I’m a very busy person. I work full-time, at times take classes part-time, run a few Meetup.com groups, and have plenty of friends to fill up any time in between those. Between all of this, I already have a fairly full calendar, and with polyamory – and therefore all my partners – in the mix, it’s easy to feel like I have absolutely no free time.
I am what I would consider a social introvert. I love being around people and socializing, but eventually I need to curl up at home, with a book and some cocoa for a day, with no social obligations. It’s extremely rare that I find someone that I can be around while recharging, so that means that time needs to be spent alone for the most part. I have been lucky enough that my husband and one other partner are both people I can recharge around, but even then I still need my time alone.
Last week, my calendar was absolutely packed. My long-distance partner was visiting. We visited a friend a few hours away for a couple days. I had a team event after work. Another night I ran a meetup. This past week was no different – Two date nights with my husband, and two other dates. One appointment. I’ve also had multiple opportunities to see how things go with a few new (potential?) partners in the past month alone. With all this, I felt that I was about to go insane.
I realized that I had a problem that I’ve also seen occur for many other poly people. I was neglecting an extremely important relationship: My relationship with myself. I love spending time with other people but I forgot to spend time with myself, which is exceptionally important when you’re an introvert.
So I started taking myself on dates.
On my shared calendar, I’ve started putting, at least twice a week, a block of time named “This Space Intentionally Left Blank” from when I get out of work until about 10pm. I stole the name from those pages we see in some PDFs – the pages that would be blank except for those very words on them. Not sure why I find it funny, but I do.
In any case, that time is what I have set aside for whatever I want or need to do. Some days I go to a local bar at happy hour, have a glass of wine or two, and read something on my Kindle. Other times I come home, put something silly on Netflix, and cross stitch. Still others, I do what I am now: Write and listen to favorite music. Whatever it is, it’s time that I’ve dedicated to myself, with no interruptions from other partners. I’ll still be texting with most of them on and off during that time, but that’s something that I don’t feel counts as intruding on my time.
Sometimes it feels selfish, that I’m taking time away from my calendar that I could use to spend time with other people. But I know that for me, if I don’t do this, the time I spend with others won’t always be quality time. So, this is homework that I give to my other poly friends when they feel like they’re stretched thin. Make sure you take time for yourself, so that you can enjoy your time with other people.