The following is from my in-real-life friend, Hillary. I knew she and Gary have an open marriage, but I never thought about how that could be a detriment to a budget! Please think before commenting since I know this may be something new for some people to read about. They’ve been married since March 2006, so obviously it works for them. I’m a territorial monogamist myself, so I know that polyamory isn’t for everyone, but I also never hold it against others on who they love. Feel free to ask any questions you have and I’ll get Hillary’s responses for you! I ask her everything since I think it is amazingly interesting and she doesn’t mind answering directly – sound like someone you may already know? 😉
Dating life is normally taxing on ones’ wallet. Movie tickets and a nice meal can run you upward of a $100 and look out if one of you wants popcorn. Now imagine you have two serious relationships to attend to and a husband with four different girls to take out on the town. It adds up, quickly.
My husband, Gary, and I are polyamorous. As opposed to swingers, who don’t necessarily have as much of a social obligation to their many partners, poly couples hold down multiple serious relationships with the time and monetary constraints that brings with it. At some point in every poly relationship, it becomes necessary to discuss how finances are going to be handled when dealing with partners outside of the primary relationship.
Our Budget Crisis
Gary isn’t the most chivalrous man on the planet, but he does feel the need to pay for a date if he is the one who does the inviting. Early in our relationship, this led to some friction when I would find out post-date that his night had been twice as expensive as I was prepared for.
I am naturally thrifty when it comes to dating. Groupon, Living Social, and restaurant specials are all staples of my dating life. Needless to say, Gary’s $80 tours of museums and fancy pub life began to give me brain gremlins and reassess the whole poly thing.
One night Gary came home from one such date to find me on the couch staring at the banking app on my phone and crying. In a completely non-adult moment, I threw a couch cushion at him and told him I couldn’t deal with it anymore. I wasn’t going to endure a lack of financial security so that he could go party it up with other women.
As I have never been a jealous woman in our marriage, Gary was absolutely confused. Being a wise man though, he stayed calm and had me tell him why I was so upset. Even through the “How the hell can you NOT know how much you are spending?” rant he stayed supportive and even-headed. Eventually he realized that the cause of my frustrations were not him dating other women, but him spending a disproportional amount of resources outside of our primary relationship.
Terms were agreed to. Checks were split. If he did feel the absolute need to pay for a date, those dates would take place at venues that were discounted and not to be above a total tab of $30. He asked me to find places for him with my Groupon and Yelp magic and I, lover of planning, embraced the idea.
Poly life, like any relationship, is all about communication, balance and negotiation. Had I spoke up sooner, I most likely would have saved enough money to go on a cruise to the Caribbean and Gary could have avoided that couch cushion thrown at his head. Lessons learned, I try to practice open communication and Gary makes a budget for his monthly poly adventures.
Thanks for sharing, Hillary! I could see where multiple relationships would kill my entertainment budget…