PW 472: Minx coming out udpate

Two years after coming out to her family of blood, what happened when Minx tried to go back home with LustyGuy? 44239090_s

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1:00 Poly in the News

9:00 Topic: Minx coming out udpate

Nearly two years after coming out to her biological family, Minx shares an update about an upcoming visit to her biological family. The blog post on how things went down. Long story short: I’ll never see my mom again.

25:30 Feedback

M loved our non-sexual relationship episode 469 and wants to know

28:15 Happy Poly Moment

Bill and Jen share a first threesome happy poly moment

31:30 Thank you!

Thanks to Coby for a $69 donation!

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!

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 444: When to stop lying

lolcat-liesWe all lie a little to be in the closet. But how much is too much?

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1:00 Announcements

12:30 Poly in the News

Polyamory: taboo for religious Americans but not for the rest

16:00 Kicking Poly Drama Testimonial

Kicking Poly Drama on Its Ass online course student Joseph shares his experience with taking Minx’s first online course—what it was like, and was it worth the time, effort and money to take an online poly course.

20:10 Topic: When to stop lying

Frustrated in Kentucky writes in to ask about a tricky situation. In an open marriage and playing with K, who is squicked at dating a married woman and wants to be in the closet about it. However, their mutual close friends have noticed their interactions and are asking about Frustrated dating K, so she is forced to lie directly to them in order to keep K in the closet. To make matters worse, K is about to move in with said mutual friends! What to do?

  • LustyGuy suggests not actually lying while still respecting K’s closet. Have you tried “I can’t answer that” or “I can neither confirm nor deny”?
  • While you do need to respect K’s closet, it’s also worth asking yourself what you need in order to be happy. Is being in the closet hot and sexy, or is it making your relationship worse and less healthy?

27:25 Thank you!

Thanks BJ for joining the PW Playmates!

28:40 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 439: When to come out to your social circle

IMG_3618When and how do you come out to your social circles as poly?

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1:00 Announcements

3:30  Topic: When do I come out to my social circles?

Listener Sarah asks when she should come out to the folks in her monogamous social circle—especially one cute guy she likes. Minx and LustyGuy recommend:

  • Whenever you want—it’s your decision
  • Be comfortable with yourself first
  • Be prepared for negative reactions and don’t take them personally
  • It’s OK to come out to individuals rather than a group

13:00 Feedback

  • Rambina shares a steamy audio poem Let It Be
  • Jim gives us follow up on his poly implosion

18:45 Happy Poly Moment

Missy shares a sweet, sisterly Happy Poly Moment.

22:00 Thank you!

Thanks to Luanne, anonymous, Steve and Teresa for joining the Poly Weekly Playmates!

29:15 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!

PW 395: Unbalanced triads

How do you cope when your new partner is more into your husband?cat_load_balancer_2

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1:00 Announcements and Host Chat

5:30 Topic: Triads

A listener wrote in to ask how to deal with being in a triad with a good friend when the friend seems to be more into her husband than into her. How do you keep yourself from feeling left out and excluded when she’s just not as into you?

Deal with this issue as if it were jealousy. Drill down to the root cause and figure out what the deep fear is. Try completing this:

When she is more into him, it means that I am _______________, and I’m afraid that that means that I am ____________ and that eventually, __________ will happen.

13:00 Feedback

Quath shares coming out stories.

15:00 Follow up to Minx coming out

Minx gets the inevitable family backlash to her coming out and shares her thoughts on the process and reactions.

20:00 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 394: Minx comes out!

4-lolcats-of-the-apocalypseMinx came out to her family in Texas. How did THAT go?

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1:00 Announcements and Host Chat

6:15 Topic: Minx comes out to her family It turns out that other people’s interest in my dating life was greatly exaggerated. Quite anticlimactic! Funniest part was when my mom asked, “Why isn’t it too boys and one girl?”

15:00 Feedback

  • Christina writes in to ask if she can self-identify as polyamorous.
  • FiscalDom wrote in to criticize episode 387 Is Monogamy Natural?

23:00 Thank you! Thanks to John and welcome Erich to the PW Playmates! You make for a very happy Minx! Wrap upQuestions? 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 345: Poly for the holidays

How do you handle poly partners around the family?

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1:00 Announcements and host chat

  • LustyGuy cohosts
  • Poly Prom in Richmond, VA, Saturday, March 9, 7:00 PM at the gay community center of Richmond Hall Info on FetLife

3:00 Topic: Poly for the holidays

How LustyGuy, L and Minx handled being out and in for holiday family visits. Tips: ask each person what he/she needs to feel happy and loved for the holiday and make sure each person gets those things. Take care of yourself first.

12:20 Happy Poly Moments

  • Lila shares a happy moment of coming out in defense of polyamory and bisexuality in her LGBTQ studies class. Great courage!
  • Hera shares her first poly experience

15:30 Feedback

  • Scott on the Swingset mashup episode argues that drama isn’t inherent in poly relationships, although LustyGuy points out that drama is common in first-time relationships, and first-time poly would fit the bill
  • Quick plug for Pedestrian Polyamory podcast if you’re not into kink or geekiness
  • Joreth called in to recommend hosting a poly movie night; her list of poly-themed movies is here
  • K shares his light bulb moment on the episode with Aggie on treating non-primaries well LustyGuy comments that change in a relationship should be welcomed and embraced because growth is essential for healthy relationships.

26:30 Thank you

Thanks to Joan, Ariane and Sean for joining the PW Playmates!

Outro

Our holiday outro music is Heat Miser by the Locals

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!

Facebook and poly privacy

Is it OK to list my relationship status as “open” on Facebook if my girlfriend isn’t out publicly?

This question came up in the Poly Weekly inbox this week. It’s one we’ve touched on on the podcast several times, but it’s worth a quick evaluation here on the blog as well. Social networking sites such as Facebook have really changed the definition of being “out.” Facebook currently has over 800 million users, Twitter has 250 million and even budding visual social site Pinterest crossed the 10 million user mark faster than any other site in history.

And since Facebook is notorious for having complicated privacy settings that are difficult to navigate and not entirely guaranteed to ensure privacy levels, online privacy on social sites is a growing concern.

Polyamory’s legal status

Now, in general, I’m not a fan of being too much in the closet. Unlike sexual orientation, however, polyamory isn’t a legally protected orientation. Practitioners can be fired or not hired due to their lifestyle and have no legal recourse. So keep in mind that apart from your family and friends discovering orientation through Facebook, your employment status may be at risk as well. After all, Facebook is the second most trafficked site in the world, and many recruiters use Facebook as a recruiting tool; it would be irresponsible of them not to take all the information available into consideration for future employment. (And users benefit from using Facebook for job hunting, too–that same infographic shows that 48% of job seekers have performed at least one job hunting activity on Facebook in the last year and that 16% received a job referral from a Facebook friend.)

Outside of Facebook, it’s also true that any responsible employer will Google new prospects and have access to any of your personal information that is publicly available, including anything you might have posted about your religion, sexual orientation, political views, and medical status. It’s not legal for an employer to ask for this information, but it is legal to Google a prospective employee and peruse publicly available information.

How open is OK?

So this is a case where your boyfriend’s openness could in fact affect not only your private family life but your ability to remain employed as well. Personally, I solved this issue by keeping two Facebook accounts–one vanilla one in which I’m listed as “single” and so can talk about dating, and my Minx account, which lists my open status and LustyGuy as my boyfriend (who links to his wife). However, I wouldn’t recommend that for most people. It’s cumbersome to manage two Facebook accounts and frankly wouldn’t be worth the effort for most users.

But the truth is that the internet and social sites such as Facebook have indeed changed things. Your boyfriend’s public open status does affect you in many ways, not the least of which is that now anyone with mutual Facebook friends can discover you are poly. For most people, this might be a public embarrassment or cause some eyebrow raises at the office or at Thanksgiving, nothing more. If that’s the case, no worries. But keep in mind that in addition to your your mom and grandma being able to discover your open status, that bitter ex-husband might also see that Facebook status. And unfortunately, that documentation has been used in child custody cases to argue against a person being a fit parent.

I don’t mean to be too gloom and doom here. The point is that since data lives forever online and Facebook has shameful privacy policies, it is perfectly acceptable–nay, it’s your responsibility–to discuss public online disclosures of your relationship status in order to protect your own privacy.

Rule of thumb

A good rule of thumb is the “grandmother rule”: assume that every piece of information you are putting online will be read by the one person you don’t want to see it (i.e., your grandma). Also, ask permission before posting any public information about a partner. It is a good idea to ask before you post:

  • Location information
  • Relationship status
  • Photos
  • Information about dates, parties or events

I’m curious about how others handle privacy and posting to social networks and other Googleable information. What is your policy?

Sex 2.0: Out: the challenges and rewards of being sex-positive

GraydancerFrom Graydancer‘s session at Sex 2.0:

  • “When you come out, you make yourself vulnerable to disapproval, criticism, and discrimination.” -Pat Califia
  • Coming out to partner/children: lead your children down a critical thinking path to determine where prejudices and biases come from
  • Downside of coming out to children: you become a resource for thing like anal sex
  • Best response from a family member: “I don’t approve of it, but I can see why you do it.”
  • Worst response from a family member: “You’re dumb.”
  • Tip: have at least one token vanilla friend
  • Great case study of someone who was out at work: Jack McGeorge, the openly kinky weapons inspector. When opponents tried to discredit him, his boss Hans Blix stood up for him and refused to accept his resignation
  • YKIOK = “your kink is OK”–a response Graydancer got when he came out at work
  • Others benefit from your living out loud: if someone has come out to a person before, it’s more likely that person will be more accepting/familiar with the idea the next time
  • What catalyzes change? Pride, self-esteem, self-disclosure
  • Sex-negative=don’t do anything to be ashamed of. Sex-positive: don’t be ashamed of the things you do

Poly Weekly 237: Personal Growth with Steve Pavlina

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Introduction and host chat
Intro, under-18 warning and re-direction to http://www.scarleteen.com; friend us on Twitter and answer questions about what you want on the show, call 206-202-POLY with comments or discuss your own topics at the forums.

Announcements

  • Poly Weekly iPhone app with PDF show notes and audio extras is available now!
  • Sex 2.0 is May 22-23 in Seattle! Just $50 now and open to anyone sex-positive.
  • Open Love NY has its next meeting April 27. For upcoming events, check out their Facebook group.

  • PolyCharms.com has some lovely poly-friendly jewelry
  • Ready to be a representative and spokesperson for polyamory to the press? Check out the Poly Media Association first for tips and training on dealing with the media and representing well.

Interview: Steve Pavlina
A talk with Steve Pavlina, personal growth guru, on his poly explorations, his coming out as poly on his blog, his pending divorce and the public reaction to it all

Happy Poly Moment
From Malx–taking care of a partner on a business trip

Feedback
From Sean on Poly Weekly 233: What is sex?

Wrap-up
Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com or call the listener comment line at 206-202-POLY. And hey, why not attach an audio comment to that email? 🙂 Check out PolyWeekly at polyweekly.libsyn.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

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Our intro and outro music is courtesy of Pacemaker Jane, “Good Suspicions.”

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