Money is one of the biggest things that couples fight over, which can be especially difficult when you’re in a relationship with more than one person. When my husband and I were in a closed relationship, money became a source of tension for us. He was the primary money earner for our household and I was a full-time student. Here are some things that worked for us and some things that didn’t (but just because they didn’t work for us, doesn’t mean they wont work for you). Relationships are 100 percent customizable so do what works best for you and your partner.
Have a Joint account:
This was important to me during a time when I felt like we were already separating so much of our lives. We had worked hard to build our finances together and we were proud of our accomplishments. We were making new friends separately, going out separately, and sometimes even sleeping separately. Having a joint account allowed us to keep some parts of a traditional marriage when everything else about our relationship was changing. Having a joint account is also good for easily paying bills and saving for fun things like vacations and home renovations.
Have Separate Accounts:
Me and my husband have one shared account and a couple of private accounts. This works well for us because it helped my husband feel like he had more control over his finances and ensured that he wasn’t contributing to gifts for my other lovers when he didn’t want to be. It also gave us both a greater sense of privacy. As long as the appropriate amount got put into the joint account to cover the bills every month then what was left over was ours to spend or save as we wanted, without having to consult the other person. If I wanted to go on vacation with my lover or buy him a gift I could do so without it causing a fight or unnecessary jealousy.
Budgeting is almost as essential as time management when you’re poly. Your money is not only split between bills and your family but now also your new lover. That means one more birthday, one more anniversary, and extra gifts at Christmas. Things can add up very quickly. What I discovered works best is sitting down each month to create a new budget. This can get tedious, but if you are someone who often worries about money then monthly budgeting can also bring you peace of mind. Knowing exactly where every penny needs to go each month can help you cut unnecessary spending and relocate funds to the things that you want to prioritize.
Save When You Can:
Bills – and income if you aren’t salaried- can vary month to month. An increase in the electric bill during the winter, taking a sick day, or even a surprise flat tire can be crippling to your account if you aren’t prepared. Make saving a priority. In America, where the vast majority of people are living paycheck to paycheck , saving can seem impossible. Consider getting a side hustle to make some extra cash. On top of my full-time job as a relationship coach, I also nanny (sittercity.com) and dog sit (rover.com) to increase my monthly cash flow. This allows me to save a significant amount and still have a little extra spending money at the end of each month. Stay ready so you don’t have to get ready. Having that extra money in the bank can dramatically decrease your stress. Developing a workable budget can be tricky when funds are tight, so get creative.
Split The Bills Equitably:
When my husband and I initially separated our accounts we split everything 50/50. However, with me being a full-time student and working part time, it became clear very quickly that this arrangement would not work for me long term. My husband made significantly more than me but I was still doing the majority of the house work and paying more of the bills than I could afford. We decided to make things less equal and more equitable. We re-budgeted so that he would pay more than me but we could both still save an equal amount each month after our bills were paid. Be willing to negotiate with your partner(s).
Money, along with sex and children, is one of the biggest causes of conflict in relationships, and poly relationships are no exception. However, for poly people, there is an extra layer of complexity involved in their finances, along with the ridiculous amount of communication that is required. Many ethically non-monogamous people discuss money openly and create clear boundaries around how to handle it. Open and honest communication about finances can help lessen tension, avoid arguments, and create a dynamic that works for everyone.
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