From “Yours and Mine” to “Yours and Yours and Mine”

I haven’t talked about it much, but I have a new boyfriend, who for privacy reasons I’ll call Hunter. Hunter and I have known each other for a while, but our romantic and relationship is new.  In spite of the newness, we have clicked really well, and Hunter spent most of the last few weeks of November with with me and my family.

(Life has gotten crazy since then, and we’re in temp housing where Hunter can’t visit, but we hope to have our own place again by early February.)

Anyway, Hunter spent several nights in November sleeping on the floor of our bedroom. Not because I or Michael wanted to make him sleep on the floor, but because we didn’t have anything else to offer, and he said he’d rather sleep on the floor at our place than go home alone. I didn’t argue very hard.

Michael doesn’t always sleep well, and eventually, on the nights he stayed up until all hours, Hunter would often curl up in bed with me. We started talking about getting a place together somewhere around the last week of November. A few days after those first discussions, Michael stayed up late again and Hunter and I curled up in bed. However, this night was somewhat different. Instead of staying up most of the night and crashing after Hunter left early in the morning, Michael was ready to go to sleep shortly after midnight. He asked me to wake Hunter up so Michael could use the bed.

Michael has several chronic illnesses affecting his muscles and nerves, and if he were to sleep on the floor, he would be crippled the next day. So leaving aside any discussion of courtesy or fairness or anything like that, asking Hunter or I to move was the only option is Michael was going to sleep, and as our relationships are more hinge than full triad, Hunter and Michael curling up together wasn’t happening.

But something in what Michael said bothered me. He emphasized that he wanted to sleep in his bed. Emphasis his, as in not Hunter’s. Possessiveness of any sort rubs me the wrong way, so it stuck out in my mind. Especially since, if we were going to get a place together sooner or later it was going to be “our” bed.

All of which is a kind of long-winded intro to what I really wanted to talk about today: making to transition from ours to, well, ours.

In our society, couples are encouraged to view their property as joint. It’s our house, our bed, our dining room table, our TV, etc. There are exceptions–in a two-car family it’s my car and your car, and most couples don’t have ‘our’ clothing.

Some couples don’t have ‘our’ bed.

Now, it sometimes happens that a live-in poly relationship forms when 3 or more single-folk come together an explosion of compersion and a triad or quad or group is born. In the ten years I’ve been involved in poly, I’ve heard of it happening once.

Far more often a live-in poly group forms when there is a couple, or triad, and a single, or two couples, or some other combination of highly entwined people living together a while and person/people who are moving into the existing household.

At which point somehow people need to figure out how yours and mine becomes yours and yours and mine. And not just how, but what and when. Are the two cars used by three people now communal property when they used to be claimed by one person each? Is the computer which belonged to a newly entwined person available to the people they have moved in with? Whose bed is it, anyway?

Of course, who lays claim to what in a poly home is only a small part of the adjustments and insanity that occur when a poly-group gets a home together. Life being the mother of inspiration, and me looking at getting a new home for a new triad in the near future, I’m starting a new posting series on the joys and horrors of moving in together. See you in two weeks!

8 thoughts on “From “Yours and Mine” to “Yours and Yours and Mine”

  1. This is very close to the topic we’ve been working through recently. My husband has been debating on whether or not to ask his girlfriend to live with us. We are also a hinge type relationship, not a triad. So we’ve been discussing what that would entail if it happens. He doesn’t care much about having his own space but I do and so does his girlfriend. We are both the type of people who very much need certain things to be very clear “mine” labeled, and even though sharing has never been a problem we view sharing and transitioning to an “our” label as not mutual things. The solution we’ve decided on putting forward is getting a big enough place that all three adults have their own bedrooms. After all the talking it’s just been making more sense and making it apparent that the expense of the extra rooms and beds will be worth it overall and avoid a lot of tension that we would have otherwise had.

    1. I like the distinction you make between sharing and co-ownership. It puts into focus a few ideas I’ve been turning over.

      It’s great that you were able to recognize and find a solution to a potential problem before making a big change.

  2. This is very close to the topic we’ve been working through recently. My husband has been debating on whether or not to ask his girlfriend to live with us. We are also a hinge type relationship, not a triad. So we’ve been discussing what that would entail if it happens. He doesn’t care much about having his own space but I do and so does his girlfriend. We are both the type of people who very much need certain things to be very clear “mine” labeled, and even though sharing has never been a problem we view sharing and transitioning to an “our” label as not mutual things. The solution we’ve decided on putting forward is getting a big enough place that all three adults have their own bedrooms. After all the talking it’s just been making more sense and making it apparent that the expense of the extra rooms and beds will be worth it overall and avoid a lot of tension that we would have otherwise had.

    1. I like the distinction you make between sharing and co-ownership. It puts into focus a few ideas I’ve been turning over.

      It’s great that you were able to recognize and find a solution to a potential problem before making a big change.

  3. I look forward to reading your new series! I, my partner, and his other partner all moved in together earlier this year, and I’ve been writing about the experience of living together in a poly household.

    I’ve lived all my adult life with roommates, & the past 5+ years I’ve lived with poly partners and/or metamours. I lived with a non-romantic poly partner for much of that time, and then with her and her other partner. In all that time, we never actually had much of a conversation about who owned what stuff – no moreso than when I lived with roommates that aren’t partners. We typically took a “you own everything you brought & I own everything I brought” attitude towards things, and then we decided that we’d keep rough track of everything bought jointly, so that things could be split up fairly, if needed (not an exact, to-the-penny 50/50, but approximate equality).

    In the end, when I, that partner, and her partner realized that living together wasn’t going to work, we split things up keeping money in mind, taking into account what furniture/stuff each of us brought to the relationship, and then tweaking who kept what according to need (for instance, I’d gotten a number of high-quality kitchen knives for Christmas. I didn’t need all of them, and they didn’t have any knives, so I gave them some. They had way more bookshelves than they needed, so I kept some). It was a very amicable (though still painful) split, which made that easier.

    But that was an ending, not a beginning. For this beginning…I’ll have to think about it. We’ve been pretty lax about someone who wasn’t the original owner using someone else’s stuff, though we’ve all been good (I think), about asking first.

    Best of luck with your exciting move into a new way of living!

    1. What you describe of your split from your poly partner and her partner reminds me of when my ex-husband and I split several years ago. For the most part, he took his stuff and I took my stuff, and a few things that fell in the middle or whatnot we divided up as best we could. As you say, still hurt like hell, but was amicable.

      What’s interesting to me is that the issue of possessiveness seems to have less to do with who owns something and more with attitude and personality. That bed, for instance, was part of a furnished apartment and belonged to the landlord. Something we were reminded of fairly frequently while we lived there. So Michael’s laying claim on it was less a matter of “That’s my bed, I paid for it.” and more “That’s my space and I need it.” Would Michael have been possessiv eof the bed space if he didn’t need it for health reasons? Would I be more possessive if I wasn’t so inclined to view things communally? My computer is MY computer, but I’ll let just about anyone use it at need. Michael’s computer is HIS computer and you better ask first.

      Thank you! I expect we’ll need all the luck we can get!

  4. I look forward to reading your new series! I, my partner, and his other partner all moved in together earlier this year, and I’ve been writing about the experience of living together in a poly household.

    I’ve lived all my adult life with roommates, & the past 5 years I’ve lived with poly partners and/or metamours. I lived with a non-romantic poly partner for much of that time, and then with her and her other partner. In all that time, we never actually had much of a conversation about who owned what stuff – no moreso than when I lived with roommates that aren’t partners. We typically took a “you own everything you brought & I own everything I brought” attitude towards things, and then we decided that we’d keep rough track of everything bought jointly, so that things could be split up fairly, if needed (not an exact, to-the-penny 50/50, but approximate equality).

    In the end, when I, that partner, and her partner realized that living together wasn’t going to work, we split things up keeping money in mind, taking into account what furniture/stuff each of us brought to the relationship, and then tweaking who kept what according to need (for instance, I’d gotten a number of high-quality kitchen knives for Christmas. I didn’t need all of them, and they didn’t have any knives, so I gave them some. They had way more bookshelves than they needed, so I kept some). It was a very amicable (though still painful) split, which made that easier.

    But that was an ending, not a beginning. For this beginning…I’ll have to think about it. We’ve been pretty lax about someone who wasn’t the original owner using someone else’s stuff, though we’ve all been good (I think), about asking first.

    Best of luck with your exciting move into a new way of living!

    1. What you describe of your split from your poly partner and her partner reminds me of when my ex-husband and I split several years ago. For the most part, he took his stuff and I took my stuff, and a few things that fell in the middle or whatnot we divided up as best we could. As you say, still hurt like hell, but was amicable.

      What’s interesting to me is that the issue of possessiveness seems to have less to do with who owns something and more with attitude and personality. That bed, for instance, was part of a furnished apartment and belonged to the landlord. Something we were reminded of fairly frequently while we lived there. So Michael’s laying claim on it was less a matter of “That’s my bed, I paid for it.” and more “That’s my space and I need it.” Would Michael have been possessiv eof the bed space if he didn’t need it for health reasons? Would I be more possessive if I wasn’t so inclined to view things communally? My computer is MY computer, but I’ll let just about anyone use it at need. Michael’s computer is HIS computer and you better ask first.

      Thank you! I expect we’ll need all the luck we can get!

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