Leaving Societal Norms Behind

PART 3 – Coming Out Stories (The “Our Story” Series)

PART 3 – Coming Out Stories (The “Our Story” Series)

*Part 3 of a 10 Part Series of articles showing the diversity and authenticity within the Polyamorous Community.

Do you know what it’s like to live outside the norm and have to ‘come out’ about who you are? Because it isn’t what ‘most’ people do, or it isn’t what most people will ‘assume’ about you. Trying to fight for people to accept you as your true self can be really difficult for people who don’t fit within the confines of society’s social constructs. People within the LGBTQIA+ community have been dealing with this for years. It is a struggle that can really badly break you if you don’t find anyone who you feel you can turn to for support or guidance. Why do we put people through that?

There is a new wave of ‘coming out’ that has been happening. Although, this may not be new for some – Polyamory is a fairly new term to label an old practice, and as such is becoming increasingly more visible and ‘coming out’ worthy. I know there are many people in the LGBTQIA+ community who feel that being polyamorous isn’t the same as being part of the Pride community, and thus ‘coming out’ is not necessary or not as dramatic, or what have you. They see it as less important, and for good reason are worried that the ‘coming out’ stories of polyamorous individuals will overshadow their own ‘coming out’ experiences.

We are not here to erase anyone’s identity or lifelong struggles. We simply wish to add individual accounts to the mix in order to express our understanding of another form of ‘coming out’. The practice of ‘coming out’ here can be seen differently, depending on if you feel someone is naturally born polyamorous, or if they are simply choosing the lifestyle. As you can see from Part 2 of our series, it is a diverse community we have full of different beliefs and experiences. Allow them to tell you their own stories before you make any assumptions, or judge. Any type of erasure, even erasure of those you feel are fairly permanent in the spotlight already, is still a great disservice to humankind, overall. Everybody deserves to be heard and understood. No person’s struggles should be seen as ‘not good enough’ to talk about. We need to accept each other, and move forward together. Allowing each person we meet to live and love in their own way.

*Also, a quick reminder that ‘coming out’ is a continuous process. Every time you speak to someone new you have to decide whether or not to be ‘out’ with that person. Although, the LGBTQIA+ community may protest, it can be just as dangerous for a polyamorous individual to ‘come out’ to the people they love, or within the work place. They may not be as likely to be fired from a job, or for their children to be taken away, but it does happen. And, also remember, there is overlap between these two communities. It is even harder for those already in the LGBTQIA+ community to add one more ‘coming out’ to their list of things they feel they have to admit to someone else. Our hope is that one day people won’t feel like they have to confess pieces of their identity in order to be seen as whole and acceptable, and that everyone will simply come to an understanding that everyone is different (and that different is okay).

We asked our respondents to tell us their “coming out” story (their first time, most memorable time, or the time that impacted them the most). Here is what they had to say:

To Family

  • I told my mom about my boyfriend after 9 months of dating him. She was not very supportive and was not too nice to him at a party my husband and I invited him to. I had to tell her because she was concerned our marriage was suffering due to Hubs going to Florida without family often (to see his long distance girlfriend). I needed to clear it up that this was not a cheating thing at all and we were aware of who we were spending our time with and that neither of us was divorcing or having issues. She told me she wished she didn’t know and we should be more discrete lol. Don’t come out and expect support. Come out because you can’t live two separate lives anymore and your love is nothing to be ashamed of.
  • In my late 20s, when it was clear that my spouse, my boyfriend, and I were forming a triad, I told my sisters before I told my mother. One of them told her, and my mother was irate that I had not included her from the start. She took the triad well, so maybe that gave her something else to be upset about.
  • It’s been uneventful besides the telling to my mom. My mom is also a mono in a poly relationship and she was angry and judgmental. I’ve had to acknowledge her disapproval and move on from it.
  • Telling my family I loved 2 people was interesting but they were accepting and really love my partners.
  • I was visiting my sister in California and she took me to get my nails done. We were talking about various things and out of nowhere she asks, “You are too happy, who are you sleeping with?” I do not have a good poker face and proceeded to tell her about the quad. She was cool with it but stated that she didn’t want details. She then proceeded to ask me questions all day.
  • I came out while running away from an abusive family situation with my partner. This was two years ago and I remember calling my mother from a truck stop several states away and telling her everything while she yelled at me and cried about how selfish I am. I have no regrets and it was honestly one of the most liberating things I’ve ever done.
  • My ‘coming out’ to my mother was my most memorable moment. She’s part of the ‘silent generation’ and generally we don’t talk about deep emotion. When I told her that the man she had just met was a ‘very special friend,’ she said she thought he was nice and that she was glad that I have him in my life.
  • I came out last year and my family was very supportive as they already knew about me being bisexual. Poly was not a huge shocker lol
  • Most of my family are in open relationships so I don’t have anything special. I’ll just make comments about women I’m talking to.
  • My mom asking me who gave me the hickeys all over my neck after an enthusiastic weekend with my triad. She didn’t care for the concept and wouldn’t talk to me for a while. I probably should have came out as pan to her previously, but it was too late at that point. She fully supports us now and she is glad I’ve found a lifestyle that I thrive in.
  • I came out to my mother via my 13 y.o. son. I didn’t intend on telling her anytime soon but he was butthurt that my bf and I didn’t take him to see the new Spider-Man movie with us. So he snitched on me at Cici’s Pizza with tons of people around. My mother’s mouth went agape for a while as me and my sister laughed our butts off. Lmao
  • My car broke down and I had called my father to come out and help. The couple we were dating were close by, and came to help as well. I introduced them as the couple that my wife and I were dating. And then later told my mom about the situation. It was so freeing.
  • Telling my mom was actually the most memorable. I had expected her to flip her lid. Instead she actually agreed that humans were meant to love more than one person. She hasn’t met my other partners but she’s also never spoken ill about my choice.
  • I told my dad I don’t believe in monogamy, he said “but you’re married,” and I said yes! That was it.

To Friends

  • When I was in college, I met my best friend who was also the first polyamorous person I’d ever met. Learning about polyamory was like unlocking all the things I’d shoved in a box and tried to ignore for so many years. I started identifying as poly and told my close friends on campus first. They took it really well, and were supportive saying that they could totally see how that would make sense for me.
  • I haven’t really come out, at least not publicly. I did tell my best friend and he looked at me with surprise/envy. I explained some of the difficulties, when your wife is with someone else.
  • I was honest with my girlfriends and close family as to how my relationships were progressing from the start; very blessed to have full support.
  • I am only ‘out’ to one of my friends. She seems fairly indifferent to it all but seems open to meeting the men in my life.
  • I haven’t come out much. All my local friends just know because we all go out together a lot. Haven’t told my parents yet. The hardest one was when I came out to a couple of my friends who don’t go out and hadn’t seen us all together. I don’t know why I struggled so much telling them, they are both very queer and very accepting people, but I look up to them a lot and was afraid of judgment. I shouldn’t have been. When I finally told them their response was “OMG that’s awesome! Monogamy is ridiculous. That’s so exciting that you found poly and it’s working for you!”
  • There was a woman I thought was my best friend, as we’d been friends since childhood. I told her everything about my journey into polyamory, all the ups and downs. She seemed to be accepting at first, but then turned sour about it all. She then proceeded to call me selfish and told me I was a terrible mom. Then she stopped talking to me entirely and called CPS on me. She is no longer in my life.
  • I had a tougher time coming out as polyamorous to my friends than to my family. Told my closest friends one on one, and all but a few supported me. Some had questions, but everyone stated as long as I was happy, they were happy.
  • We basically just announced it to people we knew after we decided to move forward. As we hung out with our various groups of friends, we would just let them know. Nobody seemed to judge us. We were lucky.
  • My coming out story isn’t interesting. My mom was less than pleased, but accepts that I can make my own choices. I do have some friends that have struggled to understand it’s not cheating.
  • I think I may have just blurted out that I was going to meet a hot girl after a night out with friends (I’m married to a man).
  • I told my friend I dated others and she stopped talking to me…I’ve never told anyone else.
  • I just told my friends, there is no great story.

To Partners (or Potential Partners)

  • At that time I had been dating my partner for 2 years, and I had a crush on another person. I finally worked up the courage to tell him that I was poly, and that even though I liked other people, I didn’t love him any less. He was super accepting and understanding, and told me that even if he is a monogamist, he would be fine with me dating other people. It made me feel like I was accepted.
  • It is still very new for me and my family. But the most impactful moment was when I felt I could truly be open with my husband.
  • My first time at 19 was a disaster, it just didn’t work, and I went back into the closet and monogamy for another 10 years. My second time was better, but was a long process, and occurred when I began working at a very sex positive and queer positive space where I encountered a range of relationship styles outside of monogamy. Through this I gained the confidence to approach my now primary in a polyamorous and open/casual sex lifestyle.
  • My wife told me she wanted more than just casual or accidental sex with other people.
  • I scheduled a lunch with a former coworker on whom I had always crushed. I told her that my wife and I were now poly and open, explained the details as best I could, and then told her I was interested in her and would like to take her out. She was not receptive, and she promptly never spoke to me again.
  • It was really hard to learn how to tell guys I was interested in, but most of them took it pretty well; either saying “That’s cool, but I’m not okay with it,” and walking away or just being friends, or being open to the idea for my sake. I think I’ve been really lucky, but I also lived in a very alternative area at the time.

To The World

  • I’ve come out several times. Both as Pansexual and polyamorous. I came out very publicly on Facebook and honestly I’ve never been happier. I feel free and like I can truly be myself. And I found some unexpected and amazing support in doing so!
  • I came out publicly on Facebook, although many friends knew already. I got a wholly positive response. The most touching response was a simple heart react from my late wife’s father. It meant a lot.
  • We took a photo together kissing each other and holding our man, and put it on Facebook for all friends and family to see…no one said anything disapproving. It was the best feeling in the world telling EVERYONE!
  • I’ve come out on FB and that’s about it. My blood family knows nothing of my life regarding polyam and they don’t get to. I just live my life the most authentically that I can.
  • I simply announced it on Facebook, put it in my ‘self-description,’ and told everyone I know.
  • I first came out to my barber. I was talking about my weekend and was tired of saying “my friend.” I was apprehensive, but she was so accepting and genuinely curious about how it all worked. It was exciting and fun to be honest. I left with the biggest grin on my face.
  • I came out publicly on Facebook by putting the polyamory symbol of the infinite heart into my picture frame. It’s been strangely received but I expected that. I’m not hiding anymore.
  • Coming out at work was the most difficult for me. It wasn’t something I specifically intended to happen, but I had a bit of social following online. As soon as I came out online, I knew there would be an impact on my business and work life. I have clients and at the time worked for a conservative talk radio station. They already knew, and they were okay with, my views not lining up with the views of the talk shows we hosted. Some of the clients, however, did not know.

I remember when I first posted something about it in a non-vague manner. I shared a blog post my partner had written. Comments flooded in, but they were all from family. “The beginning of the end,” one said. “I hope you find God’s love someday,” another wrote. Those reactions stung, and I was tempted to respond in anger, but resisted. The vast majority were along the lines of “I don’t agree, but love you regardless.”

The next few weeks were filled with a ton of awkward conversations with clients and many trying to convince me that marriage was the only mature option. Most of them stating that I would change my mind when I was older. Thankfully, nothing tangibly negative occurred from coming out as polyamorous. None of my clients left, although some were admittedly less warm towards me. No family disowned me.

Coming out has allowed me to be public in a small town where openness often gets pushed under the rug. It’s given a lot of other people the opportunity to speak up and come out, which has been the best part.

Always Out or Open

  • I do not have a ‘coming out’ story. I’ve just always been naturally forthcoming if there was reason to bring up that I am non-monogamous at all.
  • I’ve always been this way and people have known it.
  • I guess I’ve never really done the whole ‘coming out’ thing. When I was in high school I had 2 partners for a period of time. I didn’t know the term for it, but I never hid it. After discovering a name for it, and acquiring 2 partners as an adult, I didn’t really hide it either. I didn’t go out and broadcast it to the world. It isn’t really anybody else’s business. Perhaps some people still don’t know that I’m polyamorous. But anyone who knows me well (or is friends with me on FB) definitely is aware. I never try to hide who I am.
  • I can’t say that I have come out, or that I haven’t. I don’t talk about my way of life as if it’s not normal. This is my normal, judging my way of life through the lens of monogamy is inappropriate, and highly offensive to me personally.
  • I’ve never been ‘in.’

Not Yet or Not At All

  • I am not ‘out’ to most of the world. My family has no clue. I’m out as a married lesbian but not out as a poly person. But my best friends and partners know, and they are who matters.
  • I have not fully come out, after my first experience I am still very guarded, that is why I am here, to give me more confidence!
  • I have yet to find anyone I can share with.
  • My husband and I are still private about polyamory.
  • I don’t have one. My family doesn’t know.
  • We are only out to a few. Not all the way to everyone.

Stay tuned for PART 4 of the “Our Story” Series!

TERMS DEFINED:

Coming Out – The act of telling people about a part of yourself that you have, until then, kept secret or hidden.

In the Closet – The state of hiding, or keeping secret, a part of who you are.

Cheating Any act outside of the relationship that is not specifically consented to by all who are in the relationship.

Triad – A relationship dynamic in which 3 people are all dating each other.

Quad – A relationship dynamic in which 4 people are all dating each other (or sometimes used to refer to 2 couples dating each other, even if not all the people involved are dating each other).

Open Relationship – When the individuals in a relationship are allowed to see other people. This can be in the form of polyamory, or swinging, but can also span across other relationship styles as well. (A triad, quad, or any other group formation, can be considered ‘open’ or ‘closed’ in the same way the relationship between a couple can be.)

Sex Positive – An understanding that anything related to human sexuality (and regarding all consensual sexual activities) is fundamentally healthy. This concept encourages sexual pleasure and experimentation.

Queer Positive – An understanding that anything related to the LGBTQIA+ community (in terms of sexuality, gender, etc.) is natural, healthy, and acceptable.

Pansexual – A person not limited in sexual or romantic choice with regard to biological sex, gender, or gender identity.

Bisexual – A person who is open to dating people of both genders (when gender is seen on a binary); alternatively, a person who is open to dating ALL genders.

Monogamist – A person who practices monogamy (dating only 1 person at a time).

Polyamorist – A person who practices polyamory (having the option to date more than 1 person at a time). Polyamory, unlike other forms of non-monogamy, is centered around the simple fact that a person can have love for more than one person at any particular time.

*For more Polyamorous terminology, we recommend reading through this list created by More Than Two: Polyamory 101

Community Projects

Our Story #2

If you’d like to be an anonymous participant for our next series of community representing articles (titled “Our Story #2”), please complete the following questionnaire:

“Our Story #2” Series Questionnaire

Your responses will help showcase our community’s diversity, promote a positive polyamorous representation, and help give advice/guidance/support and information to those newly coming into polyamory, as well as those currently living polyamorously. Our main focus for the “Our Story #2” series will be how to create and maintain healthy relationships within the constructs of polyamory, whereas our focus for the 1st “Our Story” was a more general overview of polyamory.

The new series “Our Story #2” will be published after the last piece of our 10 part “Our Story” series is complete. Stay tuned for all 10 parts of the “Our Story” series, as well as the upcoming “Our Story #2” series.

**THIS QUESTIONNAIRE IS COMPLETELY ANONYMOUS! DO NOT PROVIDE ANYONE’S NAMES OR ANY OTHER PERSONAL INFORMATION!

Our Story – was a series that covered general topics in order to both introduce the world to polyamory, as well as normalize it and showcase its diversity. (The article series will be available on our website starting January 1st…each part of the 10 part series will be published 2 weeks apart.)

Our Story #2 – is a series that is focused on how to create and maintain healthy relationships within the constructs of polyamory.

ALL submissions are anonymous, and will be combined to create a comprehensive guide to help polyamorous people maneuver the ups and downs of relationships. Everyone is different, and therefore everyone deals with their emotions in different ways. Emotions affect the way in which we communicate, act, and love. Sharing your own suggestions, for things that have benefited or helped you in some way, will greatly impact our Polyamorous community as a whole in a positive way. The best advice FOR the Polyamorous community, comes FROM the Polyamorous community!

If you’d like to participate in this questionnaire, please click HERE.

“The Art of a Polycule” Project

We are starting a new project to artistically represent the relationship dynamic diversity within our community. This project will be art based, and will showcase the way in which a variety of community members construct their relationship dynamics. In order to be an anonymous contributor to this project, you must send in an image representation (something self-drawn; by hand, or other media means) that details your polycule structure.

Rules for art submissions are displayed below:

  1. You may include as many people as you feel best represents your polycule (including partners, metamours, metamour’s partners, platonic relationships, etc.); but NO friends, family, children, pets, or the like.
  2. The polycule must start with YOU, this is a representation of YOUR structural relationship dynamics.
  3. This is anonymous! As such, no names shall be given for any of the people in your polycule.
  4. Your drawing must be designed in the following way (Each person drawn must be a shape, and each connection between them must be presented as lines.):

-You will be a black dot.

-Your partners will be red hearts.

-Your metamours will be blue triangles.

-Additional partners (of your metamours, or of their partners, depending on how far you feel your polycule extends) can be drawn as green squares.

-The lines between romantic partners will be solid pink.

-The lines between platonic partners will be dotted yellow.

-Do NOT draw lines between you and your metamours, unless you consider them to be a romantic or platonic partner.

ALL SUBMISSIONS will be re-constructed and formatted into a new design that will be extended to all pieces so that the arrangement and visual product is smooth and congruent. So don’t worry if your artistic abilities aren’t the best, it’s the information about the polycule formation that matters most, not how well you can draw it. Your original product will not be on display, only our finished product with the polycule dynamics we have collected from the community. This isn’t a contest, we are looking for contributions from everyone (no matter your level of artistic ability).

**Send submissions to our CEO:

Jauni@PolyamorousLiving.com

**Thank you to all who have chosen to contribute to our polyamorous projects!

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J

I am a gender fluid pansexual vegan Wiccan mama who is polyamorous (and forms connections through the freedom of relationship anarchy). I love writing, photography, dancing, travel, hiking, cooking, kissing, and motherhood.


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