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When is "Some Day?"

Everyone has different landmarks and moments that matter to them in relationships. As I've been conducting a study of polyamorous households and doing follow-up interviews with folks off of that that includes how they handle finances, one common theme - with enormously differing answers - that I've noticed is that folks feel like they can include expenses of gifts, anniversaries, and vacations with non-nesting partners in the household budget "When they're serious enough," "some day." What "serious" means, or how long "some day" needs to be, is the part that varies enormously.**


Virtually all the non-polyfidelitous groups I spoke to included some amount of money for dating in their household budgets (if they kept one) or assumed that this was coming out of "individual money" and were splitting finances in a way that prioritized "individual money." But it has been interesting to see that so many households line item or assume that they as a household will be saving for some kind of vacation (even if it's an every couple of year thing) and that so will the relationships outside their home once they cross some mystical line of "seriousness."



I recognize this logic. I really like going away for the weekend with my partner of several years about once a year; even though we manage it because we bring each other along on work trips or extend stays on work trips to "good" places. It feels like we're prioritizing each other to take more time at once than our date time that gets carved out of very busy weeks at home. We did this for the first time at a conference that happened to fall close to our anniversary and going away during the spring kind of feels like an anniversary trip even though it isn't - it's a nice marker of passage of time. For those of us who don't get the escalator steps of moving in, wedding, babies, it can feel like trips are 'a top step.' So in that sense, folks including them in their planning is attentive, kind, and positive.


The sheer variety of answers of "What is serious?" "When is serious?" "When do we start including these as line items we plan for?" really interests me as I process all this data and write, though. I think some of the variety is because polyamorous people are more used to long distance relationships and traveling for compatibility, so for those folks the "serious"/"not" threshold is much lower or less significant. If you care, you will include it and save and travel. Versus for folks who primarily date locally, or have lower budgets overall, or are saving a Lot to travel with kids first, travel is A Big Deal, and relationships must Be Very Serious to rate being included in this calculus. These are the folks who included multi-year time thresholds and big emotional commitments in their descriptions to me when I asked what they meant. Travel and seriousness can also be held as a way to maintain certain activities as kind of hierarchically defined - if you're serious enough you're allowed into the travel circle with the nesting partners. Very few respondents were doing that intentionally - but it felt like connotation and subtext to the emphasis on seriousness being required for outlay of money. I don't carry judgement around anyone doing this differently from anyone else, I just find it interesting that there is such a variety in such a relatively small sample as the just over a hundred people who responded to that specific followup question.


What relationship landmarks and thresholds make a relationship feel serious for you? Is travel one of them?


**questions about finances in detail were asked in follow-up questions and folks who offered travel as a concern in their responses got asked still more follow-ups, in which I have noticed these patterns and variations.

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