Tag Archives: Living Together

The Polyamorous Home, now in paperback!

Okay, it took me way longer than it should have, but I finally fought my way through the formatting. The Polyamorous Home is now available in paperback on Amazon.

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
-Sleeping arrangements
-Holidays
-And more…

The Polyamorous Home by Jess Mahler

Moving In Together

The original version of this post really reflected some of my old assumptions about the “norm” in polyamory. Hopefully I’ve managed to clean all of that up. Polyamory is complicated and everyone does it differently. Revised 1/11/2017

A couple posts back I mentioned that if someone in a polyam relationship gets pregnant, people who had been living separately may decide to move in together. Moving in with other people is always a big step, whether it’s getting a new roommate or the next stage of a relationship. When multiple people in a polyamorous relationship (or multiple relationships) move in together, it can get complicated. Especially if two people in the relationship have been living together, and another partner moves in with them.

It’s fairly obvious that the person who is moving in will have to make a bunch of adjustments. The people already living together often don’t think through the adjustments they will need to make. I have a distinct memory of my ex telling a new (non-polyam) roommate who had just thrown a soda can into the garbage ‘We recycle here.’ Leaving aside the utter rudeness of the comment (how about ’The recycling can is out back, I’ll take it out for you if you’d like’ instead, hon?) it never occurred to him that he was dictating his living style on someone else, who may not share his values.

If you have been in a relationship, you probably know each other’s views on recycling, but there are hundreds of ways this kind of conversation can crop up. Everything from how the laundry is separated, to who does the shopping, to how the dishes are put away. And it is an almost automatic assumption that the person moving in will adapt to the way the people living together do things. Now, this can get especially problematic when a secondary is moving in with a primary couple. So the secondary is automatically outvoted by the built in 2-1, making it very easy for the secondary’s needs and preferences to be swept aside. In the meantime, the primary couple congratulate each other on how fair they are being with everyone having an equal voice. It’s even worse in many primary/secondary relationships where a secondary partner’s opinion automatically carries less weight than a primary partner’s!

So, to beat the dead horse one more time – no one who stopped to think about it would expect to bring a child or a pet into the house and not have it create changes. And people who don’t stop to think generally can’t make poly work in the first place. So please, please do not assume you can bring another life partner into your house and not have it make huge changes.

Planning Ahead

If you haven’t noticed by now, I’m a huge fan of planning ahead (6Ps – Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance). Moving in together is complicated. There is no way that planning ahead can account for everything that might come up. But sitting down and discussing things like how will laundry be handled (does everyone do their own? If not, who does?), meal times (what time is good for everyone to sit down to dinner, does everyone take turns cooking?), shopping lists (who does the shopping, where is the list kept so people can add to it, what do you do if you need a specific brand), bathroom arrangements (I’ve done 4 grown ups in one bathroom, with 3 people scrambling to get out the door for work . . . PLAN AHEAD!).

And anything else you can think of.

Now, if you live in the same town, have been spending almost every day together, sleeping over more often than not, and decided to make the jump to move in, a good bit, though not all, of this will already be worked out. If you live further apart, spent a few weeks vacation together to see how it worked, and are jumping into the deep end . . . yeah, much planning.

Draft of Poly Group Home is Finished

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.

Polyamory Living Options

(If you found this post looking for bedroom/sleeping arrangements, click here.)

When we talk about living arrangements with poly partners, we usually focus on two options: living together or living apart.

There are very few truly binary choices in life. You almost always find a third (or fourth, or fifth, or….) option if you look. Sometimes the other options are all bad options, but thy are always there.

When it comes to poly living arrangements, here are some extra options you usually don’t hear about. Whether they are good or bad options will depend on you.

Entwinement Levels

Entwinement refers the how much two peoples lives are intermingled. For many living together automatically comes with high levels of entwinement–you eat together, have joint bills, share living space, etc. In contrast, living apart usually includes lower levels of entwinement. Even if you see each other every day, much of your lives remain separate.

Entwinement tends to be a big part of the relationship escalator, with sharing everything being a popular top step (along with marriage, of course). But for those of us who’ve stepped off the relationship escalator, here are a few living options that offer “middle ground” entwinement levels.

Duplex/Multi-Family: You and your partners could get a pu** duplex or multi-family house. With separate living spaces in the same building, you can have a wide range of entwinement: food shop toegether and share meals, but still keep your bills separate, see eachother every day after work but have your own area to retreat to and close the door when yu need, share backyard cookouts and hangout on the porch, but keep your living areas and “inside” lives seperate. Lots of options.

Apartment life: Get apartments in the same building. This allows similar varieties of entwinement to the duplex arrangement, but puts more physical space between you, so yu don’t need to hear each other’s music through the walls, can’t just shout down the hallway, etc. Basically if sharing a duplex would leave you feeling crowded and pushed together, having other people and a bit of distance between your living spaces maybe a middle ground that works for you.

Co-Housing: There are several types of co-housing communities, but all involve a common living space supprrounded by a number of individual living spaces. Members of the community hang out, cook, relax, and “live” in the communal spave, but have private bedrooms, bathrooms, and (sometimes (kitchenettes) for when theyneed alone time. Co-housings spaces can be converted apartment buildings, or a  intentional community with one big building for the communal space surrounded by a bunch of cottages.

Migrating Living Options

Someones we want to live together, but life, personality conflicts, and prior/other commitment make living together full time unreasonable. And while our culture prefers a sedenetary lifestyle, peoplehave migrated for thousands of years. From ancients herders to modern long haul truckers. If life is flexible enough to allow you and/or your poly partners to migrate, here are some alternative living arrangements that might suit you.

Shifting pivot: One person with multiple partners who can’t live together (whether due ot job, geography, or other reasons) can live with all their partners in turn. Spend the week with one partner and weekends with another, alternate month to month, or on any schedule that works for you.

Anchored pivor: One person with multiple partner’s lives in a single home, and their partners live with them when they can, returning to their own homes when they need/want to. Can work in rotation for partners who don’t get along/want to live with each other, or overlapping if partners are fine together and life is just not letting them move away from other commitments.

Summer Home: polyfamilys/polycules that can’t live together can kepp a home somewhere centrally located that they can all go to and use when/as life permits. Might be a traditional “summer home” set up where everyone goes there for the summer, or more variable, whatever works.

Keeping two homes: for simplicities sake I’ll describe this with a quad made of two couples, it can work for a number of relationship styles. Couples A & B keep their own homes, but sometimes couple A stays with couple B in their home for a week, and sometimes couple B stays with couple A for a week. A good option for polycules who live close together, but can’t have a group home due to custody agreements, health codes other restictions.