Living Together, Sleeping Arrangements


When Art, Guin, Lance, and I decided to move in together, we had to figure out how we were going to sleep together. No, this is not some poly fantasy where everyone is having sex with each other in a California King bed. Guin and Lance were in the second year of their relationship, and Art and I were in a relationship but I was not in a relationship with Guin or Lance. Our sleeping arrangements had to accommodate the needs of each relationship without impinging on any others. Not an easy feat when we weren’t all involved with each other.

Art felt that he and Guin should have the master bedroom because they were married and had the most things together, and because it would allow both Lance and I to have turns in the master bedroom. The master bedroom was the largest one in the house, on the main floor, has a walk-in closet and a huge on-suite master bathroom with jacuzzi tub. It was much superior to the other bedrooms in the house which were smaller, had less privacy, and no bathroom. Ever the egalitarian, Art wanted the master bedroom to be a communal space that everyone could use.  

Lance felt that the most equitable arrangement was to have us rotate rooms. He wanted Art and Guin to have the master bedroom for three months, then Guin and himself for the next three months, and Art and I to have it the next three months. The room would “belong” to one person while it was their turn and that person’s partner(s) would be able to use it. Guin wanted to be in the master bedroom, and she wanted to accommodate Lance, so she was in favor of this proposal as well.

I thought that Lance’s proposal was ridiculous because who would want to switch rooms every three months? I didn’t really care to have the master bedroom because I liked having my own room, and I paid the least rent. It turns out that Lance was not only uncomfortable sharing the master bedroom with the other couple in the house, but he also did not want to sleep in someone else’s bed. So under his proposal, all three queen sized beds and the rest of the bedroom furniture would be moved to a different room every three months as well.

As is the case of most poly decisions, the person with the greatest discomfort wins. We settled on Lance’s proposal with Art getting the master bedroom first, and we would all switch rooms after three months. Art and I secretly hoped that Lance would realize switching rooms was too much work after settling in and change his mind. As to who would sleep with who, our plan was that Guin and Lance would have three nights together a week, Art and I would have three nights a week, and Lance and I would have three nights on our own while Art and Guin were together. The seventh night would be for us to all be on our own or figure out otherwise. We would need a schedule on the door and a lot of sheets!

It seemed like a pretty good plan, and it was abandoned the moment we settled in.

First, Guin and Lance were on vacation for two weeks when I moved in, so Art and I enjoyed the master bedroom the entire time. When Guin came back from vacation without Lance, should she sleep with Art for two weeks because that’s how long she had been gone? Or should she sleep with him for three days according to our schedule? But the first night Guin was back, she and Art had a fight and we all slept separately. On the second night she was still angry. On the third night their daughter Sage slept with her and he slept with me again. Does he then sleep with her for the next three nights even though according to our schedule it was my turn to sleep with him?

We weren’t sure when Lance was going to come back (he also had a house in Toronto, where he intended to live part of the time), and when he did a few days later, he wasn’t sure how long he was going to stay. On day four we talked about switching beds, but since Lance was going to be away again for another week, Guin wanted to sleep with him for the remaining time. Lance declared that he supported his lover spending nights with her husband, but we all knew that it was a challenge for him. We did not switch beds.

Art and Guin finally got their time together after Lance left. While I had been annoyed when Art and Guin did not sleep together the first night she got back, when it was finally my turn to sleep alone, I was surprisingly emotional about it. I had spent four weeks in the house by this time, and the family was my entire life. Guin was away or at work most of the time, and when she was at home, she wasn’t interested in socializing with me. Sage and Piper adored their father and loved their mother, but they mostly ignored me. Art was in the process of launching a new business, and worked day and night at his new venture. When he wasn’t working we were eating or spending time with the family. I felt lonely, and stressed by the lack of predictability in our sleeping arrangements, the tension between Art and Guin, and my growing resentment over the lack of help I felt around the household chores, which I seemed to be doing the most of. So after a lonely day spent working, studying, cooking, and cleaning, instead of being rewarded with a night with my lover, I had to deal with him sleeping with someone else.

I lay in bed not able to sleep. I could hear Art and Guin’s voices in their bedroom below me. What were they talking about? Lately, they haven’t been agreeing about the chores, or how they should look after the kids. Why does he want to sleep with her anyway? They never have sex. We have sex every day when she’s away. We have amazing sex. I bet he wishes he were having sex with me right now instead of pretending to be intimate with her. The next morning, much to my chagrin, they were still in bed while I made breakfast for the family. Even though I was sleeping with Art regularly, knowing he was in the house sleeping with someone else was still very difficult. 

Two weeks later, Lance had not returned. He had begun a new relationship in Toronto and wanted to spend more time there. Guin spent hours on the phone processing this with him. I had readily given up the master bedroom when Guin came back, but now Guin showed no sign of intending to give up the master bedroom. She had an erratic schedule as a midwife and said that she slept better in the orthopedic master bed. She was not interested in talking about it, like she was not interested in talking about the chores that were assigned to her but which she ignored, or the dinners that I cooked when it was her turn. Art was completely absorbed in his work. I stopped trying to figure out who was supposed to be with who each night, and left it up to Art where he wanted to sleep. It was sort of a game for me to guess who he would choose to sleep with that night, as now we were not on any kind of schedule. 

A few days later, we heard that Lance had decided to break off his relationship with Guin and become monogamous with his new lover.

To be continued. Please “follow” if you would like to get an email notification for new posts. 

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