Almost everyone’s life is built around schedules and patterns. Some patterns are as simple as going food shopping every Tuesday and doing the cleaning on Thursday. Others need by-the-minute calendars to keep track of what is going on when.
When a poly family moves in together everyone’s patterns and schedules are going to be disrupted. The goal is for this disruption to allow a settling in period for everyone to evolve new patterns and schedules that work for everyone.
As always, communication is your watchword. Your poly partners will know part of your patterns and schedules, but not all of them. You need to keep them informed and stay informed.
Google calendar has long been a go-to for polycules to keep their schedules running smoothly, but somethings Google can’t help with.
Let’s look at food shopping. Carla does her food shopping on Sunday. This way it doesn’t interfere with her work week. Tomas has an irregular schedule and usually just picks up the next day’s food on his way home from work. Dani has a monthly meal schedule and goes shopping twice a month to get everything they need for their meals.
All of them know they have different ways of handling meals before they move in together–but how will they handle food shopping?
What about bathrooms? If the three of them get a place with only one bathroom, and both Dani and Carla prefer to take showers first thing in the morning, they are going to have some conflicts. Maybe Tomas likes a late night shower–great! He has plenty of hot water and he and his partners are not in conflict. But what if the sound of the shower and the water running through the pipes keeps Carla awake?
I’m an early riser. By preference, I’m up before 6, and lately I’ve been getting up before 5. This lets me wake up, exercise and get an hour or so of work in before the kid gets up and I need to turn into Super-Mom. With both Michael and the kid being sound sleepers, this has worked the past few years (well, except for the part where Michael is a night owl and excitable video gamer. Getting up at 5 doesn’t work when I’m getting woken up at 2 am by “Noooooo! Damn it!” as a creeper destroys the latest Minecraft project. We eventually sorted that problem out).
Well, what happens when we start living with Hunter in a few weeks? Hunter isn’t the sound sleeper Michael is. What if, no matter how careful I am, I end up waking him up when I move around in the early morning?
These kinds of things happen when two people move in together. When three or more people move in together, it’s just compounded. If possible, discuss as much of this ahead of time as you can. And if you can’t, discuss it as you go, keep the communication flowing after the move so you can work out new patterns and schedules that work for everyone.
A warning for polycules where an individual is moving in with an established relationship:
Basic social dynamics, when two or more people have lived in a household together, and someone starts to live with them—whether the new person is moving into an existing home or they are all getting a new home together—the patterns of the established household will tend to have more “weight” behind them. It is very important for the people in the established household to be considerate of the new person and the possible need to adapt their routines and habits. It is equally important for the new person to speak up if they feel they are being forced into patterns and schedules that do not work for them.