‘You Shouldn’t Talk About It!’ – Why We Should

 

This is something that has come up in my own life several times, and from comments on this blog and conversations I’ve had, seems to be an issue for others, as well.

I have been told on multiple occasions, by various people, that it’s fine with them if I insist on practicing polyamory…. as long as I don’t talk about it.

‘People don’t want to know!’ they cry. ‘What happens in the bedroom should stay in the bedroom!’

Um, forgive me, but weren’t people saying something very similar about gays and lesbians not too long ago?

What people don’t seem to understand is that it’s not simply about what happens in the bedroom. Yes, absolutely, the intricacies of my sex life are between me and the people I’m involved with, and I’m generally not interested in sharing it with anybody else. But being polyamorous isn’t about what I’m doing or not doing in bed – it’s an entire lifestyle, how I choose to live, who I love, and a very fundamental and important part of me. I want to be able to openly talk about my partners in the plural, to mention my metamours or my tribe or my polyamorous communities. This isn’t forcing unwanted details of my sex life on people. This is doing what everybody else gets to do on a daily basis. Talking about the important people in my life.

I don’t get uncomfortable if somebody else talks about their husband or wife. I don’t suggest they’re cramming their views on marriage and monogamy down my throat. And yet if I mention my partners or allude to polyamory in any way, suddenly I’m pushing a lifestyle onto others and talking about a subject which makes them deeply uncomfortable.

What I don’t understand is why it makes them so uncomfortable. I’d understand it if I got all evangelical about it and insisted that polyamorous people are just more progressive, more evolved, or whatever – but I don’t, and to be honest I don’t know any poly person who does. No one lifestyle is inherently superior over any other. I don’t want or need to get into a big, philosophical or moral debate about my choices with everyone I meet. All I ask is that talking about my relationships and the most important people in my life won’t be met with eye-rolling, negative comments about ‘trying to convert people,’ and a huge sense of unease and discomfort radiating from everybody else in the room.

I believe that those of us who feel able to absolutely should talk about it. Most of the time, we’re either invisible or hugely stigmatised. We’re misunderstood constantly. This is why we should talk about it. Because the more we talk about it, the more the barriers will be broken down and people will realise there’s no need to feel threatened or frightened by us and the way we choose to conduct our lives and loves. Openness leads, eventually, to greater understanding and acceptance.

At least, that’s what I hope.

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14 thoughts on “‘You Shouldn’t Talk About It!’ – Why We Should

  1. J. Applebee says:

    Talking about your life is part of living. I understand that some people feel uncomfortable with new (to them) ways of relating, but you shouldn’t have to hide bits of yourself.

    One unexpected thing to come out of me talking about being Poly is when the person I’m talking to says, “I thought I was the only one to feel this way!”

    Nice post, hun.

    • missamaranth says:

      Yes, exactly! It gets really difficult when hiding something so big, as it makes me feel like I can’t talk about my life at all.

      And that’s great! I had the ‘oh, really? Me too!’ reaction from coming out to someone as bi, but never from coming out as poly.

      Thank you! :)

  2. bminstrel says:

    The main thing I took away from OpenCon last year was the idea that the simplest form of activism is being visible. I’ve been trying to do that as much as possible ever since, but yes it’s hard when people don’t want to hear. I’ve been quite shocked at how much of a conversation stopper it is amongst even some of my most liberal friends. Not just the first time they find out about it, but any time it’s mentioned in passing afterwards too.

    I think it is important for poly to be more widely known about even if it stays a minority lifestyle. One of the things that’s become apparent to me lately is quite how much more difficult it is for someone coming to terms with being poly in a world that simply doesn’t discuss it. You have to work so much more out for yourself and can end up questioning so many things when you have difficult patches. There are so few examples where you can say, “Actually, that looks a lot like what I’m experiencing and it seems to be working out after all.”

    • missamaranth says:

      Yes, absolutely. It’s so simple, but talking openly and being visible makes polyamory as a lifestyle more visible, which is a really important side of activism. After all, how can the wider world accept us without having even heard of us?

      It was the same for me, early on…. feeling this way and not knowing there were whole communities of other awesome people out there who live the same way. I hid my first poly relationship from the world and was petrified of what would happen if it’d come out. Visibility is so important!! :-)

  3. Oh FFS. If anyone dared rolling their eyes at me in such a manner, or making similarly snarky comments, they be on the business end of my Chairleg Of Truth. So rude! Very un-British too; don’t they know they’re supposed to bitch about you *behind* your back?

  4. DG says:

    Bravo. I agree with you wholeheartedly. And maybe I’ll be able to walk the walk someday…. Thanks for being ahead of the curve in being open about your lifestyle!

    • missamaranth says:

      Thank you for reading and commenting, and thank you for your kind words! It was a struggle to get this far with being ‘out,’ and some of it was out of my control (that story coming up in a future post) – but I wouldn’t go back to hiding now for anything.

  5. Angel says:

    I agree poly should be talked about openly as any other form of relationship. Too bad there are so many disapproving people in the world.

    • missamaranth says:

      Absolutely! It’s really sad there is so much disapproval and stigma attached to the way we live. But maybe someday things will improve. Change the world one bigot at a time….

  6. Dragonmamma says:

    The other thing about openness is it helps people who dont live that lifestyle to understand it . So “poly friendly” folk like me can gain a better insight into the whole situation. My generation was brought up to believe that “true love” could only be with one person and that it would be a male/female bonding for life. Since this is obviously not true, how hard it must have been when I was growing up for people who didnt fit that norm to live their whole lives in secret. After all homosexuality was still illegal between men and lesbians were considered freaks. and that before you start thinking about more than 1 partner.And then the sixties and “swingers” happened (obviously totally immoral people!!) So it has taken a long while for the taboos to loosen.

    • missamaranth says:

      To be honest, I think that hasn’t changed much. My generation was also brought up with the belief that the ‘one true love’ was the way to go. Girls especially, I think, still have it drilled into them that the ‘ideal’ is to find one man to fall madly in love with, marry and be with forever. A lot has changed and, thankfully, I think it is much easier today for people who fall outside of the norm to live their lives and, if they choose, by open about it. Things are getting there, but still a way to go I think!

  7. twowives says:

    Just wanted to say hello. I agree it is not about sex, but about love.

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