For the last chapter in this series, I am going to move beyond the basic concept of an "open relationship" to that of a family of choice that shares expenses and responsibilites.  The members of your family can choose to live within the same household, or they can live in different physical locations (depending on space issues). In a traditional family arrangement, the couple has a limited amount of resources available to take care of household obligations. One or both members need to earn an income in order to maintain their lifestyle.  The need for income and financial stability may cause either partner to work in a job that may not be the best fit for them. In addition, the birth of children not only bring joy but also additional needs upon the household, most significantly that of constant supervision and care.
According to a news release posted in mid-March, 2009 by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, American families spend nearly 60% of their budget on housing and transporation.  While transportation costs are a large household expense - partly due to rising fuel costs and people living in a different city than the one they work in - at most it takes up 20-25% of a household's total expenses (leaving housing to take up the remainder of that 60% chunk) If you take a look at the family budget calculator on money-zine.com (which uses data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics), the average household spends over 30% of their income on housing expenses. When banks determine how much mortgage a household can afford, they typically assume that no more than 28 percent of a household's pre-tax income should go towards the mortgage payment. In other words, we spend a LOT on housing costs.  The question is - do we need to?
"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but whips and chains excite me" ~ AJ McLean Before we delve further into this topic, I want to take a quick moment to divert your attention towards an online fortune cookie generator - because we all know that the fortune cookie sayings are 100x funnier when you add "in bed" at the end ;)
"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."   ~ Inigo Montoya, The Princess Bride I wanted to take some time to explain why I used a particular definition for "open relationship".   I'm guessing that it may be different than what most of you think of when you hear that term.
"Sadder than destitution, sadder than a beggar is the man who eats alone in public. Nothing more contradicts the laws of man or beast, for animals always do each other the honor of sharing or disputing each other's food." Jean Baudrillard, French philosopher Given the large number of restaurants in existence it's easy to see that we (speaking for Americans in general) like to dine out.   Part of this is due to convenience.