Dear Minx tackles a question about disclosure from some very brave parents.
We have always been open about things with our children and encouraged open and honest communication. Our kids are young adults now and we are free to do what we wish with our time, but we find we are always lying about where we’re going and it’s nerve-wracking. We are wondering if and when to tell your mostly-adult children that you are a swinger? Is there ever a reason to tell? Are we crazy to consider this?
-Frisky Parents, Nosy Kids
There is no simple, cookie cutter answer to this question. It will always depend on the parents (and the foundation for understanding that they have laid for their children) and it will also depend on the children. Would your children want to know? Maybe not. I’m a huge fan of “being out” for those who have the ability to do so. How much easier our lives get when we eliminate the need to lie regularly about the parts of it that bring us joy and excitement. Having said that, there is heightened excitement around secrets for some people and that can play in as well. Some things lose excitement when they just become a part of everyday reality. There could also be consequences that include the loss of respect in the eyes of your children, who still live in a mostly monogamous-minded society, and they are entitled to their own reactions.
If, as you say “you’ve always been open” with your children, and you find that pursuing your own desires as an adult is forcing you to change your regular way of being to what you consider “a lesser way”, and your outlook would be improved by coming clean – then I say, come clean. Keep in mind that kids don’t want to hear about their parents having sex any more than parents want to hear about their kids having sex, and you are the parent – so the information should be as limited as is required to fulfill the duty of disclosure. If your children have been sending a message, quiet or loud, that they do not want to know about “these kinds of things” then I believe you ought to support their wishes rather than impose your truth until such time as they are READY to hear it.
Your kids may surprise you. They may say “we had a feeling” or “this doesn’t surprise us”, OR they may even react very judgmentally, particularly if they feel this contradicts the values you instilled, either intentionally or unintentionally, while raising them. You may need to be prepared to answer questions and offer reassurances, and they may need time to process this and see that despite this new information – nothing has changed with Mom and Dad.
If you can do all that, and leave the communication open while eliminating the need for lies around your lifestyle, then I believe you are officially “living the dream”. I think the idea to remember here is “do no harm” but have faith that if you have set an example as a loving couple you may also be able to set an example as a loving non-monogamous couple. Imagine if you could just say “Hedonism was a blast, no cameras due to nudity” rather than “somehow while travelling the ruins of Mexico we did not manage to get a single picture” because a) you weren’t there and b) you weren’t there.
Best of luck in whatever you decide – the world needs more honesty *for those who are ready to receive it*.
Got a question for Dear Minx? Drop her a line using the contact form below!