Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Allies, Bigots, and Lovers Write to Dear Abby on Polyamory

The “Dear Abby” column has printed some responses received to a previous letter from a person in a polyamorous triad about being out to family. Please note that polyamory is a form, not the only form, of nonmonogamy, and that polyamorous relationships can be either open or closed.

Kathy in Berkeley wrote…

As a counselor, nurse and consulting hypnotist in private practice, I counsel people every day in developing healthy, happy, open relationships.

Thanks, Kathy!

Polyamory and other forms of non-monogamous relationships are becoming more widely practiced and accepted, as many individuals and couples find the limits of traditional marriage do not meet their needs.

She gives advice about coming out…

I advise couples to "test the waters" first with the most open-minded family member by bringing up the subject of a "friend" who is in an open relationship. If the relative reacts in a neutral or positive way, it may be safe to disclose the truth. Ask this person how the rest of the family might respond to the news. Couples should carefully assess whether their relationship is strong enough to withstand potential rejection.

There is a price to pay for being open, and one for staying secretive. The latter requires lying to family members and excluding one partner from family events, causing pain for everyone.

And here’s why full marriage equality is going to happen…

Families do become more accepting over time if they see that the couple's marriage is not threatened by the polyamory and that everyone seems happy.

Jean in Providence wrote…

My husband and I have been non-monogamously married for many years. My lover joined the household four years ago. Some members of my family welcome all three of us, some don't. One, who doesn't otherwise identify as conservative, has cut me off.

It is that person’s loss. Could be jealousy.

I'm sad that my happy family life offends them, but my household is my primary family unit, and I don't lie or cover it up.

Good for Jean.

Different family styles work for different people. Why is this hard to grasp?

Because some people think they want everyone to be just like them. If life was really like that, they’d be even more miserable, though. They just haven’t realized that. But they think it will affirm their beliefs if nobody is different from them.

Someone else wrote…

Where will she be if she becomes pregnant?

My guess? Either visiting with an OB/GYN, Midwife, Doula, or Nurse Practitioner. Possibly kneeling over a waste basket with morning sickness.

A baby would complicate a triad situation.

A baby would complicate a single person situation.

A baby would complicate a couple situation.

There can be only one biological dad.

Well, yes, when it is a natural conception. I wonder what this person things of adoptions and sperm donations?

Who will play Daddy, and who the uncle?

Why can’t both be Daddy? There are plenty of same-sex couples and various polyamorous families where this is the case, not to mention heterosexual, “monogamous” stepfamilies.

Will each of them really be OK with this then?

That is possible, but that is up to them, isn’t it?

How confused might the child be?

The child would likely only be confused by why some stranger would be upset that he or she has a mother and two daddies, all of whom love each other and love him or her.

As a mom, I feel for the parents of all involved.

I wonder what kind of relationships her children have. Is she one of those parents who has a grown child who is having casual sex with various people, and that is okay as long as it isn’t openly discussed, but she would be upset if he came to her and told her that he is in a committed relationship with two other people? I'm not knocking casual sex. But I see so much inconsistency in the condemnation of choices made by consenting adults. Just about any parent of an unmarried adult out there who looks down on polyfidelity because it isn't monogamy should ask themselves why that is bad in comparison to casual sex with different people or going from partner to partner every few months, as their adult child could very well be doing, if statistics are any indication.

Polyamory in the News picked up on this column, too.
— — —

No comments:

Post a Comment

To prevent spam, comments will have to be approved, so your comment may not appear for several hours. Feedback is welcome, including disagreement. I only delete/reject/mark as spam: spam, vulgar or hateful attacks, repeated spouting of bigotry from the same person that does not add to the discussion, and the like. I will not reject comments based on disagreement, but if you don't think consenting adults should be free to love each other, then I do not consent to have you repeatedly spout hate on my blog without adding anything to the discourse.

If you want to write to me privately, then either contact me on Facebook, email me at fullmarriageequality at protonmail dot com, or tell me in your comment that you do NOT want it published. Otherwise, anything you write here is fair game to be used in a subsequent entry. If you want to be anonymous, that is fine.

IT IS OK TO TALK ABOUT SEX IN YOUR COMMENTS, BUT PLEASE CHOOSE YOUR WORDS CAREFULLY AS I WANT THIS BLOG TO BE AS "SAFE FOR WORK" AS POSSIBLE. If your comment includes graphic descriptions of activity involving minors, it's not going to get published.