Sharing One Bedroom

Sharing one bedroom while needing your personal space in polyamory can be a huge struggle.

My partner and I have been in an open relationship the entirety of our time together (3 1/2 years) and we are considering having him move into my 1 bedroom apartment this summer. However, I am worried about setting boundaries regarding hosting our other sexual partners.
He has a much higher hook up frequency than I do and as of now at least I don't feel comfortable having anyone coming into our shared space while I'm gone (at work or something), especially with just one bedroom. I'm afraid to broach the topic because I think moving in together would be great for us for many reasons but what if this becomes a deal breaker for him. I have done a lot of work unpacking jealousy and "ownership" of my partner's body and time, so I want to make sure I'm not unraveling that by not allowing anyone into our space.
 Any tips for a shared space and even a shared bedroom for sexually non monogamous partners?

Firstly, not wanting your partner to have sex with someone else in your own bed is not inherently a "jealousy" or "ownership" issue. Nor is not wanting someone you don't know at all to be in your home. Wanting to have a space which belongs either to yourself or to you and your partner is not some sort of sign of deep jealousy you need to work on. There are so many cultures where the home is literally a sacred space and even if this isn't a concept which is common within your culture, some people have different boundaries about their home than other people do.

While I was in a relationship where I was living in London and my partner and I shared a room in a flat that we shared with other people, I was not okay with the idea of someone I didn't know sleeping in my bed. I still don't like sleeping in a room with strangers. I don't like the idea of people coming into my room where I sleep without my permission. Even when I'm in a hotel, I don't like cleaners coming in when I'm not there. My partner didn't really care so long as basic hygiene rules were kept -- but that's where we're just different people with different boundaries and no one is inherently right or not. We worked to compromise about ways he might be able to bring people over but not use our shared bed, but it was a challenge!

Ultimately you can't control whether or not this is something that becomes a deal breaker or not for him just like if you decide you want to have children and he doesn't, you can't control that. It would be a lot more of a disaster if you pretended to be okay with it and you weren't, so give yourself some credit and just ask him directly if this would be okay. Consider if you might be able to make some type of compromise -- like maybe he can bring people around but they don't use your shared bedroom. How might you negotiate this if you were roommates and not partners?

There is a part of this that is working with your own discomfort and making a compromise because if you did have a roommate, it probably wouldn't be reasonable to say that you or your roommate couldn't have any guests ever. But at the same time, if you had a roommate, their guest sleeping in your bed is also another thing. Rethinking about this situation from the perspective of roommates might help you separate the situation from your own personal emotions and feelings about your partner's hookups and your own personal feelings about how you negotiate a shared space with someone.

It comes down to how both of you negotiate this -- but this is actually very good practice for the future. It may be scary for you to have to broach the topic, but really this isn't the most difficult situation that your relationship will face -- especially if you live together. There will be far more complicated things you'll have to work out together. So learning how to deal with these differences and compromise is a good practice for the future. In the past, I used to be really hesitant about conflict in relationships because I saw each conflict in my relationship as chipping away slowly at the relationship.

But actually, I had to re-imagine the role of conflict. Not only is it inevitable in all relationships, but how you both cope with conflict, negotiation and repair is actually what makes your relationship stronger. Try to re-imagine these situations where you and your partner may not agree as chances to actually make your bond together stronger.

I hope this helps and good luck!

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