PQ 15.6 — How do I leave space for new people to come into my life?

a closeup of building blueprints with a pencil and a ruler in the frame
Image by Forgemind ArchiMedia / CC BY

PQ 15.6 — How do I leave space for new people to come into my life?

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This question reminds me of a guest post I featured last year by Fluffy titled “Being Single Sucks, But We Don’t Want to Hear About It.” In that post, Fluffy references a metaphor where our life is a room and everything we fill it up with are furnishings:

Friends, family, work, pets, hobbies and more all add to the decor. Some things overlap and work just fine. Other things are in opposite corners of the room.

The paradox of singleness is that we expect a person who does not want to be single to keep an open space in their room, in hopes of finding something to fill it. Likewise, we abhor open and unused space.

Meanwhile, we also admonish them for looking too hard or being willing to accept a piece of furniture that might mean reconfiguring the look of the rest of the room.

In all cases, the feeling of emptiness, of unused-but-available-prime-real-estate is pressing and arduous.

It’s a great metaphor and a savvy way to talk about the dual, often conflicting, expectations that are placed on single people:

You should be looking for someone. But you should be happy alone.

Don’t accept less than what you deserve. But you can’t be too picky now.

And until that person comes along, you must hold open space, a reality that doesn’t come without a cost:

[T]hat hole in my room? It appears to be weirdly growing, despite the space taking up everything else staying the same. It’s like noticing a water spot when you can’t really do anything about it. You’ve called the landlord, and they’re coming out Monday to fix it. You just need to ignore it and get in on with your life, but every spare moment your eyes flit back to it. Has it gotten bigger? Smaller? Is it darker? Is that… mold?

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But how well does this concept of holding space translate for polyamorous people who are partnered with at least one person but not polysaturated?

Or does it translate at all?

It would be callous to fill our lives with people that are meant to disappear when they’re no longer convenient. A person who is there until something better comes along functioning much like a bed that folds into the wall. Or the couch that folds out into a bed on a cold night when you just need a place to sleep.

Callous but convenient.

And yet there are occasions where we can maintain an extra, available space without victimizing anyone. What’s normally a guest bedroom for visitors can be converted over to a permanent room for someone moving in.

Remodeling isn’t always easy, but it’s usually possible, given some ingenuity, resources, and the proper know how and permits.

As is moving to a new dwelling altogether.

You can leave space. Or you can remodel or move. In general, I find that I’m less holding space for new people and more creating it where I can.

(Although at the time that I’m writing this essay, I’m polysaturated.)

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This post is part of a series in which I answer each of the chapter-end questions in More than Two with an essay. For the entire list of questions and answers, please see this indexed list.

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