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Advice – How can I accept being a secret?

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/u/LadyElinor on /r/polyamory writes…

“Hi! I’m new to polyamory. I’m dating a wonderful guy D who has a nesting partner S. They have been together for over 10 years. They are living together with S’s other partner K.

I never before thought I’d date a polyamorous person. However, I’ve never had so much in common with anyone else. I love his company and I haven’t felt jealous at all. In fact, I really like S and I like spending time with all 3 of them.

However, I found out that D has not told his parents that he is polyamorous and he doesn’t want to do that because they are really old fashioned and wouldn’t accept it. This is the first thing I’m struggling with. The idea that I’m always going to be a secret makes me sad. The fact that some of their friends know about me makes me feel a little better but I can’t imagine introducing him to my parents or meeting his parents or ever moving in with them if they would have to lie about who I am.

I can’t be the only one in this situation. How do you handle it? I don’t want to break up because I’ve never felt this strongly about anyone else…”

Dear Lady Elinor,

I want you to imagine a new world with me. I want you to imagine a world so widely accepting of polyamorous relationships, gender expressions, and all varieties of sexual orientation. In this world, no one is afraid to live out to be their best selves since there is no such thing as rejection.

I like this world. But I know it is very far from reality. In the world that we live in, it is absolutely possible to get fired for being polyamorous. A lot of people misunderstand polyamory as only being about sex when in reality it’s more about building multiple romantic relationships. While the world is getting better at accepting variety in relationship orientation like polyamory, we still have a long way to go as a culture to embrace forms of love other than just monogamy.

It is unfortunate to hear that your boyfriend – like many others – have to be selectively open about his polyamorous relationships. He is definitely doing a bit of emotional labor on behalf of his folks to withhold a big part of his life. But it is something that he has considered and decided is a price of admission he is willing to pay to continue to be engaged with his parents in a familial way. It took me three years of arduous journey through polyamorous relationships to decide polyamory was going to be very important in my life. Then I fully came out to all of my family and friends. Each of my partners and I have all been met with largely open arms. But my very Korean, very Christian mother in particular has outright refused to acknowledge my other relationships. She decided she does not wish to hear about or be a part of my other relationships. In essence, she has established a firm boundary with me about my relationships other than the one I maintain with my wife.

You say that you are new to polyamory, which probably means your relationship with D is also very new. I am assuming based on the current living situation, your metamour S and their partner K have been dating each other for quite sometime, but are also not out as poly to D’s folks. Maybe it’ll be better to reframe your mind around being accepted among D’s friends and your overall polycule at large instead of seeking acceptance among D’s folks. It is perfectly within D’s responsibility to maintain his relationship with his parents. And once his relationship with you stabilizes a bit more, maybe you can think about discussing this topic with D a bit more in detail to see what kind of insecurities lies beneath your desire to be accepted among his folks. But admit that this is a price of admission that you too will have to pay on his behalf to stay in his closet among his folks.

If he isn’t interacting with his parents on a day-to-day basis, it is honestly not a bad price of admission for love.

Good luck!

Tea Time with Tomato is an informative relationship and sex advice column for both monogamous and polyamorous folks. By submitting your post, you agree to let me use your story in part or in full. You also agree to let me edit or elaborate for clarity.

I want to hear your thoughts and feedback! Please feel free to send me your questions and comments at teatimetomato@gmail.com. If you liked my advice for this post, please subscribe below to get alerted when my next advice column is published!

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