Overnight Guests When Everyone is Not Poly

Photo by Eli Duke

Photo by Eli Duke

This week my partner and I have been exploring the idea of what to do when you live with someone with whom you share a primary relationship, yet only one of you is polyamorous and has other partners.  How does this effect your living situation?  How does this effect your ability to entertain at a home you both share?  Are sleepovers allowed?  I wanted to share some thoughts and solutions we’ve come across asking this question to others, and some troubleshooting ideas we’ve pondered on our own…

Some people have no problem with this idea~  “No problem” meaning that the poly person in the relationship is free to have other partners over to the house for various activities, and the mono person in the partnership feels comfortable with that arrangement.  Some strategies we’ve heard that make this reality more accessible are:

  • The mono person in the relationship approves, likes, and/or has a friendship with the poly partner’s other partners.  In this situation building the expectation of strong metamour relationships helps to keep everyone’s feelings of trust and safety intact.
  •  One person mentioned that things between everyone involved in the situation were copacetic once all three of them sat down and had a conversation face to face together about what worked best for each of them.  This cleared up misunderstandings as well as put people’s guilty feelings to rest about where the poly partner “should” sleep each night.  Everyone got a say, and in the end everyone felt respected and as though their needs had been heard and were being met.
  • Another arrangement some people reported was that as long as the poly partner spent the night with the mono partner, the poly person was free to invite their other partner over.  In this scenario a secondary/other partner was welcome into the house for sexual and kink play, but at the end of the night the poly partner spent the night with their mono primary.

Some people are willing to have overnight guests as long as really specific boundaries are in place~  Not everyone is particularly happy sharing their poly partner with others, though they may be very tolerant and desire to be supportive.  These people seemed to need particular rituals or rules clearly negotiated in order to find comfort and calm in the sharing of a partner in their home.  A few I’ve read are:

  • As long as the mono partner is not at home it’s ok to have sexual activity in the home or overnight guests stay over.
  • As long as no one feels “kicked out of bed” it’s ok.  One account outlines that everyone sleeps together in a California King master bed.  The rule in this arrangement is that when bedtime approaches everyone is welcome into the bed for snuggling and sleeping, and sexual activity between all parties desists.

Sometimes this situation is not going to work for your relationship~  And that’s ok as long as everyone in the relationship is able to negotiate to a point that feels respectful and honest about their needs.  Relationships that could not find a healthy agreement about hosting overnight guests have troubleshooted in some of these ways:

  • Having secondary/other partners who have a space of their own to go to, and who do not mind always hosting.
  • Hotel rooms, taking advantage of business trips, or planning away time or vacations with the non-primary partner.
  • Arranging for friends with an extra bedroom to host overnight plans between the poly partner and their secondary/other partners.  In this scenario one might create an exchange with another poly couple so that the mono partner in the situation would sleep in their house under the roof of friends who are being intimate in their partner’s bedroom, but not under the same roof as their partner and someone else having romantic or sexual time together.

The most popular general option we noted was that all people in the equation have their own bedrooms.  This was coupled frequently with the opinion that “marital beds” or the bedroom of the mono partner be a sacred space where metamours are not welcome to stay or get sexy in.

Another tenet of making what I like to call the “advanced math” of sexuality work is communication, communication, communication!!!  Without clear negotiation between all parties it is too easy for one partner or another to feel unsafe or untrusting in the relationship, and ultimately still uncomfortable or unhappy about the practices that ensue.

Some of the discussion was further complicated (or uncomplicated) by there being a D/s component to the mono/poly relationship.  Some submissives expressed feeling as though the Dominant partner (when the D-type partner was the polyamorous one) should have say over how things will go in the relationship.  Therefore when the D-type laid down the expectation of multiple partners and cohabitation guidelines it was the s-type’s job to accept that circumstance and work with it (to the degree that the D/s relationship also felt safe and secure to the s-type).

Whatever your relationship though, whatever your dynamic, there are always creative ways to find happiness.  If you are committed to having the things you need, and you are committed to your partners’ safety and security within your partnerships (and vice versa), it shouldn’t be too hard to find a way to make your situation work.  The only people who can find the answer that shall work best for you and your partners is you and your partners.  However, community definitely aids in the process of inventing any wheel, making it potentially a faster and less painful journey for all involved, so I highly recommend finding other people engaged in similar relationship models to yours if you can and gathering that support.  I am inspired by the wealth of information and resourcefulness people who find themselves problem-solving against the grain hold.  These creative courageous people give me hope at continuing to find my own bliss…

To Breath and Being,
~ Karin

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~Thank you.

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