Polyamory and Psychotic Disorders, Part 2

We’re going to do something a bit different this time. We’re going to look at the main symptoms of psychotic disorders and see how they each impact polyamorous relationships. This is pretty involved, so Polyamory and Psychotic Disorders is going to end up as a 3 parter. Today we’ll be focusing on delusions and hallucinations.


Delusions are fixed beliefs that cannot be changed by evidence that contradicts them. That’s the official definition, I’m going to add the qualifier I learned from my abnormal psych teacher. In order to qualify as a delusion, a belief must be abnormal within your culture. Sorry, atheists, your theist friends don’t qualify as delusional because they believe in an invisible sky man. Nor do people of the opposite political party qualify as delusional because they believe that obviously idiotic thing you can prove is wrong without even trying. You may be right—their belief may be categorically wrong. But if their culture supports their belief, it isn’t a delusion. The cultural matrix itself functions as “evidence” supporting the belief.

A stereotypical delusion is the belief that the someone, usually the government, is spying on the person. One real delusion I’ve run into—someone who believed that one day ninjas would sneak through his window and drag him back to live with his parents. These two together illustrate something I’ve noticed about delusions—they tend to have a basis in reality. While it is extremely unlikely that the FBI is monitoring your partner to keep them from revealing the secrets of the mole people, the FBI does spy on people. The person who feared ninjas coming through the window had run away from an abusive home as a teenager and been forcibly returned to it. The delusion is false, but built on something real.

Most delusions won’t directly impact your relationship. Having a partner who lives in fear of ninja’s coming through the window (or fearing ninjas yourself) isn’t going to have much impact on dates, meeting people, or communication. It may make your partner tired and grumpy in the morning from sitting up looking for ninjas. Other delusions, like a delusional belief that your poly partner is plotting against you, will have a large impact on a relationship. Someone with this delusion will have a hard time letting their partner out of their sight and will want to monitor everything they are doing. Not a recipe for a healthy monogamous relationship, never mind polyamory. (Side note: NEVER plan a surprise party for someone who believes people are plotting against them. It will not end well.)

Delusions are easier to deal with when they are recognized. An old shrink told me that all mental problems are easier to deal with when you know they are there. Anyone else remember the old G.I. Joe cartoon that always ended with an “educational” skit and Sargeant Slaughter saying “And knowing is half the battle!” ? Think about jealousy. A person who knows their jealousy is irrational will try to deal with the feeling without making demands of their partners. They may or may not know what will help, but they know they need to work on their own feelings and it is not their partner’s fault. Someone who is irrationally jealous but doesn’t realize they are irrational will blame their partner and try to fix the relationship by demanding their partner make changes.

Someone who believes their partner is plotting against them but knows they are delusional will need reassurance. They may ask invasive questions about your schedule and conversations with other people. But they know the problem is in their head. They will not be interrogating you to prove that you are after them, but will be seeking reassurance to quiet their delusion.

Someone who believes their partner is plotting against them and doesn’t realize it is a delusion… honestly, I don’t think you can HAVE a healthy relationship in that circumstance, no matter how willing you are to be supportive and try to work with them.


A hallucination is seeing, hearing, or otherwise sensing something that isn’t there. From people I have spoken with who have delusions, they can be obviously false or impossible to distinguish from reality. Delusions can range from seeing Barney dancing on the lawn in a Richard Nixon mask to hearing your poly partner call your name to having the entire world turn into goo.

Someone who suffers from hallucinations and knows they have hallucinations will put a lot of their mental energy into telling what is real and what isn’t. They may be a bit fanatic about always being right—if they are wrong about where they left their coat they may also be wrong about what is and isn’t a hallucination. If they are wrong about things, like thinking they left their coat on the chair when they actually fell asleep wearing it, this can feed into delusions in scary ways. If they left the coat on the chair, and they woke up wearing, someone must have put the coat on them, right?

Hallucinations can have some interesting impacts on a relationship. For instance, if someone is constantly hearing a voice whispering in their ear, it can be hard to get their attention. They will have trouble following a discussion when Barney pops up and begins dancing in the middle of the room. Waving to get someone’s attention doesn’t work very well when their view of you is blocked by a hallucination of someone else. These all have huge implications for communication.

When hallucinations mimic reality that adds another layer. If you see your partner come home from a date and go straight to bed completely ignore you, you are likely to be hurt and angry. But what if your partner is still on the date? Their coming home was a hallucination. A half hour later they walk in and you are an emotional mess about how they ignored you—when it wasn’t even them! The hurt doesn’t magically disappear, you saw them ignore you, you lived through it. To your partner, you are upset over something that never happened.

As with delusions, someone who knows they have hallucinations and works to try to recognize them will do better in a relationship than someone who believes all their hallucinations are real.


This post is part of the Polyamory and Mental Illness blog series.

Help Support Polyamory on Purpose.

Meeting Your Metamour

I touched on this last week, but it deserves its own post.

METAMOUR: (Literally, meta with; about + amor love): The partner of one’s partner, with whom one does not share a direct sexual or loving relationship. See related vee.
-from More Than Two Glossary of Polyamory Terms

Some poly folk object to the term metamour. They feel like it forces them into a relationship with their partner’s other partner. To which I say, get over it. Metamour is no different than “in-law” or “co-worker” or “classmate”. You share a connection with this other person through a common point of interest. My graduating high school class had 22 people in, and the day I graduated I still didn’t know all their names. We were still classmates. Your metamour is connected to you through your mutual partner. Just like my classmates and I were connected through our school and classes and teachers. Doesn’t mean you need to like them, care about them, talk with them or even know their names. the connection exists.

As I outlined last week, there are good practical reasons for meeting your metamour. Not having a relationship with them. Not becoming friends. Just… meeting them. Knowing them enough that if you get stuck in an elevator together, you’ll recognize the person on the other side of the damn box. Maybe know a couple things you can talk about to pass the time.

So, your partner is going to introduce you to their other partner. If you’re new to polyamory, and sometimes even if you aren’t, meeting your metamour can be awkward and uncomfortable. Most cultures say you and this other person should hate each other for daring to love the same person. Instead, you are going to sit down and have a polite conversation, without the hidden war of words drama shows love.

Respect and honesty are the basis of polyamory etiquette. Keep that in mind as we go forward.

On being introduced:

Treat the introduction like any other introduction. “Please to meet you.” “Hey, how you doing?” “Thank’s for coming/Thanks for having me over.” Or, if you are the low humor type that some of my partners have been, “Hi. I’ve been dreading this, how about you?”

Humor can be a good way to break the ice, or it can fall flat and be a dead fish stinking up the room. Use your best judgment and don’t force it if it doesn’t come naturally.

After introductions, you have a choice.

You can treat it like nay meeting with a new person. Spend some time getting to know them, what their interests are, make some small talk. This can help lay the groundwork for further conversation.

You can clear the air. Given the way many cultures view non-monogamy, there is likely to be tension. You can start by stating your feelings/concerns/discomfort areas and giving your metamour a chance to do the same. Then talk it out.

Making conversation:

Making conversation can be a good way to ease into things. It’s often useful if you are used to polyamory and your metamour isn’t. Making conversation gives them a chance to relax and realize that you really don’t see them as an enemy. This is part of respect—respecting your metamour’s uncertainty and concerns. Making conversation also gives them a chance to get their feet under them.

If you are both new to poly and/or both uncomfortable, making conversation can help you both ease into things or just increase the awkward. If neither of you is able to start a conversation, go straight to clearing the air. If one of you is able to start a conversation, try to go with it for a bit. See what happens. If it’s more awkward than relaxing, you can shift to clearing the air.

Starting with casual conversation can be a good icebreaker. But once you’re all a bit more comfortable, you still need to clear the air.

Clearing the air:

If you are both experienced poly folk, or if you see your metamour as an enemy or potential enemy, go straight to clearing the air. Making small talk with someone you are afraid of or don’t like is dishonest. Do yourself and them the favor of laying out the problems right away rather than acting like everything is fine.

IMPORTANT: even if you see your metamour as an enemy, do not treat them like one. Fighting with them over you mutual partner will only make all of you miserable. If your metamour is an enemy, you want to convert them into an ally. Working together to make your mutual partner happy is the best way to protect the health of your relationship with your partner.

Compersion’s episode 5 is a good example of how to (and how not to) clear the air. Spoilers below, so you might want to watch the show first 😉

Josh and Keena are married. Keena is about to go on her first date with Colt. Josh asks to meet Keena’s Colt. They are all new to polyamory.

Josh is hostile. He addresses his fears and concerns honestly, but he starts from the assumption that Colt is an enemy. And instead of just saying “I’m afraid,” he attacks Colt. He needs to claim possession of Keena, demanding Colt acknowledge that Keena is his wife and that she will not be leaving her family. He wants Colt to answer to him, to give a reason Colt wants to date a married woman. This is not at all respectful.

Josh isn’t just disrespectful to Colt. He is disrespectful to Keena. He doesn’t trust her to establish her own boundaries and instead is possessive and aggressive in defense of his right to her. Josh also doesn’t trust Keena to have told Colt that she is married and committed to her marriage.

A better approach for Josh is to state his fears clearly. This would have made him vulnerable, which is scary, but it would have been more honest and more respectful. And it would have a lot less potential to create a disaster. “Hi, Colt. Look. I’m real uncomfortable with this. Keena has never gone on a date before and this whole polyamory is scaring me. I want Keena to be happy, but I’m afraid of losing her, so you going on this date tonight is freaking me out.”

This would have been both respectful and honest with Colt. Josh would be treating him as an individual rather than an instant enemy. It would also have been respectful to Keena, acknowledging that she is in charge of her actions and trusting her to tell Colt how her relationships work.

Keena is uncomfortable. She tries to cut the whole thing short and drag Colt out of the apartment and on their date. “Yes, he knows we’re married. I told him.” Josh’s disrespect upsets her, but she is also being dishonest. She wants to avoid and deny Josh’s fears rather than address them. Trying to shut Josh down may avoid the discomfort now, but it would create more problems later.

Colt, in contrast, is both respectful and honest. He listens to Josh without interrupting. He answers Josh’s questions. He also answers Josh’s fears, by saying that he’s okay with his relationship with Keena being a short one. She is worth knowing for however much time he can enjoy with her. Colt’s honesty touches Keena and at least for a short time causes Josh to see him as another person who cares for Keena, and not a threat. Colt’s respectful treatment of Josh and Josh’s fears allow a stand down. Instead of getting defensive or aggressive in turn, Colt acknowledges Josh’s fears. He doesn’t denigrate Josh for fearing them. And he does this without giving up his right to have whatever relationship he and Keena make for themselves.

When you meet your metamour and clear the air, try to be Colt. No matter what your relationships with your mutual partner, whether you are spouse, boyfriend, fuckbuddy, or anything else, listen to your metamour’s concerns and answer them honestly. And if you have concerns, don’t be Josh. State your concerns honestly, yes, but also respectfully and without disrespect to your metamour OR your partner.

If you don’t have concerns, if you’ve been around the poly block (or even if you haven’t but are already comfortable) saying, “Hey, I know this can be awkward, but I really am okay with this and I hope you two have a good relationship.” can help a metamour who isn’t as confident or experienced be comfortable and not see YOU as an enemy.

(Being fair to Josh–he got tossed into this whole thing with not one clue what polyamory is or how it can work and he’s doing his best to deal with it. You, on the other hand, are reading this blog. So you know what polyamory is and are learning about how it works. You can do better.)

This post is part of the Polyamory Etiquette blog series.

Want more great articles? Support Polyamory on Purpose on Patreon.

Polyamory Budgeting

Today’s post is for poly folk who share expenses. I wrote it assuming a joint household, but the same basic ideas apply to folks who live separately and share expenses.

For some poly folk, all household income and all bills go into a family pot and (at least in theory) are handled jointly. How this works out in the real world varies. For other poly folk, moving in together can be more like being roommates-with-benefits. Everyone has their share of the rent and utilities, buys their own food, and has their own individual expenses. Of course, there’s every option in between as well.

When deciding how entwined you want your finances to be, I recommend going at the pace of the person who wants the least entwinement. If two of you are comfortable going all in, and one wants to function as roommates-with-benefits, then start out at the roommates level of entwinement. It is easier to increase entwinement later than to decrease it. Especially in financial matters.

Once you decide how entwined you want your finances to be, it’s time to decide how to divide up your joint bills. There are many ways to approach this, and one day someone with more economic background than I have will probably tackle household finances for a group home. For now, here are some options to get your conversation started.

As always in poly matters, strike the word “fair” from your vocabulary when discussing budgets. Whether or not a given budgeting option is “fair” is entirely a matter of perspective. Instead, look for options that work for your family.

Even Split

Total up the household bills, divide by the number of people in the household, and that’s what everyone pays each month. The traditional option for roommates.

Easy to implement and taken at face value extremely “fair”.

May cause resentment/envy/jealousy when income varies widely within polycule and one member is constantly scraping by with no disposable income while others have lots of extra each month.

Does not allow for a house-spouse in the polycule–everyone needs to have an income.

Is likely to be especially hard in polycules where one or more members have an established career and others are in school/trying to find work

Percentage Split

Determine what percentage of household income each member brings in. Each member of the polycule pays that percentage of the bills each month. For example, if my family has $1000 coming in each month, $400 from me, $300 from partner A and $300 from partner B, then I would pay 40% of the household bills, and each of my partners would pay 30%.

This type of arrangement is harder to set up than an equal split. However, once set up it can run just as seamlessly. A polycule member with a higher income will still have more disposable income at the end of the month than a polycule member with low income, but everyone with an income should have some disposable income after the household bills are paid (unless the entire household is just scraping by.)

This set up can be difficult to make work when one or more members of the polycule has a variable income.

May cause resentment if polycule members with higher income feel like they are supporting polycule members with lower income.

Can work with a house-spouse. A house-spouse brings in 0% of the household income and pays 0% of the bills. However, the house-spouse has no income to pay their personal bills and expenses.


Everyone puts all their money in a communal pot, all household and personal expenses are paid out of that communal pot. This can be both the easiest and most difficult option. It requires the highest level of entwinement and a great deal of trust. Trust that everyone is doing their best to get all the bills paid and trust that when personal bills need to be prioritized, it will be done in a way that not only works best for the household but won’t harm any individual in the polycule.

All-in requires a budget for the household. Other options rely on everyone keeping a personal budget and paying their part of the household bills.

Allows the most flexibility for changing circumstances (someone loses a job, goes back to school, gets a promotion, etc).

As with percentage split, may cause resentment if one or more members of the polycule feel other members are “riding” on their hard work.

If you choose to split household expenses, however you split them, you probably don’t need to worry about a household budget. Everyone pays their share, and everyone keeps an individual budget to manage the rest of their personal finances. Some polycules may choose to create a household budget anyway

For polycules that choose to go all-in, a household budget becomes necessary.

Creating a family budget can easily become a nightmare. The general options are to pick one person to be responsible for the budget or to manage the budget by committee. Having one person manage all the money requires a great deal of trust and ongoing communication. The word “committee” tells you everything you need to know about how easy that option is!

A middle ground is for one person to create the budget, but then review it together to discuss and make changes as needed.

Deciding how to manage the budget will be based largely on personal preference, skill and knowledge of budgeting, family communication levels, and need for simplicity.
If your polycule needs a simple option and has the necessary comfort levels, pick one person who knows how to handle a budget, and let them handle it.

If your polycule is good at negotiating and working things out together, and needs transparency more than simplicity, managing the budget by committee may work for you. Plan a budget together and use a shared GoogleSheets spreadsheet to keep track of and record all expenses and income. Just make sure you remember to record everything you need to!

Polyamory, Schizophrenia, and other psychotic disorders (Part 1)

This post and others discussing specific mental disorders will reference the Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel of Psychiatry and Psychology, Edition Five (DSM-V). Apologies to my international readers, I’m just not familiar enough with the ICD to use it as a reference.

Please note: everyone’s experience of mental illness is different. This is general information meant to give you an idea of what to expect. Nothing in this blog is intended to diagnose or treat. Please see a psych professional if you or someone you love may be suffering from a mental illness.

The Psychotic Disorders

  1. Delusional disorder
  2. Brief psychotic disorder
  3. Schizophreniform disorder
  4. Schizophrenia
  5. Schizoaffective disorder
  6. Other

Delusional disorder, as the name says, involves delusions specifically. Brief psychotic disorder is for what seems to be an episode of schizophrenia that lasts less than a month. Schizophreniform is if it lasts less than 6 months. Schizoaffective disorder is when the primary diagnosis is mood related (primarily depression or bipolar) but there are psychotic symptoms. And of course schizophrenia a long term disorder manifesting multiple symptoms of psychosis.

Symptoms of Schizophrenia and Psychotic disorders

There are five features that define psychotic disorders in DSM-5. Delusions are fixed beliefs that cannot be changed by evidence that contradicts them. Hallucinations are sensing something (usually seeing and/or hearing, but sometimes tactile or taste/smell) that isn’t there. Disorganized thinking (speech) means not being able to follow a conversational topic, lack of coherence in speech, or loose associations. Grossly disorganized or abnormal motor behavior (including catatonia) is when the body doesn’t move right and/or doesn’t move at all, when there is no physical illness to explain the problem. Finally what are called negative symptoms–lack of emotional expression, lack of speech, inability to motivate or direct oneself in completing tasks, not being able to feel pleasure from normally pleasurable experiences, and lack of motivation to socialize/interact with other people.

Interestingly, the way symptoms manifest can change depending on the culture a person is living in. In the US today, hallucinations from psychotic disorders are often terrifying experiences. Voices telling you to kill someone else or kill yourself, threats, personal attacks, and other really nasty things are common. However, 100 years ago most hallucinations where benign. The voice of your dead relative, or a saint, or an angel were common. And in other parts of the world, hallucinations often continue to be benign, usually harmless but sometimes actually supportive.

Society has a long history of demonizing people with schizophrenia and psychotic disorders. We need to remember that, like all mental illness, schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders grow out of healthy (or at least normal) mental processes. Most people have had that time walking home at night when they would swear someone was following them–but if you turned around you were alone, many of us got home and locked the door “just to be safe” (delusion). Almost everyone, at one time or another, has heard their name called when no one was calling them (hallucination). Everyone I’ve ever met has had days where their thoughts are disorganized and they can’t follow a conversation. For most of us, these things pass in a few moments or a few hours and laugh at ourselves and go on with our lives. We all have days when we just don’t want to deal with other people or have trouble motivating ourselves to get shit done (I know I’m not the other person who procrastinated my entire way through Freshman year.)

People with psychotic disorders can be scary. Not gonna lie about that. But the world they are living in is far more frightening for them than they are for you. So if you do meet or know someone who has a psychotic disorder, please start with compassion.



Medication is the primary treatment for psychotic disorders. Antipsychotic medications are divided “conventional” and “atypical.” Conventional antipsychotics are older medications with a higher rate of severe side effects. Atypical antipsychotics are newer medications with significantly reduce side effects. Unfortunately, conventional antipsycotics are much cheaper. When dealing with a medication which will likely be lifelong, price can be a significant concern.


So far, no therapy has been found that helps the symptoms of psychotic disorders. However, therapy has been very effective in helping people manage their symptoms. It is especially important for people with schizophrenia to recognize when stress in their life might trigger an acute phase. Preventing the occurrence of an acute phase by managing stress and recognizing early warning signs can be key to successfully managing schizophrenia.

Social skills training and vocational rehabilitation can be important treatments as well, especially for people with long term psychotic disorders.

Other treatments

I don’t know enough about alternative treatments (either alternative therapies such as art and music therapy or alternative medicine such as meditation, herbs, and massage) for psychotic disorders. If you or a loved one wants to explore alternative treatments, start by talking with your psychiatrist and psychologist.

Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder

I don’t know what the relationship is between schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Officially, there isn’t one. But there has to be some reason they are so consistently misdiagnosed as each other. Again, culture seems to play a role–an American diagnosed as schizophenic who moved to Britain will usually be diagnosed by a British doctor as bipolar. The opposite often happens when a British person comes to America. With in America, it is very common for someone to go years thinking they have schizophrenia, make little or no progress in treatment, then have a new doctor diagnosis them with bipolar and the treatments for bipolar start working. Again, the opposite (someone diagnosed bipolar gets a new diagnosis of schizophrenia and stars seeing improvement) happens just as frequently.

If you look at the diagnostic criteria for schizophrenia and bipolar this makes no sense. There is nothing in bipolar about hallucinations or delusions or general motor problems. And nothing in schizophrenia’s criteria about mood swings. I don’t get it. But it’s something to be aware of.


Okay, usually I’d start talking about the impact of psychotic disorders on polyamory here, but that’s gonna be a very long discussion, so we’ll save it for next week.

Thanks to Richard Sprott for providing the diagnostic criteria for schizophrenia.

This post is part of the Polyamory and Mental Illness blog series.

Help Support Polyamory on Purpose.

Introducing Your Polyamorous Partners to Each Other

I’ve talked elsewhere about why I think it is important for metamours to meet at least once. The short version:
1) It helps with general comfort levels in the relationship and allows everyone to know everyone else as a person, and not an imaginary caricature.
2) Because you could get hit by a bus tomorrow. Nothing is more awkward or uncomfortable than meeting your partner’s other significant other across their unconscious body lying on a hospital bed.

Still, even meeting in a cozy diner or at the local coffee shop can be damned awkward for folks who are new to poly. And questions about meeting metamours are staples of polyamory forums. To reduce that awkwardness, we’re going to look at what you can expect and ways to make everyone comfortable.

Where to Meet

Where ever you meet, you want your partners to be comfortable. Or as comfortable as possible. For some people, this will mean meeting in “neutral territory.” A coffee shop, a local park, or even the next town over can all be good options. If you don’t want to be outted, a mall or other busy area makes a surprisingly good place to talk. While you are surrounded by people, none of them will hear more than a few words of your conversation as they hurry on their way.

Alternatively, one or more of your partners may prefer to meet on “their” ground. In which case, they may invite your other partner to their home (your home if you live together). If a partner wants to meet on their ground because they will be more comfortable, go for it! If this might be the start of a power play between your partners, be wary.

While you can not control your partners’ behavior, you can set boundaries about what you will put up with. Personally, any partner of mine (and I mean any) who starts playing social power games with another partner will get one warning. If they don’t heed that warning, I will no longer be a part of their life. I’ve been on the wrong end of that shit and have no patience for it.

Ideally, you want to find a place to meet where your partners are comfortable. Sometimes, what makes one partner comfortable will make the other uncomfortable. All you can do is your best.

After the Introductions

The basic introductions are straight forward. “Michael I’d like you to meet Chris. Chris, this is Michael.” It’s after the introductions that things can get awkward. You know your partners, they don’t know each other. It can help to introduce a topic they are both familiar with. With most of my partners, geeky stuff is a safe bet. The latest Avenger’s movie, a hot new video game. At the moment, I’d start with PokemonGO, because what geek wouldn’t 😉

If you don’t know any topics they both enjoy or are familiar with, you can fall back on the usual getting-to-know someone topics. Where they work, what their hobbies are, etc. If that doesn’t work, pull on something interesting that happened in your life recently. “I told you both about the publisher that was interested in my book? They’re doing some kind of major restructuring and I’m still waiting for the contract…” The one thing you can be certain they share an interest in is—you!

Idle Hands Are a Pain

Awkward stuff is more awkward when you don’t know what to do with your hands. I don’t know why this is. But if possible, try to have something for you and your partners to do while you talk. Get everyone drinks they can fiddle with, meet over dinner, play a multi-player game together (depending on personalities a non-competitive game might be best). Dinner and games have the advantage of having built-in conversation. “Have you tried to chili here?” “No, but the fish is always fresh. I’ve never gotten a taste for spicy foods.” etc etc

This post is part of the Polyamory Etiquette blog series.

Want more great articles? Support Polyamory on Purpose on Patreon.

Budgeting for Dates

Obviously, I’ve starting this series with the low hanging fruit. Don’t worry, we’ll get into the side of poly finances that aren’t about dates and dating soon.

Anyone with an individual budget can budget for dates the same way they budget for anything else. Create a line item in your budget for “dates” and pick how much money each month you want to/can afford to spend on dates. You are done budgeting for dates.

But what if you have a joint budget with your poly partner(s) (or anyone else). Disagreements about paying for dates have crashed many poly relationships. “What do you mean you spent 0 on your date with Jay! We can’t afford that!”
“You can’t tell me when I can and can’t go out with Shauna, you’re just using money to control me!”

“Failing to plan is planning to fail.” A plan for how much money you can afford to spend on dates can save a lot of headaches and heartaches.

3 Approaches to Budgeting for Dates:

Line item—Date money

Just like an individual budget, your joint budget can include a set amount of money everyone can spend on dates. This money is available to everyone to use as and when they want. You’ll need good communication to make sure you don’t go over budget. This option allows a lot of flexibility. With good communication you can keep your dates within budget, have flexibility, and give everyone a chance for a big night out once in a while.

If Michael has no dates planned in August, I can go on a big expensive (expensive for us anyway) date. In September Michael is planning to visit C. He’ll get most of the “going out” money (plus any extra we can scrape up) for the trip. In October maybe we’ll split the money evenly.

Multiple line items—Partner 1 date money, Partner 2 date money, etc

Instead of one line item for date money, have a separate amount budgeted for each person. Each person has their own money to spend on dates. You don’t need to discuss who is doing what or how much each person wants to spend this month. If Partner 1 wants to go on an expensive date, they may need to save their money for a month. In the meantime, partner 2 can go on a bunch of inexpensive dates. You have less flexibility, but also fewer chances for accidentally interfering with your partner’s dating plans. And less chance of going over budget.

Multiple line items—Personal money

NOT an epic yarn stash.
NOT an epic yarn stash.

Everyone has a set amount of money for personal stuff. Personal stuff can be hobbies, dates, sex toys, that expensive beer they love, or anything else they want to spend it on. Perfect for when not everyone is actively dating or some people have expensive hobbies. Everyone has their own money they can spend on whatever they want. If they want to spend it on dates, they can spend it on dates. If they want to spend it on stockpiling an epic yarn stash, they can do that.

I usually spend my personal money on books and stuff for my hobbies. Until last year, it went to pay my web hosting. (Thanks again to awesome Patrons that not being necessary any longer!)

Personal money is a good option for mono/poly relationships. The poly partner can spend money on dates without the money coming out of the household budget. The mono partner has  money they can spend on hobbies, nights with their friends or a treat that makes them happy.

You can use more than one option. Michael and I use “going out” money and “personal money” in our budget. For a long time, the “going out” money was mostly used for us to go out together, but it’s also available for date nights with other partners. Personal money can be combined with “going out” money for more expensive outings.

This post is part of the Polyamory Finances blog series.

Want more great articles? Support Polyamory on Purpose on Patreon.

It’s Time to Stop Police Violence: Campaign Zero


I don’t usually talk about political stuff or current events on this website. That’s not what this website is for. But police violence is a huge deal that affects a lot of people who are members of the poly community. And even if black men and trans folks and mentally ill people weren’t part of poly (which they are), the shit going down would still be wrong.

Now, if you know me you know I’m not much for theoretical discussion or random whatever (unless it’s Jewish law. I can talk for hours about Jewish law because OMFG have you seen what those old men came up with?!). So, I’m not going to spend an hour writing about the horror of racism in this country or why police violence is wrong. Other people have already done a better job of that than I can. Instead, I’m gonna point you to a possible solution.

Campaign Zero is a group with an actionable plan for how we can reduce or stop police murders. And their plan will reduce many other forms of police violence as well. They propose ten actionable items. Some are city level, some are state level, and some are federal level. They are backing their ideas up with research and are always looking for more input.

If you are an American who is sick of this shit, please check them out.

For steps you can take closer to home, check out Ijeoma Oluo’s awesome facebook post: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10153536974817676&id=616977675&pnref=story

Additional resources/ideas are welcome in the comments.

NEXT WEEK we will finally return to our regularly scheduled blogging.

Introductions in Polyamorous Relationships

July will be Introductions month in our etiquette series.

I touched on introductions and specifically introducing poly partners and metamours to friends and family, in June. But I’d like to go in-depth on introductions. July topics will include introducing poly partners to each other, etiquette for when you are introduced to your partner’s other partner (aka your metamour), and introducing a polycule.

If you have any questions about handling introductions in polyamorous relationships, leave a comment and I’ll try to cover it!

This post is part of the Polyamory Etiquette blog series.

Want more great articles? Support Polyamory on Purpose on Patreon.

Polyamory: Who Pays for Dates?

This isn’t a poly thing so much as a dating thing. But it comes up enough I wanted to tackle it here.

In “traditional” American dating, the man asked the woman and the man paid for the date. As social mores have changed, the issue has become confused.

Some people “go dutch” with both people paying for their share.

Some people expect that whoever asks the other person out on a date will pay for the date.

Some people still follow the traditional (sexist, heterocentric, and gender binary) view that the man pays for the date.

People who ask “who pays for dates” in polyamory seem to expect there to be a standard. There isn’t.

The best approach is to discuss who pays ahead of time. If you can’t, then:

1) if you ask the other person out, make sure you have enough money to cover the whole night,
2) if the other person asks you, plan to pay your share.
Then, with both of you having money on hand, discuss it on the date.

Taking this approach ensures that there is no awkward moment of “I wasn’t planning to pay…” (which is far worse than the awkward moment when you both [all] pull your wallets out at the same time).

If a single date turns into a relationship, at some point you should discuss how you will handle dates in your relationship.

If you are splitting the cost, don’t be inconsiderate.
Unless you have a joint budget (in which case, why are you worrying about who pays?) anyone you go on a date with will be in a different financial situation. What you can pay for easily might be someone else’s once a month splurge and a third person’s “You’re kidding, right?”

On the last post in this series, A shared how expensive “dates” contributed to one of their relationships falling apart:

“Generally, we were fine regarding the way we handled our joint finances, but apparently the “expensive vacations with other partner” thing galled him. If he’d talked about it with me, I think we could have handled it better — his other partner made six figures, he and I were struggling financially, and she kept wanting to take extravagant trips with him, but didn’t want to pay more than 50% of the cost, even though she made twice his salary.”

As I read that comment, I wondered “what was this person thinking?”

If you want to take a partner on expensive outings and they have less money than you, think twice. What may be a reasonable trip for you could break their budget. Be considerate. Either go on dates that are within your partner’s budget or be prepared to pay for it yourself. Yes, it sucks wanting to share this awesome thing with your partner and not being able to. But if your partner can’t afford it or says they can only afford it once in a while, don’t pressure them or shame them or ask them to do the same thing again next week.

This post is part of the Polyamory Finances blog series.

Want more great articles? Support Polyamory on Purpose on Patreon.

Comment Policy

I realized recently that I never created a comment moderation policy for this website. Until recently, haven’t needed one. Comments have been relatively rare, and the vast majority of commenters have been civil even when they disagreed with me or with polyamory in general.

However as both this blog and knowledge of polyarmoy grow, I’ve seen an increasing number of comments, not all of them civil. I’m putting my moderation policy in writing so everyone is clear on what to expect.

My comment moderation policy is partly determined by the purpose of this blog. This blog is written for people who are already polyamorous or want to explore polyamory and are looking for practical insights on making poly life work. It is not written for people looking to learn about what polyamory or for people who wish to debate/discuss the validity off different relationship styles.

I want this blog to be an open space for exchange of ideas. But there are limits. So, from now, I will moderate comments based on the following:

  1. Commenting is a privilege. This blog is my space and you are allowed access to comment at my discretion. If you have a problem with this, feel free to start your own blog with your own comment policy.
  2. Your first comment must go through moderation before being approved. After this comment is approved, new comments will be auto-approved unless you give me reason to revoke your commenting privileges.
  3. Personal attacks of any sort will be deleted and you will be blocked from commenting further.
  4. General attacks on polyamory or claims that polyamory can’t work/is unnatural/etc, including equating polyamory with cheating, will be deleted and you will be blocked from commenting further.
  5. I have a life and do not sit around all day waiting for comments to moderate. If my mental illness is acting up it may take me several days to approve your comment and/or respond to it. Your patience is appreciated.

We now returning to our regularly scheduled blogging.