AskMiriam About Coming Out
Question: From the reaction of a friend I have realised how important it is to be guarded about who I decide to tell that I want to try becoming poly. If/when I have multiple partners, but I don’t want everyone to know, what’s the best way to handle this? Tell my friends that one person is my partner and the other a friend? Then how does it work with my partners’ friends, and what if they mix at some point or we have mutual friends? I don’t really like lying to people and I’m not very good at it, but I want to be cautious about who I open up to about my lifestyle. I would be grateful for any tips you have.
Answer: First of all, thank you so much for your question! I really appreciate it as always. You can probably tell from my blog that I’m a very open person. I’m out as poly to nearly everyone I know. In that regard, my answer to this question will be very biased. If and when you have multiple partners, I feel that you are doing a disservice to them by telling your friends that one is your partner and one (or more as the case may be) is just a friend. However, I do agree that in the beginning, you need to be careful about who you divulge to. I would start by telling your closest friends about your polyamory. Depending on what your family’s like, you may want to tell them, but I feel that you only need to tell family when it becomes more relevant (for example, if you wanted to bring multiple partners home to meet them). My parents are progressive, so I have felt comfortable telling them about multiple partners – they haven’t always accepted it, but they do not discourage me from doing so.
Another tactic you may want to try initially is talking to your friends about the concept of open relationships and polyamory. You can judge from their reaction what they think of it. You may also be surprised to hear that they know someone who’s poly or they themselves are poly too. I find that the more you open up to people, the more they feel comfortable opening up to you. Finally, I think it’s important to remember that if your friends, especially close friends, are dead set against poly, you may feel that you don’t want to be their friend anymore. Before I became poly, I would never, as an example, be friends with someone who was homophobic. I feel very lucky now because many of my friends are poly and I can talk to them about issues I’m having or about fun adventures. Depending on where you are, dear reader, you will probably find a likeminded community.
If any of you out there have a relationship question, send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org