Author Topic: Intentional Families  (Read 10121 times)

Offline Admin

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Intentional Families
« on: June 25, 2012, 11:42:29 PM »
When people choose to create intentional communities or families, what is the best way for them to form a home?  Large family home, giving everyone family space?  Or maybe seperate homes with visiting between families or communities?  Something else?


Offline Natja

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Re: Intentional Families
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2012, 05:38:50 AM »
When people choose to create intentional communities or families, what is the best way for them to form a home?  Large family home, giving everyone family space?  Or maybe seperate homes with visiting between families or communities?  Something else?


I think it depends almost entirely on the people involved   and by that I mean ALL the people, rather than a decision made unilaterally by the original couple about how they want it!

Too often I see people saying 'wants someone to move to us, share our house/bed' with no idea of what that other persons personal needs are or what they find they are after a while.  I know this because I lived it, I was fully committed to Poly home sharing, I still am in fact, but I cannot share my partners home, the whole process caused all the adults and the two older children much stress, unhappiness and some trauma.  Now I am very insistent that people not make unilateral decisions on what they think is a 'valid' form of poly living.  Poly living is what works for everyone, not a personal ideal from only one side. 

As we know, unless they self build it is almost impossible for the Browns to find one single home in Vegas, whereas they are many large sized homes and homes designed for Polygamists in Utah, most standard houses have three to five  bedrooms, even if you have an average family size a small house would be packed once you add another adult, not to mention any children.
So the Browns are working towards four homes on one cul-de-sac, it isn't Kody's ideal but it is a compromise which works for every individual and that is what people have to do to have a successful relationship, it is find a way to make everyone happy.

I am however a great believer in is some sort of private personal space,  most Polygamous families maintain separate sexual relationships and therefore, separate bedrooms.  However the bedroom is not only just for happy time, it is a refuge and also, as in the case of the Darger wives, it is a place to express their creativity since the communal areas of their home are decorated neutrally so as to be fair and probably make sure the communal areas are not a horror of mis-matched styles.

There is a unfortunate assumption in triads that the new person does not need any private space since she is blessed to share in the bedroom space of the OC.

This is, also a mistake IMHO.  It should never be assumed that what works for a couple, works for a thruple and the rules for personal space, especially in a busy home and even more so if she does not have outside work, should be just as strongly enforced as in a Polygamous relationship. Being around another adult (or more) all day every day can be very wearing for a person, we all need some space to be alone, to reflect, meditate or fantasise and not getting that space can be very stressful.

It shouldn't be assumed that everyone would want to share space or that they would want to continue to share space after a period of trying it out, the very worse thing I ever heard was someone being told 'Well this is what you signed up for, this is Poly' I am sorry but that is SO wrong, Poly is about multiple committed relationships or marriage, there is nothing that says you must live with any of them! People should be prepared for that and consider alternatives, for example,  how about a move to a new house with an annex/granny flat/basement?  Or space in a garden for a small cabin? A duplex? Two apartments with an interconnecting door....the possibilities are endless if people are willing to work hard to find a way to make every member of their family happy.  Also, it is worth remembering that sharing one home does not make a family, but love and commitment does.


Offline DeeDee

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Re: Intentional Families
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2012, 11:23:18 AM »
Good input, Natja! I think you are spot on--it depends on what everyone wants and needs. And those needs may change over time, so nothing is ever set in stone.

I know when ES first moved in, we always slept in one bed. We soon learned, however, this was not practical for our family.  I toss and turn, we all snored something fierce, and if the person in the middle needs to get up to use the bathroom, everyone gets disrupted. I had to get up early for work, so my alarm would wake everyone. We had to adjust to meet everyone's needs.

Currently, we are living in a VERY small house: 4 adults, three dogs, and 4 cats, though the cats spend as much time outdoors as in--and so do the humans for that matter. It can be very claustrophobic when all four of us are in the living area. Not surprisingly, we tend to pair off in different combinations in different areas of the house. I tend to spend a lot of time on the front porch when it isn't too dang hot.

For our intentional family, if money were not an object, we would have a home built with three separate wings, and a large common area. That way, we could all have our own spaces, while enjoying the comforts of ample shared space (living area, kitchen, dining room). That would also give us each the freedom to have a space to express ourselves.  In that aspect, we are the extremes. 

S likes lots of reds, pinks, and oranges everywhere.  Currently, her living room is orange-red (walls and ceilings alike) Her kitchen in red (walls and ceilings), her bathroom is lavender (ditto), and her bedroom is bright (BRIGHT) yellow. Every inch of her walls is covered in artwork. It is beautiful, but it gives me sensory overload.  With Bud being bi-polar, he is ultra sensitive to all the visual stimulation, so we don't visit S nearly as often as we would like (2-4 times a month). K, however, likes the stimulation and sees S 4-5 times a week.

K is somewhere in the middle. She likes dark colors: living room (walls and ceiling) are a dark chocolate brown, and the kitchen is midnight blue (walls and ceiling). She does have brightly colored artwork on the walls, but as the rooms are already small, and there is not much natural light, at times, it seems tomb-like.

I am the other end of the spectrum.  I like the illusion of space and light.  I tend to paint my walls and ceilings light colors, and insert pops of colors with artwork, throw pillows, and rugs.  For K and S, this is too stark. If Bud has his way, everything would be white, there would be  no visual stimulus on the walls, no clutter whatsoever.

We had initially though separate homes on one property would be the way to go, but it seemed too disconnected for us. If the universe looks kindly on us, we will one day have our big house with separate wings. Until then, we make do with what we have.

Bottom line, as Natja stated, it is very dependent on the family involved and what each individual wants and needs. The trick is assuring there is constant communication and feedback from all the members of the family. Had Bud, ES and I not sat down and re-assessed sleeping arrangements, we would have made each other miserable. If we all wanted to pile into one bed for sex, or if we wanted to have a nice snuggly nap, that was fine. But for quality sleep, one bed was not a practical, viable solution. We adjusted accordingly.

Find what works for everyone!

Offline Deorccwen

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Re: Intentional Families
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2012, 04:19:18 PM »
I absolutely agree with the comments by both Natja and DeeDee. 

It isn't about trying to make everyone fit an idealised living situation, but about trying to make sure everyone's needs are met as far as possible.
It is also about recognising that people's needs change, and relationship dynamics change (especially from NRE to post-NRE) and that what each individual wants from life may also change radically over the course of a relationship, for many reasons. 

Just as we would with close friends, I think it is important to be supportive of what our partners want from life, even if it is not what we would ideally prefer them to want.  I believe that nobody has the right to pressure another person to live the way they want them to.  From a selfish viewpoint, it just means you end up living with a miserable, frustrated and overwhelmed partner: it's simply not worth it.  And at worst, applying that sort of pressure - trying to make someone live the way we want them to, rather than the way they are most comfortable living - can completely destroy the relationship itself. 

A relationship may evolve away from the form we originally envisaged for it, but it is nevertheless a valid relationship as long as love, romance and attraction exist between the individuals.  In essence, the most important thing is *nurturing the relationships themselves,* not getting fixated on how well our living situation conforms to a social, philosophical or personal ideal. 

For me, it's not about ideals, it's about negotiating and re-negotiating until each person is as close as possible to the life s/he wants and needs.  And then negotiating again when those wants and needs change!   
For everything that lives is holy, life delights in life.
William Blake (1757 - 1827)

Offline beccablue

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Re: Intentional Families
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2012, 09:47:46 PM »
I agree with the others... it depends on the people involved and their needs and that can change at any point. There are pros and cons to every scenario... Sharing a house can make privacy issues hard along with combining multiple persons belongings. On the other hand if the group likes a family atmosphere best and can work out the privacy issues, then spending more time together and sharing more aspects of life might be for them. Financially that can be a benfit as well to decrease living expenses but at the same time, it can become a trap if one person isn't paying their fair share and pulling their weight and lead to resentments.

Separate houses have pros and cons too... On the up side you have a place to go to get away when you need a breather (like during a squabble with your primary). It allows for more space and privacy, especially if there are multiple children involved who need their space as well. The down side is you might not get to spend as much time together.

What works for one won't necessarily work for another. What works right now might not be what works in a couple of years...

I think one of the best keys of sucessful poly is flexibility and mutual respect and concern for the needs of all partners instead of deciding there is ony "one way" to do it. I suspect every family will look different just like each relationship within a polycule will look different from each other. That's the beauty of it!