Should you tell your family that you are polyamorous?

I found the following question in an advice column in The Guardian, a U.K. online newspaper and unfortunately I was not able to post a reply before commenting was closed, but it’s an important question and subject and thought it would make a good post and some possibly coherent ramblings.

Should I tell my parents about my polyamory?

My husband and I are polyamorous; we are both in multiple sexual relationships. My family (apart from my siblings, who are bemused and fascinated) are unaware of our arrangement. Given that it has been a feature of our relationship from the start, and isn’t going to change any time soon, I would like to tell them. My parents are fundamentalist Christians and will not understand. I want to be honest about the way I live and the people that I love, but I know that telling them will be upsetting, and that they may cut off contact for a while, possibly for ever. My mother will also blame herself, despite the fact that my polyamory is as innate as my bisexuality. Should I bite the bullet, or stay quiet for the sake of family harmony? My husband’s family know about our other relationships, as do some of the families of our other loves.

This is always a difficult situation. If you tell the judgmental ones in your family you risk losing contact (and Christmas dinner) with them for a while or forever. If you don’t tell them you risk losing your non-marital partner because they are going to feel like they are not important enough to tell your family about them.

You have to do what’s right for you, but keep in mind that polyamory is the family you chose and they chose you for who you are. Isn’t that supposed to be a major feature of a family, that they love you unconditionally? If they don’t, if they put conditions on their love, do they really love you? Or do they love the person they want (or believe) you to be?

What you have to do is decide who you want to be loved for: Who you are, or someone you have to pretend to be. There is only one way to be true to yourself.

  • Myrddwn

    My parents are nothing like Fundies, they are both hippie atheist knee-jerk liberals. And I have no plans to ever tell them about our poly lifestyle, or that my wife is bisexual and has both male and female lovers.
    They are accepting of alternate lifestyles as long as it’s someone else and not their kid. Kinda hypocritical I know, but that is who they are. So they don’t get to know.