From March to July of this year, I lived with my partner and his wife in their four-bedroom family home. We’ve been in an egalitarian poly relationship for five and a half years now. We’ve travelled together and shared many dinners and sleepovers, but this was our first attempt at living together.
Honestly, we weren’t sure what to expect. Would we be in each other’s way? Would we continue to maintain healthy boundaries? Thankfully, it turned out really well! Here are my suggestions for how to make living communally as a polycule work.
How to Live Happily in Your Polycule
Talk A Lot Before You Move in
Express your concerns and expectations, and talk about how you will divide household and financial responsibilities. Try to identify any potential sources of tension and conflict before they arise, then develop strategies for addressing them.
The more you talk and prepare yourselves ahead of time, the smoother your transition to living under one roof will be. Unforeseen issues will definitely arise, but at least you’ve made an effort to avoid some of the more common ones.
Honor Alone Times
How much time do you need to yourself in a day? If you’re an extrovert, you probably need very little. If you’re an introvert, however, you might choose to spend the majority of your time alone. When living together as a group, it’s important to respect each other’s space and to allow for privacy and solitude. If you, or another member of your polycule, has expressed a desire for “me time,” take it seriously.
Don’t expect things to be as social and high energy as they were before you shacked up together. No one wants to be “on” all the time.
Have Rooms of Your Own
When I lived with my partner and his wife, we were lucky enough to each have our own bedrooms. It worked out perfectly for us, as we could arrange the sleeping schedule in a balanced way, and we could have some of that alone time I mentioned above.
Depending on the size of your home, you might have to get a little creative with dividing up the space. If there aren’t enough rooms to go around, designate a private area (a balcony or back deck could work) where anyone can go to decompress. Work out a rotation in terms of sleeping arrangements, taking everyone’s needs into account.
Keep Date Nights, but Be Flexible
You might think that in order to keep things running smoothly, keeping the date night schedule exactly as it’s always been is a must. Surprisingly, that wasn’t the case for us. We found that making a weekly plan worked best, especially since we were seeing each other every day and even working from home sometimes.
Needs change and relationships evolve whenever people choose to live together. It might take some time to adjust to the new normal, so be flexible and have patience with one another.
Do you live with your polycule? What tips can you share?