Coming Out of the Closet!

My brother, his wife and daughter came to visit recently. They don’t know I have more than one lover.  They don’t know that one of my lovers is a woman.  Is it necessary to come out of the closet to my family?  I ask myself this question.  I’ve come out to most of my friends, but revealing my sex life to my family is not something I relish.  I have discussed various aspects of polyamory with them, more like “some people out there are doing this,” but not implicating myself.  My live-in partner and I play the “normal couple” game with them.

Exactly what are the issues that one has to deal with in “coming out.”  To start with, fear of judgement.  The voices that scream out to me are “she’s so weird.” “She always has to be different.” “What’s next?” “That’s my weirdo sister at it again.” Secondly, there’s a fear of being ostracized and isolated from family.  I have a friend who is “out” and is severely limited in seeing her nieces and nephews and when she is allowed to, is not permitted to speak about or introduce her intimate partners. Last but not least, that once out to my family then I am “out to the world.” The fear is that it could restrict rather than expand what I can do in my life.  I volunteer with an abused women’s and children’s shelter where they do thorough background checks.  If they were to discover my lifestyle, would that affect their decision to let me do this work?

I have another friend who is out to family and friends… was just honest about his relationships right from the start.  At family affairs, it is not unusual for him to show up with his wife and his lover.  His parents and children are used to it and accept it as “his way.”  I greatly admire his honesty and courage.

The joke is that sometimes we just get outed, unwittingly.  My partner noticed that on his Facebook page he had put our relationship status as “open.”  He was concerned that I would not want that and changed it. When he told me what he’d done, I asked him to change it back, that I liked the idea of it being there.  It felt public enough, yet discreet enough. So he changed it back.  A few hours later a friend of mine called.  He was laughing when he told me that he’d just received an announcement that I am in an open relationship with David.  ”What are you talking about?” He explained that anytime you make a change in your status on Facebook, an announcement is sent out to every one of your “friends.” I was in shock! After I got over my shock, I also started laughing.

Freedom has been my priority in how I lead my life. Truth-speaking, it seems to me, is an inherent part of personal freedom.  I have found that in the past, the fears that I harbor around telling the truth are almost always for naught.  Perhaps there is nothing to fear. By hiding my lifestyle, I cannot share with my family much of what is important to me…the people I love and who are a significant part of my life and where I’ve come to in my understanding of love. By not sharing this major part of my life…am I not severely limiting our relationship? If so, this is my loss as well as theirs.

How do you feel about sharing your poly lifestyle or more intimate details of your relationships with family and friends?

 

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6 Responses to Coming Out of the Closet!

  1. Thank you so much for writing on this topic…how much to disclose about my own life style choices is something I think a great deal about…How will effect me professionally? What impact will that have on my children. I don’t have the answers sorted out but I can say this: I was holding back a great deal in my writing in what I shared on my on blog about sexual freedom and sexual empowerment and it felt so inauthentic. Recently as I have begun to write more boldly my experience of happiness in my life has greatly expanded. So I have begun to think that what is most important is free expression and creating communities that support that. It is also a lesson for my children for them to be themselves.

    Blessings to you and your loved ones.

    Cris

    BTW, I added you to my blog roll on The Zephyr Chronicles!

    • Also, I wanted to share this on FB and Twitter and I don’t see a way to do that. Do you have that set up?

      • Naima says:

        Cristin, Also adding you to my blogroll. As far as FB and Twitter, I am getting in touch with a blog-savvy friend and hopefully will come up with the answer. If you find out more, please let me know.

    • Naima says:

      Cristin, These topics you bring up are huge topics in themselves. How being sexually free and open about it can affect other important aspects of one’s life, such as profession, friends and family. The ramifications vary with one’s life circumstances and the problem is we often don’t know what will happen until we put it out there. I so admire your courage in breaking through the barriers and being more authentic. Absolutely you are a model to your children and to all of us who long to be free.
      What a gift it is to find a supportive community! It was plentiful and available in Northern California where I was living before, but South Florida is more of a challenge. It is a good thing I love challenges!
      Thanks again for sharing yourself with us.
      Naima

  2. Endicott Smith says:

    Interesting timing on your note. See my link. A growing topic?

    http://polyinthemedia.blogspot.com/2011/10/dear-abby-keeps-poly-pot-boiling.html

    • Naima says:

      Endicott,
      A growing topic indeed! One need only open a popular magazine or turn on the TV to get a glimpse at the interest in relating to multiple partners with honesty and openness. The thing that it seems many people can’t grasp is that in polyamory these multiple partners are not just sex partners, they are people we love and are a significant part of our lives. This is why the desire is there to share our lifestyle with friends and family.

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