Monday, June 20, 2011

When You're a Teen and Polyamorous

Godzillaisdamn, a young woman, wrote about being polyamorous

I'm only a teenager, so you guys probably wont take me very seriously but that's okay with me. I'm hoping someone who reads this can look past the fact that I am only sixteen and see my story and questions as real, and not just a 'sex thing'.

Some people know what kind of relationships to which they are suited and want in their lives in their teens, just as some people know exactly what career they want by that age. Some teens think they know, but discover differently with more experience. But there are those who correctly have figured out who they are and where they are going, and they demonstrate it the rest of their lives. So I never dismiss what a teen says in these matters.

I think it spawns off of the fact that 1) my parents spit when I was very young and neither of them ever had a 'normal' relationship with anybody else. 2) I just want to be able to love (note, not make love, just love) two people at the same time. I want to be able to feel the flow of love between the people in the group as we hold hands or cuddle. 3) I just love the idea.

As to the first point, certainly our parents have some influence over us, but some people are poly as who they are. Most polyamorous people had parents who were together, at least for much of their childhood, and did not identify as polyamorous.

So, I'm posting this not only to tell my story, but to ask some questions. And I'm hoping someone will take the time to respond to them.

1- Did any of you know you were polyamorous when you were teenagers?
2- How did you find out?
3- How do you meet other polyamorous people?
4-What are some terms I should know when (and if) I bring this up with my other friends.
5-How did you tell your parents?!
6-Is it hard to be polyamorous?

If you have answers for her, follow the link to answer. Below are some of the responses.

Hylas - 36-40 years old – male…

1. No, I was a prude as a teen. Didn't really realize my proclivities until my mid-twenties.
2. I was casually exposed to alternative lifestyles and was just around them long enough to realize that it doesn't make sense to say humans can only love one person at a time.
3. Online, at clubs, at LARPs (I'm a gamer). That's for me. YMMV
5. I haven't. Tried once, mother started to go ballistic when I started by trying to explain what polyamory is.
6. No harder than being monogamous, in my opinion. Just requires honesty, good open communications, and a bit of introspection.

SeatownSin - 31-35 years old – male…

I had always known I was different from "the norm" in certain ways, but when I was a teenager I didn't have the resources, or experience available to understand what I was feeling, and it definitely wasn't an allowed topic of conversation in my orthodox household. I only understood that what I was being told about love, and marriage, and how a family should work did not feel right to me. It just did not make sense to me as to why I should be forced into practices that don't work for me, and didn't even work for my own parents. I didn't have any good mono role models, or any poly role models. I just did what any sincere human being should always strive to do: I followed my heart. My heart led me to a life of being an out and open tame poly who has had to take his fair share of lumps along the way, but I couldn't be happier.

And now from me:

1. No, at least I didn’t know what it was called. I bought in to the idea that everyone was supposed to be monogamous, and let I cared for more than one person at a time. I wasn’t having sex with more than one person, though.

2. Experience and reading.

3. There are many places online. It has never been easier to get connected. I also recommend joining up with a Gay-Straight Alliance or other organizations or clubs on your school campus. Most LGBT people don't identify as polyamorous, but they are dealing with some of the same issues you'll be facing, and besides, you'll be contributing to a good cause.

4. Be able to articulate the differences and similarities (but especially the differences) between polyamory, promiscuity, swinging, swapping, and cheating. Explain that when you’re talking about polyamory, you are talking about an emotional and social context, not necessarily sexual, and that everyone involved would be consenting and informed; it is about allowing people to have their needs met.

5. My parents are great, so it wasn’t a big deal.. My parents figured it out on their own. I wasn’t in the habit of filling them in on every detail or update about my social life, and when you’re an independent adult, you can generally keep your life with your parents separate from your social life (it’s more difficult when you are consanguinamorous). But as they’ve met some of the women to whom I’ve grown especially close and these women have been present together or talk about each other (usually saying nice things), it is glaringly obvious what is going on.

6. The greatest difficulty can be due to the persecution and prejudice that still exist. Poly people can be bullied, ostracized, slandered, fired, even prosecuted. It is hard having to hide something about yourself when and where you shouldn’t have to hide. Any relationship is going to have challenges, but what is going to be more hard to a poly person than polyamory is trying to force themselves into a monogamous mold. In some ways, polyamory can be more difficult, but in other ways, it has more benefits than monogamy.
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