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-   -   Between two households with child? (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=70077)

charybdis 05-31-2014 01:14 AM

Between two households with child?
Hi, I am new here. I have tried looking online and can't find anything about this particular sort of poly arrangement. I am in love with two people; let's call them Thomas and Brooke. They do not know each other, but know of each other. I have been with Thomas for coming up on six years and Brooke for coming up on four years. Thomas is considered my "primary," as the home we share together is my mailing address and I keep my things at our home, then bring things to Brooke's house when I stay with her. The amount of time I spend with her over the years has varied, as I lived 2.5 hours away for a while while I was in graduate school, then I had a job where I travelled out of town a bit, etc. I have always spent more time at Thomas' than at Brooke's, but over the years, the amount of time with Brooke has increased. Thomas has always indicated that he is very okay with my emotional connection to Brooke and with the amount of time I spend with her. After two years, I told my parents about Brooke - her parents have known about me all along. My relationship with Brooke was not necessarily expected to turn into a long-term thing - we both went into it not knowing how it would work out - but we were incredibly compatible, so we have stayed together. For years, I have been as emotionally connected to her as I am to Thomas.

So, Thomas and I decided to have a child (and possibly - I even venture to say probably - another one in the not-too-distant future), and I am now four months pregnant. Brooke and I have been trying to be honest and open with each other about our emotions, which has not been perfect, but we have been working on it. Brooke and I very much want our relationship to work, and it is hard for me to imagine what it might look like. Thomas is fine with our child having a non-traditional family, but Brooke is not interested in meeting Thomas, so the two households would be entirely separate. Thomas' family does not know about Brooke, and Thomas is willing to tell them, as they will be around a lot (read: we are moving next door to them) and it will be confusing when I end up at Brooke's home with the child for long stretches of time, etc. I want the child(ren, but let's just worry about the one for now) to have consistency, and part of me is concerned about the kid resenting going back and forth. But... the other part of me says that, as a conscientious group of people, we will be able to assess the child's needs and adapt accordingly. I also feel like children are resilient and think whatever they experience is "normal," and having a lot of people around to shower the child with love is a good thing. But... the other part of me says that this is just so weird and inherently chaotic, schedule-wise. Brooke and I really want to be in each other's lives, and Thomas has indicated that he is open to the child spending a lot of time away from him, with Brooke, and at times me being with Brooke and the child being with him. Brooke has indicated that for us to work, it will have to a large time commitment - not every other weekend or some infrequent fling.

I have a million thoughts about the possible scenarios I am imagining, but before dragging this into a much longer saga, I will open it up here. I would love if anyone has experience with this kind of poly arrangement with children involved and would be willing to share their thoughts. The arrangements with children I have seen are more communal, so I would really appreciate any input more directly related to the two, separate household situation with a child involved. I realize it kind of resembles a divorced family, which obviously, a lot of parents manage, but I feel like I am kind of in the dark trying to forge a new path, when I am *sure* there are others out there who have already laid out some bread crumbs...

Thanks so much for any insights you may have!

PolyinPractice 05-31-2014 01:31 AM

It's one thing realizing you're poly after you have kids, but I'm not sure it's fair to bring a kid into this world, knowing you'll have to split your life in half(?) because one of your partners refuses to have the other involved in their life. It's Brooke's right to not be a part of Thomas' or your child's life. I think it'll become very complicated, and rather selfish of you, if you choose to keep seeing her....

Nadya 05-31-2014 04:02 AM


Originally Posted by PolyinPractice (Post 268448)
It's one thing realizing you're poly after you have kids, but I'm not sure it's fair to bring a kid into this world, knowing you'll have to split your life in half(?) because one of your partners refuses to have the other involved in their life. It's Brooke's right to not be a part of Thomas' or your child's life. I think it'll become very complicated, and rather selfish of you, if you choose to keep seeing her....

The OP stated clearly that she would take the child with her when she went over to Brooke's, and only occasionally leave the child with the father. No, I do not think she is selfish at all. Brooke would be a part of the child's life, even though she and Thomas are not willing to interact. I think with the child in the picture they might need to have an emergency contact line between the two, just in case.

I think the scenario might work out well - I have no kids myself, so not much practical advice here. Just... Go ahead with your life and I hope someone else will be able to give you some useful tips.

charybdis 05-31-2014 04:28 AM

Thank you both for sharing your thoughts.

I should clarify a couple of things - the sentence about the separate nature of my relationships was unintentionally misleading; the relationships have always been separate, I have always known they were going to stay separate, and I am quite confident that any attempt to merge them would end very poorly. I have never wanted to join the relationships; I only meant that Thomas is more willing to interact with Brooke in infrequent and very cursory ways - I did not mean to imply that she was the stonewall keeping the relationships separate, as that is far from the case.

Secondly, I don't really know where/with whom the child would spend more time. I am certainly open to the possibility that there would be a good amount of time that the kiddo would be separate from me, as there would be a good amount of time that the kiddo would be separate from his/her dad. There would be lots of variables in discerning what worked in that regard, but I wouldn't necessarily be going into it with expectations/limitations... It seems that would be something that would work itself out as a matter of practicality, etc.

Thank you both, again, for sharing your thoughts. I appreciate it.

MsChristy 05-31-2014 05:07 AM

Just curious, but what is your husband's reason for not wanting to meet your gf? I mean, even if they are not friends I would think he would at least want to know the people that are important to you in your life. I have met my husband's friends, and even those I am not fond of I have at least met.

LovingRadiance 05-31-2014 05:25 AM

I think as long as all of the adults are willing to deal with each other in case of emergency (such as kid and u r at brookes, something happens to u, she needs to contact thomas so he can get kids etc)
All are willing to prioritize childs needs (which can't be fully predicted in advance)
None are badmouthing each other
All are ok with kid talking about each adult to the other at will (cause they will)

It is do-able.

LovingRadiance 05-31-2014 05:26 AM

Would be good to read up on and watch educational videos provided to divorcing parents, regarding caring for and prioritizing childrens needs in dual households.

GalaGirl 05-31-2014 05:32 AM

Having a newborn is a huge change on its own. See if you can get some out of the way now.... Like telling Thomas parents about Brooke now.

How far away is Brooke? I think some of the success of this will depend on travel distance because travel with a baby is challenging. It also will depend on how involved and supportive your partners will be in baby care. As the mom, esp if you plan to be a nursing mom, you will be babe in arms a lot. The first year of life of a newborn can be exhausting. I would focus on getting through the first year and then assess again for the second year what the next pattern will be based on baby's changing needs.


Dagferi 05-31-2014 10:34 AM

I split my time as close to 50/50 as I can between my two homes I share with my husband's.

My two boys, and now a puppy, travel along with me. During the school year I have to spend more time during the week at the home I share with Butch since my homes i are in two different school districts 23 miles apart.

Not complicated. My life didn't end because I became a parent.

london 06-01-2014 05:31 PM

I think it would be unfair on the child unless Brooke and Thomas can have a civil enough relationship to co parent in the same room. What about when the kid wants all it's parents at some event or the other?

Don't get me wrong, I think monogamous people who can't get their shit together enough to co parent in the same room are selfish too. The difference with them is that they usually don't have a child with the expectation of things turning out that way. You guys are actually planning to have three parents when two of them have never met and obviously feel awkward about each other's presence in your life.

Honestly, I'd hold her back at "aunty" until that can be resolved. The reason I'm saying her and not him is because he is the child's biological parent. As for your romantic relationships with each person, I really don't think they are a priority right now. I'd sort out who is parenting the baby first. The results of that will determine who is happy enough to stay with you.

Looking back, I might have been presumptuous with talking about her parenting the baby, but in all honesty, unless you do keep it at sort of visits every other weekend, she will be a significant care giver and all the things about them being awkward with one another still apply.

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