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I just started my first poly relationship with a married couple, and it’s been incredible. It’s next-level communication, and I feel so happy and supported. Can I still run for office in a few years? I’ve been careful my whole life in preparation for potentially running for office. My community has been asking me to do it for over a decade. Then, my dad’s dying, and meeting these two beautiful humans who I like very much happened. So, I made a call for me. But that question has been in the back of my mind. Should I let go of the idea of serving my community as an elected official because of this relationship? It’s definitely the healthiest relationship I’ve ever been in.
—Just the Three of Us
Hi Just the Three of Us,
Your question made me so sad. No one should ever have to choose between their love(s) and their dream. As a woman, I often find myself choosing between protecting myself or living in the world as I believe it should be. I believe I should be able to drive across the country solo and camp out the entire way, so I did. But I was aware every moment that I was taking a risk. I believe I should not have to deal with the foolishness of paying for a Lyft to drive me less than a mile home simply because it’s dark out, yet I more often than not pay for the Lyft rather than risk the very real bogeymen that have peppered that walk in the past.
But, this sense of protection is often a false one. Men have approached me on walks in broad daylight, they’ve halted traffic, they’ve made dangerous u-turns and spat at me when I expressed my disgust. At least at night, I know the risk is real, instead of walking into the sunlight blinded by the truth of the matter.
You must look at the truth of the matter. It would be reckless for me to puff you up with inspirational language, especially because openly bisexual U.S. Rep. Katie Hill recently stepped down over an affair between consenting adults and leaked revenge porn photos. She’s hired a lawyer and will continue to fight, but, yes, we live in a country that will attempt to weaponize who you love against you.
So, know, you must make the nearly impossible decision of deciding which is the greater risk. Do you leave the loving, caring arms of this married couple to protect your image and decades-long dream (and still risk defeat — fairly or by some other aspect of your life that’s suddenly deemed controversial…) or do you stand proud in your love and risk that you may be denied your dream based on the home you’ve found for your heart (but also knowing that this relationship might not last forever. If it were to end, would you still feel the risk was worth it?).
It’s truly unfair that bigots force us to displace one good thing in our life with another, rather than allowing us all the goodness that comes our way. I know this likely hasn’t made the choice any easier for you.
I suppose you also must consider if being open to love in any form is a malleable part of who you are, or if it’s steadfast and unchanging, because if so, could you really commit to a loveless life in the name of politics? Maybe. Others have done it. Or maybe you keep your fingers crossed and hope our culture has progressed enough that by the time you run it’s a non-issue. Or you run right through their definition of problematic and force the culture along for those who will come after you.
I know I said I wasn’t going to puff you up, but that’s different than offering up some gloomy kind of encouragement, right? There are no safe choices in life. Even when you let fear drive your decision-making, you’re still risking regret. You’re still open to being sideswiped by the unexpected and catastrophic. You still have to live in a world where two people who want to love you right exist — exist in your very same city and deny yourself that love. They don’t just cease to exist (as my Instagram sleuthing has proven out with exes). I guess what I’m saying is that I know what choice I hope you make, but that I would respect you even if you don’t.