In newspapers all over, Ask Amy advises aghast mom to accept the family polycule
Today I received this from the DC Government:“Thanks to you and Benjamin for this thoughtful proposal. I am a new staffer for the Committee on Government Operations and Facilities, which Councilmember White chairs and which assumed responsibility for overseeing the Office of Human Rights earlier this year. ... We will review the issues you raised below with the Councilmember as we consider ways to strengthen the DCHRA.“In the meantime, the Council’s annual Performance Oversight cycle is underway, and the Committee will hold a hearing with representatives of agencies including OHR on Friday, March 5. If you are interested in raising awareness of these issues at that hearing, please find participation instructions for the Committee on page 10 of the attached notice.”...
DC is not alone. Organizers in other cities across the US are preparing to do this same. Somerville [Mass.] already passed a multi-partner domestic partnership ordinance, Cambridge is next. CNM anti-discrimination is gaining momentum.
Dear Amy: My son and his wife have been married for almost 10 years. Recently, his wife explained to me that they are polyamorous. I did not really know what this was. She explained it and said that she wants to be honest with everyone.
I was in total shock. ... I love them both. I want them to be happy. They were married in her church, and I do not understand this.
I want to be a part of their lives, but I do not know that I can cope with them bringing other intimate partners to our family gatherings, which is one of the things she says she would like to do.
I don't know anyone who has experienced this. How can I keep my relationship with my son? My daughter-in-law wants open and honest acceptance. She says they have the right to live their lives the way they want to. But do I have any rights to what I am feeling about all of this?I am in shock and trying to process this. ...
— Confused MomI shared your question with sociologist Elisabeth Sheff, author of “When Someone You Love is Polyamorous” (2016, Thorntree Press). Sheff and I agree that you deserve lots of credit for your kindness to your son and willingness to accept his family.Her response: “This is a great first reaction if you want to maintain positive relationships with sex and gender minority family members. Acceptance doesn’t have to be all or nothing, and I suggest that you all take smaller steps of getting to know each other at first. For instance, instead of meeting for the first time at Grandma’s 90th birthday or Passover dinner, meet the son, daughter-in-law and their partners on Zoom for a chat, in the park for a walk, on the porch for cup of coffee, or eventually a restaurant for a regular dinner a couple of times. This allows you to establish a connection, chat with less pressure and talk about boundaries before plunging into a big family gathering, which is already kind of stressful, even if it is fun.“At the same time, educate yourself on consensual nonmonogamy by reading and asking your son and his wife questions about their lives. There are hundreds of websites and social media pages devoted to polyamory and even more for other forms of CNM (consensual nonmonogamy).“Finally, give yourself some credit for trying to understand, as well as some patience if it takes you, and them, a little while to adjust to this new family style.”
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