Poly Pitfalls: Confusing Polysaturation with Oversaturation

a photo of a hand holding a brown coffee cup that is overfull and overflowing. The hand has 2 rings on it. One is square and black and has a silver cross on it, the other is a silver band
Image by opyh / CC BY

“Oh, Page, I’ve screwed it up big this time,” she says.

“What’s going on?” I ask her.

“Well, you remember when I told you I had a full dance card?” she says.

I do.

“I think full was an understatement.”

“Oh no,” I say.

“Yeah,” she says.

“You’re overbooked,” I say.

“That’s putting it lightly,” she says. She describes her week coming up. Her work obligations. The time that each of her lovers is asking for. Some of them are standing commitments, some new requests. But one thing is clear: This all adds up to much more than a 7-day week. Especially if she wants to have any time to herself to relax and unwind.

I express my sympathy.

“What am I going to do?” she asks.

“Well, you’re going to have to make some tough decisions,” I say. I tell her that I hope she can find some flexibility in all of this madness.

We spend the rest of our time together talking over her concerns. Her priorities. By the time we part ways, she’s formulated a plan for how to move forward. She’s nervous about the talks with her lovers, but at least she knows what she wants to do.

Confusing Polysaturation with Oversaturation

I remember hearing one refrain quite often when I first dove into polyamory: Love is limitless; time and attention aren’t.

But where exactly are those limits? That’s a good question. You would think it’s fairly obvious, but not necessarily. It isn’t always apparent. Especially for people who are new to consensual non-monogamy.

Sometimes you don’t know that your proverbial dance card is full until it is overfull. And it happens quite a bit.

In fact, this pitfall is so common that it’s almost become a rite of passage.

I fell prey to it myself. I woke up one day realizing I had no time to myself. And at least one person in my web who was complaining, loudly, that she had been shortchanged by my other entanglements.

When I found myself in that position, I could look back and recognize warning signals along the way. Gut feels that I was too pinched. That I had somehow surrounded myself with more people who drained me than ones who recharged me. What a rude awakening that was.

No, it wasn’t easy to sort out. But I figured it out. And I learned a valuable lesson from the experience: It’s easy to overcommit and regret it.

Moving forward, I strove to not let this happen to me again.

It’s why I’ve tended to underdate for so long. And why I called myself polysaturated recently, while I’m busy but still happy.

Full — but not overfull or regretting my choices.

*

Books by Page Turner:

A Geek’s Guide to Unicorn Ranching

Poly Land: My Brutally Honest Adventures in Polyamory 

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2 Comments

  1. I find myself that way often with just one partner, work, my family, and my chronic health issues. Plus, I’m an extroverted introvert with anxiety issues, so life can get interesting at times.

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