I talk to polys all the time who are deathly afraid of being out to even their closest friends; let alone anyone in the family or at work. I always tell them this same thing… ” Why do you think they wont like you any more? What has changed about who you are? Nothing” SO I offer advice and talk about all the different reasons to be more visible and ways to come out. Remember there are different levels of out and how out you want to be can and will likely change as you move through life.Hopefully in this post I can offer you some of these things. Lets start by listing the most common reasons for staying in the closet and what we can do about them. .
- I could lose my job/kids/home. – This is a real possibility in some states, especially the south. How ever more times than not this is not the case. A good Employer should be more worried about job performance than the are with your home life. Courts are looking at the well being of the child not your relationships. If they find no evidence of neglect, abuse etc they walk away ( i know of 3 cases in GA personally, one was mine)
- I’m afraid my family will disown me. This too can happen especially if your family is closed minded. However a lot of times family members, like others, dont understand and a little education and the right timeing can make all the difference in the world.
- I dont want to rub it in anyone’s face. And you arent unless you are a real jerk about how you are out. Most people will be supportive or at the very least, neutral about it.
These are the top 3 reasons I hear. If we look at the reasons people keep anything in the closet, Poly, Gay, kink, illness, etc the main driving force is that they dont want to be judged by others for the differences. That is really what it all comes down to. So how then do we come out and not be judged? That is really the hard part isnt it.
I have a few suggestions.
First, my wife says it best ” You don’t have to wave a banner to carry it.” By that she means there isn’t a need to shout from the roof tops, draw attention and make a scene, but rather by living our lives quietly and openly we can make a big impression. Show those around you that you are still you there is just now one more part to you they know about.
Second, be honest in what you say and do. If you want people to accept you promote an accepting atmosphere when you tell them about you. Don’t be hush hush and quiet about it. Talk to them like you’ve said it a thousand times. When you are hush hush and restrict yourself fro talking openly it creates a sense of shame. Like you are ashamed of who you are. And I don’t know anyone who is ashamed of who they are if they are living true. t can be as simple as walking down the aisle at the store holding hands with all your partners,or buying a milkshake with 3 straws.
Third, have information and educational resources available in case they want to know more. Inform them of how it works for you and that its not just a sex thing. The more knowledge you can give a willing person the more accepting they will be.
Forth, Don’t be an island. Take a friend that knows, or a member of the local community. Make sure you let them know you arent the only people like this that there are people all over the world, who have the ability to make this work. It is awesome and you are happy.
Lastly, i would say let them know you aren’t out to convert anyone. Just because you are poly it doesn’t mean that monogamy is bad, or that you want the world to be poly, it just means you’re poly.
Now, what happens after you have had this talk is just as important as the talk itself. be open to questions. They wil likely be invasive, personal , and sometimes rude. But you opened the door and let this out now that person has a chance to ask questions and get a better personal understanding of Poly and how they can relate to it. They will range form who you sleep with, to communication, scheduling and jealousy. Be as honest as you can. Some people will accept it at face value and say ” OK Cool! You GO” Others will be more along the lines of ” I dont know if I could do that. it sounds like a lot of work” Ands you will have those who just cant get tit.. And thats ok too. because most likely they will still respect you as a friend. In extreme cases you will get the person who trys to tell you you’re wrong and should change. But you know whats best for you. And if that person truly is your friend and cares abotu you they will still be there.
But WHY? Why go through all this? Is it really worth it? To me yes.
Lets look for a minuet at who it affects by staying in the closet.
YOU. You are not living your life the way you want to. This builds contradictions in the mind and emotions that can lead to emotional and psychological issues.
Your partners. How you ask? Well if you cant tell anyone about them because your afraid they will judge you then you are essentially lying about that relationship to others. It devalues the relationship in that persons mind. Yes they may understand why you don’t want to say anything, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt.
Your Kids (if you have them) Kids learn from what they see and if they see you hiding your relationships they will think its taboo or not ok and then begin to question why you live in the shadows. They wont bring friends over. They wont want to be a part of family activities. all based on fear and shame.
Your community. Yep when we hide it affects everyone in the community poly and beyond. We will never be accepted as a people in society if we stay in the shadows . If only a hand ful of people are out across the world then it can appear that the Poly is some rare phenomenon that is practiced by a fringe group. When in reality there are millions of Polys in the world. Strength in numbers and al that.
So do yourself a favor and no matter what shape that closet is come on out. Step out of that shadow a little. It really is freeing and relaxing when you arent hiding something that isnt a big deal . Just do the things you do but be proud of it. and show the world your POLY PRIDE!