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

Download the mp3 directly

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

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

Download the mp3 directly

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

Download the mp3 directly

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

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Download the mp3 directly

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 394: Minx comes out!

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

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Download the mp3 directly

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

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?

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Download the mp3 directly

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!

PW 324: Poly parenting with Sierra Black

How does one wrangle being polyamorous and parenting at the same time? Sierra Black tells us!

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Download the mp3 directly

Introduction

Under-18 warning and redirection to Scarleteen

1:00 News and host chat

12:00 Topic: Poly families with Sierra Black

Sierra Black’s Salon article on her open marriage and the getting back together

a.blogspot.com/2012/04/on-abcs-2020-polyfamily-network-shows.html”>20/20 episode on polyamory and parenting.

Parenting questions she is asked:

  • How do you find the time to be poly with a 4-year-old, a 7-year-old and an 18-year-old? Answer: this isn’t a one-way street; everyone pitches in so others can have date time.
  • What do you tell the kids? Answer: Be open about who everyone is with age-appropriate information.
  • What do you do when relationships end? Answer: deal with them just as you would with step-parents and keep them in the kids’ lives whenever possible.
  • What advice do you have about coming out to older kids? Answer: we’re lucky because everyone in the community is open and poly and the kids have a support network.
  • How are you out to the other adults in your kids’ life? School administrators, grandparents, doctors? Answer: anything you radiate normal, healthy vibes about, people will take in stride. Be comfortable, confident and open, and it’s easy to be out.

Conclusion: kids are very What’s In It for Me? They want to know that they are loved and that mommy, daddy and everyone else loves and cares about them, too.

Sierra blogs at ChildWild.com and writes for Babble.

38:00 Thanks

Thanks to Mike for the $69 donation!

39:00 Wrapup

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 Blubrry.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

zp8497586rq

PW 297: Poly for the holidays

Advice on the ins and outs of being poly around friends and relatives during the holidays

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Download the mp3 directly

Introduction

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

1:30 Topic: Poly for the holidays

Sometimes it’s tough to be poly over the holidays. Which relatives are you out to? Can you introduce your lover to your auntie May? How do you schedule family time? Listeners wrote in via Facebook and Twitter to ask the toughest holiday-related poly issues, and cohosts Joreth and Puck help Minx to sort them out:

  • How to introduce non-spouses
  • How to prevent your poly-aware daughter from letting closeted poly relationships slip in front of the “in-laws”
  • Is being closeted OK to certain relatives?
  • How do you handle feeling secondary and isolated?
  • How do you manage economic disparities?
  • How do you deal with missing some and disappointing others?

37:30 Book reviews

Kurt shares book reviews of popular romance stories with contemporary, realistic settings: Jet Lag Blues and Kindle ebook Songbird.

43:00 Wrap-up

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com and attach an audio comment or call the listener comment line at 206-202-POLY. Friend us on Twitter or Facebook or leave a comment here. Check out PolyWeekly podcasts at polyweekly.libsyn.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review! Want Poly Weekly for your very own? Get the Best of Poly Weekly collection from PodDisc.com Our intro and outro music is courtesy of Pacemaker Jane, “Good Suspicions.”

Make a Donation

Poly Weekly Playmates!

Wanna play?
CatalystCon West '15

Poly Weekly on Facebook

Poly Weekly on Twitter