If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my nearly seven years of poly life, it’s that you can’t control or even predict how people will react to the news that you’ve chosen a life of non-monogamy.
I recently attended a poly meetup and asked anyone who felt obliged to share details of what happened after they came out to their friends and loved ones. I hope these stories might help you feel less alone in your decision to be out as polyamorous.
Stories of Coming Out Poly
1. Natasha: Outed Against Her Will
My coming out story happened by accident. My secondary partner and I travelled to a neighboring town to take in a show. Usually, we’re pretty good at reining in our PDA, but I guess we got swept up in the romance of the night and the fact that we were on neutral ground. Anyway, one of my colleagues was also at the show and saw us kissing during intermission. She knows that I’m married with kids. She’s also very conservative and judgmental.
Long story short, news travelled fast around the office leading to some very inflammatory conversations. I had a high-profile job in a town where the phrase “traditional family values” gets thrown around a lot. Ultimately, I lost my job and ended up moving to the big city where my poly lifestyle hasn’t been an issue.
2. Derek: A Super-Supportive Family
I’ve been poly for probably my whole life, but I didn’t know there was a word for it until five years ago when I hooked up with some poly people at a club.
I didn’t tell anyone about my explorations into non-monogamy until I found out my cousin was getting married. She’s super awesome and accepting, so when it came time to RSVP, I requested a “plus two.” This led to a larger conversation where I basically outed myself to my entire family. I knew my parents would likely be cool, seeing as they’re old school hippies and super open-minded. What I didn’t expect is that even my aunt and uncle would be on board with it. We showed up to the big day as the proud throuple we are, and the rest is history.
3. Olivia: A Work in Progress
I’m someone who strives to live an honest, authentic life. That’s probably what attracted me to polyamory in the first place. I’m all for communication and transparency, which can be both a blessing and a curse. I had been involved with my partner and his wife for about six months when I decided to tell my sister, the one person in my life who I feel really has my back. She was shocked at first, then pissed, asking why I hadn’t told her sooner. Then she launched into a whole tirade about how I was going to get my heart ripped out.
Since then, she’s cycled through a variety of emotions, from acceptance to disgust, even claiming that I’m going to ruin my partner’s marriage. It’s been a year and a half and she’s finally ready to meet both my loves. Let’s hope it goes well!
Read: 4 Polyamory Myths Busted
4. Malcolm: It Could Have Gone Better
I don’t know what made me think that coming out to my dad was a good idea, I guess I’ve always longed for his approval, and thought that maybe this time I would get it. My dad is what one might call a left-wing anarchist. He bought a farm and started an intentional community when I was a kid, so I grew up with lots of adults around. Naturally I thought he’d be stoked to hear that my wife and I had each taken on new partners and that we were raising our kids as a group.
Suffice to say, the news did not go over well. He kept going on about the sanctity of marriage and accused me of taking advantage of my wife’s obedient nature. We haven’t spoken since I dropped the bomb, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. My mom is sympathetic, but I can tell that she is also weirded out by my lifestyle. It’s a good thing I have such a loving, supportive polycule.
What has your experience been of coming out poly? Please share!