Non-Monogamous Question Time


Non-Monogamous Question TimeRemember way back in the late Summer when every other post I wrote was about time or lack thereof? Well I've decided I have now left an appropriate amount of time between the last time I wrote about time and this time. Except today I don’t have many answers, just a question. But let me explain.

Since the beginning of 2014, the one thing my life continues to prove to me, as concerns time, is that I am destined to spend more and more of it alone. On the one hand this is nice because I really need the rest, and also because it seems to indicate that my relationships are stable enough to endure less contact. Even though in an ideal world I would really like to see them all more rather than less, it is nice to be in a place with my partners where I don't feel like I HAVE to see them this weekend, because I've been in these relationships long enough now that I trust, from experience, that there will be another weekend along before you know it. Additionally, I am feeling that there might possibly maybe be space in my life for a primary relationship. But we'll have to wait and see about that.

However, things are not all rosy. Although I may have a little more free time around the edges, it is not sufficient enough to lessen how precious the time I DO have feels to me. This is exacerbated by the fact that many of the projects I work on, including my day job, see me having to rely heavily on other people's time as well as my own. For example, I can't choose exactly when to record a podcast and then make absolutely sure it only takes this particular slot of time which I have carved out (with my bare hands!); someone else has also carved a piece of time out of their life for it, and it's very possible that these two handcrafted schedules won't match up quite as perfectly as we might wish. So as I wait for this time to match up, I often find the frustration building, which puts my natural impatience at its limit; something I am well aware I need to work on.

Furthermore, this is not limited to projects such as podcasting. Of course it applies to my relationships as well.

No one hates my inability to be spontaneous more than I do. There is an element of personal discomfort – I am definitely someone who likes her days planned down to the minute, although I always enjoy myself when I go with something on the spur of the moment – but right now it is mostly because I am ridiculously busy. I would love to be able to wake up on Saturday morning and say “yes” to a last minute invitation, especially if it involves seeing the people I love. But I can't; my stupid, level-head always gets the better of me and reminds me that there is studying to be done and articles to write and appointments to meet.

In my head, what makes it particularly complicated is that other people’s inability to keep to a schedule really does get to me – when I agree to a date at 4pm, regardless of whether it’s in person, or via Skype, or any other method of communication, I do expect it to be at 4pm – but at the same time, I have to take responsibility for the fact that I am far busier this year than I was last year. My time has become very limited, and that is no one’s fault but my own. Therefore, I don’t like making excuses for people, but at the same time, I know I bear some responsibility.

So, wise non-monogamous people, my question: in a literal and logical, hands-on, day-to-day manner, how do I take responsibility for my own time-consuming choices, whilst holding people reasonably accountable for their tardiness, and also making best use of those times when I am inevitably left waiting?


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.

1 Comment

  1. Derek Leannan on

    I’d suggest trying to schedule “people dependant” tasks right before tasks that can be done in separate time intervals, and when people are tardy, as sometimes inevitably happens, you just start your work early until they arrive, and you can stay with them for your original duration and pick back up the task when you are done with then.

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