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Your Family Doesn’t Need To Accept Polyamory

Your family doesn’t need to accept your non-monogamous truth for it to be true.

That’s a complete statement. I would mic drop and walk away, but this is a blog and I’m supposed to explain myself a little before I do that. Basically, if you try to tell your family and it goes OK but they just don’t get it - they go “so swingers?” about any form of non-monogamy at all, or “It’s a group marriage, nobody’s ever gonna date again, right?” about your V, or won’t read anything you give them, even if it’s Eli Sheff’s shortest FAQ from her blog on Psychology Today (not even the full length book When Someone You Love Is Polyamorous) - or you tell them and it goes nuclear war, temporary disavowing, or permanent disowning bad - it doesn’t change reality. It doesn’t mean your truth is less true; it doesn’t mean your love is less real; it doesn’t mean any of your relationships are less than the one your family or society recognizes the most.

I am currently in a relationship my family only half recognizes. My father’s current take on polyamory is “maybe in 25 years we’ll feel like the parents of gay kids in the 80s and 90s, but right now I think this is wrong and makes no sense. I don’t love you less, but I think these are bad choices.” My mom’s take on my current relationship is that she likes my partner but would like him better if he were leaving his wife, and she doesn’t have an answer for the cognitive dissonance of preferring cheating to everyone being aware, or for her disregarding his husband. It’s emotionally really challenging. I don’t have a good method to offer you to compensate for rejection from family besides saying they can die mad. Their misunderstanding or anger doesn’t make your relationships less real.

Every shape and form of non-monogamy is equally valid and real. Whether I like them or dislike them for myself. Whether someone’s family embraces partners with open arms or whether they swear you’re not welcome in their home with any or all of your partners, or even alone. Your V is real. Your extended constellation is real. Your closed triad or quad is real. Your ever-changing polycule doesn’t mean what someone outside it tells you it means, it means what you all decide. If you’re a relationship anarchist, let me tell you, your battle is uphill to get people to understand, but you are valid. If you’re a swinger as your only non-monogamous identity, or as part of your polyamory with one partner, both of those are valid. If you’re Dan Savage monogamish, and wanted to share, your relationship choices are valid.

I hope that when you share good relationship news with family and friends, it will get greeted with joy and support for your joy, or at worst, confusion and questions. But, I also want you to remember that if it isn’t, it isn’t a judgement about you. It says nothing about you. It says everything about the person who is making the judgement. If you are making your agreements with your partners honestly and openly and you know it, fuck what they think.

Let them die mad. Polyamory is a valid choice, and family who won’t acknowledge you because of that aren’t family for you right now.

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