Family and openness

Rodza

New member
Hi Guys, galls and others.

My initial partner and I have been together now for over 18 years and have had an easygoing relationship in regards to sexual nature - we've always had the motto that partners who play together stay together.

A few years ago we started to explore being in a closed triad/throuple and most of the relationships we had were "closeted" as those partners also didn't have the need to be "open" about our relationship and we we were only open to our closest of friends and the relationships weren't longer than 6 months or so. No one else knew, neither family, business associates, acquaintances etc. We were in a relationship with another guy that started to break down some time ago and we decided to be just friends even though he still had romantic feelings for us. Prior to our calling off the relationship we made plans to go on holiday together and we decided to even though we were just friends we would still be going.

Just before us going on holiday we met someone else and both I and my partner fell in love immediately. Things just started to get somewhat serious before we went on holiday but we weren't sure if things were moving in a direction of a long-term relationship and because I felt for our ex, I kinda tried to keep it from him. Much to the dismay of our new partner who got very jealous and angry because of me trying to protect our ex which I felt needed protecting and didn't want to cause him emotional issues. He was an emotionally fragile person and I know that telling our ex before we went on holiday it would have ruined the holiday and at that point I was not willing to do it as I was not sure where the relationship with him was going

When we got back from Holiday, I had to break off the friendship with our ex and I made the wrong choice of not telling our ex about our new partner. Our new partner felt that I would rather safeguard our ex rather than tell the ex about him. We also ended some of our relationships with our friends due to them either still being friends with our ex and didn't want to complicate things for them or due to him having strong nonchristian (he is a pagan) beliefs we also ended our relationships with our friends that are very pro-Christian and religious. Once again he felt that we are hiding him and feeling ashamed of him, but it was with the pure intention of safeguarding everyone and steering away from unnecessary conflict and uncomfortable situations.

When we decided to go into the relationship full steam we had a sit down about the openness of the relationship to the outside world and discussed that we do not want to have our familys know yet. There are a few practical reasons for that, one being that my partner just recently started to have a good relationship with his folks after they kicked him out of the house some years ago for being gay and him being now cautious of upsetting and losing them. We both work at our family business and my folks and family are somewhat conservative, they do not take kindly to these types of relationships and are somewhat vindictive if something does not sit right with them and I know that telling them, it would make our work life very difficult.

Our new partner had to move in with us in a very short period of time due to financial and family reasons so we didn't complete the "dating" phase of our relationship and went straight into the "staying together" phase. He lost his job, had to close his business, wrote off his car, and didn't have anything left so we had to have him move in with us. He has now stayed with us for almost a year now working on a new startup company. We have never asked him to contribute anything to the household and have given him everything he needs and wants including a car that he wanted without asking for anything in return. I do not mind it as I feel this is something one does for the person you love and do not expect anything in return. It shows that we want him as part of our "family" and is willing to do anything for him.

We've had a bumpy ride with some ups and downs as all relationships do but recently it has become more of a downer than an upper. The main reason is that the new partner feels that he is not seen as a true part of the relationship due to us not being willing to introduce him to our family as our partner instead of our friend. I understand his need for validation but due to the few scares, we've had during the year where once he wanted to move out without any other place to stay I kinda backed off the willingness to work on opening up to the world about our relationship. His sister asked him to move out of her place while he was looking for his own place due to him being in a relationship with us as it didn't sit right with her. So he knows what issues it can cause when opening up to family but still feels very strongly about him not being an "equal" in that regard and that one would rather lose people than have to hide your partner. To a certain extent, I agree with this, but it is easier said than done as there are larger implications to that statement than just words.

He feels that we have not integrated him into my and my first partner's circle of friends, even though we only have a very small group of friends and they know of him and have met him, he still resents us for breaking off the other friendships as he feels that we are ashamed of him but he has introduced us to all of his friends which has now become all our friends. Every time we have words he brings up things from the past that still angers him even though we have gone past those issues and this makes things difficult to work with him to resolve issues.

I mentioned to him that it feels like he is rather picking the fruits that are poisoning the relationship than looking at the rest of the beautiful things we have, as we do have something great.

It has now come to a point where he has packed his bags and is ready to move out if we do not agree to tell the family and open up completely to the rest of the world as he feels that we are ashamed of him if we don't and that he then no longers wants to be a glorified "fck boy" with a title.

What is the view around introducing your new partner to family and friends and how does one go about it if you have not done it before? Is it worth going to a relationship therapist to work with us through this situation?

Any suggestions on how to handle a relationship like this?

Call me a romantic but I believe that one needs to fight till the bitter end for love
 
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Magdlyn

Moderator
Staff member
You might want to pick nicknames for your partners. It makes it easier for your readers to understand and comment. I'll just use something generic, but you can choose whatever you like. Let's call original partner A Andy and newer partner B Boo.

Coming out as gay, poly, bi, trans or any other alternative to traditional hetero/mono expectations can be extremely difficult. It is up to every individual as to whether you want to come out, when, and to whom. It sounds like you and Andy have conservative Christian families, and you work with them as well. So there are 2 different factors there. You might lose the familial relationships, as well as your jobs. Maybe Boo doesn't have those concerns and is tired of putting up with your issues. That is his right. If he wants to be with a guy or guys (or women, if he's bi) who have more accepting families and workplaces, that is his right. It only makes sense if this is making him miserable, for him to leave to seek a more accepting environment.

I know that will hurt you and Andy, and you will also worry a lot about Boo's welfare, since he's on shaky financial grounds. But it is up to him make that choice. He is an adult and has that right.

Yes, therapy with a queer- and poly-friendly therapist could help, but it is up to Boo, again, if he wants to attend that with you and Andy. But you and Andy might want to go anyway, even without Boo. You're still getting over your former breakup, which sounded pretty messy, not to mention what is happening right now with Boo.
 
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GalaGirl

Well-known member
I'm sorry this is happening and that you are struggling.

I'm going with the names Magdlyn suggested for readability.
  • Andy -- established partner
  • Boo -- newer partner
  • Ex -- Ex partner
FWIW, here is what sticks out to me.

The whole thing with the ex? Ex is an ex. It doesn't sound like you had a period of no contact and jumped into trying to be "exes and friends" too fast. It's ok to be kind, but I think you were overdoing it with the ex. You are not responsible for other people's emotions or mental health things. What about your own emotional and mental healths?

If you grew up with volatile family, is this your childhood survival thing coming into play? Being super aware of other people feelings and trying to "keep them happy" or "lay low" so they don't blow up at your head? If so, I get it. Kids are dependents, don't get a choice, and cannot just up and leave.

But at the same time, you do eventually grow up and move out, and can put the childhood coping things away and do adult coping things instead, right?


Prior to our calling off the relationship we made plans to go on holiday together and we decided to even though we were just friends we would still be going.

I don't want to hang out with exes too soon and being cooped up together on holiday is not my idea of fun. I would have gotten a refund, rescheduled for another time on my own, or just gifted the tickets to the ex to use with another friend.

Whatever to get me out of it and protect MY emotional and mental health, not bend over backwards guarding the ex's healths.

If I had been Boo watching you do all that? I would have wondered what's up with your personal boundaries. I don't think I would have been jealous and angry about it. But more wary like "These folks are accommodating this ex a LOT. Why is that? Poor boundaries? Not over the break up yet? Something else?"

When we decided to go into the relationship full steam we had a sit down about the openness of the relationship to the outside world and discussed that we do not want to have our familys know yet.

I think if Boo has strong feelings about being "out" and you and Andy were in the closet, Boo could have asked for more details on the "yet" -- was there an actual timeline or plan for coming out?

And if not, Boo could have said "Thanks, but I need to pass. Look me up after you are actually out."

Perhaps all of you have learned now that this mismatch is not an easy thing to bridge. You have your reasons for keeping it quiet and not everyone feels safe enough being "out." But on the flip side, Boo has reasons for being "out" and not wanting to go back in the closet. When people land in opposite sides, that's going to make things difficult.

I do not mind it as I feel this is something one does for the person you love and do not expect anything in return. It shows that we want him as part of our "family" and is willing to do anything for him.

I can see where you feel that way.

For a different POV, can you see where this is like being on "permanent guest?" Always at arms length? Because partners are expected to contribute to the family -- help with chores around the house, doing errands, paying bills? And some people feel better getting help from others if they can put in some contributions and not like "I'm just their charity case?"

Our new partner felt that I would rather safeguard our ex rather than tell the ex about him. We also ended some of our relationships with our friends due to them either still being friends with our ex and didn't want to complicate things for them or due to him having strong nonchristian (he is a pagan) beliefs we also ended our relationships with our friends that are very pro-Christian and religious. Once again he felt that we are hiding him and feeling ashamed of him, but it was with the pure intention of safeguarding everyone and steering away from unnecessary conflict and uncomfortable situations.

What is the danger? Exactly what would be complicated? Which conflicts do you think are necessary to deal with despite any discomfort?

And is that really to "keep everyone safe" or more for YOU to be safe from having to deal with things? Are you conflict avoidant?

Why does it matter if Boo is pagan and the friends Christian? These people can't be ok with other religions existing and people believing whatever it is they do? Are you selling Boo short? Your friends?

Well, lots of stuff has happened you cannot take back. At this point in time?

Since Boo is ready to move out and you all moved in together too fast in the first place?

I would ask Boo if them moving out could be a "reboot" and if they are willing to go to family therapy and work on the "coming out" issues and develop a timeline. Or if this is a plain break up.

Perhaps in his own space, Boo could better wait out the counseling time line for your coming out process.

If he prefers to break up and be done with this? Respect his choice and let it be as peaceful a parting as possible. Y'all have dealt with enough already. And this time? Don't try to be "exes and friends" too fast. Make some time and space to just be "plain exes" in first and let each person fully heal from the break up.

Do think about counseling with Andy and work on some of the stuff that seems to be popping up here. It's kind of all in a spaghetti tangle but from what I can make out here's some of them you could talk to a counselor about.

Having stronger personal boundaries with people
  • Not being "too nice" to people, esp exes.
  • Dealing with issues/conflicts appropriately as they arise rather than avoiding them.

Detangling from the families
  • Possibly changing jobs or buying the business out from the family so it's not so intermingled - your personal life and your work life
  • Andy healing from his family kicking him out for being gay and now trying to have a new relationship with the family/healing all that
  • Your family being vindictive if they don't agree with your life choices
Are you getting into a circle trap? Do you hang on to exes and bend over backwards to please because the family connections aren't great and you rely on "friend/dating partners as family"?

And hate to lose connections? But also hate to deal with conflict resolution so then you do things like dumping friends to "keep everyone safe?" But then end up with less people/less connections and kinda lonely isolated... and more shoved in with work and the meh relatives?

It sounds like you struggle to live an authentic life? I could be wrong in these impressions. But it sounds really hard... so please do think about a counselor if you can afford to do that.
 
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kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Hello Rodza,

It sounds like you have a fundamental difference of opinion with your new partner. He feels that you should out yourselves to your families about your relationship with him, while you feel that that would be a bad idea. And you both feel very strongly about your points of view, so this is not an issue you can easily solve.

I am in a poly situation myself (a V), and while I would like my polycule to out itself to the world, my two poly companions feel that that would be a bad idea. In the early years of our relationship, it bothered me a lot that I had to hide who I was to them; I had to pretend like I was just a friend (adopted family) to them, and this did not sit with me well. But as the years went by, I gradually made peace with keeping my true status hidden. It's not my preference, but I can live with it. So, maybe your new partner will eventually make peace with it as well. Maybe. Or maybe not. I know. He wants to feel like he matters to you. Enough to convince you to out yourselves. He thinks you should take the risk.

It does seem to me to be worth it to go to a relationship therapist to help you work through this situation. I also know of a good video about outing yourselves:

Things have gotten pretty serious in this situation because your new partner is ready to move out (and I presume break up with you) over this difference of opinion. You need to do everything you can to save the relationship. I don't know whether that includes outing yourselves to the world.

I hope this poly forum helps.
Sincerely,
Kevin T.
 

Rodza

New member
Hi Everyone,

Just a big thanks to all. Your input and responses are greatly appreciated. It gave me a new perspective that greatly helped me understand Boo's point of view and concerns, and how to discuss things between ourselves with his point of view in mind and then all the points that you guys have raised that I truly didn't consider previously made me re-evaluate a lot of my views.

Myself, Andy, and Boo (Thanks @Magdlyn ;)) had a sit-down and a very open-hearted discussion about where we are heading and had everyone's input around "coming out" and we've agreed that we will all go for counseling/therapy to assist us and guide us during this process. and to assist us in learning new communication and conflict resolution skills.

@GalaGirl you are 100% correct in saying that I need to set better boundaries, being too nice to people and that I tend to rather avoid dealing with issues especially if it sits uncomfortably with me and I know that another person's feelings will get hurt. Ironically these were points that both Andy and Boo spoke up about and they feel that a lot of the time this compromises our relationship as I would rather place others' interests first instead of my own or theirs.

There are still some issues that we need to work out, but there is light at the end of the tunnel - even if it's just the flicker of the flame of a candle - there is some light and hope.

We are still talking every day about the issues that were raised, sometimes one of us will say that they want a break from the discussion and would like to continue the discussion a bit later as they are either becoming too emotional or that they first want to clear their minds or that they are at that point in time to drained to continue contributing a meaningful discussion and we all have agreed that instead of forcing discussions and fighting we will handle it slowly, with compassion and understanding. We've agreed that should someone feel that they are either not understanding someone correctly or that someone feels that the other person isn't understanding what they are trying to convey that we will take a step back, take a moment, and then re-engage.

For the more astrologically inclined - we are two Sagittarians and a Scorpio....This should give you an idea of the passionate chaos that sometimes plays out in the bedroom and life, and the stubbornness during discussions/fights. 😆

We're trying now to find a queer/poly-friendly therapist but seems they're not as easily available in our part of the world.

I'll update you all on the next episode of the "Gays of our lives" ;)
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Hi Rodza,

Thanks for that update; it sounds like the three of you are working toward a more productive way of communicating with each other, and you have a better chance of preserving your triad relationship. I look forward to your future posts, and hope you will keep posting any additional questions you may have for us.

Regards,
Kevin T.
 

Magdlyn

Moderator
Staff member
You all have come up with a very important part of non-violent communication: taking a break when tired, hungry or emotionally overwhelmed is crucial. Just like any decisions made at 2 am are probably going to be bad, trying to respectfully navigate relationships when you're emotionally flooded is never a good idea.

Gays of our lives-- haha!
 
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