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Ask Amy: Polyamory creates an extra family challenge

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

— Confused Mom

Dear Mom: A polyamorous relationship is one that has more than two partners, where, for instance, a couple will bring another adult into their intimate life as a partner.

I shared your question with sociologist Elisabeth Sheff, Ph.D., author of “When Someone You Love is Polyamorous” (2016, Thorntree Press). Dr. Sheff and I agree that you deserve lots of credit for your kindness to your son and willingness to accept his family.

Her response: “This is a great first reaction if you want to maintain positive relationships with sex and gender minority family members. Acceptance doesn’t have to be all or nothing, and I suggest that you all take smaller steps of getting to know each other at first. For instance, instead of meeting for the first time at grandma’s 90th birthday or Passover dinner, meet the son, daughter-in-law, and their partners on Zoom for a chat, in the park for a walk, on the porch for cup of coffee, or eventually a restaurant for a regular dinner a couple of times. This allows you to establish a connection, chat with less pressure, and talk about boundaries before plunging into a big family gathering, which is already kind of stressful, even if it is fun.”

“At the same time, educate yourself on consensual nonmonogamy by reading and asking your son and his wife questions about their lives. There are literally hundreds of websites and social media pages devoted to polyamory and even more for other forms of CNM (consensual nonmonogamy).

“Finally, give yourself some credit for trying to understand, as well as some patience if it takes you, and them, a little while to adjust to this new family style.”

 

Dear Amy: My husband is very handsome. As he has aged, his hair is going grey and is now George-Clooney-perfect.

My problem is that he insists on at-home coloring it with box dye ... from a pharmacy. It starts out OK, but then fades to a kind of “burnt fox” brown. His hair is lovely when it’s grey.

Please help me have this very sensitive conversation.

— Dyeing for Help in CA

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