This year, Jon, Lora and I decided to do our own thing for Thanksgiving, and invite friends, non-blood family in. Part of this was spurred by not really thinking about the holidays until the last minute (My family and Jon’s family are both a plane-ride away, in different states, so visiting the family for a holiday needs to be planned well in advance), and additionally, Lora’s mom was working Thanksgiving, so they were going to have their own Thanksgiving (comprised of Lora, Jon, and Lora’s mom) the weekend before.
But a funny thing happened on the way to Thanksgiving planning. While texting, I mentioned to Jon that I was always nervous when he and Lora (or Lora alone) went to Lora’s mom for a visit, because Lora’s mom doesn’t know that she’s poly, and I perpetually worry that it’s going to come up accidentally somehow, and because it’s going to be an off-the-cuff discussion, it’s going to go very poorly, and cause us all a lot of stress.
By “accidentally” I usually envision something like…ok, Lora visits home fairly regularly, and the last time she went home, it was a few weeks before Thanksgiving – which turned out to be the time for them to make Thanksgiving plans. While the plans that they made involved doing Thanksgiving a weekend early, I could just as easily see Lora’s mom Linda saying “Oh, I haven’t been to your new apartment yet! Why don’t we do Thanksgiving at your place?”. As we’ve agreed that no family and/or friends would come to visit/stay without knowing that we’re all poly, something like that could turn into a sudden, painful conversation, depending on how easily Linda would be convinced that visiting at this time wouldn’t be good.
Anyways, I digress…
I texted how stressed I feel to Jon, and his response was “She knows that Lora and I are poly, so there is only so bad that that conversation could go. She just doesn’t know about you, and that we all live together”. To which, I felt like a bottomless pit had suddenly opened up under me. She knows that they’re poly? She just doesn’t know about me? What the everloving fuck? Have I been confused for the past year+ about what Lora’s mom does and doesn’t know? Why does she know about poly, but not about me? Are they ashamed of me? What the everloving FUCK?!?!
It’s amazing how many negative, terrified, upset thoughts can go through a mind in the few minutes between text messages.
It turns out that a few weeks prior, when Lora was visiting Linda, Linda saw Lora spending time on Facebook, and noticed that Jon’s relationship status said “In an Open Relationship”. So they had a conversation about that, and Lora told her mom that she and Jon are not monogamous, and that they can date other people. Lora told Jon about the conversation, and then we had Popular Poly Miscommunication #1 – she assumed that Jon would tell me, and Jon assumed that Lora would tell me.
I am so relieved that I hadn’t somehow misunderstood over a year’s worth of communication about what Lora’s mom knows.
I am also kind of worried, and I need to get some more clarification on a few things like does mom know that I exist at all? Does mom know that I exist, but thinks I live elsewhere? Does mom maybe think this is all a phase, and so isn’t really caring much about it at the moment, but will potentially freak out later, when she learns about me and it becomes more “real”?
I don’t have any answers to these questions.
I would really like answers to these questions.
I will be really happy when the polycat gets let out of the bag, and Lora’s mom knows the full story. I don’t want to push Lora to tell her mom about me until she’s ready, but as long as her mom doesn’t know, I’m carrying around a dread of what will happen when she does find out. Maybe she’ll totally take it in stride. Maybe she’s have a complete meltdown. Probably it’ll be somewhere in between. I know that worrying doesn’t help, and Lora’s mom lives far enough away that she couldn’t just nip over and come flip her shit at us, but…not knowing what it will do to Lora & her mom’s relationship, or Lora’s mom’s relationship with Jon, or how she’s going to view me…it’s hard.
Being a secret sucks.