In my life, the thing I am absolutely the worst at is time. I’m pretty absent-minded, and I have a hard time remembering what I said I would do, let along when I said I would do it. Both at work and home, this is probably the area that I trip up on the most. This is why I need to remind myself to update the calendar when there is something to go on there, even if it isn’t a date. Making sure that I’m keeping track of myself and how I plan out my time is definitely something that I work on regularly, and something that I dearly want to improve.
Scheduling is all the more important in a poly context. As the old trope goes: love may be infinite, but time isn’t. I think the part of poly where I have struggled the most is around scheduling. And it falls in three specific areas:
- Overpromising: I want to see the people who I’m seeing. That probably isn’t news. But I want to see them so much that I chunk out as much time as I can afford with people. This sometimes means that I’m giving more time than I actually have, or someone is getting the short stick.
- Transitioning: Sure, I can totally make it across town in ten minutes on the bus with a transfer. Or I’m just running a little late, is that okay for, like, ever pretty much? I’m bad at taking that into account, and sometimes I ask folks to bump back times that we had set before. Or worse, I’m not sure how I’ll make it to see someone, so I’ll leave them hanging while I try to figure it out, so then I’m just leaving this poor person to set their plans on hold because I messed up.
- Not making time for myself: I am notorious for burning my free time so that I can see someone. I don’t have anything planned, so I can totally make plans! Except this cuts my ability to really take care of myself, or rest, or sleep, or anything of that nature. I don’t go to the tanks, and then I’m all grumpy. Or there’s this thing that I really want to sit down and write, but I never take that time for myself, and then I feel all stifled.
As a result of all of this, I end up hurting people. At best, I’m miffed at myself for not taking care of things. At worse, I am hurting my partners for wanting something as simple as consistency. It points right at being an unfair partner.
But, of course, there are things I can do to mitigate all of this. As with all things poly, communication is key. I need to understand and express my needs to my partners, and be able to hear and understand what they need. And then we talk it all out and figure out what works for us, and put it in the calendar, and address those things that are irking us. Which sounds simple in my head as I write that out. This doesn’t make those conversations easy or smooth by any means. But this is the foundation behind it all.
I also find it really important to remember that everyone is really busy and trying to make it all work. I try to understand others needs to adjust schedules, or accommodate if their plans aren’t yet set in stone. This is especially true when it comes to scheduling with my wife, because living together throws an extra set of complications in the mix.
We all want to see each other, and get to spend time together. We’re all on the same team. As long as we can communicate about it, the answers come together eventually.