i´d say: uuh, how cool! 5 agree Reply Thanks, May. 🙂 2 agree Reply Reading this post makes me realize how lucky I am to be surrounded by open minded people. (The next paragraph may seem off-topic, but it'll swing back around, I promise) I'm a panromantic demisexual and while there are grey areas in every "label" I needed something solid to help me describe who I am to the people I love. It led to a lot of online searches and community lurking to even get close to that "label". I started as a "bisexual" then a "pansexual" than a border-line "asexual" to what I identify as today. In doing this, I was exposed to whole other identities and lifestyles that I hadn't fully realized existed. Because my friends and family are so open to discussion, I've been talking to them about myself and all the things I've discovered. My youngest "student" really latched onto the conversation about polygamy and how anyone could do that. It was open and thoughtful and even though we ended with her saying "I just…. I couldn't do that" it wasn't judgmental…..and I wish more people could be like her. I guess my point of this post is really to share my gratitude for this community and for you sharing your views and what you've had to deal with. Keep strong. May not be for everyone, but nothing ever is. 😉 3 agree Reply Heather, Thank you. What I neglect to mention in the original post, which would probably give it some much-needed context, is the fact that I can't seem to make new friends since our relationship grew into what it is now. I can't share the true life I have, because I'm not sure how that person will take it. I get scared to lose them, because they'll assume something too quickly. The new people I have told are not receptive, and I'm hurt. I lost my dad over this. We used to be very close. I guess I just don't know what difference it makes, how many people I love, in whether or not friends and family should love me. I do have supportive folks. But I miss the people I've lost. 2 agree Reply I think that this happens with anything that makes someone unusual. I am a young mom, and while it's a different situation, many people react the same way. Parents stop talking when they learn my age, and people my age stop talking when they learn that I'm a mom. It's disheartening, but I know that I should not be ashamed because of their close-mindedness. Neither should you. I've eventually come to the conclusion that if they're going to be judgmental jerks, I don't want them. My solution has been to casually mention it early on. It hasn't increased my number of friends, but it has prevented me from getting attached to judgey people. On the upside, I'm Canadian. I've noticed that we are typically more tolerant than some more conservative countries, which is helpful for us lovely weirdos. 2 agree Reply Briana, There's always backlash when things don't fit norms. I'm sorry for the loss of friends, but you've already found a really good resource for support from the mini-masses…. Offbeat. 🙂 Plus, you can always find friends on the internet and possibly even in a local LGBT (if you can find LGBTP it specifically supports Poly) group/community. My longest friendship has actually been with a friend I met on an online chat. Met him a couple of times in person, but have been texting/e-mail/phone call buddies for over half my life. I had to make a couple of hard decisions to stop being friends with people who weren't outwardly cruel, but would make little comments that made me feel less than who I am. I cut a lot of people that I cared about out of my life because they were (maybe unintentionally, but nothing I said would change how they were) poison. I miss a lot of them, but at the same time I'm happier than I've ever been. It'll be tough, but I'm sure you will find a good balance.. I mean hey… you already have 2 people who love you unconditionally, right? 🙂 1 agrees Reply "I cut a lot of people that I cared about out of my life because they were (maybe unintentionally, but nothing I said would change how they were) poison." Yes, same. Maybe it's really not them, and it's me being sensitive, but it comes down to the same thing: the friendship isn't working. It just is overwhelming sometimes that my pool of possible friends is made so much smaller by this thing. Ah well. Yes, the Internet is a HUUUUGE help (Witness this comments section!). And double yes (ha), my husbands are wonderful humans who give me so much love… Small tangent, though (if you're interested) :-). Since it's not just my legal husband and me anymore, we can't be best friends in quite the same way that we were. Not to say that we love each other any less, but if I'm completely freaking out over other husband, he can't just take my side completely. Same if he's freaking out, and I'm consoling. Same if other husband and I are freaking out about legal husband. It's not like coming home to complain about a co-worker. You both love that other person too much, and want the relationship to work too much, to have room to just be heard venting. So, having a really close friend or two just for cathartic bitching every once in a blue moon is even more of an important thing. It's on my to-do list. The search is on. I'm sure I'll get there. 2 agree Reply Ohhhh I hadn't even thought of that tangent…. ohh sweet thing. <3 Strength to you all. It's hard enough when it's just being close friends with two people who end up meeting through you and falling in love. (Sound like personal experience? Yeah… yeah it is. XD ) Good luck with your search. I'm sure you will find that confidant! 1 agrees What I also didn't add, that may be of help in explaining: When I was having the discussion with my student of all things open-minded, I described polygamy like this: "Imagine a man loves a woman with all his heart. Something happens and she dies. A couple years later he meets and falls in love with another woman. He loves her with all his heart. Does this tarnish his love of his first love in any way? No? So he has it in his heart to love two people equally, correct? Then what about if he'd met the two women at the same time, wouldn't he still fall for both women?" Then I followed up with her teen heart of "haven't you liked two people at the same time before? What if those two liked each other as well as you? If you all were able to love each other…why would you want to break that apart?" She asked if I'd ever consider a polygamous relationship. I said I would, but I don't think I could sustain the level of trust and commitment it requires. I am a wholeheartedly jealous and possessive person. So while I believe I could love two people…I'd be uneasy if either of them loved someone else…and that just doesn't work in a healthy relationship of any kind. Without trying to sound pandering in any way: I admire that you three have the ability to share your love and to work through the hardships that come with it. 5 agree Reply Thank you! Reply Some perspectives of someone who probably responds incorrectly in most situations, and not always from judgment: The first reason that I might not respond well to this situation is that if you came out to me about something like this, you will be out-weirding me, and that will mess with my self image. The other is that sometimes I perceive people discussing their alternative lifestyles as bragging – either they are more enlightened than those of us who adhere to convention, or they are lucky that they get to do things the rest of us only fantasize about. So if I said it wasn't my choice, I might be trying to explain that I CHOOSE my monogamous, heterosexual marriage–I didn't fall into it without thinking just because it's what everyone else does and what is expected of me. I'm sorry you've lost people over this. I'm assuming if the relationships just ended, then these people were actually being judgmental. But just because they said something offensive, I wouldn't just write them off right away. It might even be worth it to be up front about this, as long as it won't hurt you professionally, to screen people out to begin with. 4 agree Reply Ha! I love the "out-weirding you" comment. I totally understand your perspective regarding possible bragging or claiming enlightenment; that goes with the idea, mentioned above, that poly people have somehow transcended jealousy. (I have not transcended jealousy. I am totally a jealous person. I am also historically monogamous, think monogamy is great, and am embarking on this adventure because it felt right.) That said, I assure you that when I confide this information to others (friends old and new, family), my attitude is one of cautious fear. I'm never like, "Yeah, well, I have two husbands sooooo double the fun for me!" It's more like, "Actually, um… well, the thing is… Okay. My life is actually like this:" etc., etc.. That said, you're so right that I should not write people off for having negative (or even just ambiguous) reactions from the first. However, I am afraid. I'm just afraid. I've said this huge thing, you know, and now I don't know how you feel. Have you lost all respect for me and my legal husband, like my father did? Do you think that it's no big deal, but you'd rather I didn't share that part of my life with you? Are we still friends? It's scary. And if we've reached this moment, where I'm being honest, I really like you (because I feel like I do have to screen, because of my work and day-to-day business). So that pseudo-rejection hurts. I tend to assume that if the friend wants to re-open the discussion, they will. If they don't, I don't broach it again–because I don't want to impose on their beliefs, or feel anymore hurt. It's not the perfect way to react to their reaction, but you could see whence it comes for me. 3 agree Reply This comment makes me want to reach through the interwebs and hug you. I'm so sorry that you have come into contact with people who are threatened by your choices that they have chosen to shut you out. I am even more sorry that one of those people has been your Dad. Honesty is so rare these days. And sometimes finding it leaves us scared and scarred. I can't tell you not to be afraid. Because I well know a similar version to the fear that you speak of. All I can do is let you know that open minded caring people ARE out there, waiting to cross paths with you and be a part of your community. Kia kaha. Its a Maori (from New Zealand) phrase that means literally "be strong". We use it to encourage, to build up and to convey compassion. Kia kaha Briana. 2 agree Reply Thank you, Mahina. I feel the Inter-hugs. Reply Though I've never been on the receiving end of this kind of coming out, I can imagine myself saying something like, "That wouldn't be my choice." Not to imply that MY choice should be YOUR choice, because that's ridiculous, but rather as a way of saying, "Wow, that's not a lifestyle I've ever seriously thought about… I've never known someone in a throuple before… I hope you're not disappointed to discover I'm clueless about your chosen lifestyle, because maybe you were hoping I'd be someone you could empathize with about this… I have a hard time understanding why anyone would choose that because monogamy is SO important to me, but you seem happy… wow, it's amazing how many people love stuff I hate… hell, maybe I don't know if I hate it or not… I didn't realize polyamory was a thing you could actually do in real life… huh… anyway, that's really cool and thanks for telling me!" It's not meant as censure. If anything, it's a blundering attempt to fill the silence while I scramble to fit this polyamory idea into my understanding of the world. And yes, it's an awkward way of saying all that… But I'm often awkward and bumbling when confronted with new or unexpected personal information. Awkward doesn't necessarily mean judgmental… Sometimes, it just means the person you're talking to is learning something new for the first time and has never learned how to respond. I will, of course, be very careful about using that phrase from now on! But I think it might also be worth pondering that perhaps people mean those words much more gently than you hear them. Of course, I'm making all sorts of assumptions by saying that… So consider this just one perspective that hopefully has been shared by a few other clueless bumbling folks. 🙂 Reply Yes, of course it could be meant more gently. All I wanted to say was that this is how it sounds (and, really, how it has been for me). I would never take any of these responses as earth-scorching for the friendship, either. They just leave me confused and scared as to how I should proceed. "That wouldn't be my choice," sounds like anything from "Huh…" to "Wow, I think you're morally bankrupt." My bachelor's degree was in Philosophy (I have a point, I swear), and one of the ideas behind Existentialism is that when we choose we choose for all others. That is, we do as we think all people should do. Of course that's not ALWAYS true, or at the forefront of our minds when we choose things, but I've seen the assumption latently made about this very post: because I am in a polyamorous relationship, I probably think people are meant to be polyamorous, or at least have a personal issue with/dislike for monogamy. That's not true, but you'd be reasonable in making the intellectual leap. So, my leap is that when people say "that wouldn't be my choice," they are signaling that they actively disagree with my choice. It's a reasonable leap, even if it is not always true. So, my hope is that my friends will follow up later. "Hey! I was so surprised before, I didn't ask…" etc., etc. If they don't… I think that I was right, and I lost someone over this. Thank you for your thoughts! I agree that in some cases it may just be shock/panic. Reply Thanks for writing about this. As someone who is, to the best of my knowledge, monogamous*, I had little idea of what poly people go through until talk of it on the interent really took off, and it still upsets me to this day. If you'd asked me in my late teens** whether I thought polyamorous people would face much hassle, I would have said that I would have expected all but the most dogmatic people to be ok with it, whether it was for them or not. Finding out the scale of the problem leads me to conclude that an enormous number of people don't understand why the things that society deems wrong are wrong. In other words they have a frighteningly limited understanding of ethics. I think it's important to face up to the fact that a substantial proportion of the population think that it's whether something is "normal" or not that makes it right or wrong, not whether it's unethical. I admire people in ethically nonmonogamous set-ups who don't hide the fact, because you're facing off against that and that takes a lot of courage***. I've made it all about me there, sorry. Thank you again for the article. *Long-term relationships haven't really been my thing, but I've been totally focussed on the one person when I've been with someone so… [baffled shrug]. **The most optimistic point in my life, sandwiched between my cynical adolescence and cynical full-adulthood. ***I realise that this is true of a lot of people for a lot of reasons, including myself, I guess I just didn't think polyamorous people would be included in it too. I don't know why. I guess a lot of rather unpleasant people are pro-unethical nonmonogamy, or at least view it as inevitable, and I didn't realise that their opposition to social change, and variation between people (and possibly opposition to cultivation of the good communication, selflessness and relationship skills that polyamory seems to require), would take precendence over the nonmonogamy part. Sometimes I think people like that are more anti-ethics/anti-compassion than anything else, but there's a whole essay in that and I've already rambled enough. 3 agree Reply Jan, thank you so much for saying this. You have put into words something that confuses me every time I confide to a new or old friend that we are actually in a polyamorous way; the level of opposition, of shock, is MUCH more than it was when, for example, people found out that a past serious boyfriend had been cheating on me for months. You're right on: it seems like a lot of folks think that cheating is to be expected (and is, thus, kind of sort of okay), but that respectful, honest, consensual poly configurations are strange (and thus, not okay really). I too really, really thought that to most this should not be a big deal, especially friends (as opposed to very concerned Christian people who hear about this through community and don't even know us, maybe). What does it actually change, about me (ethically, morally, whatever), to find out that I have two husbands (or that they have each other, also)? I'm not lying to them. I'm not cheating on them. We're all a part of this. We love each other. This is our decision, as a group, and we made it. We make it again, happily, every day, or else we would certainly dissolve the arrangement. We're happy, and isn't that what friends and family should be concerned with? It doesn't affect them, what our family looks like. That's why I use the children/no-children argument as an example (which has been challenged above). The news doesn't change anything that personally concerns the friend, except that they are being trusted with sensitive information. Of course it probably wouldn't be their choice–we're not looking to convert people, or even for empathy. We're just trying to be open about who we are, as appropriate. Thank you, again, so much. Reply It's okay to sleep with other people as long as you admit that it's wrong. It's when you try to claim that it's not wrong at all that people get really upset. Doing something wrong isn't nearly as offensive to most people as trying to change their binary understanding of what IS right and wrong. 4 agree Reply Ohhhh. Got it! What was I thinking?! 🙂 Reply This is SO bang on! Whether you're talking about polyamory, homosexuality, or even just people's attitude towards how emotions should be expressed (or not expressed as the case may be!). People in general are so threatened when you do things in a way that they have always seen as wrong, even more so when you are completely ok with it!!! Thank goodness for the people who aren't, who listen and learn and appreciate our differences <3 <3 <3 1 agrees Reply "Further, if I tell some other person that I don't want any children, I think they would understand that I was simply confiding a fact — not looking to be shamed for it." Sigh, one would hope! Not always the case though. As someone who is maybe moving toward a similar arrangement in my own life, thank you for writing about this, and I'm looking forward to checking out your blog and learning more about how you guys make it work 🙂 1 agrees Reply Thank you! Good luck, and I hope my WordPress ramblings are in some way helpful. There is precious little guidance on this sort of thing. We're making it up as we go, and knowing someone out there is reading for answers will make me write more of it down! 1 agrees Reply I think a lot has been covered already, but I wanted to add something: It's none of my business. While I often have a lot of questions when someone confesses something, I don't know what that opens the door to. I'm rather socially awkward, and it catches me off guard. If you told me, I'd be happy for you, but I wouldn't know the socially-appropriate level of glee that I should display. I would not know where to place this on the scale from "Oh, cool" to "OMG IM SO HAPPYYYYYY, YOU'RE ALL LOVELY AND ADORABLE, LETS BE BEST FRIENDS". While I do know the appropriate excitement levels for weddings, babies, promotions, and other socially recognized events. Secondly, I wouldn't want to pry or be offensive. I may try so hard not to be offensive, that I offend you. I don't want to be that weirdo that accidentally says something too personal, or blunt. I genuinely don't understand some of the logistics involved (taxes? bed-space? blankets…? front seat in the car? Couch space?) etc. But, that's not judgement, simply curiosity. The problem is, I don't know what's acceptable to ask. I want people to know that I'm okay with them, I support them, and that they can come to me and confide in me- but I don't want to presume things and scare them off. 2 agree Reply Understood, totally. I'd be crazy to imagine that people have ANY idea what our relationship configuration actually entails from the initial moment that I tell them. That's why I want to have the discussion, to really express the full truth of it, which is not about sex or bucking tradition or cheating. Never, ever do I view honest questions as rude or judgy (I wish I had been clearer about the "are you the home-wrecker" question; the only thing I find wrong with that question is the implication that one of us is a cheater. Questions are how the door stays open — the exact opposite of judging. And I get the anxiety, I do. I totally see how some of these reactions could be foot-in-mouth, too. That's one of the reasons that the post was written, ultimately; I do not believe everyone who reacted this way meant to hurt me. They were unprepared. Maybe people who read this won't be, if it ever happens to them. 1 agrees Reply Not be offensive here, but: People really need to stop being so offended by other people's reactions. Especially first reactions, which are most often just words of surprise, and they show a tiny glimpse of how that person reacts to new things. Not how they think or feel once they have processed the information. Like when you see a baby eat your favorite fruit for the first time, and it pulls a "Disgusting"-Face, nobody would be offended. I had the most "offensive" reactions to my engagement announcement and my pregnancy, even though they were the most conservative choices I could have made. I actually had: "Oh really? Well it's not for me, but good luck with THAT." So, many people use themselves as reference point or what they have "heard" or "imagined". No surprise there. Most peoples thoughts, feelings and expressions have nothing to do with you, and everything to do with them. What really counts in my opinion is what behaviour people show as you move past that point, are they supportive, curious, do they pull back? I am sorry to hear about your father, but are you pulling back from other people after their 'offensive' reactions? 1 agrees Reply I am pulling back a bit, which I've admitted in responses to others; I struggle to imagine doing anything else after exchanges like the ones I've detailed. Conveying this information is hard, and I am fragile when I do it — not just because it's a huge part of my life, but because I don't know how much it is a big part of their lives. Who we love, and how? People have some big, strong opinions about that. It's the same with rituals, like your engagement and pregnancy. You reference the offensive reactions to your own choices; it sounds like they were frustrating to you. I am frustrated, too, and that is all I am expressing. I recognize that the strength of my reaction has to do with my own sensitivity, as well as the defensiveness I already feel in preparing to share my news. I don't think my reaction is necessarily right, or appropriate — but neither do I think theirs was. Humans are messy; I know this. I don't want to shut people out, and I'm trying not to do that by sharing in the first place. Maybe the people who react this way are not trying to shut me out, either. Maybe if someone in the world reads this, and is in the situation of my friends/family members, they will be better equipped to get the ball rolling again with their loved ones/friends. That would be very brave of them — much braver than I feel after having conversations that end like these did. TL;DR: People could have these reactions and still talk to me; I have still talked to them for a bit, hoping for a reprisal of the topic. They say these things because they're human, and I get frightened because I am human; maybe this article can bypass that stalemate, is all. Reply My response would depend on how well I knew the person. If I didn't know the person well, I'd probably respond with, "Ummmmmm, ok!". "Ummmmmm" as in, I don't really know you and am confused as to why you are telling me something that I think is personal. And "ok!" as in, good for you. My confused face would probably be misinterpreted. I have trouble hiding my feelings and they tend to come across in my facials. And, because I seem to process things differently to others, my facials are often misinterpreted. My confusion wouldn't have anything to do with me being monogamous, or them being in a 'throuple' as you put it. It would simply be me wondering why an acquaintance chose to tell me! If I knew the person well, I would hope that I would have seen it coming or have had some inkling that this was where they were heading. I would probably listen instead of responding straight away, processing and observing. I'd be curious about the dynamics of a three person relationship. I'm an intensely curious person! And I would likely wait until another time to explore my curiosities with that person. Because someone telling me something like this is about that person and that person only. I think it'd be rude for me to take this kind of news and make it all about me 😛 1 agrees Reply I'm right there with you with my facial expressions being misinterpreted. And the "umm (why are you telling me this)" is part of why I wait until I know I want to be the person's friend… How soon is too soon, you know? It's just awkward, out of the blue, to go "I HAVE TWO HUSBANDS. Hi. …What?" I think that if I had written this post in a better, more humorous mood I might have described people who are coming out as very like wild bunnies: skittish, but soft. At the slightest sign of danger, the very moment you even begin to resemble something that MIGHT be a predator, we retreat. In no way do I think that that's the perfect reaction, either… But there it is. I can't help it. BUT, all of this discussion has been great for me. I have a new perspective on my own behavior, and the reactions of others. I can just hope the dialogue has been good for others, too. Yay, curiosity! 1 agrees Reply I really hope that the changing discourse surrounding homosexuality translates into broader acceptance of poly soon. 1, 3, and 4 were really similar to the reactions I got to coming out as bi (for simplicity's sake) in college. I'd say that the most common thing to round out the quad was the suggestion that I was confused or greedy. I still hear the rhetoric a lot, but at least now most of the people I would have things in common with are a little more understanding (i.e. now that LGB (leaving off TQQI because I'm aware of the disparity in acceptance… hell, I'm hesitant to include B, but I KNOW I've got it easier than my friends who are trans) equality is moving forward, although it's not here, the progressive types I generally associate with are embracing it, so I'm less likely to encounter backlash from them). But yet, I'm sure a lot of these same people who wouldn't bat an eye at my sexuality would stop dead if I told them I was poly. All of that said, I also wish that more people, whether under pseudonyms or otherwise, could find the courage to share their experiences. Ferrett Steinmetz does a lot of blogging about poly, and about his own polycule in particular, and now you've posted this thing… I think that the most normalising thing that can be done is to increase visibility. However, having my own variety of Things that Are Not Discussed in Polite Company, I fully understand that being out and proud isn't always possible for people. A friend of mine has had a school department on his tail since my own school days because he supported our efforts to found a gay straight alliance. They've been trying to run him out ever since, just for supporting a group meant to support LGBTQQI youth in our school. Speech is a dangerous thing, so, much respect to you for opening this dialogue. 1 agrees Reply Thank you. Yes, I agree: increasing visibility is the best possible thing. We're coming out of left field with these coming-outs (ha?), but we wouldn't be if everyone who WAS poly, or bi, or what-have-you was coming out, too. No pressure (at all), of course, to anyone else reading this (because being poly is only half of what I'm not completely out about, and I agree with Twilyt that it's hard and scary–I hope that's obvious). It's a time thing. We just have to be honest when we feel comfortable to be honest and, on the other side, try to be respectful when difficult honesty gets shared our way. Little by little, we're approaching the middle ground that will hopefully make this just another accepted (if not endorsed) thing. Reply Wow, I really feel lucky to live in such a liberal place. I live on a tiny southern gulf island in British Columbia in Canada… and all the friends and family members who were introduced to my throuple-hood were not only pleasant, but supportive. Invited us as three to everything, nary a finger-wag or condescending tone encountered. Sadly hubby decided poly wasn't actually his thing anymore and called it quits… and I'm just left missing our ex something fierce 🙁 Reply Aw, what a sad thing… It's oft discussed between us three, how difficult it would be for any two of us to carry on without the third–even Legal Husband and me, now that we have adapted ourselves to this relationship. I bet it's much, much tougher a transition than even I can imagine. I hope hubby is there for you in your missing your ex (hearing your feelings, etc.), even if it is difficult. Good luck transitioning; I wish you lots of strength. Reply I found this post by searching for reactions to people coming out as poly, it's been very helpful, thanks. I'm not in a polyamorous relationship but my partner and I would like to bring someone else into our relationship, ideally as an equal. Anyway my response to this particular point – losing a member – especially to death – seems to me to one of the most positive aspects of such a relationship compared to a couple. You've both lost someone, but you still have each other. You have someone to help you through who is feeling the same way as you about the same person and you still have a relationship to nourish you. Very similar to having more than one child and losing one. I lost a cousin to suicide and I'm pretty sure that the thing that kept my aunt and uncle going was that they still had two other children. Reply I find this article really intreating. My great grandfather had three families simultaneously. One of his partners was his wife and two were referred to as mistresses. He was with all of them for decades. All three woman knew each other though maintained separate families. My great grandfather provided for all three families, but you couldn't call them relationships built on equality. I bring it up because no one would have dreamed of saying things like this to him or dare proposition 'his' mistresses. He wasn't just allowed to have multiple relationships he was praised for it. "He was a big and wealthy man and what do you expect", seemed to be the idea. You never knew who he was going to bring to a function and all three women were treated the same. I bring it up because the writer is in a relationship based on love, equality, and mutual support, that's different from the norm and gets shit for it. I wonder if the writer was a wealthy man that had power to opt out of standard family structure and enter into multiple separate, unequal and possible oppressive relationships with women that were financially obligated to him would people say things like that to him? I don't think so. I think some would see that person as a monster and others, to use the vulgar, as a pimp. From my limited understanding of polyamory, it only seems to be a big moral problem if you are a woman. Reply A rephrase of #3, but my "favorite" (insert rolled-eyes here) response is, "oh, I could *never* do that!" … So?! I did! We're talking about me for a sec! Reply Join the conversation Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Notify me of follow-up comments by email. No-drama comment policy Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy.