Dear Prudence on inviting a poly family home for Christmas
It's the holiday season, and Dear Prudence takes a question about inviting a poly third to Christmas at the home of split-opinion parents. Among mainstream advice columnists Prudie (Emily Yoffe) has been somewhat unsympathetic to poly in the last four years, but at least she's now offering straight advice. And notice the part I've bolded.
My Two Lads
My daughter wants to bring her husband — and her boyfriend — to Christmas.
Dear Prudence (Emily Yoffe)
Our daughter "Amanda" lives in another state and has been married to "Jacob" for several years. Theirs is an open relationship, and I have always known that. My husband, however has kept his head in the sand regarding this. My daughter has a boyfriend, "Tom,” whom Jacob knows about and has a great friendship with. They are all planning to come to our home this Christmas, but my husband insists that Tom (who has visited us previously) is not welcome. Do I tell our daughter, son-in-law, and daughter's boyfriend to make other holiday plans? My opinion is that they are all consenting adults, there are no children involved, and always behave appropriately in public.
—Stuck in the Middle With Him
Perhaps a generation from now many families will be having a very polyamorous Christmas. But we aren’t there yet. I support your conclusion that your daughter and the men in her life are consenting adults and as long as they behave with decorum, what they do in private is none of your business. But they are also open about their open relationship, so I can understand your husband’s point of view that he attended Amanda’s wedding to Jacob, where she vowed to forsake all others, including every Tom, Dick, and Harry. Before you call your daughter, talk to your husband about the possibility of indulging in some denial and just treating Tom as a friend of the couple who has nowhere else to go for the holiday. If that doesn’t work, and your husband has no interest in getting presents for this trio (a boxed set of Peter, Paul, and Mary?), then contact your daughter and explain your dilemma. Do not open with a suggestion that she go elsewhere for Christmas. Tell her that her father is not yet ready to accept her unconventional approach to marriage, but that alienating herself from him won’t help the process. Suggest this year she come only with Jacob. Surely she knows there are simply occasions when she must make a choice about which man to bring.
Here's the original in its first place of appearance, at Slate (Dec. 5, 2013).
This set off a big discussion thread today on reddit/r/polyamory, which has over 16,000 mostly young members. Sample comment: "I don't like the implication that Amanda is the one who selfishly wants to have her cake and eat it. That sounds like the dad, who wants to see his daughter but not see her partner! He is the one who should grow up and start listening to his family."
While we're at it, here's a brand-new, actually knowledgeable advice column for alt-relationships: Dear Viny: Actual Advice for Alternative Relationships. She's put up seven pieces in the month since she started.
And here's my roundup of 11 advice columns by and for alt-relationship people a few months back.