I’m writing this from the couch, where I’m sleeping tonight. My husband has his girlfriend over.
This is among the details of my life that seem to confuse some people, especially—but not always—monogamous people. This practice isn’t as common among poly folks as you might think (or maybe, as I might think). Sometimes I even get reactions of something approaching pity. Which is strange for me, of course, because I’ve consented to all those details, and in fact many of them were my idea. They work for me, and I’m happy. But some of them look really weird to other people.
One of them is that when my husband’s other partners come over, I sleep on the couch while they sleep in our bed with him (and he does the same for me when one of my partners is over). This is a logistical necessity: we have two bedrooms, but a housemate who lives in the second. So either I sleep in the bed with A and his partner, or one of us sleeps in the living room. Sometimes I’ve slept in the same bed as A and one of our other partners, and that can be really nice, actually. But since each of us gets relatively little time with or other partners, neither of us is involved with any of each other’s partners, and we both prefer to keep sex pretty private with whatever partner it’s with, for the most part it’s nice to have bedtime to ourselves.
This arrangement actually originated for my benefit, when I had a boyfriend who lived four hours away, and A had no other partners. It took awhile for A to become comfortable with it, actually–and in the meantime, my boyfriend and I got pretty creative with parks, the back of his car, and (sometimes) being really really quiet in the living room. Which was fun while it lasted, but it was also a relief when we were finally able to start sleeping in the bedroom.
So I remember being really happy the first time A’s out-of-town girlfriend came to visit. I actually gleefully texted my boyfriend, “It’s my turn to sleep on the couch!” I was so happy to be able to give back what had been given me over the preceding months. Now, it’s just the normal way of things.
About the reactions I get: I guess in some way it seems to some like I’m being displaced from my “territory.” The bedroom is usually a private, intimate place, so letting another women have sex and sleep there with my partner may seem more invasive, somehow, than just being okay with her having sex with my partner. (Also, while my partners aren’t mine, my bedroom certainly is.) And being banished to the couch is something that usually happens to a partner who’s on the losing end of a fight, at least in popular culture. But personally, I have no negative associations with it. In fact, I’m grateful to be able to make that little concession to A.
And it is a really comfortable couch.