On Sunday, a friend of my boyfriend’s (who met me on a prior occasion) was re-introduced to me, with my husband standing at my side. When she inquired how he and I were related, my boyfriend replied, “oh, he’s her husband.”
And then it happens; the cognitive overload. The blank stare. Yes, you actually witness the very moment when their mind goes BOOM!
The poor gal turned and stepped away. I felt sad for her, and for my boyfriend, too. Her reaction was not what I expected. None of us has gone out of our way to reveal our lifestyle to others, but my boyfriend – being the most social among us – is out to a trusted few. By and large, the response has been one of acceptance, even from folks I would’ve thought less liberal in their views.
I think the general openness of others in my boyfriend’s community helped me observe yesterday’s reaction with more compassion. A few years ago, I might have felt slighted, even hurt. I would have taken it personally. Now, I see a woman who was so stunned, she didn’t know what else to do. She might not care that we’re poly, she just was not prepared to deal with the concept at that moment in time. I get that.
This is where I get hung up on coming out because in so many ways just putting it out there would make a lot of things “easier.” We wouldn’t have to be evasive when a family member asks us about upcoming plans. We wouldn’t have to deal with the feeling of “sneaking around,” because nobody is sneaking, we’re just trying to be discreet for everyone else’s sake.
If we all viewed polyfidelity as a healthy choice, and a natural, reasonable alternative to monogamy, such discretion would not be warranted. It would be a non-issue. I hope, ultimately, our society is headed in this direction.
In the meantime, I understand some of our family and friends may not want to know these things about us, so how do we respect their right to be oblivious, while remaining true to ourselves?