A big pot of time

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Poly Means Many: There are many aspects of polyamory. Each month, the PMM bloggers will write about their views on one of them. Links to all posts can be found at www.polymeansmany.com.

I like making stew, I like the simplicity of it, I like how the combination of ingredients becomes so much greater than the sum of its parts.

Poly time management is like a stew. A big pot of time into which we chuck in all the schedules, plans, desires and appointments. Stir, season, leave to simmer for a few hours.

Alas that’s where the resemblance ends. I like stew because it’s one big pot of awesome but unfortunately I can’t then ladle out a bowl of only carrots and gravy (he said, avoiding the more obvious meat and veg part of this awful analogy).

Managing my own time means being aware of the schedules of 4 or 5 other people at any one time, and beyond that it means communicating my preferences, compromising and adapting to best suit everyone, and means that even a simple event can be tricky to plan. Good communication is a must.

It doesn’t end there of course. Once you have some plans in place there is then the question of value, of balance. It’s more noticeable at the start of a relationship, when things revolve around dates and going out, that period when the safety of neutral territory suits everyone. But over time that changes and, as you become more comfortable with each other, the time spent becomes more relaxed, more comfortable. Lazy nights slobbed out on the sofa.

That said I do find myself keeping a mental tally of the types of time I spend with my partners. Again, for me it’s about balance. Whilst the usual curveballs that life throws at us will play a part in all of this I try and make sure that, for example, I’m not always going out with one of my partners but staying in with the other.

Hopefully that way the quality of the time I spend with both my partners is about equal. That’s something that’s important to me as within our poly setup we don’t have notions of primary/secondary partners so the time spent needs to be balanced and ‘fair’. Of course there will be times when circumstance tips the balance one way or another but that’s where trust and communication come into play.

Recently I’ve spoken with both my partners to ask for a little more time for myself and I realise now that part of what made that conversation hard (in my head, they were both lovely about it) was that I will need to find the balance again to make sure they both feel that the time we have together is of value.

Time management isn’t easy, but with open and honest communication it doesn’t have to be hard.