“Love may be limitless, but time is not.” — Me (And forty’leven other polyamorous people)
Where are your priorities? No, no, sit back down and stop panicking. I’m not here to tell you that you need to give up your life to other people.
And you people who spend all your lives on other people can hang it up with the smug, too.
This is not meant to be a value judgment. The simple fact of the matter is that we choose how we live our lives. Some of us decide to spend our lives inventing a pacemaker, others in rearing our children,and still others in making money.
These are all valid choices. Thing is, when you’re poly, you are adding a time-sink into your life. I’m choosing the negative expression purpose.
Lucky you, there’s an escape clause.
Poly is a time-sink unless you make conscious choices about who you have in your life.
“But!” I hear you cry, “But, Mama Java, you just don’t understaanndd! I have this lover who needs to make sure I see her for an afternoon every 3.7 days and my wife hates it when I’m away at night, so if I spend time with this other lover I have to do it this way, and it’s causing all sorts of tension if I don’t because…”
Makes you tired just thinking about it.
Back up and think a little bit. You don’t have to have people in your life that aren’t in harmony with how you’re choosing to live it. No, I’m serious.1
Be very careful in your relationships. Make sure that they’re in harmony with how you do want to live.
I could never have a relationship, for instance, with anyone who had a problem with me taking time to write. More to the point, that person would have to be fine with me mentally checking out for months out of the year while I work on my current novel. (No, I don’t need Absolute Silence, thank God. I’m writing this in a bar drinking a cup of Irish Coffee and listening to karaoke).
But what is it you want and need in relationships and how does that relate to how you have crafted your life?
It’s not unusual for poly people to desire an greater than usual share of autonomy, ferinstance. But is that what you want? Is it in harmony with how you are crafting your life? Yes, I’m presuming you’re actually living consciously. If that isn’t a goal, these columns aren’t going to be of much use to you.
Once you know what you want and what you’re about, it becomes easier to pick and choose your relationships to match this. You’ll know that because you want to spend great swathes of time with a love that dating a musician getting a career started or a PhD candidate will be a Bad Relationship Move. If you’re really focused on your marriage and kids, maybe an LDR2 with that same person might actually work out really well. It’s going to depend on how you’re choosing to live.
But, no, your time isn’t limitless. This means that you’re going to have to get your priorities straight. If you don’t, it’s almost impossible to be truly loving. You’ll twist around with what you don’t want, assume obligations you’re not comfortable with, and do all sorts of things that Just Aren’t Productive. Need I say that it’s no use at all to try to force yourself into what “should” be your priorities? Be honest with yourself, even if you think it’s icky.
You’ll be able to be more loving for it. I promise.
1 A wise friend of mine often points out that if a cannibal can find someone who will volunteer to be killed and eaten, your own problems about finding what you want are fairly trivial in the face of that!
2Long Distance Relationship