Why sectionals are great for polyamorous relationships

Guest post by Angela
Find out why this piece of furniture is perfect for Poly families.
Find out why this piece of furniture is perfect for Poly families.

Nothing reveals the shortcomings of nuclear family home furnishings quite like polyamorous relationships.

I am currently in two committed relationships. My boyfriend started spending lots of time at the apartment I shared with my husband, and it came as an unexpected inconvenience that everyone I love didn’t fit on our couch.

In order to maintain sustainable relationships, polyamorous or not, partners must feel that they are receiving enough attention. Everyone’s needs are different — The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships and Other Adventures cites a particular poly group that made sure everyone got their turn sitting in the front of the car. For snuggly folks like my partners, being relegated to our lonely armchair was only slightly less uncomfortable than all three of us seated bolt-upright on the couch. Not to mention how poor the seating arrangements were for movie-watching.

Like with many poly predicaments, Martha Stewart know-how doesn’t provide a ready solution.

Like with many poly predicaments, Martha Stewart know-how doesn’t provide a ready solution. Necessity, invention, etc… we purchased a beautiful, squat little sectional from Craigslist.

My boyfriend and I spent an hour rearranging the living room. I needed coaxing to remove some of the less cozy and functional pieces to incorporate the sectional. When we finished, not only had we transformed the energy of the room, my boyfriend also felt more ownership over a space previously dominated by items associated solely with my relationship with my husband. (And my husband was just happy he hadn’t been bothered with interior decorating.)

With the sectional facing the couch, the space was better for socializing — the TV was no longer the focus of the room. The sectional was the first couch on which my boyfriend, who clocks in at a defensive-lineman-sized 6’2″, could fully stretch out. And on quiet nights, the three of us could choose between cuddling up together or spreading out comfortably, all without feeling disconnected.

Despite being such a great poly decorating hack, the sectional didn’t make the cut for cross-country relocation. But better believe the moment we had a permanent place, our first order of business was finding our new, red velvet sectional.

Comments on Why sectionals are great for polyamorous relationships

  1. This made my partner and I laugh out loud. We are planning to move in with the other half of our quad in the coming months, and I hadn’t yet thought about how we could all enjoy snuggle time together. What a great idea for furnishing our first apartment.

  2. We have a huge, red faux leather sectional that I love so much. When we start looking for another place, we HAVE to find one that it will fit in! Haha. Also, I want more posts about poly relationships!

    • Our new sectional is so huge that we repurposed the “dining room” of our new place to accommodate it – so I suppose we’re finding a way to fit it in the space instead of fitting it *to* the space!

      And I’m working on a few more poly-oriented posts to submit – if anyone wants to hear about anything in particular, let me know! (Given the opportunity, I never shut up…)

      • I have a post request, if you woudn’t mind – how to work out whether/how to try going poly (as in making the decision for myself initially) and then how to bring it up with my partner if I do decide to try (and what to do if he says no…)?

        (Tiny amount of background, in case its relevant – we’ve been together nearly 9 years, are pseudo-open already but deliberately don’t communicate with each other about it, so while I’ve been with others, I don’t know if he has. We had a couple of menages too, right at the start of our relationship but we havent found another suitable person in over 8 years)

        I look forward to reading what you post, I find the whole topic fascinating (and Big Love really didn’t fulfil my curiosity in the right ways, unsurprisingly I guess!)

        • Your wish, my command, etc etc! I’ll start in on this right away – I have a lot of good resources already at my disposal.

          I’ve never watched “Big Love”, but I’ve heard mixed reviews from poly folks who have, so it seems you’re not alone in that. Some of our neighbors are kind enough to open their home for “Non-MonogaMedia” nights. I’ll find a way to pass along if we watch something particularly enlightening!

    • I bet we have the same one (how many red faux leather sectionals can be out there, anyway? Ours was Ikea). And it is not only awesome for our poly-ness, but also just the straight up being one parent hanging out with multiple kids aspect.

  3. Oh man, I laughed so hard at this. In my old dorm, I solved the cuddle problem by just piling a bunch of pillows and cushions and stuffed animals in the corner under my bed (which was raised to roughly 5.5′ in the air and TERRIFYING). This is a much more grown up solution.

    • I am in process of covering two foam mats for floor cushions on board game nights, so it sounds like your approach is being channeled as well!

  4. Good idea using the furniture to take the focus of the room away from the television and more towards the people. While reading this I realised that our living room configuration is focused on the tv! I might have to rearrange so we can face each other rather than be side by side staring at a screen.

    • I was thinking the same thing! I have been totally stumped on how to do this….Our living room is small and a narrow rectangle so putting two couches facing eachother is neigh impossible…..

      • It is a wonderful dynamic! Enjoying the current set-up of our sectional room – plenty of room for me to recline and critique their form while the guys do P90X – we’re going to be employing a solution I saw at a couple local homes.

        They cover their TV with beautiful cloth, and the effect is miraculous – it turns the TV into a neutral background!

        Toying with the idea of creating red velvet TV curtains to match the sectional…

  5. On a completely non-substantive note – where is the sectional photo from? It’s great and we’re in the market for one!

    • Just click the photo! It’ll take you to the Amazon listing. It’s cool, isn’t it!?

  6. Sectional couches are awesome. Especially for kids. My parents had a huge 10 piece sectional when I was a kid and I loved that couch. It was great for sleepovers. And my best friend and I made the best pillow forts EVER out of it when we were little.

    My mother also tells me that one Christmas when I was a toddler, they made the couch into a fence around the Christmas tree to keep little me from pulling all the ornaments off the tree.

    • Oh, the sectional tree-guard is brilliant! And I fall asleep on the sectional all the time – it’s like a permanent slumber party over here.

  7. I remember in the early days of our quad we would pull the ikea twin bed into the living room (its super light and easily movable) and tuck it up next to the sofa, or just pull the big down mattress topper off and all pile onto the floor. These days work schedules and the like mean that we dont all four hang out at the same time very often, but these are useful things to remember for down the road when we move closer together.

  8. Sectionals are also great if you’re just two people, but both of you are TALL. I’m 5’9, but the hubs is 6’5. He likes to stretch out on the couch, and a normal sized couch is just not long enough for him, let alone me too. Enter the sectional. We’re getting ours in a few months, and I can’t wait!

    • Agreed! My sig other is a big guy and I just like a lot of room, so our sectional has been good for that. It’s also great when friends crash with us, it’s great for movie night when we have bunches of people over. And the cat loves sleeping in the corner.

      We bought our first sectional really cheap online… and it started showing its cheapness within a year (we couldn’t even flip the cushions over when they got stained bc they were only finished on one side). So we saved up and got our current one at at a big chain store (rhymes with Tracy) on a 4th of July sale, making it just as inexpensive as another big chain store (Blue and Yellow).
      We opted into the insurance plan which is great because when I got permanent marker on a cushion cover 8 days after it arrived I called them and they sent a brand new cushion, so blam-o we had a coordinating floor pillow. 😀

      (Also I agree that more posts about poly families would be great to read.)

      • Agreed, sectionals are GREAT for tall people! I never realized it before we got one. Even BF’s amazon of a sister, who clocks in at at least 6’4″, slept on the old sectional a few times.

        All of our sectionals have been obtained via Craigslist – it’s a great way to do it if you can be light on your feet, as people will part with high quality stuff for VERY cheap if you can come take it off their hands. Our first was Raymour & Flanigan – i liked the shape of that one a lot. Our new one was custom-made in the early ’00s for the family from which we bought it – they even gave us the original receipt! They paid over $2k for it, and we got it for $150. Talk about a bargain, and still in GREAT condition!

        I’ll be working on more poly posts – stay tuned, and let me know if there’s anything you’d like to hear!

  9. In Aus we call them ‘chaise lounges’ or just ‘chaises’, though that technically refers to the long seat part. We bought one and when it was delivered discovered that it was too big to fit anywhere in our house! Silly pregnancy brain forgot to MEASURE it! So it was dismantled and for 12 months lived in 2 parts in our loungeroom until we moved house. Now it fits perfectly and can comfortably seat 8 people across it, plus a couple more on the foot of the chaise. We’ve found it perfect for our bub, as we can sit her next to us on the chaise and she’s got some room to move about. Also great for naps! LOVE it – but if you’re gonna buy one MEASURE IT AND YOUR SPACE. Probably a no-brainer, but we forgot! Haha!

  10. Ha, I love this! Posts like this are what make the Offbeat world feel welcoming in a world of othering spaces to me, thank you!
    I actually don’t have this problem, though a sectional would be nice, because I have a tall boyfriend and all but me and my wife-to-be are small enough to make it work on a couch. We look a little like we’re trying to sell Axe when we’re both cuddled on him, but what’re ya gonna do.

  11. I would be interested also in dialogue from other people who are poly as i am and i need advice for how to always ensure that i am not neglecting any one in my relationships

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