Sharing your polyamorous status with others (aka coming out as poly) is your business and your business only. Who you are and how you are in the world is personal.
I get that there is a lot of pressure to be open and honest about who you are and how you are living your life. It makes sense to me that individuals and couples who are practicing polyamory would want to be open to those they are close to about their lifestyle choices. Being 100% me means being 100% transparent, right?
As much as I like the idea of sharing my polyamorous status with others, I also see the value in exercising some discretion. If you are finding yourself caught in the “should I tell or should I not tell?” question, then consider the following:
- 1 Why is sharing your polyamorous status important with you?
- 2 How do you perceive sharing your poly status will serve others?
- 3 Who’s in charge of who you tell, how you share, and when?
- 4 Are there other aspects of your life that you do not share with people you are close to?
- 5 In the end, does it really matter?
Why is sharing your polyamorous status important with you?
If this question incites an emotional response in you, good. I like to ask direct questions because it helps us get in touch with the underlying feelings about who we are. Listen to your body when you sit on this question. It may be that you have finally found a way to be 100% you and you’re no longer willing to keep this a secret. Great! If that’s the case, then it’s worth considering how to go about sharing your status with others and with whom. If, on the other hand, you’re not quite sure how to fully step into the world as “poly”, then that’s okay too. There’s no pressure and there’s no rush. You’re in the driver’s seat. You get to say how this all plays out.
How do you perceive sharing your poly status will serve others?
The key word here is “perceive”. We can think we know how another person will take the news; however, this is an assumption. Once we let the cat out of the bag, it’s out. It’s worth doing some consideration on how your coming out will impact others. It may be that your best friend will be more receptive because they are closer to you in age. On the other hand, sharing your status with a relative that is a few generations removed, might create more disconnection than connection.
Regardless of how you want to proceed, it’s important to know that you are in charge of your experience. If you are in partnership with one or more people, then together you are all in charge. This means it’s important for all hands to be on deck in terms of with who you share, how you share, and when. For example, it may feel good to share with your inner circle. It may not feel good to share with your professional circle. Again, some people can understand these lifestyle choices better than others. Consider the options. Go at a pace that works for everyone.
Some people feel pressure to share their polyamorous status with others. They believe it is who they are and therefore everyone needs to know. There’s no harm in doing this. However, compare sharing your poly lifestyle with the details of your financial life, your political life, your spiritual views. If you are hesitant to share these aspects of your life with others, then you might feel less pressure to come out to certain people as being poly.
In the end, does it really matter?
What matters most is to be okay with whatever decision you make. If it’s important to you to come out as poly and you just need a bit of help in doing so, great. There are resources to help you. If you are not too sure, then consider that as a “no” for now. Maybe you need some more time. That’s okay too. Whatever you choose, allow yourself to feel into what feels most aligned with your values. Use that as your guiding light as you venture along the polyamorous path.
For more information on coming out as polyamorous, watch the following video and read the transcript below.
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Hello. My name is Laurie Ellington, poly-coach.com. That’s poly-coach.com. Today I wanted to talk about coming out. Have you come out as poly? Have you shared it with your friends, with your parents, with your family that you’re opening your marriage or opening your relationship? Do you feel pressured to come out and be 100% transparent with the world?
There’s no right or wrong answer to that question. There’s no timeline you need to follow.
There’s no script you need to follow. You don’t have to share with anybody your relationship status if you don’t want to, or you can share with everybody your relationship status. It’s really up to you. Coming out is a very personal thing. There may be someone in the partnership that wants to come out and there may be someone else that doesn’t want to come out for business reasons or professional reasons or a personal reasons or whatever reasons. I don’t like it when people feel pressured to do anything.
I really advocate for people to find the rhythm within themselves to share whatever it is they want to share with whomever they want to share with especially about their relationship orientation or their sexual orientation or maybe other aspects of their lives.
I was in a conversation with a client once and she was asking me, “Well, I kind of feel like I need to come out but I’m not really sure because there’s a part of me that wants to but there’s a part of me that just doesn’t think I need to.”
We talked about it for a while and then it dawned on me and I said, “Well, do you share your financial information with everybody? Do you share your credit card report with everybody? Do you share your sexual exploits with everybody? Do you share your daily activities with everybody?” When we consider that we are the ones that are in charge of our lives and the information that we share with other people, that’s our choice.
We get to seriously take our time and just feel into what feels right to share and when. I just want to share that because there’s always a lot of talk around, “I have to come out.” or “Should I come out?” or “What do we do? Do we come out?” It’s like I think there’s a part that I’m aware of that people have this sense of guilt or this sense of uncertainty like there’s a pressure that they need to share with the world who they are.
I mean that’s great. If you want to do that, fantastic. But, if you don’t want to do that or if you want to take your time and think about if you want to do that or not, take your time and think about it. There’s really no rush. That’s one thing that I really love about this lifestyle is that it has really given me the awareness that I’m in charge of whatever I want to do and I’m in charge of the timing of whatever I want to do.
I share that with you in hopes that it will maybe relieve some of the pressure that you might feel if you’re feeling that nudge or that tug or that thought or that story like, “Oh my god, I’m poly and therefore I need to come out.” You don’t need to. You can if you want to. It’s really up to you and it’s all on your timeline.
Laurie Ellington, poly-coach.com. That’s poly-coach.com.
I work with individuals and couples in all kinds of relationships. I specialize in open-relationships, polyamory, and ethical non-monogamy because I have experience in the lifestyle. That means I get it. I offer a free consultation to anyone who’s interested in working with me. Fill out the contact form or send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to talk to you and see if working together is a good fit. Thanks so much. Bye-bye.