My best friend just came out to me as polyamorous. I know nothing about what this mean, I love him and want to be able to understand what he is and what he’s going though. Do you have any advice on this or maybe a reference I could use? Thank you!
This is perhaps one of the sweetest questions I’ve gotten on this blog! You can check out my general polyamory resources page for starters.
The best thing to do is to ask your best friend what kind of support he needs from you. He may be feeling pretty good about things and just wanted to share this new self-discovery with you. Or, he may be feeling isolated, afraid people will judge him, or fearful about finding future partners. Let him know that whatever he’s going through, you’re there with him!
As with all comings-out, it is never okay to out him to anyone without his permission, so check in with him about how he wants you to treat this information. He may still be working out how to come out to other friends, family, coworkers, etc. - or he may love having a friend to help explain things and provide a cheerful model of acceptance and normalcy.
Some people like to talk things out, and enjoy things like answering questions and having intimate conversations. Other people get exhausted by people asking for explanations. Again, it’s best to check in with him about whether he wants to delve into this with you, or whether he’d prefer you to educate yourself. Curiosity is natural, but you can always preface a question with “let me know if this isn’t something you want to talk about” or something similar.
As he continues this journey, there will be new ways to support him - whether it’s helping wingman him, being open and welcoming to all his new partners, accompanying him to an STI screening, being a listening ear when he’s confused or frustrated - pretty much regular ol’ friendship, which it sounds like you have a solid foundation of.
And, of course, all people whose relationships, sexualities, and identities are anything but “mainstream” will need plenty of political and economic support in the coming years. Whether you choose to donate, rally, organize, or volunteer, supporting issues like access to healthcare (especially sexual and reproductive care like Planned Parenthood provides), continued progress in marriage and gender equality (including hospital visitation, health insurance, and adoption), and other areas of social justice are great ways to show support and solidarity with everyone you care about, especially anyone who is a “minority.”