One thing that poly people hear all the damn time is “I just don’t know where you find the time”. Many people have firm ideas in their mind about how much time they’d like to spend with a partner, and it’s easy to see why they can’t imagine replicating that for more than one and still being able to hold down a full-time job.
There are a few tricks of the trade that help you to keep everyone happy - and I thought I’d share a few of them with you all.
Stop for a moment and think about what you do on a day-to-day basis. Chances are, the things you spend your time on can be split up into a list of categories that looks something like this:
Different people will find that they need different amounts of time for these things. Anyone with children will probably need to spend a lot more time on the first category than the rest of us tend to. Some people need a great deal more alone time than others to be happy, while others spend a massive amount of time on their working life.
One trick for poly scheduling starts with figuring out how to juggle these priorities more efficiently. Both of my current partners are involved in one of the hobbies I spend a lot of my weekend time on, which means I tend to see them at those events. One of them has got to know my other friendship group and often comes with me when I socialise with those people. The other is self-employed like me and works from home like I do, meaning we can sometimes see each other at times most people wouldn’t be able to.
It can take a little conscious effort, but if you get your priorities in order, it’s entirely possible to fit in everything.
One of my favourite things about polyamory is that relationships are allowed to find a level that works for them.
Imagine, for a moment, that you find someone you click with right away. There’s a strong connection between the two of you, you’re hugely sexually compatible, and you get on well - but one of you wants to get married one day, and the other doesn’t. Or one loves the idea of having kids, and the other hates them. Or maybe the problem is more prosaic than that; you find that if you spend more than a few continuous days in each other’s company, you begin to grate on each other’s nerves a little.
This stuff is all common; it’s the plot that launched a thousand romcoms. The traditional narrative tells us that either one of you has to change or the two of you should end it, stop “wasting time” in a relationship that isn’t “going anywhere”, and get back to looking for The One.
I have had and am having amazing relationships with people I couldn’t marry and spend every waking moment with, for whatever reason. I’ve had partners I want to see three nights a week and partners with whom I have a date once a month. I have friends I hook up with when we see each other who live hundreds and hundreds of miles away from me.
The beauty of polyamory is that you don’t need to spend the same amount of time with every partner, and you don’t need to quit a great relationship just because it doesn’t have everything you'd possibly want. Let your relationships find their particular level naturally, and you’ll soon figure out that the scheduling slots itself into place.
People’s conflicting schedules can be complicated, but if you’re all in touch with each other, it should be possible to find enough mutually compatible time. One easy way to do this is to share your calendars with your partners. Most people store their diaries digitally now rather than using pen and paper, and if the people you’re seeing have access to your calendar, it will be all the more straightforward for them to find a time you’re both free. It can be useful to add your metamours to this, too, as chances are you’re not the only person your partner is trying to schedule in!
As with all things in polyamory, the trick is good communication. Keep in touch with everyone who needs to know when your dates are going to be, and you’ll soon find that you have more time for the people you care about than you’d ever realised.
Got more questions about polyamory and how it works? Make a comment below or send Abi a personal message on AskAbi@fuck.com
Abi Brown is a freelance writer and general pen-for-hire devoted to sexual deviancy, far-left politics and wearing too much jewelry. Find her at her Tumblr or @see_abi_write.
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