A poly home, just without the sex
|Not the street with the home described,|
but a similar one nearby. (NCinDC / Flickr)
In fact, the "normal" household of Mom and Dad with no other adults is a recent historical aberration. Humans have lived in larger extended families and tribes for almost always. We're born to it. This is why a nuclear family can instinctively feel so diminished, lonely, and incomplete without you knowing why.
Setups like the one below qualify, to me, as the generalization of polyfamilies: they're based on friendship rather than romantic interconnections, but otherwise quite similar. Think "intentional community."
Two Couples, One Mortgage
Why my partner and I decided to buy a house with our friends, share our space and our lives, and all make a family together.
By Ari Weisbard
Last December, my partner Rebecca and I bought a rowhouse with another couple. Our wedding was this May. Next month, we’re expecting a baby — the other couple’s baby.
For most of our adult lives, Rebecca and I lived in houses full of roommates and loved it. Before our most recent move, we rented a rambling five-bedroom house with four friends. When we started talking about getting married, we realized our biggest fear was that we’d leave these important kinds of friendships behind and end up living in what she jokingly called a “love/torture cave of nuclear family loneliness.” Neither of us wanted that.
It turned out two of our closest friends... felt similarly, and we decided to do something different and move in all together....
Yes, all four of us are on the deed and, yes, we share the 30-year mortgage and food and maintenance expenses. No, there’s no division of the house into separate sections. And no, all four of us are not all having sex with each other. (Why do many people assume that if adults are willing to share a kitchen, they probably also want to share a bed?) We are just two couples who plan to live together and raise children in one household, hopefully for decades....
Many nights, when one of us stumbles home from work exhausted from a hard day, someone else has already done the shopping and cooked a great homemade dinner. When a pipe burst this February, we all took turns bailing out the basement. Once the baby arrives, we look forward to being crucial reinforcements for each other during those first several nearly sleepless months and trading off so each couple can have date nights. Living together with another couple also has made it easier to identify and counteract some of the sexist patterns that emerge in many households. Because we discuss chores as a group and work consciously together to establish our household norms and individual responsibilities, there’s less opportunity for traditional gender roles to establish themselves surreptitiously.
Living together seems to be a great financial move so far. With four adults splitting the mortgage and other costs, it is easier for each of us to save more of our income, which will give us the financial freedom to pay for childcare or reduce our work hours later, when we need more time and money for our families....
For many people, their romantic partner is the one person with whom they feel comfortable showing their struggles or weaknesses. While Rebecca and I certainly support each other in that way, it has actually been great for our relationship that we don’t try to be each other’s only source of support and amateur therapy....
Sounds poly to me. Read the whole article (July 11, 2014).
Here's a similar story about another platonic-quad household. Here's one about six adults, several of them divorced from one another and remarried to others, who all moved in together along with their kids and find it great.
I'll be posting more here about such all-but-poly households. The media are spotting a trend toward them "not seen since the 1970s," driven in part by the changing economy.
As I've written before, we can expect this way of life to increase in the coming century as resources become scarcer and more poorly distributed. People with good poly housemate skills will have an early advantage.