That dating polyamorous thick
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Eric and Lila are polyamorous, meaning that they both date and sleep with other people. However, they’re primary partners, aka, each other’s main squeeze. From careers in academia, to friends, and to even lovers, the pair share a lot. AskMen caught up with these brainy poly kids to learn how to balance budgets when you live in different states and have multiple other partners.
Names: Eric (39) and Lila (26)
Occupations: Eric does post-doctorate research and Lila is a doctorate student who also bartends.
Location: Connecticut and New York City
Separate annual salaries: $60,000 (Eric) and $50,000 (Lila)
Combined incomes: $110,000
Relationship duration: Eight months
Relationship status: Primary partners within a polyamorous setup who live separately (Lila studies and works in New York City and Eric works doing post-doctorate research in Connecticut but travels to New York City often)
Before we get to some finance questions, how did you two meet? Lila: We met through mutual friends. We’re both in the same poly community and a former partner of mine is good friends with Eric. We hooked up at a party and fell for one another quickly. Eric: Yeah, it was at a party at our friend’s place in the city. I had heard Lila’s name come up and seen her on social media and after that first night things got serious fast. We decided to become primary partners after about a month of dating.
For those who may be unfamiliar with polyamory and “primary partners,” will you explain what the term means?
Eric: Sure. So, when we met I was doing the solo poly thing. I had multiple partners but there was no hierarchy — everyone was on the same playing field and I tried to devote equal time and energy to everyone. Having a primary partner as a poly person just means that we’re each other’s “primary,” like main, partner.
Lila: Yeah, we still date and sleep with other people, and sometimes we date and hook up with other people as a couple [threesomes and group sex]. But in many ways, we resemble a monogamous couple from an outsider’s perspective and now we put one another first. So, when we do date and sleep with others individually we’re honest that we’re already in a primary relationship.
How did you get into the poly life?
Lila: At Burning Man, at the risk of sounding like a total cliché.
So, putting the poly questions on hold, is it expensive to live in different places? Eric, I know you work in Connecticut and Lila goes to school and bartends in New York City.
Eric: Since my rent is so low in Connecticut, honestly, I feel like we save more money than other New York City couples. We’re both in academia so we don’t have a ton of money, but the commute is easy, and we get to use the money I save on rent by keeping a place in Connecticut on things such as travel. Lila lives alone in a rent-controlled apartment so I spent a ton of weekends at her place. For New Yorkers (I’m almost a New Yorker) we seem to have a money guardian angel.
How does dating other people factor into money? To be blunt, since you date others, do you ever have less to spend on and with one another?
Lila: Eh, not really. The poly community is pretty radical and forward thinking and so it’s not like men pay for all the meals. I always split my dates so it wouldn’t be any different than if I was going out to dinner with a friend. The main resource that becomes an issue in polyamorous setups is time. Especially when you’re also working and getting your PhD. We both believe that freedom to date others is most realistic to maintaining a long-term relationship. So many monogamous set-ups fail. So, the time spent with others feels like an investment for our long-term relationship.
I get the sense that right now you both live financially independent lives, and split things — do you ever see that changing should you get married or move in together?
Eric: It’s impossible to say. I’m certain in my love and commitment to Lila, but soon I’m applying to jobs [as a professor] that may force me to leave the East Coast. And neither of us are sure how we feel about marriage. We might end up being bi-coastal, we might end up sharing a place in New York and talking about marriage for the tax benefits — so much could change in a year given our lifestyles.
Lila: What he said.
You mentioned travel, what’s something you recently bought one another? Does money ever have an erotic component?
Eric: No. Capitalism is a turn-off for both of us.
Lila: He did buy me this beautiful LELO purple whip recently. We’re not super into kink, but I love purple and it’s so beautiful. Some of our friends throw kink events sometimes, and I’m going to bring it to that.
How did your previous relationships affect how you view money in this one?
Eric: Lila was lucky enough to discover polyamory a lot younger than I did. In my 20s and early 30s I was in a lot of monogamous relationships that were financially traditional in the sense that I usually paid for all the dates and what not. Monogamy doesn’t come naturally for me and if I’m being honest neither does always footing the bill, so I’d build up resentment to my former partners. Part of that was my fault because I wasn’t being honest with myself. But it made me very grateful to have found my current community and Lila.
Lila: I was always so focused on school when I was younger, so I haven’t had a ton of very serious relationships to compare it to.
Can you share how much you spend on the following?
Rent: Lila: I lucked out and inherited a rent-controlled place in Brooklyn that costs $900 a month for the whole thing. Eric: And I’m cheap and live with roommates in a house so I pay $650.
Car expenses: Eric: Neither of us have a car.
Debt: Eric: I went straight to a PhD program [which pays you, while master’s programs require tuition] so I only have student loans from undergrad which I just finished paying off about two years ago. I pay maybe $200 a month on credit cards. Lila: Other than minor credit card debt I don’t have student loans; my grandparents paid for my undergrad.
Food and clothing: Lila: Food is where our money goes. Probably about $300 for me? And no idea about clothes — maybe $100? I buy things when I need them and then costumes for parties. Eric: I’d guess $400 for both.