Recently I was perusing the interwebs, looking for my usual distractions in the form of video games, social networking and dirty pictures when I came across a link shared by Sex Educator, Kidder Kaper. In this link, Kidder coins a new word; the Kreplit. What's a Kreplit?
A unit of time and energy, love and affection that you have to give yourself and others in your life. Everyone needs a certain amount to be happy and content and everyone has a finite amount to give to others. Some need more than others and some have more to give than others.
This immediately struck a chord with me. Hey! Why don't more people talk about this issue? Isn't it more than important enough to have already had its own word? Having been non-monogamous since before I knew what monogamy meant and in the polyamorous community for roughly ten years, it occured me that I have never read an column or article dedicated to this particular issue. The notion of time and energy management has always been a side-mentioned issue while discussing the finer points of jealousy or communication. A footnote; By the way, your time is limited, but don't worry! If it's meant to be, magic fairies will coordinate your schedules for you.
Is this the Big Poly Secret? There isn't much talk about the strain produced by the finite nature of the time and energy resources in a polyamorous relationship. Yet, the fact that love itself is not a finite resource is blazoned on every pro-poly pin, badge, banner, website, or cock-ring you encounter. The infinity sign wrapping around a heart is literally the symbol of polyamory. Love is not limited, but too much of the stuff is not much better than a stack of paperwork piling up in your inbox at the office. When are you going to find the time to sort through all this crap?
My lack of addressing this issue, or properly gaining the education required to handle such things could be my own problem. It's only recently, of course, that I have needed to worry about splitting my Kreplits with someone who I felt strongly enough about to actually give them a significant portion of my assigned Kreplits. Enter Kasher, my new boyfriend. The new ‘someone' who I have fallen for, and now have to figure out where he fits on the Kreplit distribution list. Let's see..
- Ethan – The lovely husband – Loads of Kreplits!
- Children – Two of them! – Never enough Kreplits!
- Job #1 – Full-Time – More Kreplits than I want to give!
- Job #2 – Part-Time – Taking up all my fun free-time Kreplits!
- Job #3 – 10 hours a month – Meh, Kreppy Kreplits.
- Friends/Social Life – Hey, I know I left those somewhere..
Fuck! I am out of Kreplits. I am saddened that even with my own affluence in all things sex and polyamory, I still find myself taking the crash-course in Time and Energy management when it comes to this new relationship. Why, exactly, did we wait for Kidder Kaper to introduce the word Kreplit in 2010? (We have all sorts of other made up words; even polyamory is a made up word. Metamour – Your lover's lover. Frubble/Compersion: Deriving happiness from your lover's happiness NRE- New Relationship Energy: That slightly affected overly fond feeling and energy that surrounds new flames. Spice: The plural for spouse.) Thank goodness someone is putting an easily identifiable word behind the overly-complex issue of time and energy unit distribution in relationships.
So. No room for Kasher the New Boyfriend, right? Wrong! After a long talk with my husband, Ethan, compromises have been made. Maybe I don't need three jobs. And you know what? Maybe Ethan, Kasher and I could spend a few evenings all together. And who says that Kasher can't spend some family time with us? Ethan and Kasher even go out on their own occasionally. There are ways to make it happen, I just wish that I had been more prepared to start these negotiations.
Has the poly community downplayed the issue? Maybe. Or maybe naive poly philosophers like me tend to glance over this stuff. Do you know what the real eye opening part of this is? Sometimes, I am selfish. Sometimes, I go out with Kasher just the two of us. And that is how I know he's right for me… My Kreplits are valuable and scarce, and I have no qualms saying that he is definitely worth the Kreplits.
I definitely think that time/attention management is a much bigger issue in any poly relationship than jealousy. It never occurred to me that so little attention is given to it in poly books/sites/discussions. Kind of ironic, isn't it?
Sounds like Kreplits are an inter-dimensional form of plasma, where love is the infinitely existing liquid-like charged medium expanding or contracting to fill the container, time, allotted to it and, effort, the amperage that drives it’s motion. Fascinating useful concept!
That’s strange, I come across, and participate in, discussions dealing with time management all the time. I’m not sure which communities you’re hanging out in that gloss over this problem, but it’s definitely not my experience.
The thing is, though, that time-management is not a poly-exclusive problem, and maybe that’s why your circles are glossing over it? If you take out “new boyfriend” and add in “new hobby” or “new best friend”, your time management issues look exactly like any other monogamous person’s issues. So it’s possible that one of the reasons you haven’t encountered the time-management discussions may be that poly people are just referring to the billions of time-management and scheduling self-help advice pumped out by the tons that just aren’t aimed at polys specifically?
One of the most common discussion topics in our local meetup group is all about Google calendars & how important it is to include “alone time” or “recharge time” to the schedule, or not neglecting the pre-existing partner while high on NRE, etc. My own poly family used to spend every Sunday night with the Google calendars. That has since gotten more flexible, since scheduling schedule-time can also be stressful, but the point is that having everyone talk to everyone else about the finite resources of time and energy is mostly a given in our family, just like it was in my bio-family who were about as traditionally monogamous as you get. But with kids’ soccer games and theater performances and who wants to borrow the car, time mangement was just a skill we were taught as part of growing up.
Also, for the record, I don’t buy the “love is infinite” line either. There is a limit to how many people you can have a MEANINGFUL relationship with (we’re not talking about the vague “love all humanity” kind of love) and research seems to have put the average number at 150 people http://www.cracked.com/article_14990_what-monkeysphere.html and http://io9.com/5807157/dunbars-number-proves-that-you-cant-realistically-follow-more-than-150-friends-on-twitter