My daughter is in a polyamorous relationship, and I'm being a huge jerk about it

Please help - I don't know who to ask! My daughter (27) just told me she's seeing a married man (the same age), and he's "poly", and she's met his wife, who knows all about it and is okay with it! Clearly this man doesn't respect either of them, and I'm upset that she's settling for being someone's bit on the side - I want her to be someone's special person, their everything. I'm so ashamed of her and embarrassed that she thinks this is okay. I don't understand where I've gone so wrong in parenting her, that she's ended up with no moral compass and not understanding the meaning of marriage. But I love her and don't want to lose contact with her.

I've got no-one to talk to - I don't know anyone who lives like this, and I'm worried my friends would judge me and think I've failed as a mother. Obviously we'll never be able to invite this man to family events, and I hate having to lie to my parents, friends etc. I've looked online, but parents in my position just get shouted down, by people who say 'if your kid's happy, what's the problem?', and accuse them of being terrible people for not understanding this "lifestyle". But you look nice so I'm hoping you can give me some advice without just shouting at me!

I'm baffled as to how you think I'll be able to be "nice" and not "just shout" at you when you speak to me like this. You are being rude, judgmental, and cruel. You use very strong language - that you've "gone wrong" in parenting her, that you're "so ashamed of her," that she has "no moral compass." Do you understand that the person you're saying this to is polyamorous? Do you not care how you sound?

If anyone's parents should be ashamed and embarrassed about their child's upbringing and moral compass, it's yours. How do you think it's okay to say such nasty, hurtful things to someone - to me? To come tell me that my life is shameful, immoral, and a failure - and then ask me to do you a favor and to be nice to you? You went into other polyamorous communities and said this stuff, and you're surprised that people reacted negatively!? If you don't want to be shouted at, don't antagonize people.

It's amazing to me that you think this is about what is "moral" or "okay" when you're the one in this situation violating basic human decency. No one is shouting at you for simply being uncomfortable or confused. What we're responding to is you coming into our spaces and communities just to be hateful. Learn how to say "that's different" or "I don't understand" without saying "that's bad, wrong, shameful, and I shouldn't be expected to respond in any way besides vitriolic judgment."

Your daughter is not hurting anyone. She is in a healthy, happy, consensual relationship. You should be honored that she trusted you enough to share this part of her life with you. Instead, you are punishing her honesty and pretty much guaranteeing that your relationship with your daughter will become strained. If your daughter wrote to me and described this situation, I would advise her to take a huge step back from her relationship with you until you can be less hurtful.

You can disagree with something without being so extreme as to say that it's immoral and shameful. It doesn't sound like you've put any effort into trying to expand your understanding of love and marriage, you're just horrified that your daughter doesn't share yours. I have no idea what kind of "advice" you want from me, since the advice I'd give you - take a deep breath, realize she's not hurting anyone, try to understand - you've flat-out said you consider "shouting" and will refuse to consider.

What do you want from me? A pat on the back for being so "morally upstanding" that you're going to reject your daughter for simply doing something you wouldn't do yourself? Do you want me to tell you it's okay to be hateful and nasty to your daughter and the people she loves? Do you want me to grovel and plead and try to convince you that polyamorous people are not actually immoral subhumans, and do rhetorical acrobatics to prove to you that we're okay? I don't engage in arguments about my own humanity. And you shouldn't demand them.

You need to think long and hard about whether you feel so strongly about this that you're willing to torch your relationship with your daughter to the ground. Because you're the one doing the torching - she hasn't done anything to you, except invite you to understand and share her life. You can choose to respond with judgment, hate, hurt, selfishness, and ignorance. That's your choice. And the consequences of your choice are on you, not her.

If you're willing to try and see things from her perspective, check out the resources on my FAQ page and read about the reality of polyamory (and how it differs from your warped conception of what it means). It's okay to have questions, to admit that this is new for you, difficult to understand, etc. But dial it back on the hate - or be prepared for the people you're being hateful to to reject you and everything you're saying. (What else would you expect us to do?)