At the recent Poly conference in Berkeley, J and I spoke about the dangers of either coming out or being outted at your place of work/business as a poly person. We have lived first-hand, every single day for the past 3+ years the painful results of what that has brought to our lives. But, today I want to focus on coming out to your family.
When I left my 18 year monogamous marriage, my parents did not support my exit– even though my mom hadn’t spoken to my ex-husband in about 8 years. My parents were very dissatisfied with my marriage partner. They were appalled by the way he didn’t provide for his family, by the ways he didn’t support me or try to improve our marriage. He wasn’t being a “Godly” husband and father in their eyes. And yet, when I left, because they so wholeheartedly disapproved of my choice of a new partner, they switched teams and have supported my ex while actively participating in the destruction of my life.
There are no words to describe how painful this has been to me. Not a day goes by that I do not feel sadness, anger, hurt, frustration– all over their actions that are still inconceivable to me.
But, it is what it is. They are close-minded “Christians” who are so set in their ways that they cannot even use logic to make rational decisions about the situation. They respond only with their emotions which are unequivocally linked to their religious beliefs.
I could write for days about how they wrote a declaration to the court asking the judge to take my children away in a custody battle that happened two years ago– Claim #1 in the case– that my polyamorous lifestyle was inappropriate and a danger to my children. Or, I could write a novel about the role my own sister played in the destruction of my business because of her disapproval of my relationship- “When I found out what they were doing.. I didn’t want to have any part in that.” (from her September 2016 deposition).
Instead, I will tell the story of the empty fridge.
In the fall of 2013, just 2 months after my ex had moved out and I began my journey to finally leave my marriage, my parents came to take care of my three children one Saturday. I had to work so I thought I’d give them a chance to see the kids. I also couldn’t afford a babysitter and didn’t want to make my 14 year old daughter feel like she had to care for her 11 year old brother and 7 year old sister.
When my parents came that day, there was very little food in the fridge. It was the end of my shopping week– I had plans to go to the store that evening after work. But, rather than going to the store for me, seeing that I needed help or assistance, or even asking me if I had enough money to buy groceries, my parents got upset that I was “not even feeding my children”. Their story of this became part of a CPS complaint two months later and was also mentioned in the custody case to take my children away from me 18 months after the incident. Last week, this particular day was mentioned to me by my cousin in a text conversation during which she was trying to convince me that I need to “get my life on track and leave my sinful lifestyle”. So, clearly, the lie lives on.
My beautiful oldest daughter is now almost 18 and soon will be launching out into her own life. Before long, I’m sure she, too, will be a parent and I will experience the joy of having grandchildren. I cannot imagine ANYTHING that my daughter could do that I’d perceive as being so aversive that I’d NOT buy her groceries if I went to her house and found an empty fridge. I’d be worried– “Is she okay?”. What my parents should have done is HELPED ME!! Instead, they twisted this into further evidence that I’m a horrible parent, horrible person and making horrible choices. All to justify their atrocious behavior.
I have no regrets about leaving my marriage nor about starting my relationship with J. Even though it has meant horrific sacrifices on my end, I would not change a thing. I am healthier, I am happier, I am growing as a human being. The challenges have made me strong, despite the fact that they have brought me so much grief and pain.
I sit here now, in 2017, and say that I could never in my life have imagined a circumstance in which my own family would act in such destructive ways against me. Unfathomable. And yet, it has happened. And they are unrepentant, continuing to lob dangerous balls at me every chance they get.
I cannot change this. I can only work every day to protect my children from further damage from their close-mindedness. Thankfully, my oldest one is showing signs that she’s going to be just fine. My middle child is a happy, healthy high schooler also well on his way to adulthood. But, my 11 year old daughter is still embroiled in her own pain and inability to make sense of this mess. For her, I worry most.
Today, there is food in my fridge. It’s there at a price of almost $30k in credit card debt that I have accumulated over the past 3 years just paying for basic life necessities. It’s getting harder to put it there as the credit cards are now full and I’m in a constant struggle to keep them away from being maxed out.
But, I will continue on. Caring for my children. Trying to forge my new path. And standing up for what I believe in. Whether or not I have the support of my family.