Something happened this week that I honestly thought would not happen for a long, long time, if ever.
J told his mom about us having an open relationship.
I still haven’t quite digested it all. This has been coming for a while, but I honestly didn’t think it would happen so soon before we have our commitment ceremony (we are a month away from it now).
I know his mom has never been able to understand why it’s okay for us to have opposite sex friends, why we want to include J’s longtime friend (a woman) in our wedding party, or why we seem “cranky” when we talk about wedding planning (news flash: it’s because we haven’t been able to be authentic with her about why we are truly excited about our party. it’s hard to be excited about someone else’s values and vision when they don’t line up with your own). And she has been/is under the impression that I am not happy in the relationship with J (the fights we have had at home have given her this impression. don’t people fight sometimes?).
So she finally called J this week, and told him all this. That she doesn’t understand what is going on, but that it seems unhealthy and it seems I am unhappy. He questioned her need to know the inner workings of our relationship. She was adamant that we were in an unhappy and unhealthy relationship. So he just told her. We are not monogamous, and we are very happy with it.
She is not happy with this news (or, she wasn’t during the conversation).
I decided to send her an email, modeled after the one that Zoe Hanis from Life on the Swingset wrote to her parents, and edited by both J and M. Here is mine:
[I took out the email for now, because I am nervous that J’s mom may search for my letter. She seemed convinced that I used a letter template, and I’m not ready for her to find our blog. If you want to see my letter, just email me! I am happy to share 🙂 And, I’ll most likely re-post it here when things have calmed down]
I would hope that we receive something supportive back (like Zoe did here) but I have my doubts. I want to be realistic, prepared to move on in my/our life without their support, and open-minded to different possibilities all at once. That is a lot to be prepared for. But I think I have it. Really, I think it comes down to remaining compassionate, and remembering and striving to give up attachment to the way I want this relationship to look like.
So far the only communication I have had since I sent that email is a couple of tense, cold emails from J’s mom about wedding prep. I am just trying to remain positive- that she just needs time to process and will ultimately be able to be a supportive and warm person in our lives.
J also told her that I am bi. He knows I identify as queer, but didn’t want to make the conversation more confusing for her. I get that. It wasn’t until this past weekend that I told my mom I identify more with the label queer than with bi.
And, I made a conscious choice in my email to use the words “nonmonogamous” and “open” versus “polyamorous.” It seems to me that “nonmonogamous” sounds like what it means, whereas using the word “polyamorous” requires even more explanation (potentially). I also used those words because I generally tell people we have an “open” relationship since our other activities and relationships and boundaries have evolved so much and will continue to evolve. And, I also went with those words because J used the word “nonmonogamous” in his phone conversation with his mom, and I didn’t want to throw more loaded words her way (loaded for her).
It is really important to me to have some healthy emotional boundaries set up, and J and I agree on some key things: neither of us will tolerate arguments or upsetedness about this every time we go home. Time to process all of this is expected, but it can’t go on forever. At some point, our relationship will either have to deepen and become positive from it being more authentic, or it will have to revert back to the more superficial, but pleasant, relationship we had. If it it going to be constant questioning and drama, we are not going to stay in touch and remain in as close of contact (including going home for holidays, etc).
Anyone else out there with coming out drama? Advice for me/us?