My last post ended with the thought that when I begin my career as a teacher, I do not plan to be out amongst my co-workers. However, if it should come to pass that I am outed, or if I let slip my relationship style to a friend and it gets back around to my supervisors, I don’t intend to lie about it. This got me thinking. What would I say to my employer if they proposed that my relationship style made me unsuitable for a job teaching at their school? The following would be my response:
To Whom It May Concern:
I am polyamorous. You have discovered this fact, and I do not intend to deny it. The truth is, I am romantically involved with more than one person with the full knowledge, consent and acceptance of the people involved. These are the most important people in my life, and while I have tried to be discreet, my intent was never to deceive you or hide them from you. I understand if this situation is puzzling to you, and perhaps you find it confronting or even shocking. I hope you will consider what I have to say in my defence.
I make every effort keep my personal life separate from my work life. My activism and activity online is always under a pseudonym and while I am an activist for my lifestyle and other issues, I do not intend to allow that to enter the classroom. I am here to do a job, and espousing my lifestyle, religion and other beliefs do not enter into that.
The truth is, my love life is not much different from a single person’s. If I were a single person, nobody would be surprised to find me dating someone or if I had a series of relationships. Similarly, if I were divorced, nobody would think it odd that I had a boyfriend but still had contact with my husband and custody of my child. The difference is my relationships are concurrent. My husband and I are still married, still love each other deeply and profoundly but we also feel drawn to pursue other relationships individually as we did before we met. Loving someone new does not preclude us from continuing to love each other and remaining together for the rest of our lives.
I should emphasise that my relationships are not about sex. Furthermore, I am not a sex addict or a sexual predator and what goes on between consenting adults is none of the school’s business. If I were gay, and the school had a problem with it, I could file a discrimination suit. I don’t go around recruiting students or talking about my personal life to them nor is it my place to do so. My choices and activities have nothing to do with the school. What I do outside of school or behind closed doors should not reflect on the school, and I do my best to prevent overlap, as I stated before.
Furthermore, I try to live within strong moral and ethical guidelines, and that includes my personal life. I believe very strongly in honesty and fairness. I live by the Golden Rule, but more often the Platinum Rule, to treat others as they wish to be treated, which often takes more effort. I respect the autonomy of the individual, and the right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness, so long as that does not infringe on the rights of others. I hold myself responsible for the consequences of my actions and I try to be a positive force for good in the world. These are values I think anyone can agree with, whether or not they agree with my views on relationships.
Additionally, because of the nature my relationships, I have learned valuable life skills that I hope I can model and impart to students. My relationship demands that I have all the same skills that are required for making monogamy work, but without the expectations and assumptions that come with following a relationship model proscribed by society. If students are taught “Just find that right person and everything will be perfect,” as they are told by the media, they will grow up without the skills needed to form a lasting connection. Teens should learn that a relationship requires effort and must be built over time; if they expect things to be perfect when they meet ‘the one’ they are going to be disappointed. All the skills I have learned in my relationships, as a monogamous person, as a single person and as a married, polyamorous person translate across the board to all relationships and I believe my students will be able to benefit from my experience.
I hope you will consider these points and continue to see me as an asset to you the team, rather than a liability.