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-   -   Potential pitfalls of moving in together? (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=24541)

Windsor 06-08-2012 04:52 PM

Potential pitfalls of moving in together?
My husband and I are talking about renting a house together with his girlfriend and my boyfriend in a couple of months. The four of us all socialize together on a regular basis and get along really well. Currently we're each in apartments and are doing this to not only be closer to each other, but to have more space for parties/events. My husband, his girlfriend and I are all blues dancers and want to be able to hold dance parties and practices in the space; all of us are involved in the kink scene and want space for play parties. We're going to try and get a large house (5-6 bedrooms) so there's plenty of space if we need to escape from each other. We're talking about everything we can think of that might come up. Even what temperate we want to set the thermostat at.

  • We're not out about being poly/kinky to our families/coworkers/vanilla friends. And we don't want to be. Is it possible to have this kind of arrangement and keep things discreet?
  • My boyfriend is getting out of his primary relationship just prior to moving in. It is a mutual split and being handled well by everyone. His primary girlfriend of 3 years is moving away for grad school and it looks like her secondary partner is going to move with her. I've only been with my boyfriend for 4 months. I'm not sure how our dynamic will change. Are we moving too fast?
  • We'll all continue dating other people and it can be hard to see your partner being affectionate with others. What can we do to minimize the effects of jealousy/possessiveness when it's harder to "hide" your other partners?
  • What if it turns out this won't work? How much time/effort needs to be put into contingency plans?

Any practical advice you can offer? Potential pitfalls we may not have thought of?

Tonberry 06-08-2012 05:24 PM

I think moving in together after 4 months is pretty early, but it might or might not work for you.

There are upsides to moving together even if you're not in a relationship. I don't think moving together with others will "out" you. I know plenty of people who live with friends, some of them all single, some of them in one or more couple, and if more is going on I've never thought to wonder about it until now.

The economy is usually a good thing to blame, but with 5-6 bedrooms it's hard to believe it won't cost you more rather than less, so I'm not sure if that will work. The blues thing though would probably be enough for a lot of people to believe.

Keep talking it through... and people who have moved in with more than one partner will probably be able to give you better advice about that aspect of it, as I never have done so personally, but from what I hear it always takes some adjustments.

nycindie 06-08-2012 09:27 PM

For other people's experiences, which could be very helpful, you may want to read our discussion thread called "Multi-Partner Co-habitation" here: http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2349

Also, do a tag search or advanced search for the keywords "cohabitation," "living together," and "moving in together."

I don't know how long your hubs has been with his gf, but as far as you and your boyfriend, I think you will find that, in general, most people would say that four months is way too soon to be moving in together. It's often recommended that multiple partners wait at least a year. That way you can see what it is like to be in a poly arrangement through all four seasons, every birthday and holiday, and possibly even emergencies. At four months, you're really still getting to know each other - being able to live with someone is a whole 'nother ball of wax.

However, I think if it's a big enough house, and you all kind of treat it like a roommate situation or renting a summer share, maybe it isn't too soon. Anything's possible! I do think you are smart to ask as many questions as possible and try to figure out various scenarios, as well as give everyone an opportunity to escape and have privacy. Very smart!

LotusesandRoses 06-09-2012 02:30 AM

With that many people, it's bound to look weird living in a house together if you're past college age.

I'm a believer in one major life change at a time. You can start a new relationship dynamic, end an old one, change a living situation, change a job, start or quit school, buy or sell a home, or make another major investment, but doing more than one of those things at once is psychologically taxing. Doing more than two is very often psychologically devastating. You're talking about four or five major changes in your life. Even in the best of situations, the outcome of this will, at best, leave someone with a bad taste in their mouth in a year or two, statistically speaking.

If it were me, I'd wait another four months, continue dating other people, and give myself time to see any red flags about any of the Prince/ss Charmings involved.

Windsor 06-12-2012 04:04 PM

I appreciate everyone's feedback!

Just to give you an idea of our ages, I'm 30, my husband is 29, my boyfriend is 26, and husband's girlfriend is 24. My husband and his girlfriend have been together about a year and 4 months. She just started dating someone else (last couple of months) and it hasn't been the smoothest transition. She is learning how to balance two partners and her communication level leaves a lot to be desired. She doesn't identify as poly, thinks of dating my husband as sort of an exception to the rule. In the future she wants someone all to herself to marry, own a home, and have babies with. Yet it was her idea to rent a house together. Hmmm... even just writing this out, it doesn't sound like the best idea to me either.

I think you may be right. As much as we want to do this to save money and have event space, with all the shifting dynamics, we may need to wait a while and reassess in a few months.

AnnabelMore 06-12-2012 07:11 PM

In terms of it looking weird, I'm 28 and I live with three adult roommates. Two are married to each other and share a room, the other roommate and I have our own rooms. No one assumes we're all involved with each other as far as I'm aware, though the other single roommate and I *have* both screwed the married couple at various times, as it happens. :D

None of that is to say that it's a good idea to move in yet, in terms of the dynamics? But I don't think people would necessarily question it, especially in this economy. And if someone did ask a question, you could always just roll your eyes and stay silent. In a way it might even be easier to discreet, since you wouldn't have to leave your own home for a sleepover date!

PhilosophicallyLost 06-18-2012 05:13 AM

My advice is probably unique given that I lived with my husband and my boyfriend E before my hub and I opened our relationship. I'm basically starting my relationship with E after living with him for almost two years already.

I've only been at this a month, but here's what I've noticed so far:

Best way to avoid jealousy is honesty. If you all move in and realize the situation strains some boundaries you all may have set, it may be a good time to revisit the topic and come up with ideas to combat the difficulty of "hiding" your guys' dates. Be honest about your wants and needs, and I'm sure you guys can find a happy compromise that works. ^_^

Since you have a fair amount of life changes that are going on be prepared for some adjustment issues. Not only are you getting used to one person's idiosyncracies (the ones that only come out in a room mate situation), all of you are adjusting to a four-person scenario. A big house will help, but the living spaces you still have to share will bring out your differences if you don't plan for them. Talk about each other's cleaning habits and daily behaviors to start the process of compromise now, else it might be a bit overwhelming to deal with all of it after you move in.

Four months may or may not be too soon. How long have you known your boyfriend? I've known mine for over five years, so that can make a difference too. I would be wary if you don't know him that well.

Also, in the short term you can hide your lifestyle from your families by justifying the living arrangement to a bad economy....but in the long term it may raise questions. Also, what if someone moves out? Can you afford the raise in living costs if that happens?

I wish you luck in finding a living arrangement that is fun and beneficial for your family...I wouldn't rule out your idea, but if you need more time to work out the kinks that certainly doesn't hurt either. =)

fuchka 06-18-2012 05:36 AM

In terms of whether it's too early yet - as you identified yourself, maybe it is. If there's no need to make this decision soon (e.g. leases running out) then it won't hurt to think and talk some more, and let new relationships settle a bit as you said.

While one major change at a time might be a good rule of thumb, many things changing at once (in a kind of harmonious way) can give shape to future plans, and focus your intentions on common goals. Can be quite grounding, really.

Yeah it is curious that your husband's girlfriend suggested this move, given her long-term desires for an ideal relationship. Maybe her motivations here are something to tease out a bit more?

To your question


What if it turns out this won't work? How much time/effort needs to be put into contingency plans?
One aspect to consider is the same with any shared rental agreement, the financial commitment etc etc. Are you all willing to enter this as mutual friends, in good will, as flatmates? Even when things may be romantically difficult between you, can you trust each other to keep to basic commitments (e.g. paying rent, or finding another mutually agreed person to take over the responsibilities).

How long is the lease? What are each of you 'giving up' in terms of current living arrangements? i.e. if someone has a really nice apartment that they'd miss, it would feel tense if things start falling apart in your new place. This stuff is good to know beforehand... so you're playing with open cards.

It may seem a bit clinical, but getting clarity about what each person feels they're risking can put things into perspective, either can reassure you that you can muddle through as an experiment (and it's okay if it fails) or make you realise that you don't want to go there unless you're more certain of success (in which case, waiting may be preferable)

Windsor 07-03-2012 02:40 PM

So... an update
Well, we went ahead and signed a lease. We ended up with a four bedroom house, just under 2000 sq ft. A little smaller than we wanted, but a better location (shorter commutes for everyone!). And were able to find a situation that if someone moved out, the remaining three could still afford it. We're moving in on August 1 with a one year lease.

No one has raised any eyebrows about it being weird once we mention that it's only $1495 for 4 people (my husband and I are already spending ~$800 for our 2 bedroom apartment and husband's girlfriend is spending ~$650 for her one bedroom). Plus, we managed to find a place with a big front room (20 x 24') with wood floors that is just perfect for dance parties!

We have all agreed that even if things go south romantically, we can still be adults and good roommates. We are all bound and determined to be sane and reasonable. We can all stay friends. I will admit that I asked my boyfriend not to sleep with my husband's girlfriend, cause that would weird me out. But everyone is free to cuddle as much as they want.

We are all committed to keeping the place nice. We really want an adult space that is tasteful and high functioning. We are acknowledging the fact that it will be difficult to share space. I haven't shared a bathroom in over 10 years (yep, my husband and I have a 2 bed 2 bath apartment and the master bathroom is *mine*) and I'm kinda nervous about it. My husband's girlfriend is an artist and has a lot of supplies. We're turning the fourth bedroom into a guest room/office/craft room so that all of that mess can be behind a door and I don't have to see it.

We're going to try to make this work. I see it as something that we try for a year and then maybe readjust. My husband thinks this could last for 3-4 years. We'll see. We're going to try to prepare as best we can for the worse, but hopefully it will be amazing!

nycindie 07-03-2012 03:07 PM


Originally Posted by Windsor (Post 141960)
No one has raised any eyebrows about it being weird once we mention that it's only $1495 for 4 people (my husband and I are already spending ~$800 for our 2 bedroom apartment and husband's girlfriend is spending ~$650 for her one bedroom).

So, you & your husband have a room, your bf has a room, your husband's gf has a room, and the fourth is for her art supplies - sounds good. Just curious - your boyfriend won't be paying any share of the rent? Wondering why not.

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