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Thread: How to break news of an unconventional relationship to the family...

  1. #41
    Platinum Member superfan's Avatar
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    The point of this was not whether her lifestyle should be viewed as valid or not (though really I should have expected that reaction from some) but rather that she was unsure of how to tell her family who have not been exposed to the lifestyle before.

    I find it disappointing that so many are saying that if they were her parents that they would not be accepting/tolerant of the lifestyle choice. She, too, has been watching this thread. Thanks to everybody who sincerely tried to help offer opinions as to how to break it to the parents (as opposed to stating why it was such a bad idea in the first place.)

    I have known her parents since I was a teenager. They are good, solid people. I think for the most part they would be willing to at least try. I know her mother would just want her to be happy.

    And to clarify just a couple of other things here: "Joe" is not the only person in the relationship that is "allowed" to go outside the relationship. "Jane" and my friend are also both able to go outside the relationship and to be with other men if they so choose. While the three are committed to each other, they do (and have) had flings with other people. So no, "Joe" is not just the one calling the shots with two women on his arm.

    As for all the comments about how damaging a poly lifestyle would be on a child, I have yet to see anybody state just HOW it would be damaging. I frequently hear the same things said about single parents and/or gay couples or frankly any kind of family unit that falls outside the nuclear man/woman 2.5 kids and a dog kind of structure.

    People can cry to the heavens how "traditional values" have come "under attack" by all us crazy liberal casual sex loving hippies (which I find ironic when a baby boomer says that given that most of them came of age in the 60s and 70s - just sayin'), but at the end of the day, man/woman marriages are still the most legally recognized and anything else by and large is considered "deviant" from that by most societies.

    It's not about forcing a lifestyle on anybody else. She doesn't want to force her lifestyle on anybody - you can continue to feel that her lifestyle is wrong, or whatever else - you don't have to live it. But I think society DOES need to acknowledge that it has a right to exist and it's not hurting anybody. Anybody who stands there and says "I know poly families and the kids have been completely messed up" is giving nothing but ANECDOTAL evidence. Nothing to back it up but "I know so and so and it didn't work therefore it can't work".

    She wants to tell her family because for her, it IS a serious relationship. It is something she wants to be able to involve her parents in because she loves these people. She wants to invite them to family holidays, gatherings, etc. It's not about telling her parents her sexual history, but rather being honest about who they are and what they represent to her. I don't see anything wrong with that. At the moment I think she will just start slowly by dropping hints/putting on episodes of Sister Wives to see how they react and working her way in from there. Thanks for all who took the time to respond to the actual question.

  2. #42
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    I think if she is pretty sure her parents would see it (as many would) as an affair with a married couple and as an unstable arrangement- if it would hurt them more than anything else then perhaps she should put their interests first. Obviously she is entitled to her opinion that they "should" accept her choice and she's entitled to tell them that her priority is to have them be part of her life only if they accept this interaction she has with this married couple. I'm not sure that elevating it to the label of "lifestyle choice" works here since it sounds like it's simply that she was attracted to these two people who happen to be a married couple.

    I'm not going to do the research for you on why it's not in the best interests of a child to be exposed to her/his parents having sex outside the marriage and bringing their other sex partners into the home to get involved with and attached to the child (for one thing, if the child gets attached which they often do and the outside person moves on that's certainly harmful to the child -obviously divorce happens too but the risks are certainly higher with an outsider who has no legal or biological relationship to the child). That's only one reason - the research has been around for a very long time, long before people came out as poly. If you or your friend feel like doing the research you will. I know I did lots of research and studying in connection with my overwhelming desire to be a mother and continue to do regular reading/studying/consulting as I raise our child. It depends how much you choose to invest in being involved in raising a child and what your priorities and values are.

  3. #43
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    Originally Posted by Crazyaboutdogs
    Bottom line is that the more liberal sexual and relationship values have become, the more intolerant people have become towards the previous values so that now it is the previous values which have to fight for acceptance.
    I view that as karma more than anything else. Instead of having a cultural monopoly--instead of people being bullied into automatically doing something--there's now a marketplace of ideas, and you can't just sit back and assume people will live like you do. You have to actually find reasons why your lifestyle is good. And if you can't do that, you shouldn't be surprised if people switch to something else. This isn't about being libertine, it's about pragmatism. If something isn't working for someone, they tend to try something else, instead. It's been happening en masse for quite some time, as it turns out that some traditions only work if there's cultural pressure forcing people to stay in them and be miserable.

    This thread is a bit personal for me: I've never been able to have a long-term relationship, as I have a complete inability to be monogamous for any significant length of time. That's why I'm stuck doing FWB. With a poly relationship, that wouldn't be an issue. I don't know, maybe people think that society is more stable with people like me doing meaningless FWB, instead of getting into unconventional-but-committed relationships.

  4. #44
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    It sounds like you're not planning on having children with your sex partners though which I think is a main issue people have raised with the polygamous lifestyle.

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  6. #45
    Platinum Member superfan's Avatar
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    She isn't sure she will be telling them right now, but she definitely wanted to tell them at some point in the future, especially if they do move towards having her move in and they do begin to work on getting pregnant. My friend does not want children of her own, so an arrangement where she could help out with their child would be ideal for her. She wants to provide a support network for them, as they in turn have provided her with friendship and love. She doesn't see it as her being "used" or that she is somehow getting the shorter end of the relationship stick so to speak.

    As for having a child, I am sure you could send links a-plenty to studies that have said Polyamourous lifestyles are dangerous for children and I could also point you towards various other links to studies that say the opposite (I have indeed done research of my own - as have "Jane" and "Joe"). Both of them are involved very heavily in the cutting edge of many scientific studies and advances towards that end and many others (it goes with the field they work in). Depending on how the study is conducted you could prove the sky is orange or that it rains skittles if you use the right variables. I am not saying none of these studies have merit, but that basing an opinion on a lifestyle like that ONLY on a study, or anecdotal evidence is not always going to be accurate. People are highly variable and how one child reacts to a situation might be totally different than another and that cannot be pinpointed or isolated. I think in time, when the poly lifestyle becomes more common you will see many of those studies change towards the positive. A lot of the times, situations like these are "damaging" to children because of the larger view society has on the subject. But that is neither here nor there.

  7. #46
    Platinum Member superfan's Avatar
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    You're not stuck with doing anything - go with the polyamorous route...why not? You have said it yourself you aren't capable of monogamy...why not just involve yourself with others who are like minded? I know personally at least 8 other couples who identify as open and have open or poly relationships...it is getting to the point where more of my friends are poly than monogamous...I am sure if you look you will find others that share the same mindset

  8. #47
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    Originally Posted by Batya33
    It sounds like you're not planning on having children with your sex partners though which I think is a main issue people have raised with the polygamous lifestyle.
    I'm not, no. But "We can't normalize _____ behavior, because Think Of The Children!" has been the rallying cry many different times...and when those people inevitably raise children, they turn out just as messed-up as the children that everyone else raises.

  9. #48
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    Originally Posted by tvnerdgirl
    You're not stuck with doing anything - go with the polyamorous route...why not? You have said it yourself you aren't capable of monogamy...why not just involve yourself with others who are like minded? I know personally at least 8 other couples who identify as open and have open or poly relationships...it is getting to the point where more of my friends are poly than monogamous...I am sure if you look you will find others that share the same mindset
    I doubt that I'd find many in my area. I would like to see what a long-term relationship is like (my serious relationships were very short-lived), though.

  10. #49
    Platinum Member superfan's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Blue Spiral
    I doubt that I'd find many in my area. I would like to see what a long-term relationship is like (my serious relationships were very short-lived), though.
    I think you would be surprised. I live in a very conservative part of Southern Ontario and I know a TON. I didn't even realize it until I met them, but there is a swingers bar in my home city that only people involved in the lifestyle even know about. I was told about it, then found it online. I would check out online communities and maybe see where that takes you.

  11. #50
    Platinum Member lavenderdove's Avatar
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    I did give advice though I'm not sure you heard it or perhaps it was unclear.

    It boils down to anybody can do anything they want with their lives and sexuality and relationships BUT how other people feel about it will be based on their own feelings and perspectives.

    So if she is from a conservative family, she can declare she wants everyone to share in her love for this couple, but they won't see it as love, they'll see it as a travesty, or a religious abomination, or legally unwise, or repugnant or any other thing that they feel based on their own moral system and upbringing. So she can try to share the news any way she wants, but she needs to prepare herself for it to make a lasting and permanent and perhaps negative change in her dynamics with her own family.

    If she wants to keep a more positive dynamic, my suggestion would be that she first wait a lot longer than a year before announcing this, because many new relationships seem like a good idea the first couple of years, and explode into disaster later. So she needs to be really sure that this relationship is what she wants by moving in with them, and see how she feels about 'helping' with their children. If she doesn't like kids enough to have her own, then she may very well hate raising someone else's kids in the end and want to move out rather than be saddled with that child care responsibility.

    The other thing to keep in mind is that pregnancy and children drastically change the dynamics in a couple, and that could be a good or bad thing for your friend depending on how those dynamics change.

    So I would suggest she wait it out a bit to see if this is something that will stick, or just a passing fancy.

    Then if the relationship is secure over several years and the introduction of children, then that might be the time to do it. so what if the three of them miss a couple of Christmases with her family? And there is always a chance the father may freak out and she'll never have another Christmas with them because he'll forbid it. The WAY the news is given isn't so important as how the people being given the news feel about it and how flexible their own value system is in terms of incorporating a more radical lifestyle into their own lives and families (and it is still considered radical in today's world).

    How her family SHOULD feel (and the virtue or not of polygamy) really is a moot point because they will feel what they feel and come to their own conclusions. So she needs to err on the side of caution until she is really sure that this triangle will be permanent, and that there are no surprise jealousies or problems or resentments that spring up when the married couple has their own children.

    She also needs to be prepared for the consequences, which might mean the father forbidding this couple in his house ever again. Is the need to snog someone over the christmas goose important enough to risk destroying that harmony, or could they function by just inviting the parents to the house (or going to the house) and not discussing sleeping arrangements or her NOT snogging her married man over the goose at her parent's house? She can snog him all she wants when she gets home, but if the father is conservative enough, it might be a better idea to NOT tell them and just live their lives as they choose without rubbing it in their parents' faces. some people living alternative lifestyles do better with a subdued 'understanding' that something might be going on, but not forcing a confrontation that might polarize the people into losing their familial bonds entirely.

    If the parents see how she is living over the years they might eventually even ask what is going on themselves, which might be a far more diplomatic way of dealing with it, when they are curious and ready to discuss it, rather than dropping it on them like a nuclear bomb because she feels they 'should' accept it. Because people have their own feelings and ways of processing (or NOT processing) other people's lifestyles, and it is better to be diplomatic than just ram something in someone's face, especially if they are prone to be conversative/religious and averse to such lifestyles.
    Last edited by lavenderdove; 12-28-2012 at 02:25 PM.

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