One of the biggest issues I’ve been struggling with in my current relationship dynamic is the idea of “polysaturation.” For those who don’t know, polysaturation is the point in polyamory at which a person is in so many relationships that they don’t have the time and energy to devote to any more. It is maximum relationship capacity.
The reason this is a struggle for me is because on a practical level, I understand polysaturation, and feel like I’m getting there in my own life; however, I’m fiercely resistant to the idea on a personal emotional level. Here’s the rub: one of the beauties of non-monogamy, for me, is that I am given the opportunity to take my relationship with every person to its natural conclusion. I am not held by artificial boundaries on where a relationship can go. (Well, not ones imposed by me, anyway. I’m always going to respect boundaries that others have in place.) But, if I meet someone who I have a deep abiding connection with, I can explore that connection to whatever extent it’s capable of reaching. I don’t have to limit my attachment to one person based on my attachment to others.
Ok, here’s a counter-example to make my rambling less vague: if I’m in a sexually monogamous relationship, I am limited in my opportunities for interaction with other people by the boundaries of that relationship. If I meet someone with whom I have strong sexual chemistry, the artificially imposed – though voluntary – boundary of monogamy prevents me from exploring the possibilities of a sexual relationship with this person.
That’s just an example, but it gets the idea across. While it’s true that there is only so much time in a day, or a week, or my life, I hate the idea that once I decide to put that “polysaturated” label on myself, I’m cut off from the possibility of getting into a relationship with someone else who can enrich my life. I want all the love and experience and interpersonal connection that I can jam into my lifetime, because that’s what living is for. At the same time, I don’t want to make a commitment to someone who will end in disappointment because there is only so much of me that I can offer in the real physical world. Sadly, I can’t actually be in more than one place at a time. And I certainly don’t want to have to lose time with the partners I have already – they take up most of my free time as-is and I still don’t feel like I see them enough.
One of my friends was recently having this issue in her own relationships. She had a husband and a new boyfriend, and on top of that is a small-business owner which is the commitment equivalent of about three spouses. When she met a guy that she had chemistry with, she told herself – and him – that she didn’t have time in her life for another relationship, and that she just wanted to build a friendship with him. Well, unsurprisingly, they did end up dating and are doing extremely well together. What she told me when I talked to her about it was that if you’re really into someone, you make time. Ok, yes, that sounds delightful and romantic, but she also almost never sleeps and he works overnights at his job so his availability starts at 7AM. I, on the other hand, am a barista who works nights in a relationship with three people who have grown-up jobs and tend to go to bed about an hour after I get off work at night. If I met God’s Gift to Women his/herself, s/he better work the same schedule as I do or, sorry, I just don’t have time. I have three free evenings a week and three partners – that’s not hard math.
So, in a nutshell, this is a problem. Fortunately this is not a pressing problem. I haven’t actually met this person that will throw my dynamic into crisis, which means all my concerns are totally hypothetical at this point. However, I’m a plan-ahead kind of girl, and I like to have some idea of what on earth I would or should do with myself if I did meet someone new and wonderful. I suppose crossing that bridge if/when I come to it, while unappetizing, is the only real plan.