Minx coming out update

44239090_sA family chat, two years after coming out

Warning: this post is far more personal than most on this blog. In fact, it’s a bit closer to a diary post than anything I’ve ever published. However, I’m sharing this with you because many folks out there have it much, much worse than me. When they come out, they may lose their homes, their loved ones, their income, their marriage or their kids. My story is puny in comparison, but as LustyGuy says, “Everyone’s shovel is always full.” I still believe it’s worth sharing, this real story of how I coped when a family member out-and-out rejected my orientation. So here goes.

As many of you know, a little under two years ago I came out to my family. It seemed almost a non-issue at first, with my sister-in-law quickly saying, “As long as you’re happy, that’s OK.” My mom wrote me a disapproving letter a month later, but things seemed to stop there.

Then, last spring, heeding Dan Savage’s coming out advice for adult children to their parents, I spent a weekend with my mom and gave her the ultimatum: now that you’ve had a year to process and judge, your seeing me is contingent upon seeing my partner as well. I told her that I will only travel to Texas for visits in the company of my sweetie LustyGuy, and if she wasn’t comfortable with our staying at her house, we could get a hotel. Alternatively, I would pay for her to fly to visit me in Seattle and treat her to a fun weekend, and I would even give her my own bed instead of having her sleep in the guest bedroom (she complains the bed is too low).

I told her she didn’t have to make a decision right then. Since I only visit once a year for her birthday, anyway, she had a whole year to decide what she wanted to do. It was totally up to her; I would respect whatever decision she made.

Now, two years after coming out, her birthday is coming up again. And it’s her 80th, so I was planning to do something special: fly to Texas, sponsor a barbecue after the Sunday church service, get my brothers to come in that same weekend and take her out as well.

I’d left her a message about some birthday plans, and she called me last night. She told me that I was welcome to come, but LustyGuy and L were not, period. When I reminded her that if she wanted to see me, she’d have to see LustyGuy as well, she refused because what we were doing was “illegal.” When I asked for clarification as to what law we were breaking, she said that you can’t marry two people. Of course I clarified again that we weren’t legally married and were therefore breaking no laws, but she continued with her “illegal” objection (which is not unusual for her–once she decides she has an objection, she carries it to the grave, despite all facts and evidence to the contrary). She said, “I’m old, and I’m not going to change my mind.”

Being the bigger person

Now, I may seem all cool and calm now, but keep in mind that I HATE confrontation, even over the phone. My heart was beating out of my chest; my mouth was so dry that when I tried to swallow, there was nothing to swallow. And I was shaking to boot! I listened carefully, put myself in her position first rather than reacting with my own emotions, and I took a breath.

Here is where all that sex-positive and communication training kicked in, and I got the opportunity to be the bigger person, even though I was shaking:

This is 100% your decision, and if that’s what you want, I will respect it. I wish you would respect my choice like I’m respecting yours, but I understand this is hard for you and will miss you. I still love you, and I still respect you. I will still call you, and you are still welcome to visit me on my dime.

She did not reflect any of that language back on me, but that’s not unusual. (My parents have never told me they loved me or were proud of me, and I long ago gave up trying to get their approval.)

Some helpful self-talk

Frankly, I should have expected this reaction from the start, but I suppose I optimistically believed that pragmatism would win out over narrow-minded moral judgments. LustyGuy, who is far more cynical than I am, was not surprised in the least. Silly me!

But for those playing the home version of this game, here is some of the positive self-talk that I found helpful:

  • I am loved I am surrounded by my family of choice who loves me just exactly as I am, which is far more valuable to me than my family of blood. They chose to love me.
  • I chose my path and live my values I am smart, successful, compassionate and tolerant, which is something that any parent not my own would be proud of. More importantly, they are traits that I am proud of. I chose my path and live a life of integrity.
  • I’m no longer a rebellious teen (well, maybe a little bit) While I gave up being a rebellious teenager many years ago in favor of showing my mom compassion and patience, it’s curious that she can still bring that out in me! I had a devious little thought that LustyGuy, L and I could form our own legal corporation that would give us similar rights to those of marriage and then gleefully call my mom and tell her that I took her advice and made my relationship legal. (But then I remind myself that I’m in my 40s and far too mature to do things exclusively to piss off my parents!)
  • Mom’s disapproval = the right thing for me My mom has never approved of my choices, and her disapproval is typically a sign that I’m doing something right and good with my life. She thought I should go to college in order to meet a man and get married; she thought my French degree was useless, even when it landed me my first two jobs; she thought I was being seduced by “glamorous” big-city life when I moved to Chicago for a job opportunity; she even thought that I should abandon my pets when I moved cross-country because you could always get another dog or cat. So her ardent disapproval is usually a sign that I’m doing the right thing for my values.

Another thought I’ve been musing over is that perhaps my mom doesn’t enjoy my yearly visits as much as I thought she did. Perhaps she is faking it, too, and doesn’t enjoy spending time with me any more that I do spending time with her. I began making the trips as an alternative to visiting for the holidays, so I could spend Christmas with friends and family of choice. And I always go to lengths to make sure her birthday weekend is about her: the places she wants to go, the food she wants to eat, the topics of conversation she prefers, the activities she doesn’t get to do otherwise. It might very well be that she is doing both of us a favor by putting a stop to these visits, in the end!

Where I am now

All that being said, it will be very odd never to see my mom again. It’s quite likely that the next time I see her will be at her funeral. For those who may think I’m being a bit dramatic, here’s a story: my mom carried her judgment of her sister (over a small financial dispute in the 90s) literally to her sister’s grave. My mother refused not only to speak at her sister’s funeral but even to say a kind word about her at all ever again. She did attend her sister’s funeral, but she stubbornly refused to say one positive word about her. So believe me when I say that the next time I see her will be in the urn holding her ashes in Texas. And if an urn could look disapproving, I’m sure she could manage it.

That being said, all the above self-talk is still true, and I encourage you to use it if you’re having similar judgments placed on you. I’m so fortunate to be in every way independent of my narrow-minded family: financially, spiritually, emotionally, intellectually and geographically. I have my wonderful life, my wonderful friends, my awesome kitty and the best listenership a podcaster could ever hope for. In the end, this judgment is unfortunate, but it will not change me nor my path.

If you are going through a tough time, here’s hoping that these words and this situation will help you to know you are not alone.

PW 449: Teaching consent at any age

Teaching consent to kidsWhen and how to teach consent to children

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Under 18? Stop listening now and visit http://www.scarleteen.com

1:00 Host Chat

2:15 Poly in the News

Alyssa Royse7:15 Topic: When and how to teach consent to kids

Alyssa Royse joins us to share when and how to teach consent to kids of any age; babies, toddlers, school age, teens and college age.

31:15 Thanks

Thanks to Nancy for the donation!

32:15 Wrap Up

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com or call the listener comment line at 802-505-POLY. And hey, why not attach an audio comment to that email? 🙂 Check out PolyWeekly at Blubrry.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

Poly families: poly parents and kids sound off

Wondering if polyamory is good for families? A poly mom, son, father and daughter share their experiences #cconpoly

Should we support this poly family in trouble?

Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 3.40.07 PMMany of you have forwarded this IndieGoGo campaign regarding this poly group’s rather lengthy, rambling and emotional plight. They are a poly family fighting a legal battle to keep their children, some of which have already been removed from their home.

The group and their claims have been vetted by some folks of the Poly Leadership Network. Long and short of it: these  are real people, the factual claims and court cases are documented, and the amount of legal fees they claim to have spent already is reasonable considering the circumstances. They have been encouraged to contact National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) to help with their case.

Additionally, you should be aware that this family is one male in his 30s, with all female partners quite young, in their 20s. There are no other male partners. They have 10 children and two more on the way. (Some of the children are by the man’s ex-wife.) They also have an extensive collection of firearms, which is legal in Texas, but which some might find troubling. And they do not appear to be active in any local poly communities.

Due to the people’s lack of ability to communicate their position clearly and concisely and their lack of a clear legal strategy apart from “throw money at it,” I’d recommend donating to NCSF rather than to this family directly. If the NCSF takes their case, it will be with a defined legal strategy designed for maximum effectiveness, and you can be assured your dollars will go to that end.

PW 416: Growing up poly, the bad


Parentes_ama_familiam_cura
Three adults who grew up in polyamorous households speak out on their negative experiences of growing up poly

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This is part two of a two-part series on the real experiences of growing up in a poly household. To hear the panel speak on their positive experiences of growing up in a polyamorous household, visit Episode 415: Growing up poly, the good

1:15 Announcements

infinitycon logo

I’ll be teaching 8 Things I Wish I’d Known About Polyamory and MORE at InfinityCon in Atlanta over Valentine’s Day weekend! And LustyGuy will be with me, moderating the poly/swinging panel and teaching rough body play techniques. Fun!

For ticket, hotel and scheduling info, visit www.infinitycon.net

2:30 Poly in the News

Alan has listed the top 22 national poly events in 2015. PLUS instructions on how to search for and find your local meetup group. No excuses for not finding your community!

3:35 Topic: Growing up poly, the bad

After last week’s panel on the positive effects of growing up in a poly household, Join Koe, Susie and Tiana as they share some of the negative effects it had on their upbringing, including being too trusting and open in the world.

24:40 Feedback

Haddyr insists that yes, teens and 20-somethings do in fact use “heteronormative” all the time!

25:55 Wrap Up

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com or call the listener comment line at 802-505-POLY. And hey, why not attach an audio comment to that email? 🙂 Check out PolyWeekly at Blubrry.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

PW 415: Growing up poly, the good

funny-pictures-cats-teach-baby-to-drink-waterThree adults who grew up in polyamorous households speak out on their experiences of growing up poly

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1:00 Poly in the News

6:00 Topic: Growing up poly, the good

Join Koe, Susie and Tiana as they share what their poly households were like as they were growing up, how much they knew about their parents’ partners and the positive effects it had on their upbringing.

31:00 Happy Poly Moment

Renée shares a holiday HPM in which she and her two partners host the holiday meal for their families and friends!

33:30 Thank you!

Welcome Oliver to the Poly Weekly Playmates and thanks to K in Germany for the donation!

34:00 Wrap up

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com or call the listener comment line at 802-505-POLY. And hey, why not attach an audio comment to that email? 🙂 Check out PolyWeekly at Blubrry.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

PW 411: Poly for the holidays

lolcat1How to handle your bio family during the holidays, with advice from FBI hostage negotiators

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1:00 Announcements and Host Chat

10:15 Topic: Poly for the holidays

How do you handle the family during the holidays when you’re poly? A few tips:

19:30 Happy Poly Moment

Julia shares her story of falling for a gal and then a guy and choosing to be honest about what she wanted instead of dumping one for the other. And it turned out great!

22:00 Thanks

Thanks to Taylor and Igor for their donations and welcome Doug as the newest Poly Weekly Playmate!

23:00 Wrap Up

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com or call the listener comment line at 802-505-POLY. And hey, why not attach an audio comment to that email? 🙂 Check out PolyWeekly at Blubrry.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

PW 383: Poly for Valentine’s Day

valentines day lolcatHow do you celebrate Valentine’s Day as a “secondary”?

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1:00 Announcements and Host Chat

13:45 Topic: Poly for Valentine’s Day

A from New Orleans wrote in to ask about how to celebrate this sexy and very couples-oriented holiday when you are in a poly relationship. Who gets the chocolate and flowers and who gets the shaft? How does a “secondary” celebrate this sexy holiday without feeling crappy!

Check out the solo poly blog

Check out these previous Poly for the Holidays segments; the same rules apply to sexy holidays as to family holidays:

Also, keep these basic guidelines in place:

  • Ask you partners for what they want: what makes a great Valentine’s Day for you? OK? Bare minimum?
  • Say what you want.
  • Coordinate with your partners to make sure everyone gets pretty close to what he/she wants.

21:30 Feedback

  • J wrote in that Episode 379 Owning your own shit was a good refresher course
  • Doug wrote in to say that episode 380 reminded him that all relationships—including with friends and exes, require nurturing and attention

24:20 Happy Poly Moment

J wrote in to share a great HPM of a partner offering to host a metamour in order to give J time alone!

Wrap up

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com or call the listener comment line at 802-505-POLY. And hey, why not attach an audio comment to that email? 🙂 Check out PolyWeekly at Blubrry.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

PW 375: Minx’s big announcement

 

Our handfasting ceremony journal and ribbons

Our handfasting ceremony journal and ribbons

Minx and LustyGuy share a personal announcement

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1:00 Host chat

Welcome our sponsor, GetSTDTested. Use code polyweekly to save 10% at checkout!

4:30 Topic: Minx’s big announcement

Minx, LustyGuy and L are headed to Costa Rica for their commitment ceremony, with L officiating. Minx and LustyGuy share stories of how it came about and some of the mononormative pitfalls they ran across.

22:45 Happy Poly Moment

Kev shares stories of poly meetup groups in Sweden for fikas as well as a poly pub crawl, something we should implement in Seattle! Swedish Poly Organization

26:30 Wrap up

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com or call the listener comment line at 802-505-POLY. And hey, why not attach an audio comment to that email? 🙂 Check out PolyWeekly at Blubrry.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

PW 359: Being poly, out and pregnant

How do you handle coming out when your pregnancy forces the poly issue?

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1:00 Announcements

13:20 Topic: Pregnant, poly and being judged

A pregnant listener with two boyfriends asks how to avoid being judged when coming out about the nature of her relationship. Advice:

  • When people judge, it’s a commentary on their own experiences, not yours. Surprisingly, it’s rarely about you; it’s about them! Listen and express sympathy and compassion for any unpleasant incidents they reveal to you.
  • Use humor whenever possible.
  • Be careful legally and explore the ramifications.

23:15 Feedback

  • Kei gave feedback on episode 357 regarding dealing with differing levels of sexual drive in relationships.
  • Olaf wrote in to comment that any new web series on polyamory would help with exposure.
  • It’s the first of May! Outdoor fucking starts today!

29:00 Thank you

Thanks to Keith and Kristin for their generous donations this week!

Wrap up

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com or call the listener comment line at 802-505-POLY (our new number!). And hey, why not attach an audio comment to that email? 🙂 Check out PolyWeekly at Blubrry.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

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