Just for Fun
What is Polyamory?
Featuring Spice! -- The PolyFamily Web Comic
Polyamory for the Practical
What is the purpose of a marriage?
Valid question in this day and age. Oddly enough, the function of marriage has not really changed all that much. It is still an economic contract to provide for its members -- especially the children. However, we've made a serious mistake in family structure in the last fifty years or so. You see, back when.... shoot, lemme quote a favorite author of mine. He said it better:
The American core family (father, mother, two or three children) has ceased to be emotionally satisfying -- if it ever was. It is a creation of our times: mobility, birth control, easy divorce. Early in this century, the core family was mother, father, four to eight children... and was itself a unit in an extended family of grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins living near enough (if not in the same house) to be mutually supportive. If a child was ill, Aunt Cora came over to help while Aunt Abby took the other kids into her home. See Mauve Decade fiction.
With increased mobility and fewer children, this undefined extended-family pattern disappeared almost without its disappearance being noticed. To the extent to which it was noticed, there was often glee at being free of the nuisance of in-laws and kinfolk. It took considerably longer to realize that the advantages had disappeared as well.
-- Robert A. Heinlein
There are a lot of solutions to this. We could return to the extended family pattern. To some extent, there are people who have re-created the pattern in their own lives. My parents did this through a combination of having a very large family as a support. They also had the added benefit of being dedicated church members. For them, it did work out and as their child, I enjoyed those benefits.
However, I am no churchgoer. My parents live in the same town, but my only sibling -- a childless brother-- lives 500 miles away. So, where's the solution?
There are plenty of people who have their various social groups become their support network -- as with my parents and their church. I do something a little different. You see, I have more than one spouse. I have The Prince that I married about nine years ago. Then I also have a wife and another husband. Since the state does not recognize a poly family, we have to set up things on our own that a married couple would take for granted. We need health insurance for all of us. We need to make sure that we have our ducks in a row when it comes to legalities. We have to have up-to-date wills and make sure paper are drawn up to give our spouses access to us were we to go to the hospital. We have to provide for support for our children were one of us to pass away and we also need to provide for money for our old age. All of these things are often state/corporate sponsored in a conventional marriage. What we had to do was incorporate a family business to be able to enjoy the benefits of being married. (You can read about another sort of intentional community here ).
There are questions anyone facing a poly family should ask. If you think it reads remarkably like the same sort of questions they give you in prenuptial counseling, you're right! The basics for making a relationship work are pretty much the same. Some of these questions are financial in nature, and many are personal.
Here are some musings on finding housing for a poly family.
I know this sounds like a strange question in a poly marriage. After all, it's supposed to be love without limiting. However, there are polyamorous marriages that have an exclusivity agreement. The term used among the 'Net community is polyfidelitous , or polyfi . And even in relationships that aren't there are often agreements about dating.
When my first husband and I married, we did what a lot of married couples do and just pool our money. When we married our new spice, they did the same thing, so we saw no reason to change a system that worked. Money earned by spice is family money. We have a bank account from which we pay our bills, we have a budget and we have a financial plan for the family. We don't have a large amount of discretionary income, but we do make sure everyone has pocket money for which we do not have to account.
Now, merging finances like that is taking a big risk with your future. We are quite aware of this, of course. I would advise anyone who was considering this as an option to think of several things:
In sober truth, learning a little about financial planning, especially if you do not have much in the way of money, is a pretty good idea. I rather liked Nine Steps to Financial Freedom by Suze Orman.
Do we want them? How do we want to space them? What sort of birth control do we want to use? Do we spank or not? How do we educate them? How many do we want? Will all spice have parental authorities with all children?
For that matter, what sort of bedroom arrangements make sense? Do you feel comfortable with everyone in the same room or do you prefer a little privacy from time to time? (Our ideal is to have a huge master suite with futons and shoji, which would accommodate whim).
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