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-   -   Poly Saturated (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=23327)

strixish 04-28-2012 02:34 AM

Poly Saturated
 
So, have you ever discovered that you have developed a number of relationships to the point where you have reached your limit in terms of time and energy?

Here's my problem. I have long term (almost three years) relationships with three people, two of which are a live-in couple. I spend my weekends with the couple, see my boyfriend once a week on a weeknight. I recently met (and fell for) someone new and am very excited to see him once a week as well.

This leaves two nights. I have started to fill them, spending time with friends and family. I have also had a surge of energy and interest in new friends and new possibilities with old friends (maybe exploring a possible fun-play-time sort of connection with an old friend or two who are open to casual, friendly intimacy).

On the one hand, I am delighted to have such a network of people who like to spend time with me. I live alone, but I feel really rooted. I also feel kind of energized to be so open to intimate/play connections with friends (these are people I care about deeply, with whom intimacy might be casual only because it's not romantic). It's all very exciting, especially for an introvert like me.

On the other hand, am I setting myself up to burn out? Am I not going to be able to properly honor the relationships I'm in, if I spread myself too thin?

I was just asked on a coffee date with a new friend, and was happy to say yes, BUT... I don't have an opening for almost two weeks, and there's only a very narrow window of time I can fit you in, how's that sound?

I thought some of you might have some perspectives, if you've hit a point of poly-saturation yourselves. I'd love to hear your thoughts/experiences/advice.

(PS- Yes, my situation is that of both polyamory and open relationships, with quite a bit of overlap between the two concepts.)

drtalon 04-28-2012 04:06 AM

Yes, I become polysaturated very quickly. I need ME time to recharge and when I'm not getting enough, I'm no fun to be around... so my situation is pretty self-regulating.

Mya 04-28-2012 09:19 AM

This is something I've been thinking about lately, too. I have two partners, one that I live with and one that is LDR, but we spend a lot of time talking to each other via skype (about every other day and 2-8 hours at a time, usually 3-4 hours) and I travel to see her usually every month for about 4-7 days. I also have an active social life and quite a lot of friends. Now I have a new person in my life that I like and I'm trying to figure out how he fits in. I'm thinking more like a FWB-type-relationship but we'll see if it becomes even that. I feel quite polysaturated and I wasn't looking for anyone new, but.. :rolleyes: I do think that I'm missing out on something if I just leave this be. On the other hand, I really love my partners and don't want to hurt my relationships with them. I don't want to spend significantly less time with them than I do now. I'm trying to find a balance. Right now I feel like I would be fine otherwise, but godddammit that I have to work, too! :D I mean I have enough energy to handle all this, but time is tight.

Quote:

Originally Posted by strixish (Post 134209)
On the other hand, am I setting myself up to burn out? Am I not going to be able to properly honor the relationships I'm in, if I spread myself too thin?

I think your life sounds really full. I do think that at some point if you have too many partners it becomes more difficult to concentrate on each and every one of them. But obviously only you know when you've reached that limit. Or maybe your partners have some idea how you're treating them? If they feel everything's fine and your relationship with them is still enjoyable and you think so too, then I see no problem. How do you feel, are you still enjoying all your relationships? Can you concentrate on the partner you're with when you're with them? Or do you feel like your mind is all over the place?

nycindie 04-28-2012 09:49 AM

Strix,
My first thought when I read your post is that maybe the best way to accommodate so many people is to inject a bit of flexibility into the schedule. It sounds like right now, you have all your "together times" with your partners predetermined and scheduled in advance. But how about mixing it up a bit once in a while?

For example, I assume you see your couple Friday thru Sunday, judging by the number of days you say you have left after being with them and each bf once a week. What if, every so often you had your Fridays or Sundays to yourself? Or go out with someone else on one of those nights? What if, every once in a while, you alternate a weekend and spend it with a different partner?

Same thing with the weeknights, move them around, play with the calendar, see what things are coming up that you want to do, and rearrange things. Maybe one week, you'll see your bf twice instead of once, and not see the other at all, and visa versa. Once a month or every other month, you could have a whole week to yourself without seeing anyone - reserved for bubble baths or fun stuff with friends. Hey, why not? I just see adding more flexibility as a way to balance things out.

strixish 04-28-2012 02:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nycindie (Post 134232)
It sounds like right now, you have all your "together times" with your partners predetermined and scheduled in advance. But how about mixing it up a bit once in a while?

I think that would be helpful for my state of mind, but I also think it could cause some anxiety with my partners.

I don't really follow the primary/secondary hierarchy (it just doesn't quite apply to the way I see things), but I have a sort of primary-ish connection with the male half of the couple. He can get his feelings a little hurt, a little, if I make other weekend plans, though he's never asked me not to. It depends on the reason. We do miss each other a great deal during the week, but live far enough apart that weeknight visits aren't usually practical.

I can understand why he gets his feelings hurt. My long term boyfriend and I joke that I'm his Tuesday girlfriend, but he has a pretty busy schedule of his own. When he started dating someone new last year (younger, cuter, prettier someone new), it was the fact that he held steadfast to Tuesdays always being for me that helped me get through my own insecurity.

The set schedule works as a way of saying "you're important to me, and you can trust that I'm setting this time aside for you."

nycindie 04-28-2012 08:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by strixish (Post 134239)
The set schedule works as a way of saying "you're important to me, and you can trust that I'm setting this time aside for you."

Yeah, I get that, but there are a myriad number of ways to let someone know they are important to you. Dynamics of relationships do change over time, and perhaps especially when new people come into our lives.

Quote:

Originally Posted by strixish (Post 134239)
I think that would be helpful for my state of mind, but I also think it could cause some anxiety with my partners.

Well, it is nice that you are so considerate, and I am not trying to tell you what to do, but here is a possible situation where catering to a loved one's anxiety looks like it works out great for them -- although he doesn't get a chance to deal with his anxiety if it's never tested -- and yet stresses you. You are the one feeling a bit polysaturated, it isn't unreasonable to want time to yourself occasionally.

You're not a machine built to please anyone or keep him feeling secure. He doesn't have to choose to feel hurt in reaction to not getting what he wants. He is a grown man, he and his partner are both adults -- it isn't your job to make sure they never feel hurt or anxious. They are the ones responsible for managing their own feelings.

Now, I am not saying that you would all of a sudden, change your schedule out of the blue. But I think it's something you can talk about, in a kind and loving way, to say that you've been feeling some stress about making time for friendships and new connections in your life and you would like to try having some leeway in scheduling for a while to see how it goes. You can try a more flexible arrangement for three months or something, but if he gets anxious or hurt about it, it isn't your fault. It could be a good opportunity for your relationships to mature in a direction that supports everyone's independence.

redpepper 04-30-2012 08:53 PM

I decided long ago, after hitting a wall and moving myself into our camper van, that I needed to make myself the priority. I had four relationships at the time and a son to be present with.

When I let go of organising and slotting everyone into a weekly slot it got a lot better. I now don't arrange dates ahead of time but let them come, I make time for me every day. My partners had a time of it but adjusted. I figured that if they loved and cared about me they would be willing to adjust as it meant quality time with them rather than me being cranky and just putting in time. Weekly scehdules worked great at the beginning, but the change up became necessary after a while.

I now have three relationships and I do burlesque, host poly community events and groups, am on the PAC at my sons school, moderate here and still spend time with new people (some dates), and with family. I do it all with presence and passion. It might not be lots of time but I make myself available if something big comes up. Otherwise I take all my loves into consideration and we all seem to be balancing well.


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