No Time for Love, No Time for Difficulty


No Time for Love, No Time for DifficultyOne week into (should-be-part-time-but-is-actually) full-time employment and, as predicted, I have no time to spare. I miss Daddy, I miss my friends, I miss my lovers, I miss new dates, I miss reading in the bath. In fact I am writing this at work on what should be my morning off, in the 20 minutes between organising the day’s schedule and when the visitors are scheduled to arrive.

And the busyness is only going to get worse when my degree starts up again in two weeks.

On the bright side, the minutiae of what I’m doing is getting easier because I actually understand my new job a little better; and hopefully the kinks and creases that are preventing a good flow of work will be ironed out before too long.

Fingers crossed.

Of course, work is always going to be stressful and I am aware that I have taken on a particularly taxing job. Plus, there’s a reason why most people do not take on full-time employment and a degree course at the same time. But here I am. With two podcasts, a column, a blog, and freelance work, and yes – I may be mad.

So what does this have to do with non-monogamy, or in fact relationships at all? Well, I’m glad you asked.

Aside from the obvious difficulties of maintaining a romantic or sexual relationship during such a busy period in my life (let alone multiple relationships!) the thing that has struck me most clearly is this: when I only see my core partner once a week, and it’s a two hour breathing moment between studying and working and podcasting and finding time for me!, the last thing we want to do is have the difficult conversations. I don’t want to spend the two hours we have together, worrying about the little incidents and the moments of disconnection and the difficulty of never seeing each other. I want to spend those two hours in his arms, talking, fucking, enjoying the window of time that we do have.

Which puts us in an awkward position.

Spending so much time apart does put a strain on our relationship. We have moments of feeling very alone, very disconnected. We struggle to make time to share our desires; to get each other off! All of this, along with the myriad other little worries that appear in the middle of the night, makes it difficult. There are times when I just want to send him a list of all my worries and cares so that he can make them all better (which of course he can’t anyway, and no, I would never actually do this).

I think we are fortunate that for the most part we don’t have a great deal of problems. At the moment things are ticking over just fine. And my other relationships have always been delightfully drama-free (but that is the nature of more casual, friendship-based dalliances). But of course, there are moments of difficulty and doubt, and they can be hard to fully overcome. And truthfully, who feels like talking about that lonely moment on Tuesday evening when you only have one hundred and twenty minutes together on Friday?

So I guess we just cross our fingers? Hope that things don’t get any worse? Pray that we never have any big problems in our relationship? At least for the next two years! Even if I had all the time in the world I would still be wishing that, I’m sure. After all, as Rilke wrote, love is difficult.

(And if this piece feels particularly off-kilter compared to my other writing, it’s because it has been strung together in between meetings and work, much the way my relationships themselves work. Can you say “meta”?)


Harper Eliot is a writer and podcaster whose work mainly centers around eroticism and social observation. You can find an archive of work, and links to all her other projects, on her website Harper Eliot. Harper lives in London, but rarely sees her own house, spending most of her time on public transport, listening to podcasts and tweeting too much. Her vices include cigarettes, lubricant, Earl Grey tea, opera, nail polish, and pinwheels.

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