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Category Archives: PolyonPurpose Guides
I keep saying I’m going to start posting snippets from Safer Sex on my Patreon page. Time to finally get my shit together and do it. For the next several weeks I’ll be sharing sections from Safer Sex for the Non-Monogamous 3 times a week. These will be Patron only posts and the snippets won’t be final drafts. So expect typos and such, but they’ve been through first round edits so the general content shouldn’t change much between now and publishing.
I am, as usually, running behind schedule. But if I can keep on my current pace I can be ready to send the manuscript out my sensitivity editor in June, for an early August publication. So I’m not yet at my goal of a book every 6 months, but I’m getting closer.
Re: the blog.
As predicted, custody shit has stirred up all my mental illnesses, so posting went to hell. Rather than scramble to catch up, I’ll be writing/editing posts as I can and holding them to build back the buffer I lost a couple month ago. Once I have a two week buffer again I’ll resume posting on the website.
And since I mentioned custody shit–let me just say that it is going far better (and fast) than I expected. Court in is two weeks, so fingers crossed!
Here, for the first time, is a guide to how polyam folk can create homes and living situations that suit our lives and our relationships. Whether you live alone or with a dozen of your partners, friends, and family, you can create a home life that works for you.
-Alternative living arrangements
-Budgeting for dates
-Moving in together
Some technical glitches have delayed the paperback, but expect it later this week.
Polyamorous relationships challenge the way mainstream society expects people to live. Mainstream assumptions about who sleeps where, how a family manages their money, and even who lives together, fail before the sheer variety of ways polyam folks build our relationships.
The Polyamorous Home is practical a guide for polyam folk on creating homes and living situations that suit our lives and our relationships. Whether you live alone or with a dozen of your partners, friends, and family, you can create a home life that works for you.
Alternative living arrangements
Budgeting for dates
Moving in together
Prioritizing the individual or the community
I know the posting and everything kind of went to hell the last few months as I finalized getting The Polyamorous Home together. I expect to be more on the ball going forward, with regular posts Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday. Thanks for your patience while I dealt with both this book and release and various personal upheavals.
I’ve also managed to get a start on the next book in the Polyamory on Purpose Guide series. I’m currently about 13,000 words into the first draft of Safer Sex for the Non-Monogamous. Check out my Patreon campaign for irregular updates and early access.
The Polyamorous Home is now up for preorder as an ebook. I’m working on getting the paperback up. In the meantime, Dr. Elizabeth Sheff just shared her review with me. Check it out:
Review of The Polyamorous Home by Jess Mahler
With a great discussion of individual versus group needs and lots of helpful examples, Mahler’s new book The Polyamorous Home is a thoughtful and informative look at how polys can structure their living arrangements. From negotiating boundaries, sharing a kitchen or bathroom, working out finances, managing holidays, and dealing with changes like the onset of a disability, to personal/relational space, sleeping arrangements. legal hassles, solo poly homes, sharing housework, and exit plans, The Polyamorous Home is chock full of useful tips for new and long-time polyamorists.
Elisabeth Sheff, author of The Polyamorists Next Door (2014), Stories from the Polycule (2015), and When Someone you Love is Polyamorous (2016).
Thanks in part the generous contributions of the PolyonPurpose Patrons, I’ve been able to spend some solid time each week on the next Polyamory on Purpose guide, The Poly Home.
The current plan is for the book to be divided into five sections
- General information for poly group homes all poly homes
- Issues and ideas specific to poly group homes
- Issues and ideas specific to poly couple homes
- Issues and ideas specific to poly folk living apart from all their poly partners
- Moving In Together
With the additional time I’ve been able to spend working on the book, last Wednesday I finally completed the section on group homes. If I can continue working at the current pace I anticipate finishing a section a month from now until the first draft is finished.
To wet your appetite, here is the introduction to Poly Group Homes as currently drafted:
I read recently that intimacy is really “in-to-me-see.” A reminder that being intimate isn’t just the things we do together, but mostly in seeing and connecting with each other.
The home is the most intimate part of our lives. It is where we let go of our public masks and be ourselves. Our disgusting habits, residual childishness, inner naivete, and everything else that is “us” can come out to play. Living together is an intimate experience. That’s true whether you are lovers, friends, roommates, or strangers stuck in the same dorm. For poly groups living together, sharing that intense intimacy can be a joy and a challenge. There is an old English saying about two women in a house never being in accord. Whether women, men, or non-binary, more people in the house definitely increases the chance of discord.
Nothing can prevent problems cropping up from time to time, but I hope within this section, you will find practical advice on living together that will help avoid some of those problems–as well as just make day-to-day life a little simpler.
And however much risk of discord there is in living together, the “in-to-me-see” of sharing the little day-to-day bits of your lives together is pretty damn awesome.
If I can continue working at the current pace, and if editing and formatting don’t give me too many headaches (they usually do) I’ll have the finished book published next January or February. Or if you can’t wait for more, sign up to become a PolyonPurpose Patron and read the drafts as I write them.
Now that Polyamory and Pregnancy is making its way through the world, I’m starting work on the next Polyamory on Purpose Guide: The Poly Home.
As we all know, the variety of poly relationship structures is nearly endless – as is the variety of living arrangements. I order to make this guide as comprehensive as possible, I’m asking you to share your story. Tell me about your Poly Home. Tell me about the challenges you’re faced, meal planning, sleeping arrangements, how the transition when people move in or move out, or anything else you like. I am particularly interested in hearing from single polies, whose experiences have largely been overlooked in the community.
In case it isn’t clear: I am not talking or writing about only group living situations. Whether you live alone or in a commune, unless your poly partners never come to your home, polyamory affects your home life. And if your partners never come to your home, then you are dealing with the same issues from the other side when you visit their home.
So please, share your thoughts, your stories, your challenges. And what you want to see in a book about the Poly Home.
[Sorry, this post should have gone up yesterday!]
Dawn Davidson of Uncharted Love decided she wanted to interview me about Polyamory and Pregnancy as well as delve into my personal life a bit (What kind of baby gear is my relationship most like? Really Dawn? Where the hell did you come up with that one?!)
You can hear the interview, or read the transcript on Uncharted Love.
Several awesome folks are blogging about Polyamory and Pregnancy this week. If you missed them, please check out Alan M.’s write up on Poly in the News and Olivia Grey’s post on Caught in the Cogs, which went up last week.
Today, the Polyamorous Misanthrope shares her take on Polyamory and Pregnancy. If you are not familiar with her, Misanthrope is a advise blogger “wielding the stick of grandmotherly kindness.” She will share her thoughts straight up and doesn’t pull punches. Check her out.
The Polyamory on Purpose Guide to Polyamory and Pregnancy is officially available today. This post is kicking off a week long blog tour, getting to word out to as many people as possible. Please check out the blogs hosting me on the tour, they are all worth following.
For my part, I want to share an except from the book with you. The one section that, if I could share it with every poly person in the world, I would. Whether you have children or not, whether you have any interest in having children or not, please read this and take it to heart.
Planning ahead means sitting down together before a late period or broken condom and discussing what you will do if birth control fails. Planning ahead can be crazy complicated, or very simple, depending on how much detail you want to get into. And if you haven’t done it yet, I highly suggest you start right now.
Why You Should Plan Ahead
It’s a basic rule of life: sometimes precautions fail. You can take every precaution, do everything right, and something still goes wrong. Which means that there is always a chance that someone in your polycule will have an unexpected pregnancy.
An unexpected pregnancy is the same as any other surprise: easier to deal with if you’ve planned for it. Just like hikers make plans for what to do if they get lost, like parents make back-up plans for if they get sick, why and people draw up powers of attorney and living wills. All these ways of planning ahead provide some protection and security in case things go wrong. And I don’t mean false “it makes me feel better security,” but actual protection.
Discussing the possibility of an unexpected pregnancy protects your relationship. An unexpected pregnancy is wrenching. Even if you wanted children eventually, even if you wanted children with this partner, an unexpected pregnancy can destroy your relationship(s).
The only thing worse than dealing with the impact an unexpected pregnancy has (including feelings of fear, betrayal, hurt, anger, and confusion); is trying to deal with all of that when you had no plan. A plan gives you a cushion. It gives a bit of breathing room. Even if your plan ends up being utterly unworkable. Even if your only plan was “We all know it might happen; if it does we’ll deal with it.” Having a plan lets you say “Okay, we all knew this was possible, we all talked about it. We can deal with this.”
Actually, there are a few things worse than not being prepared for an unexpected pregnancy. One is dealing with an unexpected pregnancy when you had believed you were protected. When you and your partner(s) promised that you would not allow a pregnancy to happen, and then find out that despite your efforts and intentions, nature finds a way to get around you. Worse is when someone screwed up — forgot to take the pill for a week, skipped a condom “just this once,” etc. If this happens, you add betrayal, guilt and blame into an already difficult situation.
The best protection against something going wrong is to acknowledge that it can go wrong, and be prepared. Planning ahead, discussing what you can do if birth control fails, may make the difference between being thrown briefly off balance and falling apart.
Having the “What if?” Discussion
There are a lot ways you can phrase the ‘what if’ question. “What if I get pregnant?” “What if you get pregnant?” “What if she gets pregnant?” “What if one of us gets pregnant?” “What if he gets you pregnant?” They’re all the same question, phrased differently depending on relationship set up, gender, and personal bias.
“What do we do if there is a pregnancy we didn’t plan for or want?”
This question frequently comes up when couples are discussing whether to open their relationship. It’s often accompanied by statements such as, “I couldn’t deal with it if you got another woman pregnant/another man got you pregnant.” When this happens, it’s not an actual “What if” discussion. It’s usually an “I don’t want to open our relationship” discussion.
Sometimes, this can evolve into an actual “What if” discussion. More often it turns into one partner promising, “I’ll make sure no unplanned pregnancy happens.” Since birth control actually does work the vast majority of the time, these promises usually are kept. If birth control fails, well, that’s when you wish you’d had an actual “What if” discussion.
A “What if” discussion is when you ask “What do we do if this happens” and then try find a real answer.
The most important part of a “What if” discussion is admitting that the “What if” can happen.
If you try to have a “What if” discussion about unexpected pregnancy and one or more people refuse to consider the possibility (“Well, you’ll just have to make sure it doesn’t happen;” “I promise I won’t let it happen;” “As long as we all use birth control we’ll be fine;” and so on) then you have not had a “What if” discussion, and someone is more interested in denial than communicating about a real (though unlikely) possibility.
How to have a “What if” discussion
Maybe I’ve convinced you how important a “What if” discussion is, or maybe you figured it out long before I came along. Either way, you decide it’s time to sit down with your partner(s) and pop the question. But… what now? How do you have this discussion? And with who?
This will vary depending on your relationship structure. But before I go into details, let’s look at the uber simple version of this discussion.
You: “What do we do if there is a pregnancy we didn’t plan for or want?”
Partner(s): “I don’t know, but if it happens we’ll cope.”
This is all that needs to happen. If these two things have been said, then you have had your “What if” discussion. Anything else is extra.
If you are interested in reading more, you can find Polyamory and Pregnancy on Amazon in ebook and paperback.
(Originally published March 2013)