I told a good friend I've been considering trying polyamory, and they were nasty about it

Ok, so recently I’ve been considering trying polyamory, and told someone who I thought was a good friend but apparently because I’m interested in dating both a guy and a girl, (because I don’t want to ignore/erase anything about my bisexuality) I’m a slut. Don’t know whether to continue this friendship or end things. Help!

First, I have to point out that there are plenty of monogamous bisexuals, and they are not ignoring or erasing anything about their bisexuality by being with one partner. For some people, polyamory is part of their bisexuality or vice versa; and it sounds like that’s your experience - but be careful not to imply that monogamy “cancels out” bisexuality or that bisexuality necessitates non-monogamy. You want to be free to date people of multiple genders, and that’s a completely reasonable reason to be polyamorous, but it’s not an inherent property of bisexuality.

To answer your actual question: only you can decide whether this is a friendship you want to try and preserve. It’s a frustrating fact of life that people we’re close sometimes do and say things that hurt us. Sometimes the healthiest thing for us is to take space from that relationship to honor our own safety. Sometimes the healthiest thing is to try and take a communicative, restorative position and attempt to heal and resolve the issue.

If you want to end the friendship, that’s totally your right; you’re not obligated to stay close to someone who calls you names or shames your identity and choices. If you want to try and talk things out with this friend, let them know that you don’t appreciate being called a slut, and that you’re not asking them to be polyamorous yourself, but to be understanding and accepting of you. You can explain that you shared these thoughts with them because you hoped they would be safe and helpful, and then let them know what they can do, specifically, to be safe and helpful in the future.

You can also make space for their questions, confusion, or discomfort - just saying something ignorant doesn’t make someone an irredeemable bigot, so do your best not to be shaming or accusatory. Give them the benefit of the doubt that they don’t want to be intentionally cruel, and are willing to try and understand if given another opportunity and a gentle nudge in the right direction. Be open and willing to explain how you feel and the truth of your bisexuality and non-monogamy, and be patient, since no one is going to get everything right all the time.

I'm dating polyamorously, but my parents are threatening to torch our relationship if I visit my partner

I'm in a long-distance relationship with a polyamorous married man. I've known him for years and he's my best friend, and we've been dating for almost six months now, and we're both incredible happy with each other and his wife is happy for us. When I told my parents about it, I knew they wouldn't understand, but I wasn't prepared for how much they would personally offended by it. They tell me it's wrong, that I'm setting myself up to be hurt, and that I should listen to them if I respect them. Despite being a good daughter who's never gotten into trouble and is doing well in college, my father says he would be ashamed of me for my relationship- and that hurts incredibly deeply to hear from him. No matter how I try to explain how polyamory works to them, they always say that it's not right "for me" because I'm "their daughter." My problem is that I'm 20 years old and still living with my parents while I'm in college, and I desperately want to visit my boyfriend who lives 3 hours away (using my own money)-- but my parents tell me that if I visit him knowing how much they disapprove, that I will be severely damaging our relationship and that there will be consequences. What do you think I should do?

I’m so sorry that you’re in this situation - that’s so painful and isolating.

I am perhaps on the extreme side of things when it comes to this type of conflict, so I will try to be both honest about my own position while empathizing with yours. I firmly believe that we as individuals have the right, and in fact the obligation to ourselves, to reject any nonsense from our families that threatens our well-being. You should live your full and honest truth, do what is happy and healthy for you, and if other people are upset about it, they are free to be upset about it. Sharing DNA with someone doesn’t mean that you need to care what they think more than you’d care about anyone else; nor that you’re beholden to whatever assumptions and expectations they have.

Your boyfriend is someone you chose to be in your life, someone who meets you where you are, and makes you feel happy and understood. Your parents are people who you did not choose, and who are being manipulative and hurtful. Based on that, I’d say prioritize your relationship with your boyfriend. If I were you, I’d go see my partner, and let the chips fall where they may. I would also start taking steps to make it financially feasible to move out from under the roof of people who are going to be so ignorant and hurtful.

If you don’t feel ready to take steps that would cause such friction with your parents (even though the conflict is their choice; not yours), talk to your boyfriend about this. See how he feels about waiting until you feel more emotionally able to stand up to your parents and do what you want. Let him know what he can do to support you during this painful individuation. Consider seeing a therapist to talk about how you might start the process of grieving the relationship you wish you could have with your family, but might not be able to if you are going to be a healthy, fulfilled, independent adult. Build relationships at college with people you can lean on. Best of luck - this is a difficult period to go through.