Dear Mom, I’m Polyamorous…
By Elizabeth Scarlett

I’m not one to keep my life private. I share everything and rarely hesitate to answer even the most personal questions, whether my mom or someone I’ve just met is asking. My husband, however, is opposite. There are many pros and cons to either side; his is obviously “safer” whereas mine puts my life out there for any and everyone to judge. Out of respect for his preference, I agreed when we married to keep our open relationship from our family and straight friends.

At the time, it wasn’t such a big deal. We were just beginning to explore what it meant to have the stability of marriage and the freedom of being single, all at the same time. We dated others as we pleased…which was, for me, the occasional first date and rare connection. Mostly, I ended up accompanying my husband and his girlfriends out on dates, because frankly, I like to play with girls; and I wasn’t finding any men I wanted to have a relationship with.

Then, one day, I did; and he eventually became my boyfriend. I was bursting to tell my mother about this man I was madly in love with…how happy I was that he and my husband got along well and respected each other. There were a hundred little things that had absolutely nothing to do with sex and everything to do with how much I adored him…and it made me sad to realize that I was keeping him in hiding, like some dirty little secret.

So, my husband and I discussed it. Our daughter is being raised knowing full well that we have boyfriends and girlfriends, and she has dinner with them when they come to visit. It is only a matter of time before she mentions “Mommy’s boyfriend” to her grandmother, my mom. I’ll not put my daughter in the position, ever, to have to hide anything from the world. My husband agreed to support me in coming out to everyone, though I’m still not in any hurry and will discuss it with those I want to when I feel ready.

I spent several hours drafting a long letter to my mom. It included the reasons why we have an open relationship, why I am polyamorous, and that our marriage is stronger, in fact, because of the freedom and support we give each other. I explained why I wanted to tell her, about our daughter knowing our partners, and how much I wanted my mother to know them, too. I included pictures and a little background about the people I am dating, how proud I was to know and love them, and that I looked forward to her meeting them when she visits again. And I attached some of my Polypositivity columns, particularly the one where I define what polyamory means for me.

Finally satisfied, I emailed the letter to her and waited. She responded short after that it was a lot to think about, but that nothing would ever change her love for me…and that she would take some time before getting back to me with her response. I was relieved and thrilled that she was at least going to accept me, regardless of whether she supported my being poly.

It turned out, in the end, that she didn’t support it. Not really. She wrote me an equally long letter explaining her thoughts and concerns, many of them related to her religious beliefs. But she did say she would love to meet my “friends” and that she would support how important they are in my life. She promised that she would never try to change us, or negatively influence our daughter because of the lifestyle we choose to lead. And this was all I needed to know; along with that she knows who I really am and loves me anyway. In fact, she’s quite proud of my column…but, “It would be nice if you were writing about something I could share with the whole family.”

Not to worry, Mom, I’ll be sharing it with them soon enough…;-)