Yep, that's right folks. I did it. I told my parents last week that:
1. I am bi, and
2. J and I have an open relationship
They have been extraordinarily supportive and loving, even though they do not totally understand the choices J and I have made.
I was not surprised when my mom started talking about how she is pretty sure she is bi. She had a big 'ol crush on a girl during high school. But, according to her, you have to make a choice as a bisexual: man or woman? She chose to with a man, my dad, and has never been sexual with a woman. I literally could not imagine having the feelings that I do for women, and never experiencing them.
My parents' main concerns? That I was healthy and happy, that I was not in an abusive relationship, and that I practiced safer sex. The most surprising part of my conversation occurred when my mom expressed concerns that I not become part of a triad because "3 just doesn't work." I am not sure exactly why she thinks that (something related to the psychic nature of 3s and how things are contantly changing in a relationship of 3 or something), but it was interesting nonetheless.
My mom has asked me a few times now: Is this something you plan to continue with your whole life? The subtext of this question is of course trying to figure out if I am just experimenting (so she can relax about it all), or if this is a "new" me (so she can readjust her view of me). I told her: I am bi, and I like being with women. J and I love our relationship, and we plan to make it satisfying for both of us. As long as we are both satisfied, then yes, we will continue doing what we are doing. If something changes, then something changes. So, no, Mom: I am not just experimenting. This is me. At least for the foreseeable future.
One of my main concerns while I was talking to them was that they not judge J or look down on him. I did not want them thinking that he "forced" me to do anything. They reassured me, and once they saw him an hour later, they gave him a huge hug and told him they loved him.
When my mom said "Well it sounds like you have done a lot of reading. I am very impressed" I felt confident in myself and in our relationship. J and I were in the midst of a fight and yet I felt solid in my ability to explain and defend our choices.
And yet, I feel patronized and belittled hearing comments from her like "Well, my gosh, you are just so young!!" And "It just seems so hard." My perspective is that all relationships can be challenging at times, and shouldn't my parents be happy that I am making intentional and conscious decisions about my life and relationships, instead of going down the path I was on (which was full of unintentional decisions??)?
I didn't talk to them about swinging, or gangbangs, or anything related specifically to my sex life. But because it was important to me to tell them about my bisexual identity and the fact that J and I see other people romantically and sexually, I came out to them. It was incredibly difficult and amazing at the same time. And now I feel so much more authentic and real when I am around them, even if it's difficult at times to answer questions and engage in conversations with them about it all. I also now feel readier to plan a wedding with my mom, because I can make it feel honest and true to the real relationship J and I share.