Polysaturated*. I’m so there.
Full time job, child, husband, boyfriend, metamour, and what feels like a hundred million hobbies and personal contacts to maintain.
It’s been a struggle recently to find a balance between all of these things. Especially finding enough quality time for everything and everyone. Today, I’ll talk about my husband and I. Because we co-habitate and co-parent, our relationship presents us with some unique challenges. We’ve also been together for over a decade, which means we’ve fallen into a specific level of comfort with one another that only comes with long term romantic relationships.
Each relationship of mine has aspects that make it simultaneously easy and difficult. About 2 months into relationships with new partners (we strangely both began seriously dating another partner right around the same time), my husband and I realized that we weren’t feeling very close. After some conversations about uncomfortable feelings, we were able to figure out why. Sure, we spent a lot of time together because we lived together, but much of that time wasn’t *quality* time. When we were home, our time together followed the same routine: get home, make dinner, eat family dinner, get our child ready for bed, do household chores or work after the kid was in bed, and then maybe if we weren’t too exhausted, try to squeeze in some intimate time before crashing into bed. We had fallen into the age old trap of busy parents with young children: We weren’t taking hardly any quality time to ourselves. Unfortunately, because we don’t have similar responsibilities with our other partners, the amount of quality time we got with our partners in contrast with one another became glaringly obvious. When you feel like someone else is getting what you’re wanting, it’s hard not to feel like the situation is unfair. If it goes on for too long, resentment and jealousy can sit to brew. Don’t get me wrong, neither of us wanted to take time away from the wonderful people we were dating, we just wanted some together as well.
So what did we do about it?
1. We agreed that we had to be more intentional about our time together. Our solutions included having more regular date nights. Not always super fancy ones, although those are important too, but even weeknight dates that got us out of the house for an hour or two. Long enough to have dinner and an adult conversation without racking up a huge babysitting bill.
2. Spending an occasional weekend away together. We found that leaving the kiddo with friends or family so we could take a small weekend vacation together made a huge difference in feeling connected with one another. We come back feeling refreshed and a stronger couple.
3. Doing more household work together so we can chat, instead of the divide and conquer method. We’ve had some of our most productive conversations while folding laundry together.
4. And lastly, we try to schedule more time all together. I am really fortunate that my husband gets along with my boyfriend, I get along with my metamour, and my boyfriend and my meta get along with each other! The four of us click pretty damn well and spending time together, while can sometimes be tricky to navigate, is an important way for us all to bond together. I know this situation isn’t feasible for every polycule, especially when long distance partners are in the mix. But if it is at all possible to work towards time all together, I would highly recommend it.
I will say my husband and I are still working on this. I think it’s easy to take long-term partners for granted sometimes, especially if you share a living space and domestic responsibilities. Because of this, we have to always be active and intentional about our time together as opposed to passive. We are having to shift our focus and reprogram our thinking a bit. It is, however, well worth the effort.
*Polysaturated: “used to describe a polyamorous person who is not currently seeking new partners due to having their time and energy already occupied by other partners.” from The Smart Girl’s Guide to Polyamory by Dedecker Winston