Finding Balance with Multiple Relationships
I have been extremely successful at developing relationships with low drama people who are all respectful of each other and support me in my relationships with others. It's a real blessing.
My relationships are also of varying ages, with a couple being several years old (established, comfortable, secure, emotionally intimate), one just over the six month mark (what a relief to have the NRE fading), and a couple new dating relationships (whheeeee, excitement!). Yes, with this number of people, most of these are people I see only once or twice a week, though I spend every full weekend with my primary-ish (the word signifies mainly the time commitment we make to each other, though he's also the only one I talk to about long term FUTURE). They also all have other primary-ish (or explicitly primary, if they do things that way) relationships with other people.
Most of the time, I feel incredibly happy with this arrangement. It helps me to allow relationships to develop to their own level, without anxiety about shaping them to be any particular thing. I feel like I am surrounded by a network of support and affection.
But sometimes, every once in a while, it feels a little overwhelming-- like I have a part of my brain going all the time to evaluate whether I'm putting enough energy into this relationship, have I made sure that X knows I care about them this week even though I'm so busy and can't see them, and are things going okay between me and Y, and can I keep every plate properly spinning when my focus seems to be drifting to just this one plate over here right now, etc. etc. etc.
Is this structure, this thing I'm doing, inherently chaotic? If it feels this good, why isn't everyone doing it? Is there something weird with me? How do I know when I've stretched myself so thin, that what I'm getting out of it is eclipsed by the energy I put into it? How can I think that way about these people I love?
I appreciate your thoughts.
Only you can answer if you are past your polysaturation point.
But I think that point is like everything else -- if all else is going great? Maybe it is at X. But if something happens like stress at work or a family health issue -- then it drops to (X - 1) or (X - 2) or something.
If you are overwhelmed -- are you also spending time on the (Me to Me) layer of this polyship? So you are alone or with non-romantic friends to chill?
In my own life -- my brain works like that all the time. Just because it is not romances doesn't mean I don't have tiers!
Family Math? (As opposed to polymath?)
I have to balance my me to me, me to my spouse, me to my kid. Then work on me to (spouse + kid) times. And deal with kid to US (the parents) and there is no denying kid gets jealous. Kid is young! Then deal with spouse to (me+ kid) time.
Never mind dealing with my own aging parents and the wacko of eldercare for Dad. They are my first in my extended family of needs. Then there is the rest of the people.
A new lover would have to fit in all that as a long term partner -- I seek permanence or a shot at that. A permanent V perhaps. And a new lover comes with their OWN family math bag. Am I expected to participate in that or not? For me to be able to give a new lover my best? When what I want is long term serious commitment?
I have to coolly and honestly assess and own that no. THIS time and place? Not the best time and place to Open again to date and shop for that kind of partner.
You kinda have to do that in your own networks over there -- a cool, honest assessment. And remember to take care of your buckets -- your mental health, emotional health, physical health, spiritual health.
Love may be infinite but there's only 24 hrs in a day.
Not sure if that helps.
Because if you are feeling frazzled then that's one sign that your internal battery is probably getting low and you need to do what you can to recharge it. If you have no energy then you aren't putting enough into the time you have with your partners, and the relationships suffer. In order to have sustainable relationships you have to work to keep that battery in you charged up.
Hopefully these ramblings make some sort of sense.
We all have different needs and different pet peeves, different breaking points etc.
I have a similar life-for different reasons.
I have a husband, a boyfriend, a 12 year old son and a 5 year old daughter who I live with (all ADHD) as well as a dog and a 17 yo cat who has health issues.
THEN, I have a 20 yo daughter and her 21 yo husband, and a 18 month old grandson a couple miles down the road who I spend much time with.
As well as being a college student and having a close relationship with my 18 yo sister, 36 yo sister and 35 yo brother who live nearby.
I can't imagine having another lover.. Where would I fit them? ;)
Oh Becca, what you have going on all sounds great to me! I am someone who likes my independence and don't want to live every day of my life with a "partner." I realize more and more how nice it is to spend a day or two here and there with someone - when we know our time is limited, we make the most of it. It's like having a treat to look forward to. It isn't weird, and you're not weird (or you're my kind of weird, maybe :) ).
Everyone's not doing it this way because not everyone thrives in that kind of environment, where there is so much stimulation or variety. Some folks want the communal setting, a poly tribe, where they're all sharing a household and moving toward a goal together, while others like activity and change and the intensity of experience when you're trying to fit all that passion, love, camaraderie, and affection into 24 hours since you know you won't see that person again for two weeks or whatever - whoo, exciting! And there is every possible configuration in between! We each have our own style and a pace that appeals to us.
I also think it is only natural to want to take care of the people you love and care about, so wondering of you're giving them enough time, attention, and whatever else they need is part of that.
It sounds like you're doing just fine.
Have you ever read the thread for solo poly people, where we talk about our dreams and ideals, and how poly works for us who don't have primaries and/or live-in partners? It is here: Solo poly people - what's your ideal?. Feel free to add to it, if you like!
http://cf.ltkcdn.net/antiques/images...nce_scales.jpgIn relationships, when I feel like the scales have tipped too far in the direction of being more work, grief, and problematic issues than fun, comfort, and satisfaction, it tells me there is either work to do, a need for a break, or time to let go (of something, whether a behavior, belief, or person, what-have-you). Not that the relationship can never have problems or issues - equilibrium is not a static state - but I assess if there an imbalance, with too much time spent in the "not fun anymore" side of the scale.
I appreciate everyone's responses!
I think that right now, one source of stress is that I have two new connections, with all the excitement and uncertainty of seeing how we fit, and the newness, and the shiny...
But also the crush. Feeling crushed out is such an ego boost, but also so draining! And I know it's just temporary NRE, and I'm doing everything I can to keep my head level and sane.
I love the excitement, and feed off it, but I also know I can only hold so much of it in my head and heart at once, so I'm trying to find balance, balance, balance. Once this part fades, my capacity in general may expand.
Also, it does help to remind myself that I don't have kids, or pets, or a marriage, or any of that, so maybe I totally do have the capacity to nurture a network like this. I guess time will tell.
I'm grateful for all of your responses!
Hang in there -- you sound sane to me. Just... NRE wheee! :D
I do the bucket approach -- which I guess it is like a combo battery and scale?
I feel people are mind, body, heart, and soul. I try to tend to my health buckets -- mental health, emotional health, physical health, soul health. Make sure each one is fed fairly -- not necessarily DAILY, but I sustain the practices that help support those buckets and keep them in good shape and topped up. I had a huge blast of ORE wheeee! over the summer because DH and I made a big space to reconnect and rebond and we're still running on that vibe. Very close, tight, kooshy, etc. But as much as we needed the top up in the mind and heart buckets? The body bucket while appreciative of the extra touches and sex is tiiiiiiired and needs to sleep and eat and function properly. The soul bucket? Is soaring, but needs grounding because there's work and school and things to tend on the mundane plane.
If you have ever played Sims? My kid likes that analogy. Her OVERALL life mood is X. Her moodlet of the day is Y.
Just 2 more cents.
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