It's funny what people think when they first find out you're in a poly relationship.
I've never thought of myself as a sexual deviant. There are moments when I wish I had a more adventurous soul, but honestly? I like my comfort. Have I "done it" in the woods? Yes. Have I "done it" in a car? Yes. Have I played with whips, chains, handcuffs? Yes, yes, yes. Does that make me a deviant? No clue. But would I prefer to "do it" in my bedroom, where a super comfy bed welcomes me? Fuck yes!
But to some, sharing my husband with another woman – by choice – makes me a deviant. Apparently, our society considers doing the nasty with someone else behind your partner's back more "normal" than having an honest and open relationship. Who knew?
Please allow me to share a true story about Bina's friend's mother.
Wait. Background… Bina is a social kid. She likes having friends and hanging out with them. And she grew up with us – an open and honest family. When the girls were little, they wouldn't be punished for breaking stuff (by accident), but they would be punished for lying about it. And Paul and I made sure that they understood the difference.
So Bina doesn't really keep secrets. When she was younger, we'd have to tell her, "Please, please, please keep this a secret because we want it to be a surprise." Think birthday presents and gift-giving holidays. Eventually, she learned the difference between a "bad" secret and a "surprise" secret. These days, her close friends know about her poly family. That our "normal."
At the end of Bina's senior year in high school, the parents of a close school friend, we'll call her S, offered to bring Bina home from school several days a week. It was great; Bina didn't have to take the bus, and it wasn't a horrible inconvenience for them since S lives five minutes away. Feeling guilty about all the rides Bina was getting, I offered to take S to school, to offset. It's only fair that I do it, too.
Bina texted S and offered on my behalf. The reply was, "Yes, thank you!"
The day I was supposed to pick S up, S sent Bina a text, "No, thanks. My mom is taking me." Followed by, "Would you like her to pick you up?"
My first thought was, What happened? Why the change of heart?
Turns out S's cousin was present at the time of the offer and asked if Bina was the one with "three parents." This caught S's mom's attention. After some discussion about, "No, Bina's parent's aren't divorced," and, "No, Bina's parent's aren't cheating," and some other questions and comments that weren't shared with me, S's mom decided that S shouldn't be around "those kinds of people."
How dare she?! Even if I am a "deviant," I am not a fucking pedophile. What the fuck does she think will happen to her precious S?! What, exactly? That I'm going to rape her? Or worse, soil her "baby" with dirtyideas?
That's it. Bina couldn't go over S's house anymore. Fuck 'em. Fuck 'em all.
The logical side of me knew I was taking this way too personally. I grew up in a traditional, old-school Portuguese household. I know all about protective parents. Whether their worries are logical or not, it didn't matter. The child – S – had nothing to do with the parents. In a way. Despite what S's parents thought, it was obvious that S saw Bina as an individual worth knowing, worth caring about. Because S had accepted Bina as she was, quirks and all.
And Bina cares about S, too. Again, despite S's parents, S was worth knowing, worth caring about, too.
So, I vented to Bina about not being a pedophile, and how my sexual preferences don't affect my driving skills, but I kept the "stay away from S" out of the conversation. I know from experience that a parent's opinion doesn't always cascade to a child. Each individual should be judged on his/her own merits.
If you've ever thought that this type of lifestyle might be for you, consider this: The opinion of others will haunt you, whether you want them to or not.
You may tell yourself, It doesn't matter. Who cares what other people think? But this society is not as welcoming to non-traditional lifestyles as we would hope. This country is rolling backwards in momentum, having that POS trump at the helm. (That's right, I didn't capitalize his name. He doesn't deserve proper capitalization.) Being a woman, being gay, being trans, being a non-white-rich-man is somehow wrong. So wrong, in fact, that it's only "right" that you be discriminated against. That you be put in your "place," whatever that means.
This post wasn't intended to turn political, but it's why we keep quiet about our choice to be poly. We don't want society to turn against us, but more importantly, to our kids. Bina could have lost a friend if S's parents forbade her to speak to Bina again. None of us want that to happen. (Except maybe S's parents. But who cares about them?)
These posts won't change the world, but maybe it can change how society views non-traditional families. That's my hope, anyway.
Hi there, Catie here. Adding my thoughts late as usual.
Unlike Lena my reaction to this situation was to tell Bina to stay away from S and her family. You could say that I had the traditional reaction to this situation. They don't want their kiddo exposed to our openness (god, she might get ideas and start thinking) and I don't don't want our kiddo exposed to their closed minded, old fashion nonsense (god, she might settle for status quo and stop thinking for herself.)
Bina did not listen to me (no chance of this one not thinking for herself, phew) and continues to be friends with S. This is fine, really I'm sure I was friends with people my parents didn't like too. I turned out just fine.