Focusing on Love

I noticed that I’d written two other “focusing on” titles, one for work and one for fitness.  I thought I might as well round out the unintentional series with a few thoughts on finding focus in love.

One of the major mental shifts in the transition from monogamy to polyamory has been paying attention not only to the amount of time I spend with each partner but exactly how we use that time.

When it was just Ben and I we could spend all weekend getting things done like grocery shopping, Costco trips, little fixes around the house and cleaning.  It might easily become much needed time to get to the things that, for one reason or another weren’t accomplished during the week.  As a monogamous couple, this sort of weekday procrastination and weekend productivity worked.  Now however if we blow through a couple days getting a lot of practical things done it feels like we really haven’t had that time together and before we know it we are out on dates with other partners and having second thoughts about what we did with our time together.

Of course, the housework doesn’t stop needing to get done just because our personal lives got busier.  So we have to be more careful about planning so that everything can get done without sacrificing too much personal time.

Since I work from home I try to get a lot of bigger household tasks like cleaning the floors and big clean-ups done during the day while everyone else is at work.  That way these things don’t become pressing on the weekend when someone else has the time to get to them. Besides, it’s easier to clean when there’s only one person home and that doesn’t happen often outside of work hours.

Getting tasks that require focus and labor like floors, windows, and other washing out of the way while everyone at work leaves the more passive tasks like running the laundry machines for evenings and weekends.  These tasks fit more easily into plans because you can just move the items and then go back to your date while the machines do the work.

It’s about more than chores though.  Sometimes even if we aren’t doing chores together we aren’t paying attention to each other either.  Almost eight years of monogamy meant getting used to having endless time together.  So what if one or two nights were lazy, spent doing our own things like me working on the blog and him playing guitar – there was always tomorrow.

Now that isn’t so true.  If we use our time together in separate endeavors we miss each other and again, rethink how we spent that time.

It takes more focus in each relationship to ensure that the time spent together doesn’t slip away without us actually connecting and appreciating that we’re together.

That doesn’t mean we have to drop everything either. It’s as simple as holding hands while you shop, taking a second in the car between stops to let your partner know you’re enjoying the time with them or grateful for them helping you get these things done and maybe stopping to enjoy a meal together while knocking tasks off the to-do list.

It’s funny how we don’t always think about the logistical side of running a relationship in relation to running a household but the two can either support or impede each other depending on how carefully time is considered and valued by all parties.

What’s your favorite way to slip a little romance into everyday life?

Carmen

What makes Polyamory work for Us

  1. None of us are prone to jealousy and all of us understand our responsibility to cope with jealousy in a healthy way.
    Not being prone to jealousy doesn’t mean we’ll never look at our spouses with their boyfriend or girlfriend and think it might be nice if we had the same thing they have in a given moment.
    Instead, it’s committing to acknowledge those feelings and that jealousy ultimately is about us – not them. As an example: I need to remember, if I’m feeling jealous over something, that nothing between Ben and Maggie takes away from what I have with Ben or what I have with Maggie. Jealousy is sneaky and makes us feel like someone’s got it better than us when in fact we don’t mean to undervalue what we have.
  2. We’re all genuinely happy to see each other happy.
    I guess this goes along with the low levels of jealousy but it’s deeper than that. There have been many aspects of Ben’s life that brought him happiness outside of our relationship – the bands he’s jammed with, music in general, a whole University degree that just dizzy’s my little arts brain (he’s a computer scientist.) I’ve always taken pride in supporting his interests and hobbies outside of our relationship so I guess it was a natural extension to encourage him when sparks flew between him and Maggie. This is just another way he as an individual can experience happiness that compliments, not complicates, our happiness together.
  3. We’re so lucky we sometimes just sit around in amazement
    Seriously – it’s not that surprising that Maggie and I are compatible a partners. We found each other while both lost on a school trip and never let go of each other. We’ve been best friends for a decade and even when we did not see each other often we were always there to support each other. Our romance developing isn’t super surprising.
    But what are the chances that we would also be very compatible with each others husbands?
    Then again, people say Maggie and I are very similar while Ben and Tom are very different. It’s true that Ben and Tom have very different hobbies but at their cores, when it comes right down to values and how they prefer to live, they are not that different.However it happened, we’re glad it did!

Carmen

What Polyamory means to Us

First and foremost: who are we?

I am Carmen, and my husband is Ben.
Maggie is my best friend turned girlfriend, and Tom is her husband.
Tom and I are dating, as are Maggie and Ben.
Confused yet, so were we!

Polyamory is, at its core, the belief that we can love and choose to have meaningful, romantic relationships with more than one person.  It is broad and inclusive.

Individuals subscribing to this unifying idea may still choose to shape their relationships differently. Many people who subscribe to polyamory reject any sort of limitation. They choose to maintain as many relationships as they are personally able to commit to and do not allow the existence of any one relationship to limit the existence or scope of the others.

That’s not quite how we have chosen to express our belief in polyamory.

We call ourselves a “pod”. We are two married couples with five relationships between us: the two marriages, myself and Tom, Maggie and Ben, plus Maggie and I. We are all committed to these five relationships and are not interested in developing any more romantic connections outside of our pod.

We firmly and fiercely believe in our ability to love more than just one person, and in the value of supporting our spouses and each other in all of our relationships.

This is what polyamory means to us. We are a family and we support each other and each others relationships.  No one relationships is valued over the others – instead, we recognize that everyone’s needs are met more fully when we work together. For example, when Maggie is sick she might find Ben’s company more comforting that Tom’s simply because Tom is more practical whereas Ben is softer in how he looks after Maggie. Given that she didn’t ask to be sick, I make sure Ben and I are available and don’t hold Ben all to myself just because he’s my husband.

In return, Tom and Maggie have both been flexible when Ben or I were craving the company of one of them despite everyone having other plans.

Furthermore we all fulfill different roles within the house. The same as you can ask any monogamous couple who does more cooking and who does more planning, we are all working together to make our household function smoothly.

So there’s a little bit about my family and what polyamory means for us.

Stay tuned for more of our crazy adventures!

 

Carmen