Honest to Goodness

Sep 1, 2022 | 2022 Fall - Parenting While Bi+

By Lara Zielinsky

At first, I wondered what I might have to say about parenting while bi, because while I was actively parenting, I felt completely lost a lot of the time, and was just swinging for a base hit any time the issue of sexuality, love, and romance (the inevitable breakups) came up.

But now that my son is an adult on his own, and we’ve had chances to talk about his perspectives on these things, he’s assured me that a lot of the things I modeled as well as said helped form the healthy relationship perspectives he has today.

As a bi woman married now 30 years to the same man, I struggled at first with whether I was “bi enough” when I sought friendships and relationships in LGBTQ spaces. But I was always honest and open whenever I was talking with a prospective partner.  They knew I had a husband and a son at home. They’d know I was not “unicorn hunting,” that I was genuinely interested in a relationship with them unique to my other relationships, and that we practice “kitchen table polyamory.” When I brought people home for dinner or group activities (even the occasional weekend getaway vacation) with my husband and son, I was never less affectionate with my partner(s) or my husband in front of my son. When my son asked questions—as he did frequently—I answered honestly and age-appropriately, and I encouraged my partners to interact with him as well. He’s been around some breakups, too.

My son, now 29, and I began the “sex” talk when he was in middle school. He and his father continued it. We shared our perspectives, listened to his, and were aware of the first time he had sex and knew his partner at the time well.

Our conversations around sex and polyamory came to an interesting intersection last year when my son, unbeknownst to us, arrived at a poly social event we were also attending. His girlfriend at the time was bisexual (we knew this) and poly (we learned that night). My son had been involved with her for a couple weeks, and also another woman. We smiled, shook hands in the same social whirl as meeting others at the poly event. The only thing we all discussed that night after the event was—um, could you please use the family shared calendar next time? LOL 

Since then, he’s met with other adult children of poly parents discussing how to negotiate “running in the same circles.” His partners, whom we’ve hosted at dinner parties and gone out on double dates with, have told us that our son has this “relationship thing” figured out and he’s a great guy, someone they love and trust to be responsible, honest, and caring with them.

It’s kind of weird at first when your polycule intersects with your kid’s. (Turns out one of my husband’s metamours is a partner to one of my son’s partners.) But it’s an amazing gift to realize that you raised a child to be open-minded and honest, and a respectful partner, all because of your own openness and honesty about attraction, sex, and relationships, while raising them.

Lara Zielinsky lives in Orlando, Florida where she works full-time as a freelance fiction editor and writes her own stories for publication.

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