"I’m bisexual. I’m dating two people who are also dating each other. We are all in love and have no other relationships outside of these ones, casual, serious or otherwise. I feel like there is no category for me in society and no awareness that people like me exist outside of an abusive context. I know there is a kind of "poly" community but I don’t know how to access it or even if I’d be accepted there. My friends know but can’t relate. My family doesn’t know at all. How do I stop feeling lost?"
- Question submitted by Anonymous
I know right now you feel totally lost and different and I want to just tell you that you’re not different. You’re not weird. AND you are not alone. At all.
There are about a billion people out there in a successful poly relationship.
I can understand what position your friends are in, I could never be in a poly-ship. If the person I was in love with looked me in the eye and told me they were in love with someone else, my insides would absolutely fall out of my body and I would pull an Izzie-Stevens-Greys-Anatomy-Season-3 and lay on the bathroom floor for three months. Your heart, however, is different from mine, you’re in a relationship with two people and all three of you are in love and you are so lucky. Being in love is one of the most incredible feelings in the entire world.
So, let me tell you about how this feels from a perspective of someone who doesn’t relate. I still relate to you. The feelings that you’re feeling are the same feelings your friends have felt. Love, jealousy, confusion, sadness, joy, that pit in your stomach that you can’t explain, the exhaustion from staying up all night laughing, all of the feelings that come along with being in a relationship. These feelings don’t change based on the gender of the person your dating, the race of the person your dating, the religion of the person your dating or the number of people you’re dating.
Right now you feel like no one gets it, but I think if you give your friends a chance, you’ll see that we all have a lot more in common than you initially believe. Love is love you guys, we all feel differently about it, but we all feel it.
Well, Anonymous, first things first. If you feel like there is not a community out there, you can just check out the notes from our post yesterday to see that there is a huge support network for people in the poly community. Our response yesterday read to many as a lack of awareness surrounding the poly community, or a lack of respect therein. While neither of those things felt true to us, many people got PISSED AS HELL, and for good reason. Our words were easily, and unfortunately, read as an erasure of the poly community. What was brilliant about the post and response was that many of our readers who weren’t aware of polyamory wrote to us to say that they were thankful that they had been made aware, and the voices of the masses who are in polyamorous relationships got a bigger platform to be heard.
So, that’s a great start.
Dannielle’s words above are exactly on point. What you feel in your relationship, that feeling of love, that is the same feeling of love that any of us feel for those we care deeply about. Those are the feelings that you should try to communicate to your friends; when they say, “I don’t understand,” you can say to them, “Well, actually, you do understand a lot more than you think. The way I care for Sally and Todd is the same way you care for Bobby – it doesn’t have to be different just because there are three of us and not two.”
If you don’t want to tell your family right now, do not feel pressured. If you do want to share this part of your life with them, then, like we tell everyone, allow them time to go through the process of understanding. That process may begin with yelling and a lot of hurt. It may begin with a lot of questions. Don’t give up on the people who love you, because so many of them will surprise you by doing their damnedest to understand as much as they possibly can.
Now. I would like to call on the many of you who spoke up yesterday – can you please reply to this post and let Anonymous know about additional space of support on the internet, in their community, and beyond?
As Dannielle and I grow, we also continue to learn, and all of you are a part of that process with us!
"So, my girlfriend kind of keeps weird secrets from me. Like when I was out of town and came home and asked what she did for labor day and she replies "I don’t want to tell you" — or the fact that she changed her name and won’t tell me what it used to be (no, she’s not trans), or sometimes she’ll tell me a story, like "one time I broke my hnad punching out a window", and then refuse to disclose any further details. Is she leading a double life with a secret identity?"
- Question submitted by Anonymous
IT SOUNDS TO ME LIKE SHE’S LEADING A DOUBLE LIFE AND IN ONE OF THEM SHE IS A SOCIOPATHIC MURDERER…
but I could be wrong.
The only time I’ve dated someone where they were like “I can’t tell you the whole story, but I will one day” I was like ‘WHAT THE FUCK IS THE STORY’ and it made me feel crazy and also stupid and also like she didn’t trust me and also like she had deep dark scary secrets that she didn’t want me to know and like…i’M REALLY GOOD AT KEEPING SECRETS.
It also depends on how long you’ve been dating, because if it’s been like a month and she punched out a window bc she was trying to break into her house to save her mom who was a coke addict and she’s scared to tell you that whole story, slash hasn’t ever told anyone MAYBE it’s okay and you should give her time to feel comfortable being vulnerable. HOWEVER, if it’s been a year and she won’t tell you stuff and she opens up sort of halfway by being like ‘I ONCE PUNCHED THROUGH A WINDOW’ and you’re like ‘why’ and she’s like ‘*silence* …well…I can’t tell you that,’ then that’s bad news bears. And it sounds like she very well could be a sociopath…
Can I say that? I just mean, anyone who tells you the beginning to a story you obviously will want to know the rest of AND THEN dramatically tells you they can’t tell you that story, is doing it for a reason, and there’s no way it can be a good reason. AAND if it’s happening more than once, about a billion different things, it’s impossible for you to even REALLY KNOW who you’re dating, you know?
I’m going to make this really easy for you:
Step One: “Hey girlfriend. I really like you but I need to be honest and tell you that all of the secrets that you have make me really uncomfortable. I am at a place where I either need for you to be more open with me, or I need to take some distance from this…because I can’t grow with someone who I cannot trust.”
Step Two: She tells you either a) her secrets, b) that she is a secret agent a la Piper Perabo on Covert Affairs, or c) that she can’t tell you, so deal with it.
Step Three: You do the following a) hug her and thank her for sharing, then keep her secrets and kiss her mouth, b) call me immediately and let me date her, or c) get the fuck outta there, bc I DON’T TRUST HER.
"About a year ago, my family found out my dad is gay, and had been sneaking around and cheating on my mom. Recently, I've started accepting the fact I'm a lesbian. The only thing keeping me from coming out to my family is all the homophobia due to my dad's dishonesty. How should I handle this?"
- Question submitted by Anonymous
HAPPY FATHERS YESTERDAY.
ahem. You should handle your coming out like a regular ole coming out. I know it’s hard, but when it comes down to it, you’re not cheating on anyone, you’re not hurting people and disrespecting them and tearing a family apart with your lies, you know? You just HAPPEN to like lay-days (ladies). I also think this might be a good time to not just HATE your dad for cheating on your mom. Figuring out you’re gay while you’re married and have kids is a REDONKULOUSLY difficult thing to realize. You have to take a step back and recognize that. Your dad isn’t an awful person, he just realized he was gay a little late in life and handled it really poorly. SO FIRST, you should forgive him. Harboring that negativity is only weighing on you, it’s not helpful at all, and your dad might be a good person to talk to. Plus, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone in the world who hasn’t made a mistake in life.
BUT ALSO, you just need to bring these concerns to your family. Tell them you don’t want to be lumped into any category because of someone else’s actions. Let them know the reason you’re sharing this part of you with them is because you love them, you want them to be a part of your life, and while you’re scared shitless, you don’t want to just lie or pretend or skirt around the issue. If the only reason your family has homophobic feelings is bc of your dad, hopefully they’ll be able to come around and see you’re not him. You’re not doing ANYTHING to hurt ANYONE in your family, and you deserve to be seen as your own person, you know?
Like any coming out, regardless of circumstance, it’s going to take a hot minute for everyone to be completely comfortable and open. It took years for me to be okay saying ‘my girlfriend’ around my family. Don’t expect it to happen over night, give it time, have patience and be totally open to communicate with your fam about their concerns. You’re going to feel so much awesomer once you talk to them.
The disconnect here is that, instead of your family being hurt by your dad’s dishonesty…they are (it seems) blaming that dishonesty on him being gay, and hating on HOMODAD instead of hating on CHEATERDAD. #fathersyesterday
Now, that just ain’t fair…but most shit in this world isn’t SO LET’S MOVE FORWARD.
I am going to bet that your pops was cheating on your mom because he felt that he couldn’t tell anyone about what he was going through. I am not excusing his behavior, but Dannielle is right…the pressure that a person feels without having a wife and kids is plenty (as you are seeing), so the added confusion with a family in tow is sometimes unbearable. Use that nugget of truth when you talk to your family. Tell them that you don’t want to wind up putting them or anyone else through years of dishonesty. Tell them that seeing what your dad went through, and what you are all still going through, has made it clear to you that the best way to move forward is to be honest about who you really are.
While it will take some time (as these things always do), they will be hard-pressed to be upset/mad/whatever at you for telling them that you are a lesbotron if you are doing it, in part, to keep your family together. YOU KNOW?
In other news, I am totally proud of myself for using the word ‘nugget’ and the word ‘lesbotron’ all in one post.