Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Thanksgiving with the Poly's!
Well it is that time of year again. Turkey, stuffing, cranberries, and all the other yummy Thanksgiving food. Black Friday and shopping until you can't stand anymore. The rush to get the Christmas presents, the tree up and decorated, lights stapled to the house. Finishing the last minute wrapping then shredding the wrapping to get to all the goodies. And finally, a big alcohol laden party to ring in a new year. Tons of fun, right!?
For polyamorists it also brings up some other things to deal with. How do you arrange time with your loves during the holidays? If you aren't *out* to everyone how will that work? And if you are out, is your family accepting enough to have you show up with your husband on one arm, your girlfriend on the other? And if you are traveling to be with family how will they accommodate the three of you? Are they aware you all share the same bed, or will they assume separate bedrooms are the order of the day?
Let's start with a simple one. You are invited to your sisters house for Thanksgiving. You are married so the expectation is you will bring your hubby. But you are poly, out to your family, and your sister makes it clear that your boyfriend is not welcome. It is a family event after all. You argue, maintaining that the Indians who dined with the Pilgrims so long ago were polyamorous so why not accept your boyfriend in the spirit of the holiday? (I'm kidding about the Indians. I have no idea if they were poly or not).
Though it would be tempting to tell your sister where she can stick that overcooked, dried out turkey leg, restrain yourself. Remember, this is your family. Even though they may try to accept your lifestyle, they may not understand it. Don't rush to tell her you won't be coming if your entire extended poly family can't come with you. And I would strongly caution you against just showing up with your poly family in tow.
Instead I would suggest letting your sister know you will come but may leave early so that you can spend time with all of the loved ones in your family. Or that you may show up late for the same reason. I might also GENTLY let her know that although she doesn't recognize your boyfriend as a member of the family, he is a part of the family to you and is expected to be a loved one for a long time. Sooner or later she will likely have a relationship with him. Does she really want it to start on a bad note?
Something I try to keep in mind during the holiday's is respect for the person hosting the event. The bottom line; it is their house, their rules. They can decide who they invite and who they don't. I don't have to like it, but I do have to respect it. And really, is it fair to get angry with them for not wanting your extended poly family in attendance? Turn that around. Would it be okay for them to be angry at you because you are poly? If you don't like their rules then you host Thanksgiving next year. Then you can make the rules.
Another thing I try to remember is that polyamory is about love. If I'm not spending the holiday's with family because I'm upset or angry, is that the spirit of the season? Is it the spirit of poly? For me it isn't. I have to live my life so I'll arrive late, leave early, or celebrate on different days. But I'll somehow find a way to love everyone in my family for the holiday's. I hope you can find a way as well!
On a side note, go back and look at the picture of a turkey above. Why did we ever decide such a weird looking bird would be good to eat?