So I accidently came out to my parents...

Inaniel

Active member
It was an unremarkable night. Abby had a job interview the following morning, I was recruited to help her pick out a nice outfit, and mentally prepare.

I wanted something healthy for dinner, the decision was made to meet at the store after work; Target specifically because Abby needed to buy an ironing board. How this woman got so far in her professional career without owning an ironing board I'll never understand, but I digress.

I arrived at the store before Abby, and suddenly remembered I failed to let Jasmine know I was going to stay with Abby that night...

Let me back up. My beloved conservative christian family all simultaneously decided to pile into Colorado recently. My sister and her husband moved here in June, and my mother and father in October. I have lived here in a poly realtionship with Jasmine since 2012, and we have been well insulated from family during this time.

When my family moved here we had a decision to make; spend less time with Abby or bring her in. I couldn't justify prioritising my family over Abby so we brought her in and introduced her as a friend to my family.

Alright, back to that fateful night.. I'm at Target browsing the salmon selection and quickly redirect my attention to my phone; I shot off a text to Jasmine saying:

"I'm going to stay with Abby tonight, if that's ok with you"

My phone buzzes a few moments later and I see a text from my mother:

"That message went to the wrong person..."

My heart sank... I double checked my phone and to my utter horror, I in fact sent that message to my mother. I glared at my phone for a moment in disbelief, before looking up to a spinning vegetable isle. I was choking, I couldn't think, I couldn't breathe, I was paralyzed...

I needed some air so I started straight for the exit, almost forgetting I had a basket of groceries in hand. I turned around to place my basket on a shelf and there's Abby: "Boo!" She was in stitches for a moment, until realizing I looked like I literally just saw a ghost... I took her by the hand and we exited to store where I confessed what I had done..

I called Jasmine as she was picking-up our daughter from daycare, I was freaked, and Jasmine freaked. I went straight home to discuss our options; ultimately the decision was made to disclose the situation to my parents...

We called them that night and disclosed our poly lifestyle as well as Jasmine's bisexuality.

We focused on the following points:

-We are happy and all very much in love.
-Our daughter is our biggest priority.
-We love them (my mother and father) very much, and hope for their love and acceptance in return.

My mother cried, and my father bombarded us with "what if" questions. It took a while to break through their brute monogamous tinted objections.

Nevertheless, our first conversation actually went quite well. I think it went well because my mother was releaved we weren't splitting up.. However we had a follow up conversation about a week later that didn't go as well.

My mother communicated the following things to me:
-She wishes we would change our mind.

-She feels like it was inconsiderate to choose this lifestyle considering how much it would hurt her.

-She feels like my father was a very good role model and she is hurt that I didn't end up with his values.

-This revelation almost "broke her".

-If I was to have a child with anyone but Jasmine it would "break her".

-She doesn't want me to tell anyone else in the family because she can't bare the thought of having to explain it to my aunt's and uncle's. (I told her flat out that I will be telling my sister)

-She requested I wait until after my sister's pregnancy to disclose it to her. To which I agreed, she is having so many struggles with her health, I don't want to add stress to her life.

My mother's other concerns revolved around my child, understandably so... I think we did a good job relieving those fears. I confided in my mother some of my personal fears, specifically the custody of my child being challenged by them. My mother said she thinks we are wonderful parents and would never dream of doing that on the basis of our alternative lifestyle. So.. Things could be worse right?

I haven't talked to either of my parents since the last conversation. In fact, my father didn't even want to take part in the second conversation and was absent,I haven't heard from him since first night.

I've come into a dark place over the subsequent weeks. I have a growing sense of hopelessness. I feel like things will never be the same with my parents ever again. I fear that they don't think I love Jasmine anymore. I fear my father will never warm up to Jasmine ever again..

I vasalate between the despair of losing my parents respect and freedom of them knowing who I am. Sometimes I want to reach out, be vulnerable with them, and bring them in; to show them our love.. And sometimes I just want to get the hell out of here and move across the country so I'm not constantly reminded of the failure they think I am. I want to cry, and I want to fight; in the end I'm afraid I'm lost in doubt.

One glimmering point that I draw strength from is I have no regrets for the way I live, and the way I love. Abby and Jasmine bring me joy every single day of my life, the break even analysis on this equation is a no brainier.

Thanks for listening.
 
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WanderingINTJ

New member
Challenging

That's definitely a challenging situation that you are in. It is good that your family is now aware and hopefully they will adjust in more positive ways than negative.
 

Nox

New member
Inaniel, good luck. My mom doesn't approve in the least, but I'm dealing with it because she still treats txgirl very nicely. My mom's issues are with my decisions and not with txgirl.

It's funny you say "she can't bare the thought of having to explain it to my aunt's and uncle's." I think that makes me the angriest. Mine did the same thing. How dare I embarrass her.

Txgirl isn't going anywhere and it sounds like Abby and Jasmine aren't either, so hopefully our parents will come around. FWIW, my brothers (and spouses) are happy for us. Txgirl's family had a few issues at first, but once they realized how long we had been together (and saw us together), they have been very supportive. We both come pretty conservative households, so there's hope.
 

FallenAngelina

Well-known member
..I went straight home to discuss our options; ultimately the decision was made to disclose the situation to my parents...

Loads of admiration for your choice to come fully forward, given the mis-sent text that forced your hand. We talk so much here about the importance of honesty, yet most of us good people are living fairly closeted lives, and for very real reasons such as yours. I'm "out" with all of my close friends, but very much "in" with my family of origin for the same reasons you have been. However, I'm a big believer in the power of honesty to transform everyone involved for the better and that includes your parents, whether they recognize this right now or not. We have only to look to history to see how honesty ultimately creates a safer and improved social climate for everyone. I am impressed with your courageous collective choice to allow your family to see who you three really are. This choice will continue to serve you and move you along in many positive ways, however challenging things may appear right now.

(I'm also impressed that your Target has a salmon section! ;) )
 
We went though a similar experience with my in-laws. We were forced to come out to them when they figured out hat there was a relationship going on betweeen me and Ponytail. They raised all the same arguments and objections (and more) with my husband, but thankfully they haven’t communicated any of them to me directly. This was back in November and we now exist in a strained “don’t ask about it it, don’t talk about it” mutual feigned ignorance. We used to go over there for dinner now and then, but now we really only see them when we are dropping off the kids or picking them up. It’s okay, but yeah, I miss the way things used to be.
 

vinsanity0

Active member
Interesting how it's all about them. Hopefully that is just an initial reaction that will wear off. I've seen similar reactions from families of people who came out as gay. "How could you do this to us?" Of course, nobody is doing anything to them.

My mom wasn't angry or hurt. She just couldn't wrap her head around it so she chose not to take it seriously. What she thought didn't really matter because it wasn't about to change us. Kudos to you for not sticking Abby in a closet.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I think you handled it as best you could. It takes time for people to digest news, esp news that challenges them. So expect weird out of them for a while.

Remember that the 2nd conversation was not about you and your stuff. It was about them and their stuff. Dad couldn't even attend. Mom was going on about her own anxieties and worries. That's not your load to carry. But don't be surprised. Denial/shock is the first stages of grief. along with all the "But whhhhhy?" kinda stuff. They are grieving the loss of the "old picture" they had of you. Even if it was not an accurate one, its the one they knew and felt comfortable with.

When I came out as bi to my mother when I was a teen, she immediately said "OMG! Don't tell your dad!" and I didn't bother. Over the years she's been more like "Oh, well, people live their lives how they live. It's not my business." Even so? When my eldest figured that out about herself I told her it was fine, and she could tell who she wanted but if she told the grandparents to expect wonky. So don't be surprised. She elected to skip it with them. She already knows how wonky they get with other things. They are "fly off the handle" kinda people. Super anxious about EVERYTHING.

More than 25 years ago when I moved in with my then BF, now spouse, she was all "OMG! Living in sin! Don't tell the relatives. Just say you live with a roomie." A lot of doom this and doom that. When my sister and many other cousins did same later on? And nothing doom happened to anyone? She was more like "Oh, well. You modern people. I'm so old-fashioned."

She hasn't really been "challenged" on the poly front because I'm not dating anyone and when I was? None of them got to the "bring them around the family" stage. I figure if it comes up in future? I think she'd be able to skip faster to the "Oh, well." Her best friend has been in a V for DECADES.

Dad? He's too loopy with Alzheimer at this juncture. I wouldn't burden him with any of that stuff.

A long time ago I learned not to rely on my family for anything akin to emotional support for MY concerns. It's more the other way around -- they wig out over whatever it is, and I support them through it and they get over it. Sometimes. Other times I think they are overdoing it and can go bother my sister or whoever else for their wonky.

I have a growing sense of hopelessness.

HUG. Try to hang in there and let this finish unfolding. It JUST happened.

I feel like things will never be the same with my parents ever again.

Some things will be. Some might not.

I remember being hugely disappointed with my parents over the years. They told me they are there for me no matter what and I find out through various experiences... only kinda sorta. Which hurt me when it was fresh and I was younger, but what changed really? Nothing. They kick up some fuss and anxiety witter, and then they return to what passes for normal around here. Some things they take on board, other things they just pretend it never happened.

Over the years I've changed my outlook to "They WANT to be there for me no matter what, but they are human and have their own personal limitations. They basically suck at anything emotional so don't expect any of that here."

Someone sick? Need help with some errands or a casserole or in their younger days watching a kid? Something like that? No problem. They are/were great at "physical tasks" of support.

Need help with grieving my in-laws passing? Or anything akin to emotional support? Seek elsewhere. They are too anxious/flighty in themselves to be any good in those areas.

I know from experience that if I tell them news that upsets them? I will end up depleted trying to prop them up in their processing before I can get any assistance in my own. And their assistance is poor. So... not worth it. I have learned to just not have that expectation. I get emotional support from my siblings and friends first. Then when I'm ready to deal with parent witter, I tell my parents the news. I let them feel however they feel. They are just not my first dial people. I might be theirs, but they are not mine.

So... I suggest you don't try to take on any of your parents' stuff as your own. Let it stay THEIR stuff to deal with. You have not done anything TO them. Focus on what you need for your self care instead at this time.

You may experience some sadness as your own picture and expectations of your parents become more clear/accurate. And it is ok to feel that.

Hang in there.

Galagirl
 
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Marvelgirl

New member
I'd like to say they'll come around and realize what's really important but the reality is that they don't always. I'm really sorry you're going through this. My MIL did the whole "How could you humiliate me like this" thing too. It wasn't fun.

All being said and done though, I'd still rather be out. I lost people but it made me value the ones who stuck around even more. Some of them think it's horrible what we're doing, it's against their religious beliefs, they worry something bad will happen to us but... at the end of the day they still love us and want us in their lives. And that was powerful to me.

I guess what I'm getting at is even if they never find it acceptable you can still have a good relationship. I have that with some of my family. I know they don't like it but they respect me enough to not bring it up and continue to love me and my family. I relate it to that uncle who never shuts up about politics at family gatherings. Like, I love that guy but ugh, he drives me nuts when starts up on that!

I'm sorry, I'm rambling. I've been outed and I know how crappy it can be and hope you and yours are doing ok. Hang in there.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Hi Inaniel,

Give your parents about a year. There is some hope that they will freak out for about a year, but that maybe they'll eventually calm down. It may help if they see you with Abby and Jasmine, and can see that the three of you get along fine and love one another. But even if they don't see that, a year may be enough for them to become a little more accepting of the situation.

You weren't ready for all this, I see that and I do sympathize. Sometimes we accidentally out ourselves. It happens, and then the fallout occurs. Hang in there.

Sincerely,
Kevin T.
 

icesong

Moderator
Staff member
Wow. As I mentioned on my blog, I’m having almost the same exact situation with my inlaws right now after my son told them about Artist. Right down to the reaction being “all about them” and us being inconsiderate etc. It’s starting to thaw a little, but is still pretty much a mess. Good luck.
 

breathemusic

Active member
Just want to reiterate what others have already said.

It really sucks to be thrown into a position where you have to come out when you aren't ready or hadn't prepared mentally, but it sounds like you handled it amazingly well.

I would also agree that it takes time for people to come around in many cases. That's not to say that your parents will for sure. But at least to note that it's not unusual to take months or more for that acceptance to start to sink in. I know Dan Savage in his advice columns always advocates for giving loved ones about a year to come to terms with coming out (be that poly, LGBTQ, etc) and if they don't come around after that, move on with your life and it's up to you if you want to make the effort. But especially if you're not in constant contact with family, it can be easy for them to just be in denial in between interactions, which then stretches out the processing time for them to come around. So don't give up hope just yet.

On the other hand, you used to live far away from family and so I assume didn't interact nearly as much, so if they aren't willing to accept your lifestyle, then you're under no obligation to interact with them MORE just because they live close. Family is who you choose to be close to, not always who you share DNA with. I do hope that they come around though!
 

txgirl

New member
Going through my divorce, I was sort of forced into tell my parents. My dad came out and just asked me, "Do you have a boyfriend in [City]?

I wanted to lie, but I told him the truth. I then had to explain my whole situation and poly. For a few weeks they were very uncomfortable with it. They wanted me to protect myself and as far as they knew, I had no future with Nox. Then they spent some time with him/I together. Everything just seem to fall into place.
 

MeeraReed

Active member
How did Abby's job interview go? I feel bad for her--it sounds like you pretty much bailed on your night with her so you and Jasmine could go manage the "crisis" with your parents.

You're a grownup, not a kid. You could have just responded to your mom's text: "Oops! Sorry, Mom, talk to you tomorrow!" and gone on to enjoy your date with Abby.
 

TheWind

New member
When we had our girlfriend living with us my Liberal Christian Sister was coming up to visit. On the phone I told her that the girl was living with us, when she realized it was more than a room mate, she freaked. Irony is that she is ok with a Gay relative of her son in law and my Lesbian daughter. She calmed down eventually. What is the difference?
 
How did Abby's job interview go? I feel bad for her--it sounds like you pretty much bailed on your night with her so you and Jasmine could go manage the "crisis" with your parents.

You're a grownup, not a kid. You could have just responded to your mom's text: "Oops! Sorry, Mom, talk to you tomorrow!" and gone on to enjoy your date with Abby.

I was thinking the same thing.

I can't imagine dropping a friend or loved one in need of my company who I'd agreed to help with something important over something as trivial as my mum finding out something about me that she might not approve of.

Mum and I are both grown ups and that sort of thing doesn't constitute an emergency. We'd probably talk about it at some point but it just wouldn't be an emergency.

It seems like an unkind way to treat Abby.
 

Inaniel

Active member
I was thinking the same thing.

I can't imagine dropping a friend or loved one in need of my company who I'd agreed to help with something important over something as trivial as my mum finding out something about me that she might not approve of.

Mum and I are both grown ups and that sort of thing doesn't constitute an emergency. We'd probably talk about it at some point but it just wouldn't be an emergency.

It seems like an unkind way to treat Abby.


I think the relationship-type between all of the stakeholders are at play here. Abby was happy to delay our date for an hour or two; given that I had accidentally created a family crisis. She realized that going on to enjoy a date like nothing happend - while leaving my mother in shambles - is sociopathic-type bliss im not capable of.

Your relationship with your mum, is not the same as my relationship with my mum. And what consitiutes a crisis with my mum, apparently does not with your mum. And in this regard, I am envious of your relationship with your mum.. Maybe that was the real point of your post, you wanted to feel good about your relationship with your mum, because if you were curious about how Abby felt, you could have asked.

I appreciate most of your comments, and I appreciate the kind words of support.
 
Maybe that was the real point of your post, you wanted to feel good about your relationship with your mum, because if you were curious about how Abby felt, you could have asked.

Not really.

My point - which I clearly made badly - is that yes relationships between all of the stakeholders are at play here. You are an important person in a number of lives and have chosen to live in a way that you know would be upsetting to some of the people in your life. I have no doubt that you spent time with Jasmine discussing how to go about having a relationship with Abby and that the three of you regularly check in to make sure that things are okay and the relationships are going okay.

Yet it seems as if at no point in your life have you done similar work with your family to help them cope with the fact that you don't share some of their views. You don't have to come out as poly in order to do that. For a great many parents, it's a gradual process that happens as their children grow up. A normal part of a child becoming an adult is parents learning to cope with the feelings that arise when their child does things that are disappointing.

For various reasons some child/parent relationships don't progress in that way and end up with adult children like yourself and parents like your mum suffering quite extreme anxiety responses as a result of even the potential of disappointing a parent.

Have you really never disappointed or worried your mum before? The reason my relationship is different is because nobody in my family has ever gone around hiding the important things in our lives from each other. Some of these things have been enormously disappointing to our parents - resulting sometimes in weeks and weeks of discussion before everybody feels okay again. It's not a situation that any of us enjoy but it also isn't a situation that would lead anybody in the family to be ditching plans to run off and fire fight. We all know that it isn't the end of the world and that we'll get through it - because we have loads of times in the past.

Your initial text as you reported it here in no way outed you. You didn't send your mum a text saying that you were heading over to Abby's to have sex. You sent her a text saying that you were going to stay at a friend's that night. It was clearly information meant for somebody you live with so clearly a mistake - but it wasn't an admission of anything.

In my view, one of the pieces of work that needs to happen in order for poly relationships to be ethical for everybody in them is for everybody to have done the work so that either their families are somewhat used to dealing with disappointing actions from other members in a reasonably calm way, or to have some way of managing family relationships so that they aren't negatively impacting on the partner who is not a proper partner and needs to play the role of family friend to avoid rocking the boat.

Whether or not Abby was okay with it isn't really the point. The point is that you felt it was okay to break plans you'd made with somebody that you say is important to you the night before they have what most people would consider and important and stressful event so that you could rush off and firefight a family drama.

To me you have more work to do in order to be having an ethical relationship with Abby - you need to find some way to set things up so that you don't need to pull dick moves like that.
 

icesong

Moderator
Staff member
The type of relationship you describe with your family of origin, though, InfinitePossibility is one that requires BOTH the parent and child to actively work towards it. Some of us are dealing with parents that are, honestly, emotionally children in many ways.

Just because one has disappointed one’s parents in the past doesn’t mean they won’t have equally bad reactions in the future - Knight did many things along the way that his mother has not approved of (believe me, they are all enumerated every time a new one is added to the list). Doesn’t mean that when we were outed she didn’t have a reaction that was sort of the emotional equivalent of a car wreck. And yes, that was a bit of an immediate emergency situation - ended up mostly ditching a new year’s party we had been looking forward to for months because of it. (Should we have already been out? Probably. But given my father in law’s health issues there was never a time in which adding this stress seemed appropriate.)

Have you considered that Abby may have wanted him to go? I wouldn’t want my partner freaking out over how his relationship with his parent was going to change while I was focusing on getting ready for an interview...

(And frankly, the idea that that text didn’t out him is... naive at best. In many (most?) conservative circles there is no legitimate reason for a married man to stay alone at a single female friend’s house ever, and it WOULD cause raised eyebrows /questions. It’s bullshit of course, but ponder the Mike Pence’s of the world with their no eating alone with a woman policy and extrapolate...)
 
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Inaniel

Active member
Not really.

My point - which I clearly made badly - is that yes relationships between all of the stakeholders are at play here. You are an important person in a number of lives and have chosen to live in a way that you know would be upsetting to some of the people in your life. I have no doubt that you spent time with Jasmine discussing how to go about having a relationship with Abby and that the three of you regularly check in to make sure that things are okay and the relationships are going okay.

Yet it seems as if at no point in your life have you done similar work with your family to help them cope with the fact that you don't share some of their views. You don't have to come out as poly in order to do that. For a great many parents, it's a gradual process that happens as their children grow up. A normal part of a child becoming an adult is parents learning to cope with the feelings that arise when their child does things that are disappointing.

For various reasons some child/parent relationships don't progress in that way and end up with adult children like yourself and parents like your mum suffering quite extreme anxiety responses as a result of even the potential of disappointing a parent.

Have you really never disappointed or worried your mum before? The reason my relationship is different is because nobody in my family has ever gone around hiding the important things in our lives from each other. Some of these things have been enormously disappointing to our parents - resulting sometimes in weeks and weeks of discussion before everybody feels okay again. It's not a situation that any of us enjoy but it also isn't a situation that would lead anybody in the family to be ditching plans to run off and fire fight. We all know that it isn't the end of the world and that we'll get through it - because we have loads of times in the past.

Your initial text as you reported it here in no way outed you. You didn't send your mum a text saying that you were heading over to Abby's to have sex. You sent her a text saying that you were going to stay at a friend's that night. It was clearly information meant for somebody you live with so clearly a mistake - but it wasn't an admission of anything.

In my view, one of the pieces of work that needs to happen in order for poly relationships to be ethical for everybody in them is for everybody to have done the work so that either their families are somewhat used to dealing with disappointing actions from other members in a reasonably calm way, or to have some way of managing family relationships so that they aren't negatively impacting on the partner who is not a proper partner and needs to play the role of family friend to avoid rocking the boat.

Whether or not Abby was okay with it isn't really the point. The point is that you felt it was okay to break plans you'd made with somebody that you say is important to you the night before they have what most people would consider and important and stressful event so that you could rush off and firefight a family drama.

To me you have more work to do in order to be having an ethical relationship with Abby - you need to find some way to set things up so that you don't need to pull dick moves like that.


The fact that you think my initial text in no way outed me, represents how different our worlds are, no wonder we are struggling to communicate. Again, I applaud your familial relationship; I can tell you feel good about it. I have no doubt it has shaped your view of the world, and you have a rational approach to this topic. Despite all of your family’s successes with you however, somehow they failed to instill etiquette, and I don’t think I should have to suffer for that.

You are not in the position to define ethical boundaries of my relationships; nor are you in the position to infer that I am a jerk, or define what constitutes a dick-move on behalf of Abby.

Whether or not Abby was okay with it is not your concern, thank you for saying that. You clearly can’t escape yourself when thinking about this scenario. Your post doesn’t have anything to do with Abby, it has everything to do with you. Abby was unfairly used as a veil for your egotism.

I see now what you are conveying: If you were in Abby's position, you would have felt unfairly disrespected. You could have summed that up more concisely and respectively. *i.e. without the - My familial-relationship is better than your familial-relationship - attitude, which only served to prop your ego, not to benefit anyone here.

Now that I understand what you’re conveying. Allow me to respond:

I understand you would have felt disrespected in this same situation, and that makes this scenario sound very unfair to you, that must be frustrating. Abby did not feel that way; and it probably has something to do with Abby's background; her father is a rural minister. Abby was raised in "God's Country", her family was impoverished; her father moved them from one small community to another to preach the word of god. When Abby was a little girl, she went to bed hungry, and she never knew what it was like to have new toys, or new cloths for school; her family sacrificed every comfort for their religion.

I grew up under similar circumstance, though not quite as severe. I have two ministers in my family, my grandfather was a part time minister and prominent figure in the local government. Conservative convention runs strong in these communities, and it runs strong in both of our families. When kids from these communities come-out to their parents, they don’t "take a few weeks to talk it over", there is a very real risk that they will be disowned and rejected. And not only by their family, by the whole community.

Abby and I share this similarity in our history, it’s probably a major influence of our connection. Which is why Abby understood, respected, and supported every single decision that was made that night. We all did the best we could with what we had, and we all made the decision together.

It’s clear that you cannot relate, and I do not fault you for that, in fact I envy you for that. It’s your egotism and lack of empathy that I find so unhelpful.
 

breathemusic

Active member
OP, I debated whether to respond to InfinitePossibility's post and say how much I diagree with a lot of what was said, but you've pretty much covered it.
 
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