The Polyamorous Misanthrope
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The Polyamorous Misanthrope
Welcome to the The Polyamorous Misanthrope, in which myself, the Goddess of Java, or some guest columnist will rant, rave and otherwise edify on some poly subject. If you have an idea for a column or a rant on spike, contact me and we'll talk it over. For past articles, check out the Archive .
Every now and then I get letters from people who are not poly, but are close to someone who is -- family member, close friend, something like that. Most of the time when I get a letter, it is from someone who has done some research on the topic and clearly wants to be as supportive as they can be. This can be hard, especially because it is often such a new idea, or it seems to them that their friend/family member is behaving oddly .
Chances are good that you found out about your loved on being poly because they were involved with someone besides who you thought was their "one and only" love. Wham! There you are being blindsided, going, "Now what the hell is this nutcase up to?"
And you think I'm gonna scoldja for thinking something so unsupportive, right?
It's a totally valid question and it's okay to ask yourself. Not sayin' you should start calling your loved one a nutcase or anything, but when someone close to you that you love does something strange, asking yourself questions to try to explore what's up is a good thing.
The real problem is that most poly people, because they know polyamory to be a somewhat touchy subject, will often wind up waiting to "come out" until it's so blasted obvious no-one could miss it. They're often in the throes of a new relationship and are totally ga-ga over this new person (in the poly community, we call this New Relationship Energy or NRE), and often want everyone else around them to be so happy for them and the new love they've found. Not that wanting one's loved ones to share on one's happiness is exactly a negative thing, but there you are, confused. Hesitant.
Here's some things to keep in mind:
I've been asked what the ettiquite is for interacting with a poly person and dealing with their relationships. Well, there isn't any. Miss Manners just hasn't written anything about it. However, showing good manners (as opposed to a strict aherence to ettiquite) and being gracious is always a good place to start.
For you poly people who are coming out? Be understanding, okay? This is new to your friends/family. They're just not going to grok everything right away. You know how you feel, but you do look like some kinky freak on the surface. Be gentle and understanding and let people beneath the surface.
And learn from my mistake. Don't try to shove your otherloves down your friends' and family's throat! Sure, if you have otherloves living with you, you can expect your guests to be polite. That's reasonable. But give it time when it comes to acceptance. We know how we feel about our otherloves, but you're jumping completely out of a societal paradigm, and you can't just say, "Look, I have two wives and I expect you to internalize that." Let your actions prove your statements and let things flow from there.
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