Dear Abby: Should Triad Come Out to Family?
When poly triads and quads first began seeing their inquiries taken seriously by newspaper advice columnists, it was truly a big deal. Here we were being recognized in public as actually existing; millions of people were reading, with their eggs and toast, that poly relationships are actually possible and happening in the real world.
Now that this kind of attention is becoming almost commonplace, it hardly seems like news. But yes it is, and yes it really matters.
This week, huge numbers of newspapers are about to print the following from Dear Abby, supposedly the most widely syndicated newspaper columnist in the world:
Woman with husband and lover wants one big happy family
By Abigail Van Buren
Dear Abby: Sometime ago, you printed a letter from one of your readers who was upset over her son’s polyamorous relationship. I didn’t respond then, but now that my triad is ready to come out to my boyfriend’s family (we are out to mine and to my husband’s family), I feel the need to address this lifestyle in your column and ask your advice.
My husband and I have been together 10 years. We started out as swingers. When we met my now-boyfriend, it became apparent that it was going to be more serious than “play” partners. Our particular arrangement is a “V” triad, meaning I am involved with two (husband and boyfriend), but they are not involved with each other.
My boyfriend is extremely important to us in every way. We all work together to make a very smooth-running, loving household.
I want you and your readers to know that this IS a viable relationship with love, respect and, most important, open communication. This kind of relationship — or any, for that matter — is doomed without it.
An estimated half-million people in the United States are part of polyamorous relationships. We’re not freaks in need of counseling, but people who realize that love can grow and that there is an alternative to monogamy.
Abby, I would like to get some tips from someone who doesn’t readily accept this life or even know it’s out there. My boyfriend’s family is conservative and they know he lives with a married couple. We’ve all spent time together, and I think they like me. Of course, they don’t know I’m romantically involved with their son.
What’s the best way to tell them about our triad? We want them to know this isn’t the end of the world and that I love him very much. I’d appreciate any advice from you or your readers on this. Until we’re out of the closet, please sign me...
Nowhere And Everywhere
Dear N And E: Because you’re looking for input from someone who “doesn’t readily accept this life,” you have come to the right place. You didn’t say how long your boyfriend has been living with you and your husband, but if it has been any length of time and his parents know he isn’t involved with anyone else, it’s possible they already have some suspicions.
Because they are conservative, if I were you I wouldn’t shatter their illusions. I can almost guarantee they won’t embrace you for it. If you feel you MUST disclose the information, then do it in the same way that you have explained it to me. But don’t expect them to jump for joy.
Here's a typical newspaper appearance (Aug. 16, 2011). Join the comments; they've just begun. And here's her official site.
Why is this a big deal?
Because according to her syndication service, Dear Abby is
the most widely syndicated newspaper columnist in the world.... Abby commands a client list of about 1,400 newspapers worldwide, and a daily readership of more than 110 million people.
Abby receives more than 10,000 letters and e-mails per week... has appeared as an expert on all major networks, including ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX and NBC... uses her column not only to entertain, but also to educate. In the U.S., public and private middle schools use her column to teach sex education and generate classroom discussion on a variety of subjects; the same is true in colleges and universities.... Dear Abby is used by educators worldwide as a teaching tool in adult level ESL (English as a Second Language)....
Every Web site mentioned in Dear Abby receives an immediate onslaught of viewers, and organizations mentioned are routinely encouraged to gear up to accept millions of hits....
P.S. Here are about two dozen other recent advice-column responses to polyfolk (including this one; scroll down).
ALAN'S LIST of POLYAMORY EVENTS
Okay, I've gone and created a site to list all the major poly cons, festivals, gatherings, etc. coming up in the next 12 months. There are now 13 events on the list through July 2012, with descriptions and sometimes my commentary about events that I've been to. Please tell me any I've missed; write to alan7388 AT gmail DOT com.
Also, at the bottom of the page I've put links to lists of LOCAL POLY GROUPS worldwide, sorted by location -- making it easy to find the local group(s) in your backyard, with their own meetings and happenings.
Instructions for how to suggest new listings are on the page.
I intend to keep the site updated and current forever. I hope this will fill the poly world's need for a single, go-to place to find out about all major cons, gatherings, meetings, rallies, and festivals.
Please link to it and pass it on.
Labels: advice columns