Next Polyamory on Purpose Guide: Polyamory and Kink

After a lot of thought I’ve decided to make the next Polyamorous on Purpose Guide about mixing polyamory and kink.

Why Polyamory and Kink?

I’d originally planned to make the next book about raising kids in polyam families, but then my custody case blew up. Since polyamory was a reason the kids were taken from me, this topic is currently hitting a bit to close to home.

Polyamory and kink has been on my to-do list for a while. Not only is it near and dear to my heart, but, as both kink and polyamory have become increasingly popular, it’s a topic I see a lot of questions about in polyam groups and discussions. Still, I know that Raven Kaldera had a book out on polyamory and D/s relationships. So I thought I’d focus on topics that hadn’t already been covered.

On a whim this spring I picked up Kaldera’s Power Circuits. And well, the truth it isn’t really written for polyamorous people. The whole focus of the book is on helping people in M/s relationships figure out how to do polyamory. Which, don’t get me wrong, is a book that was needed. But it’s actually very different from what I think of when I think of writing about polyamory and kink.

So since I was shelving writing about children for another time, I decided to dust off polyamory and kink as my next topic.

What Will Polyamory and Kink Cover?

Since my main audience is already familiar with polyamory, I’ll start by introducing kink. We’ll look at kink as an activity vs kinky as an identity, the jargon of the kink community, and some of the common kinky activities.

From I don’t have a clear outline yet, but topics will include:

  • how to find polyam & kinky partners
  • navigating kinky/vanilla relationships
  • introducing a vanilla partner to kink
  • safe ways to explore new kinks
  • making D/s and polyam relationships work outside the bedroom
  • advice for a vanilla polyam person who has a partner in an outside-the-bedroom D/s relationship
  • probably other stuff too

Will You Share Your Experience?

I actually have more years in kink than in polyamory, which is saying something. But no one person will experience everything.

  • What would you like to see in a book about polyamory and kink?
  • What do you think polyam folks who are new to kink or are trying to understand a kinky partner should know about kink?
  • Would you be interested in contributing an essay or personal story to the book? ($10 for each accepted contribution, paid on publication)

Since I’m not a sub and have no experience with Big/little dynamics, I’m especially interested in input from folks who are subs and/or littles.

Fiction Friday: Give It to the Engineer

First entry          Previous entry

Ma’evoto strode through the clean room doors. He hadn’t felt so off balance since he started training as fighter, but the only sign of his discomfort was the off-beat rhythm his thumb tapped against the tips of his fingers.

Waiting for him was a woman who might have been the ultimate geek. Short cropped kinky hair paired with a long skirt of… indifferent style, and a sleeveless vest that gave full access to the sub-cutaneous circutry that crawled up her deep brown arms like tattoos. She had the far-off look of someone watching a retinal display. Probably display contacts. He knew she was a woman because her file said so—if it hadn’t he’d never have guessed. She didn’t wear a single triangle or star. Given geek culture that might be intentional or might be an oversight when she picked out her clothes.

The only thing that didn’t fit was the rabbit ears poking up out of her hair.

“Ms Malka.” He offered his hand

It took a moment, but her eyes slowly refocused. “Oh. Sorry.” She took his hand in both of hers. “Mr. Frederickson.”

“It’s Littlesun. Ma’evoto Littlesun” He tried to smile but it felt like more of a grimace. “I’m reclaiming my old name.”

“Oh. Sorry. Mr. Littlesun.” Her eyes darted around the room, and finally settled on something behind his left shoulder. “Um… I’m a bit confused. About why I’m here, I mean. And why this is here. I mean, top level clean room in government headquarters. That’s… like out of a thriller novel. And I’m kinda bottom tier over at ISA so really shouldn’t you be meeting with one of the…” she trailed off. Probably had been about to use a nickname the political appointees at the space administration wouldn’t like. Ma’evoto grinned.

“Please, don’t stop on my account. I have some less than flattering names for your superiors myself.”

Her mouth snapped shut. Opened. Closed. “Ah… well I don’t mean to suggest they are bad people you understand.” She was babbling now. “Not the best engineers maybe, but they know their jobs and they really are… I mean you don’t need to… that is…”

“Relax, Ms Malka. I’m not going after your colleagues. Some of them will moving to new jobs soon, but I’m not looking to make any more examples. One should be enough, don’t you think?”

“Ah. Yes.” She swallowed.

“Good.” He started the room’s standalone comp and inserted a filechip. “As for why there’s a top tier clean room in government headquarters—mainly to be sure there is one place in the damn building where people can’t be spied on.

“Take a look at this.”

A hologram sprang to life, a spherical space station with one large door and a number of smaller ports. Specs and calculations surrounded the main image.

Malka leaned in. “Nickle iron? An asteroid base? But what about… Oh, I see. Interesting.

“I didn’t take you for a fan Mr. Littlesun. But this looks like something out of Troy Rising. And if you are going to be that ambitious, why not the Death Star?”

“Because we have a chance—barely—of finishing this in two years. And both the old NASA engineers who dreamed this up and the author who wrote Troy Rising understood the importance of little things like having blast doors across your exhaust ports.”

By the time he finished speaking, Malka’s eyes were glazed again. “Two years. The engineering challenges alone…”

“You don’t need to worry about anything else. Funding, bureaucrats, politics—forget about it. Handle the engineering. I’ll see that everything else is taken care of. That’s not a license to spend money. But first priority is making it work, second priority is making it safe. Money is third.”

“It’s doable. Maybe. With the right team.” She hesitated. Refocused. “How will the team be chosen?”

Ma’evoto leaned against the wall and crossed his arms. The movement hid his sigh of relief. She was onboard. “Anyone at ISA that you want is yours. If there are outside people you need, put a list together and I’ll see what can be done. They’ll need to get security clearance same as everyone else at ISA. Don’t waste my time suggesting people you know won’t pass.”

There was a knock at the door. Right on time. He opened the door to let Deborah in. “One last thing. This is Deborah Wirth. She’s been in charge of my magical security, but she’ll be transferring to work on the battlestation as soon as your team is up and running. She’ll have her own team for integrating mystic defenses and other mumbo jumbo into the station.”

This time Malka’s mouth flopped open. “But… but… no one has ever made magic and technology work together.”

“That,” he smiled, “is an engineering problem.”

Deborah muttered something—he couldn’t hear what. A moment later, Malka’s bunny-ears started twitching.

Coming Out Polyamorous Blog Series

When I first wrote the Explaining Polyamory blog series I didn’t write an intro post but instead dove right into The Culture Gap. I’m fixing my oversight by adding an intro post 😉

So, that said, obviously this is the intro to a blog series on coming out as polyamorous. Specifically, coming out as polyamorous to family and friends. When I originally wrote this series I didn’t think about polyamory in terms of being “in the closet” so the idea of “coming out” as polyamorous just didn’t occur to me. But these days folks often do talk about coming out as polyamorous (and let me say here that I very much agree with the phrasing and the idea that someone can be closeted about being polyamorous.)

Anyway, from the first post in the series:

A while back, a question came up in the Yahoo! PolyResearch group about explaining polyamory to a loved one. It’s not the first time I’ve seen the question come up, and it stuck in the back of my mind as an idea worth exploring. (And these days, an idea that manages to stick in my mind has to be pretty impressive given everything competing with it for attention). I don’t expect this to become a huge series, but to keep it from being a wall o’ text, I’m gonna break it into two or three parts.

It is, in fact, a short series. About 6 posts which for this blog is positively tiny. But it says what it needs to say.

So yeah, we’re starting a new series. Check back next week for an updated review of the Culture Gap before we get into the nuts and bolts.

What Do You Owe Yourself?

This post is going to be a lot more personal and a lot less practical than most here, but I hope folks will find it meaningful.

There is a strong push towards individualism in the polyam community today. And long time readers may have noticed that this push doesn’t always sit well with me. I am a very communal person, especially for a white-privileged American.  Helping and supporting my community is important to me. Which is one of the reasons my nesting partner and I practice tzedakah.

Tzedakah is the Jewish mitzvah or duty to give back to our community. It’s usually translated as charity, but the implications and connotations of charity are all wrong. Yes tzedakah usually involved giving money. That’s all it has in common with what most people mean when they say charity. We give tzedakah not because other people need it (though they do) but because we owe it to ourselves to take care of our community and the people in our community.

So what does this have to do with polyamory?

Last week I wrote about the power of cash and the impact of money privilege on relationships. And I said that we don’t owe our partners money. And I stand by that.

But I also believe we owe it to ourselves to take care of our communities. Which is why a percentage of our household income each month goes to friends and polyam partners in need, to non-profit organizations that make the world a better place, to random calls for help on the internet.

Obviously, not everyone shares this philosophy. But if you haven’t yet–maybe ask yourself sometime what you owe yourself in terms of taking care of the people you love and the community you belong to. Whether you come up with a similar answer to mine or a very different one, it’s worth thinking about.

 

(I couldn’t manage a Father’s Day post this year, but wishing the best to all the dad’s out there.)

Friday Fiction Schedule Change

Hey folks, small change. From now on How Not to Save the World, the webserial I’ve been posting Fridays, will be updating every other week instead of the every week I was originally aiming for.

So you’ll see Ma’evoto/Trevor and his friends again next week, when we introduce a new character and get a look at some of Ma’evoto’s long term plans.

Polyamory and Children Guest Blog: Marmoset, Metamour and Ice Cream

Sadly, The Poly Man Whore stopped updating his blog a couple years ago, but you can still check out his old posts. Reposted: June 15, 2017

A few months ago, The Poly Man Whore put up a blog post about the night he and his daughter (the Marmoset) met his wife’s boyfriend (Mister Alvin). He’s been good enough to let me share some of his post, for an inside look on  how one poly family handles the first meet between kids and metamours.

My daughter, The Maromset, just met my wife’s boyfriend, Alvin. She shared the story at circle time at school. She saw Miss Jeanette all the time, but it was the first time that she met Mister Alvin. Even to a five year old, that is a Big Deal. The grown-up version of the double date was just as entertaining, so now is the time for me to share during circle time.

Mrs. Manwhore went over to Mister Alvin’s house, and then the two of them drove to Allyoucaneat-iban Sushi. Miss Jeanette came over to my house, so we met them there. Marmoset and her now-adult brother stayed home, with the promise of going to Tastee-Tastee Yogurt after dinner.

I’ve chatted with Alvin before when my wife and he would Facetime or Skype or talk on the speakerphone and I knew he was a decent enough guy, clearly caring deeply for Mrs. Manwhore, good sense of humor… Still, I got the feeling he was very willing to not like me at all. He is very new to the whole poly thing and I am sure he was concerned with how I would react to meeting the “man who is having sex with my wife.”

We walked into Allyoucaneat-iban and finally, he and I met. He had a good handshake and a nice smile. The Mrs. was very obviously nerve-wracked. The two of them sat across from Jeanette and me. The stress seemed to melt away pretty quickly, to me, anyway. My wife later told me that she was sweaty and stomach-clenchy all night long, but I thought it went really well…

After dinner, Jeanette and I went home to collect the Marmoset and had to Tastee-Tastee Yogurt. She was squeaking with excitement on our way over there, and when we got out of the car she went straight up to him and said, “Hi, Mister Alvin! I’m Marmoset!” She put her hand out, gave him a real handshake, and then went skipping off to the door of the yogurt store. I could not possibly be prouder of her.

Meanwhile, I took my wife aside and we had a little pep talk check-in moment. She was still very nervous. Hug, kiss, high-five, off we go! Inside for yogurt. Naturally, Marmoset’s concoction was of a singular magnitude, containing bits of stardust and faerie wings and cookie dough. We did some more talking, but mostly let the Marmoset steal the show. She and Mister Alvin played hide and seek in the yogurt store. Mister Alvin brought her a book from her favorite series and we read it. She did some dancing, she did some singing, she looked at the baby at the table behind us… Again, a really nice time.

The Poly Man Whore balances his family and several partners and is openly out as polyamorous in all areas of his life. He is not finding it at all difficult to date as a poly man and has a unique perspective that contributes to his poly success and offers up his distinct blend of bullshit free wisdom and advice to poly folk everywhere. He specializes in helping despairing and dateless poly men learn to stop their whining and start having relationships.

This post is part of the <a href=”http://polyamoryonpurpose.com/popular-blog-series/#ChildrenRaisedinPolyamorousRelationships”> Raising Children in Polyamorous Families</a> blog series.

<h2 style=”text-align: center;”>Want more great articles? Support Polyamory on Purpose on Patreon.
(Originally posted May 2012)

The Power of Cash

I mentioned last week that for some people, entwining finances is less a matter of choice than of necessity. That necessity comes at a cost—the cost of autonomy and the risk someone having power over you.

The Power of Cash

A few days ago, I saw someone comment that they were solo poly because they’d rather struggle to raise their kids on their own with barely enough money to get by, then move in with any partner(s) knowing they could be homeless in an instant if they get kicked out. That this happens, often, is not addressed in general polyam discourse or discussions about money and relationships.

I’ve talked before about social hierarchy in relationships. Well, money can be a huge factor in that hierarchy. (Again, I am not talking about primary/secondary type hierarchy. I’m talking about the social status hierarchy that humans have because we are social animals. It’s a thing.)

In relationships with a large financial disparity—particularly situations where one or more people are financially dependent on their relationship partners, money gives power.

Many people would never use their income to take advantage of others. But in the US (with its almost complete lack of social safety net), you don’t need to take advantage of it. You get the advantage. And social safety nets are not perfect—even in places with a good social safety net, you can have an advantage.

Last year, my girlfriend and Michael and I were talking about her moving out here and all of us moving in together. It’s still an option, though I believe C prefers to move out of the country entirely. But one thing that came up was the huge difference in our incomes. Michael and I together make barely $10,000 a year. C makes multiples of that. In order for us to get a place large enough to live all together, the rent and most utilities and other “costs of living” would be firmly on C.

Now, Michael and I have two kids under 10 years old. Think about this: what do you think we would do to keep C happy if the alternative was being homeless again? Do you think we would let her have her way in a disagreement about how the apartment is set up? That we would avoid talking about things that upset her? That we would change our behavior in ways we didn’t like?

power of cash

You bet your ass we would.

C would never hold it over our heads, “do it my way or else.” She’s not that kind of person. But if Michael or I started seeing signs that she was unhappy with the living situation or our relationships, we would bend over backward to keep her happy.

And if we felt C wasn’t willing to listen and understand why her having money gave her this advantage, C would never know it. (Since C is someone we can talk about this kind of thing, we DID discuss it, explicitly, even while the idea of moving in together was only a hypothetical.)

In the long term, of course, this would be a disaster. Either we’d be emotionally wounded by constantly denying ourselves our needs, or Michael and/or I would start getting more money and start standing up for ourselves more—which would leave C feeling turned-on bc she would have had no idea there was a problem in the first place, or Michael and I would start looking for an escape route and get out, with C never knowing how exactly things got so bad between us.

Of course, it is possible (and desirable) that the relationship would evolve to where it would cease being “Michael and I” and C. But if it did, that wouldn’t change the power balance of ’C can survive without either or both Michael and Jess. Neither Michael nor Jess can survive on their own and they could barely stay afloat together.’

Now, if everyone living together is in a situation where they can barely support themselves, you get a different situation which isn’t as bad but is still not exactly healthy. At “best” you have a mutually assured destruction situation which means everyone is working to keep everyone else happy and looking over their shoulders worrying about “what happens if we fall apart.”

However, other aspects of social dynamics also come into play. If everyone is in the same boat financially, but two of them always support each other, they have an advantage over the other people in the home.

It’s Not All Extreme

I’ve been focusing on the extreme situations both because it happens a lot more often than people with enough money to survive comfortably think and because it’s easier to see the power imbalance when we are talking about the possibility of becoming homeless. But it plays out in other ways too.

Let’s say I start dating someone who lives nearby. We’re not interested in moving in together, just enjoy each other’s company. If I can afford transportation and they can’t, then I (because I have money) have more control over the relationship than they do. I can decide to stop visiting, can decide how often I visit, can decide if I pick them up or pay for a taxi so they can come to my place. If they want to go someplace and I don’t feel like driving that far, we aren’t going.

So, if I want to go someplace that’s a distance we can, if they want to go someplace that’s a distance, they need to get me to do the driving before we can go. Power imbalance.

And just like with the living situation, they are likely to agree to things they might not agree to otherwise to keep me happy—because if I decide that instead of coming over every week I’m only coming 2x a month bc it’s not worth the gas money, they can’t say, “Okay, well how about if you come here 2x a month and I go there 2x a month?” They have no room to negotiate or offer a compromise.

It’s About Consideration and Respect

So what do you do if you have more money than your connections? If you have this power over the relationship that they don’t?

First off, it should be obvious that you don’t owe anyone your money, your time, or a relationship. I’m not saying that you owe it to a broke partner to spend money on them. You don’t.

But like Uncle Ben says, “With great power comes great responsibility.” In this case, the responsibility to make sure that you aren’t inadvertently hurting other people with your power.

What does that mean?

It means talking with your connections, acknowledging the power imbalance, and making sure that they feel safe talking with you about concerns and problems.

It means not getting resentful when you are the one doing all the driving or paying for the expensive restaurant that you wanted to go to.

It means not pressuring your connection to do expensive activities or making them feel ashamed because they can’t pay for a local Poly Cocktails event.

Perhaps most importantly it means making an effort to be sure that your connections are getting what they want and need in the relationship. They have an incentive to keep you happy that you don’t have—so you need to make an extra effort to be sure that you aren’t coasting.

This Isn’t Universal

Social dynamics are funny things. In my first triad, for several years almost our entire income came from one partner who actually had the least status and power in our relationship. He just got (unintentionally on my part) bowled over by my other partner and myself and didn’t know how to or feel safe asserting himself to us. It never occurred to me that he might take his income and move out (since we had a joint lease he couldn’t kick us out). If he had, my other partner and I would have been screwed. But because I didn’t think of it as a possibility, his power remained potential and not actual.

So there are times when the person with the most money ends up having the least power in a relationship. This isn’t a set-in-stone thing. But by-and-large, more money means more social status and more real-world power over a relationship. Especially when the people in a relationship aren’t married and things like alimony and fair division of assets will never come into play.

Remember: Power and Privilege Stack

If you are in a relationship where you benefit from couple privilege AND you have more money than your single or single-presenting partner, that gives more you more power than either money or couples privilege would give you alone. And people who are already getting shit from society—people who are trans, gay, people of color, disabled, mentally ill, etc (and especially multiple of these)—are more likely to be poor. So please, be aware of your power in a relationship. Don’t run roughshod over your partners without realizing it because you have money and they don’t.
This post is part of the Polyamory Finances blog series.

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Friday Fiction: The Toughest Battle (Yet)

First entry          Previous entry

The triumphant heroes took their bows and the screen faded to black. Wu shook zir head. “That was…”

“Classic.” Trevor spoke quietly, trying not to wake the child curled up in his lap.

“Not the word I was looking for. And I’m not sure how it got on your ‘Evil Overlord’ list. That trash compactor was never intended as a death trap.”

“Come on, the explosions? The laser beams you could see? The aerodynamic starships? You don’t see vids like this anymore.”

“For which blessing, I will make a large donation to the next artistic fundraiser that hits you up for money.”

“Ha.”

Trevor shifted, preparing to stand.

“Would you like me to take them to bed?”

Trevor shook his head and pushed himself up out of the person-eating couch. Ho’neheso stirred, opening their eyes to look at him a moment before snuggling back into his arms. “You’ve stood in for me too often the last few years. I’m grateful, but Ho’neheso needs me to step up and be their father again.”

Wu followed him as he carried them carefully to their new—and well protected—bedroom. “You never asked them to change their name.”

“No.” Trevor laid his child on their bed and pulled the covers up. “They lost so much already. As long as I could keep them hidden and out of the limelight…”

“And what of you? You no longer need to hide who you are.” They started back down the hallway towards Trevor’s rooms. “Taking an Anglo name made sense when you wanted to move unnoticed in North America. Even with the First Nations reclaiming so much of their land, Anglo is still the ‘norm’ north of Mexico.”

Trevor grunted. Wu only stated the obvious when zi was building towards something big.

“You will be remaking the world in a new image. As you once remade yourself. But is Trevor Frederickson the man who should be remaking the world? Or Ma’evoto?”

“Does it matter? I’m me, whatever I call myself.”

Wu shook zir head. “Deborah has some interesting things to say on the importance and meaning of names. And I believe some of the First Nations have similar beliefs.”

Trevor let himself collapse on his bed. ”Wu… just drop it. I can’t think about this right now.”

Wu said nothing. Trevor’s thoughts circled endlessly. Setting up ‘Trevor’ as a fake identity. The last time his saw his father. The day he read his obituary. The… No matter how hard he tried he couldn’t push the pain and the memories away. A sob caught in his throat.

With hard learned patience, he steadied his breathing. I control nothing if I cannot control myself. Stepped back from the painful memories and watched them. Looking for the meaning that tied them together. The belief behind the pain.

“Ma’evoto is dead,” he finally whispered, “They named him dead and did the rites. I walked away from that name, from that life. I killed him. There is nothing to go back to.”

“We live in an age of magic. Your servant would be honored to find a necromancer to resurrect him.”

“Ha. Ha.”

Wu knelt beside him, hand outstretched. Trevor sat up and rested a hand on Wu’s head. “What would you ask?”

“Only this. Does your soul does bleed for the loss of who you were? Tell your servant it does not and I swear by the heavens I will never speak of it again.”

“I…” Trevor couldn’t say it. “I can’t answer that.”

Wu’s head bowed further, hir hand pulled back to hir heart. “As you will.”

Trevor’s fingers tapped against the bed, quick and discordant. Never before had he refused Wu an answer. It was his right. But he had never…

He pushed himself up and began pacing the room. On his third circuit, Wu stood.
“With permission,” the dragon said, “your servant will retire for the night.”

Pacing wasn’t helping. The buzzing in his head grew worse. “Yes, go.” Another circuit before Wu reached the door. Quickening his steps brought him to the door as Wu opened it. “I’m sorry.”

Wu bowed. “Your servant will do all zi can. But I cannot fight your demons for you.”

“No.” Trevor smiled. “Zi can only precipitate the battle.” He stepped back from the door. “You can go if you want. But I would rather have you with me while I fight them.”

Wu closed the door. “Then I will stay.”

Polyamory and Children: What do I call Mom’s Boyfriend?

Changed to be inclusive of a wider variety of relationship styles and less heteronormative. Also fixed some typos. Updated June 7, 2017.

Step-parent, aunt, Jennie, Pop, Ma’am, Mr. Smith . . .

Basic rule of thumb: kids need a label for the adults in their lives. A box to put the adult in so they can know what their relationship with the adult is. Any time your kids ask what to call your SO, what they usually mean is, ‘What is this person to me?’

So before worrying about what your kids should call your SOs, take a minute to think about this: Just what is the relationship between your SOs and your kids? Are you raising you children from birth in a group marriage and all the spice are parents? Are you going to be introducing your teenage son to your girlfriend for the first time?

Group marriages who are raising children together tend to take one of two approaches to what I call ‘parent names’. Sometimes the non-biological parents choose terms that mean “Mother,” “Father” or “Parent” (Mama, Papa, Mad for English variants or use other languages—Ima is Hebrew for mom, Padre or Papa from Spanish, etc). Other times the non-biological parents are Aunt or Uncle or just their names. In these polycules, only the bio parents are called anything related to ‘mother’ or ‘father’.

You don’t need to discuss parent names with kids when you are raising them in a polyam relationship from a young age. The same as you never sit down with your toddler and say “I am your mother and you can call me ‘mom’.” You just walk into the room saying “Hi baby, mommy’s here!” and eventually baby learns that ‘mommy’ means you.

If you are introducing an older child to an SO for the first time, you probably want your kid and your SO to get along, but unless the SO is moving in with you or something, they don’t need to interact. So don’t make it complicated. As long as your SO agrees, you child(ren) can call them by their first name. No reason to make a big deal out of it.

Sometimes a previously unentwined or lightly entwined link becomes highly entwined, such as when moving in together. In these cases, advice given for helping kids adjust to having a new step-parent may be helpful. The short version is: let you kids know you want them and your SO to have a good relationship, but that relationship is up to them. They can start out calling your SO by their first name, and if later they decide they would like to call your SO aunt, uncle, Pop or something else, that is up to them. The message you want to give your child here is that they get to choose the label. The relationship they’ll have with your SO is up to them, and they won’t be forced into a relationship they aren’t comfortable with.

This blog post is past of the Raising Children in a Polyamorous Family blog series.

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Back to the Numbers: Finances and Budgeting for Polyam Folks

After a long break, I am finally ready to start writing new posts again. So moving forward, Sundays will be a new post each week while Thursdays will continue with the updates and revisions of old posts. Michon Neal will continue posting hir thoughts and writings on Tuesdays.

For new posts, I’m going back to an unfinished blog series—Finances and Budgeting.

Something I didn’t address when I started this series is that finance and budgeting needs vary depending on how much money you have. The choice to be financially entwined or not looks different for people with lots of disposable income vs people who can barely afford rent.

I’ve been on both sides of this. I grew up in a family with LOTS of disposable income. The McMansions of the 90s and 00s could have been modeled off the home my parents had custom built. And for nearly 10 years I’ve been keeping my family afloat on less than $10,000 a year. We’ve been homeless, lived without heat, and had our electric shut off more times than I can count.

Financial Advice is Not One-Size-Fits-All

The vast majority of that time, the financial advice I’ve seen was written for people who have more money than they need to survive. Budgeting is a wonderful tool when you have enough money and need to figure out how to stretch it. It is not so useful when you have more bills than income, and your only bills are rent and utilities.

So that is where I am coming from writing this series. Some posts and suggestions will be geared towards people who have disposable income. Others are more for folks who are scraping for rent. Sometimes I will talk about financial entwinement as a choice people make. Sometimes I will talk about it as a survival necessity. Because it can be both, depending on your situation and the situation of your partners.

This post is part of the Polyamory Finances blog series.

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