Barely have time

A reflection on the common refrain ‘I barely have time for one partner, let alone multiple’

Do people who practice polyamory just have loads more free time?

I hear variations of this argument a lot, from monogamous people:

I barely have time to be with one partner, how can I possibly manage several partners?


It’s already totally draining to spend time with my husband, why would I want to add drama with more relationships?

I have a few reflections for addressing these arguments against Multigamy or Polyamory. They come from years of experiencing both types of relationship dynamics, working with clients along the relating spectrum and noticing repeat patterns in relationships.

When it comes to knowing what is the value to us of a romantic relationship, is the goal really to spend as much time as possible with your partner? Of course, you’d want to share beautiful moments with the people you love, because it is enjoyable after all. But people have work, hobbies, friends and errands, as well as a need to be alone sometime. Even if you are monogamous, it’s good to have a balance and not seek to spend 24/7 with your partner.

So many monogamous couples in long term relationships report growing tired of each-other. The proximity and familiarity of spending all available time together often leads to boredom and resentment. When you are apart from your partner, you miss them and appreciate what they add to your life

It is very important to be reminded that you can manage and be happy on your own, and time alone or with friends can help with that. This can dramatically reduce anxiety and fear of the thought of losing your partner. Being more independent, self-sufficient and capable of self-regulation means you choose to be with your partner out of a want rather than a need.

The mono-normative obsession with our exclusive romantic partner being the totality of our support network is fundamentally problematic. We are social animals who evolved to be in a supportive tribe, not in a dyad. Romantic relationships are important, just not the most important thing in the world all the time.

Finally, a healthy relationship does not drain you of energy, it gives you extra energy. If you feel drained by your interactions with a partner, consider that it might be an unhealthy relationship.

Polyamorous people have time for multiple relationships because they allocate only the time that they can realistically give to those relationships without it being a drain. They are aware of their own boundaries and those of their partners and they do not equate relationship fulfilment with the number of hours spent with a partner.

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