Our Poly Life

Our life as a Polyamorous Quad, with 10 kids.

Cohabitation Station

on November 8, 2008

Temptress and I stumbled upon interesting thread in the PolyWeekly forums a few weeks ago.  As we normally do, she sat there reading to me as I fritter unfocused at my desk right beside her.  We discussed the post and its replies before deciding to add a response of our own.

 

You can read the original at http://forum.polyweekly.com/index.php?topic=353.0 or read below the expanded blog worthy revision of our opinions.

 

~~~

Speaking as the female half of a cohabitating quad, we can say this topic has an extremely broad spectrum, and no single post or essay can begin to quantify all the nuances that poly cohabitation brings to the table.  We (from here on referred to as I for simplicity sake) can say, that like everything else in poly, there are no hard and fast rules and it is up to the constituents of each tribe how they go about setting guidelines that work within that home.

 

In our particular case, we did not opt for the incremental path.  We closed our eyes tightly and leapt quite quickly into the poly version of what two monogamous couples being monogamous together might look like.  I akin this choice to the differences between marrying your high school sweetheart at age 17 or living a full life first and then marrying at 35.  Both situations have their pros and cons, and which ever path you choose, you don’t have a lot of perspective on the other.  You just look up and say, “here is where we are, where do we go from here?”

 

I won’t try to dissect or recap our entire three years together (that’s what blog archives are for, right?) but all of us agreed from the start – before we even knew the poly community existed – that the caveat should be “do one relationship right first, when that one is solid, then consider adding more.”  Cohabitation is Life PLUS.  Remember the old commercial with the fried eggs?  “This is you brain, this is your brain on drugs.”  Same with cohabitation – it is not for the weary or faint of heart.

 

It is my opinion, of course, that cohabitation is the “final frontier;” especially so if you have children.  The four adults made a very serious choice reinforced with commitment (in a private ceremony, if you want to call it that; rings and promises were exchanged) and in so doing blended the lives of nine children.  When times are tough and we feel like selfishly making other choices, it is the love that brought us together and the life of these children that call us back to center.  For better or worse, these 9 children are fused into forced sibling-ness and to separate them now would be, in the words of our therapist, “detrimental and utterly devastating.”  They are our anchor to reality and a constant reminder of our original vision.

 

Were we adult singles, we might consider cohabitating more like playing extended house with our current lovers, when we as individuals are free to come and go as we please, needing nothing more than communication, honesty, and a Google calendar.  Our quad doesn’t spend every waking moment together, but we are consciously raising our children with the “village” mentality.  Only by living under the same roof did we feel like we were really life partners, not just weekend playthings.  And that doesn’t mean we feel like cohabitating is “THE” right way, just another option that fit best with our ideals.

 

We are extremely careful about keeping ourselves as much under the radar as possible, seeing as we still live in a conservative area.  That will change at some point in the future (the 3-5 year plan) but for now, we exist to most as “two families sharing residence for financial and child care benefits.”  Some have their suspicions, but we are careful not to confirm that for anyone not poly friendly.  The main thing is making sure we adhere to the residential laws in our county; making sure there are no more than two persons per bedroom and making sure our total numbers jive with the amount of mandatory square footage per occupant.  (For more on that, check your local housing regulations.)

 

I would think how a clan approaches their (potential) cohabitation would be similar to how they approach poly in general.  If you are the quiet and shy individualist, cohabitating is probably not the right answer for you.  Blending people into a tribe is messy – there is more noise, more issues for debate, and yes, more drama.  But there is also more love, more sex (don’t tell we actually admitted that), and more potential for support in the daily task of living.

 

With all the ups and downs our poly life has presented us in the last three years, I oft hear people ask, “Does this really make you happy?  Is this really working out for you?”  And I always, ALWAYS, say yes; without a doubt.  I don’t love the turmoil or the drama or the mental game playing, but life is always going to be messy in some way.  Regardless of the choices you make, there are no pristine and uncomplicated lives out there.  At least in this situation I am surrounded by people who love me and who are dedicated to sticking it out, in good times and bad times.  Regardless of our “mood of the day” the love is there, so I continue to hold on with the hope that we all can learn from our mistakes and evolve into the household we once held up as the ideal for what we each wanted in our lives. 

 

~the laundry goddess, November 8, 2008

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2 responses to “Cohabitation Station

  1. “people ask, “Does this really make you happy? Is this really working out for you?” And I always, ALWAYS, say yes; without a doubt.”
    And that’s the bottom line, isn’t it? And as you also say, life is messy. If we wanted no drama at all, we’d meet mates long enough to reproduce, and spend the rest of our lives in complete isolation.

  2. Hello. I think the article is really interesting. I am even interested in reading more. How soon will you update your blog?

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