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October 2008

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samaragolabuk in askpoly

Coming out as poly to your child...help?

My husband and I have an almost-8 yrs old boy. We opened our relationship just 2 yrs ago after 14 years of monogamy, and decided at the time that he was too young to be concerned about adult relationship issues, so we haven't openly discussed it with him. Any extramarital relationships we've had have been couched in the language of "friendship," and sleepovers have essentially been censored from his awareness by managing our timing with his sleep schedule. Our intention has always been to come out to him when he was old enough (based on whenever he started asking questions), but he's a quiet one, our boy, a thinker and not always an asker...and there has been that part of me that craves deep honesty (as most poly people do) that has disliked the idea of hiding this aspect of ourselves from him, which it seems like we're doing.

My question is not *whether* I should, but HOW...how do I break the ice on this one? He's an intelligent kid, and I want him to know that both of us hold the support of his emotional and physical well-being as being a primary and sacred purpose in our lives...I don't want him to see our extramarital relations as taking attention away from him...OR that "keeping it secret" means we are ashamed, which we're not.

Comments

Personal opinion is that almost eight is not old enough to understand the full impact of poly life. I didn't talk to my daughters until they were both in their teens about it, even though it's just the three of us living together.

In fact, the subject came up because one of them asked about polyamory. I'm glad I waited until they asked, and did not influence their choices based on my beliefs.

Good luck
Yeah, I definitely agree about the "full impact" part, he's just too young! Mostly I'm looking for ways to address things should it come up...I suppose I should just trust my intuition that I'll know in the moment what is appropriate to say...and until that moment comes up, nothing is necessary.

Thanks for support!
I don't have any direct experience, but if movies have taught me anything, you should explain the parts he's ready for before he misinterprets what's happening and you have an adventure that will likely resolve itself in about two hours.
hehehe :)
I disagree.

My six year old has met my boyfriend and knows he's my boyfriend. The three of us hang out once or twice a month, and tomorrow we'll be hanging out with my husband too. At six he's actually pretty blase about mom having a husband (his dad) and a boyfriend, and he even knows that we don't talk about it with other people -although I've told him repeatedly if he ever has questions he can ask me, his dad, or certain other adult friends that we're out as poly too.

Kids are smart. They know way more than you think they do - think of times your son has commented about something that you KNOW you didn't talk to him specifically about (even mild things like that promotion your sister got or something; my point is more that they pick up on things besides just what you tell them.) If you treat this as a casual thing and not some BIG, HUGE DEAL then he'll be pretty blase about it. However, the longer you wait, the weirder it'll be - especially if he's already met your partners.

I wouldn't tell him about everyone you date, but people that have been in your life for a few months and seem like they'll be around for a long time to come can be introduced and you can say that they're special friends. If he asks what that means you can call them your boy/girlfriend and wait for the followup question (he might ask how you can have one when you're married or he might not care). Since he's a thinker, I'd give him some time to think about it and then followup with him. I guess treat it the way my mom told me to treat sex questions - answer what he asks you without a lot of additional info. That way he can digest it a bit at a time before he asks more.

You know your kid way better than I do (obviously) so you know better than me how to broach the subject of secrecy - I've told Alex that most people aren't lucky enough to find more than one person to love so they get uncomfortable hearing about it, and that's why we don't talk about it with everyone. Then I get to specifically say, "Grandma, for example, would be uncomfortable." Because she would. And yes, this means we've told our six year old (back when he was 3!) but we're both scared to tell our parents.

Anyways, that's my advice (and also my first post on here!) HTH :)