Both my partners have religious parents.

MagDahlia15

New member
I Am in a polyamorous relationship with my Husband and my Boyfriend. We are all very happy and have been together for a while. However, we are unable to tell any of our parents because we all have religious parents. What is the best way to bring this up to people who think we are committing a major sin? :confused::confused:
 

RichardInTN

Member
If it was a case of polygyny, I'd say to tell them that multiple wives and concubines is Biblically permitted. There are many cases of one man and multiple women to choose from throughout the Good Book.

Unfortunately though, one woman with multiple men doesn't appear anywhere in there so, sadly, I have to agree Noyse: Don't, or prepare to be disowned.
 

AlwaysGrowing

Well-known member
My parents are religious, so we just agree to disagree. They informed me that they feel I'm committing a great sin that compromises my eternal whatever. I inform them that I don't believe I am. Then we move on. We can be kind and love each other without agreeing.

Boy's mom is Jehovah's witness. She still accepts her son and is looking forward to meeting me and my daughter (who is not Boy's) when we can make the scheduling work.

Religious doesn't necessarily mean someone will be an asshole. The "live like Jesus" or comparable tend to be better than the "do what this specific text says" types.

We were all just honest. Hey, we're polyamorous and involved with these people. We know you don't agree and we're sorry if you're upset, but that's not going to change the way we choose to live.
 

Ravenscroft

Banned
By "religious," do you mean "attends most holiday services," or "wacky paranoid Bible-waving End-Of-Times evangelical"? If more toward the latter then... no, just no.

I generally don't recommend announcing polyhood to the family.

Often, it's nothing but belated "teen rebellion," a way to make symbolic oppressors finally squirm a bit. Toss any sort of wild-eyed fanaticism into the mix & it looks like a bigger bear at which to poke a stick.

FWIW, my upbringing was First Methodist (now United Methodist), quite liberal & mellow. My family (350 miles away) met five of my lovers, 1977-1993, sometimes while I was married to Annie, sometimes two in tow. I made no secret of my relationships, but neither did I make some sort of Grand Announcement. Dad laughed about it, & mentioned my lifestyle (apparently proudly, as I was SUCH a nerd in highschool :)) to a few friends & relatives, though to this day I have no idea who actually KNOWS except for the few who've asked straightforward questions.

They also grasped that any of my relationships might last years but probably not forever. I've heard of couples who were "out" to family, but the latter were baffled (& even felt misled) when they'd show up with a new "life partner" at every get-together.

If someone has ANY fear of "discovery" (by neighbors, landlord, co-workers, employer, etc.) & is thus staying "closeted" in order to avoid unpleasantness, I'd strongly suggest dealing with THOSE fears first.
 

lunabunny

New member
By "religious," do you mean "attends most holiday services," or "wacky paranoid Bible-waving End-Of-Times evangelical"? If more toward the latter then... no, just no.

I generally don't recommend announcing polyhood to the family.

Often, it's nothing but belated "teen rebellion," a way to make symbolic oppressors finally squirm a bit. Toss any sort of wild-eyed fanaticism into the mix & it looks like a bigger bear at which to poke a stick.

Been there, done that (re: making the oppressors squirm) decades ago as an actual teen.

Both my brother and I were variously kicked out of home, disowned, lectured and made examples of by our father for "crimes" such as leaving the church, unacceptable political affiliations, engaging in pre-marital sex/"living in sin" or having children out of wedlock.

My brother (who is bisexual) has often been involved in simultaneously intimate relationships over the years, but has never claimed poly status or made any big announcements. He keeps his private life on the down-low from family in general, especially our parents who tend toward religious conservatism.

On the other hand, I have historically been more open and "honest" (foolishly, who's to say?) about my personal life, even if that's left me open to parental judgement and condemnation.

I've only recently started to live by the tenets of ethical polyamory, however, and although I'm "out" to family and friends my generation and younger (my ex husband, siblings, children, their friends and my close friends all know), I am NOT out to my parents, and I intend to keep it that way.

At their age and stage in life (they're elderly and Dad has recently been diagnosed with dementia) they have enough issues of their own and quite frankly, I don't think they really care what we "kids" do anymore. I don't think this news would thrill them, even so, and I'd rather not give them more to fret about right now, so I'm choosing to keep this from them. IF they find out, they find out, and I'll deal with it then... but no, I don't think it's in anyone's interests to come out to them at this stage.

Every poly person (or gay, queer or whatever) has to make this decision for themselves however. Often it's a case of weighing up what will ultimately be the lesser of two evils: causing hurt and disappointment to parents vs temporary embarrassment of coming clean or being "found out"... or, at the extreme end of the spectrum, losing one's family of origin, but gaining the freedom that comes with living and loving authentically.
 

vinsanity0

Active member
Along with what Ravenscroft said, I have always just lived my life and not worried about it. I am Atheist and my family is Catholic. It's not my job to please them. I don't make announcements, I just do me. If they have questions I'll answer them, if it's any of their business.
 

Al99

Well-known member
By "religious," do you mean "attends most holiday services," or "wacky paranoid Bible-waving End-Of-Times evangelical"? If more toward the latter then... no, just no.

Having been raised in a fundamentalist, evangelical environment - I can only agree with Raven. Devout fundamentalist Christians and devout Roman Catholics are never going to understand or accept polyamory as being anything other than sinful and degenerate. I would personally suggest, and strongly so, that if one is poly, that they NOT come out to family or friends who have such religious inclinations - no good is likely to come of it. Al
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I Am in a polyamorous relationship with my Husband and my Boyfriend. We are all very happy and have been together for a while. However, we are unable to tell any of our parents because we all have religious parents. What is the best way to bring this up to people who think we are committing a major sin?

Before you come out to the families... why are you coming out?

  • What are you hoping to stop doing?
  • What are you hoping to start doing?
  • What are you hoping to have or change that you do not have now?
  • Is being out going to bring damages? (Ex: At workplace/job? Hate crime? Something else?)

If you want to be out, be out. Just think it through.

Galagirl
 
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kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Hello MagDahlia15,

Honestly, the best way I know of to come out as poly to judgmental people (e.g. your parents) is, short and simple. "I want to let you know that we are nonmonogamous." After that you can answer questions (within reason). Or maybe they'll freak out so bad that you'll just have to leave. Some people freak out for a year before they finally accept it. Some never accept it. If you want to come out, that's something you should prepare for. As far as I know, nobody knows of a "safe" way to tell them. :(

Sympathetically,
Kevin T.
 

kbar

New member
I was raised very strict back woods (my words) Southern Baptist and no one in my family would understand that I have chosen to live my life in a poly relationship. I would never open a conversation with my family about this. To me, it's just not worth the headache. The three of us are very happy in our poly and we fit well together. For the first time in my life, I feel very fulfilled, respected and loved for exactly who and what I am. That means the world to me.

Hope that makes sense and helps.
 

Rising

New member
If you are happy, perhaps you don't need to do anything around disclosing. It sounds like there would be major upheaval if you all came out poly, but maybe hiding is becoming too much as well?
 

Al99

Well-known member
Is being out going to bring damages? (Ex: At workplace/job? Hate crime? Something else?)

Good point, imo - and not just the damage potential to the one coming out but also the damage to the relationship with whomever your coming out to (parents, for example). And the damage to that person - will it cause them severe emotional pain?

Coming out to devoutly fundamentalist or Catholic parents might indeed cause them a great deal of emotional trauma. So coming out to devoutly religious parents may not be the kindest thing to do. There is a axiom in recovery circles that others should not be hurt in the process of recovery - as the problem is then just compounded. (For example - confessing to your spouse that you had an affair as part of "making amends" in 12 step recovery might cause unnecessary severe emotional pain to your spouse - so it is sometimes suggested that the amend is better made by being a faithful and considerate spouse - the so-called "living amends". )

Of course, a devoutly religious sibling may or may not care - since they don't have the same type of emotional investment in your lifestyle as your parents might. So coming out to them may not involve any significant emotional pain to them.

Then again, there is another school of thought that would suggest that being true to yourself and coming out to all regardless of the damage to the emotional state of others is more important and the healthier choice - and it is on the other party to deal with their pain and perhaps learn from it.

I would guess it comes down to how one's personal values lie along these lines. I personally would opt to do what I believed to be the kindest thing to do - which might be coming out or not - depending on the circumstances - but would not do so for my own emotional benefit at the expenses of other's emotional pain. Others, and in good conscience, may feel differently...

Just a couple of cent worth.... Al
 

FallenAngelina

Well-known member
(For example - confessing to your spouse that you had an affair as part of "making amends" in 12 step recovery might cause unnecessary severe emotional pain to your spouse - so it is sometimes suggested that the amend is better made by being a faithful and considerate spouse - the so-called "living amends". )

This is an oft-cited example of a good reason to spare another her pain, but in my experience, this option to not disclose the full truth of oneself (and an affair is very much part of the full truth of oneself) is an option to turn away from full intimacy. A truly intimate relationship requires honesty. A spouse certainly can choose to "spare the other her pain," but it always comes at the expense of some degree of closeness. People are perhaps driven by guilt to disclose an affair, but I don't believe that anyone does it selfishly and solely to alleviate that guilt. Most do it because there is some need and hope for authenticity, wherever that may lead. Active alcoholics indeed hurt others in many and varied ways, and there's much to atone for, but this old trope about "sparing the other her pain" when the alcoholic has cheated, which is an enormous breach of the intimacy contract, is the choice to maintain a lie - and that choice always comes at the expense of some degree of authentic intimacy.

In the case of poly and coming out to family, the same holds true. Yes, we do "spare the other her pain" or even spare ourselves the unwanted agita when we choose to remain closeted, but it comes at the expense of some degree of authentic connection. It's never for anyone else to say to whom we should come out, but it's really important for us to be honest with ourselves and know that choosing not to show who we are is indeed keeping secrets - and keeping secrets always comes at the price of true intimacy. There are many people we have no desire to be all that close to, so the secrets work perfectly well. But there are some people with whom we want to be able to share our full selves and if that's what we want, then it's necessary for us to share the truth about our beloveds. I suppose that some family members will feel pain because of that, but that is their pain that they experience because of their beliefs. When the aim is to remain close with someone, I don't think it is ever helpful in the long run to keep secrets in order to "spare the other her pain" when that secret is an essential aspect of our intimate life. Secrets always erode intimacy.
 

Al99

Well-known member
Then again, there is another school of thought....

Karen wrote:
In the case of poly and coming out to family, the same holds true. Yes, we do "spare the other her pain" or even spare ourselves the unwanted agita when we choose to remain closeted, but it comes at the expense of some degree of authentic connection. It's never for anyone else to say to whom we should come out, but it's really important for us to be honest with ourselves and know that choosing not to show who we are is indeed keeping secrets - and keeping secrets always comes at the price of true intimacy. There are many people we have no desire to be all that close to, so the secrets work perfectly well. But there are some people with whom we want to be able to share our full selves and if that's what we want, then it's necessary for us to share the truth about our beloveds. I suppose that some family members will feel pain because of that, but that is their pain that they experience because of their beliefs. When the aim is to remain close with someone, I don't think it is ever helpful in the long run to keep secrets in order to "spare the other her pain" when that secret is an essential aspect of our intimate life. Secrets always erode intimacy.

And there you have the other side of the coin - well said, Karen. I would not argue that either view is right or wrong or that either is morally superior - just a matter of individual conscience. Al
 

River

Active member
Much depends on how close the parent / grown child relationship is ... or wants to be. If not very close, well, why even bother with coming out? If very close, well, coming out will probably become necessary at some point.
 
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