unbalanced expectations

As I try to mentally sort out the time clusterfuck that the last few months has been, this is the breakdown that I’ve come up with to express what I don’t understand about how time has been spent while Lora and Jon weren’t working. It’s mainly about how I need to have a conversation with Jon about time and how he wants to spend it between us. It could be a painful conversation, but I think it’s a necessary conversation at this point, because it could potentially reframe things for me into something that makes a lot more sense. No matter what the answers to my thoughts on time, I feel like there is some dissonance between my perception of our relationships and how time is being allocated. Right now, I’m deeply unhappy with how things have been going time-wise, and I need to address that, because I feel like the time I spent with Jon when we didn’t live together full-time was both more ample and more enjoyable.

To start, I should say that before we all moved in together, Jon typically spent two nights with me, and two nights with Lora. Hhe occasionally spent an extra night at his home with Lora – there’s no way to put this gracefully, Lora wasn’t great about cleaning unless Jon was pushing her to clean. When it was the two of them, an extra day was needed every once in a while for Jon to ride Lora about cleaning. After Jon and I had been dating a while, it sort of became a monthly ritual where I’d come over for that day and help clean. There wasn’t a single time when I showed up and there wasn’t a huge pile of dishes with stagnant water overflowing the sink. It was just…one of those things that I think Jon and I are both happy are mostly confined to Lora’s room (in terms of mess) and with two of us reminder her to wash the dishes, she’s gotten a lot better about it.

Beyond that once a month cleaning day/extra night with Lora (because she felt like that day didn’t “count”), we spent two days together and then two days a part. It wasn’t always 100% equal, because he and Lora both had work schedules that changed from week to week, but he did his best to make sure it was fairly equal, and we would rearrange our nights together so that if, say, Lora hadn’t seen him much because their work schedules had conflicted, then he’d make sure the next days he spent with her they have more overlap of non-work time, to make up for it. It was a thing that (I thought) we all actively kept an eye on for each other, and would I would tell Jon if I’d noticed a time crunch and suggest switching nights or adding in an extra night when it seemed like Lora wasn’t having much time with him.

Since Lora stopped working, it has appeared that Jon spends more time with Lora five days a week, but it’s never acknowledged or addressed as an issue that would be upsetting for me OR for him. When Jon and I have communicated about time expectations, he’s always expressed that he wants to spend as much time with both Lora and me as possible (hence, moving in together, where he can see both of us daily), and that he wants his time to be overall equal between us. Yes, it will fluctuate at times, depending on work schedules and other things. The important thing was that, as he considers us equals and co-partners in his life, he said he wanted his time to overall reflect that accordingly.

The reality of the last few months has been that he seems to spend much more time with Lora. I’m addressing it with him now and in order to do that, I need to lay down my perception of how time is being spent, see how it lines up with reality, and then go from there. I think I also need to take a few steps back and revisit the idea that Jon does want to spend time more-or-less equally with Lora and me.

When Lora quit her job while Jon was in his off season, I assumed (but didn’t communicate) that our time would go something like this: Jon and Lora would spend a big chunk of the day while I was at work together (not all of it, but even if they get up at noon and each spend three hours doing their own thing, there’s still three to four hours for them to be together). Then, when I got home, maybe we’d all hang out for an hour or two, and then I’d spend the rest of the evening with Jon. Depending on how time went throughout the week, the times that we spent together on the weekends would be adjusted accordingly, with time where we all hung out together, and then having private time with Jon. There are several other people that I’m dating, and I envisioned that sometimes I’d spend an evening with one of them, so Jon and Lora would spend that evening together, and then maybe Jon and I would spend much of one of the weekend days together in return. Having my health go so far downhill that I’m too exhausted to go out with another love during the week scuttled that last part (really, I’m too exhausted to go out with anybody after work ever right now, even just to grab a drink). But overall, I thought it was a reasonable way of thinking of things – and boy do I wish I’d have expressly shared it with Jon and Lora. Lesson learned.

The reality of the past few months has been this: I get home from work around seven. Jon says “ok, how about we spend an hour all together, and then I’ll spend two hours with you and two hours with Lora?”

If we were all working jobs with the same hours, and the goal was to spend roughly the same amount of time together, then this totally makes sense.

But I’m working while Jon and Lora aren’t. And I know they’re spending time together during the day. Not all day, certainly, but at least a few hours. And yet, this few hours somehow never gets acknowledged or is figured in when Jon is planning how to spend time with us in the evening.

If this was an every-once-in-a-while situation, whatever. Not a big deal. It all equals out in the end, or so I say to myself. But Jon and Lora haven’t worked since mid-December. This has been close to two months of what goes on Monday through Friday. So if the evenings are split pretty equally between Lora and me, and the weekends are also split pretty equally between Lora and me, the overall aggregate is that Jon and I are seeing much less of each other than Jon and Lora are seeing of each other.

The part where this gets painful for me is if this is the way Jon wants it. I’ll admit, that would be a blow to my ego, to my sense of how much he enjoys my time and wants to be around me, to my sense of our (mine and Jon’s) relationship and the idea that we’re all equals. It could potentially alter how I feel about all of us living together. I think it could also potentially alter how I feel about Jon. I would need to really think and decide how I feel about it, because to me, the three of us being equals who live together would mean that we’re making an effort (and all paying attention) to making sure to split our time fairly equally. Not 100% all the time, every day. But being aware that if one metamour is working a lot, then when that metamour’s work slows down, the other metamour says “hey, you’ve barely seen each other for a week. I’m going to go out tonight and Friday night so you two can have quality time together”. That is something that I’ve done when Lora and Jon were working, and I saw that their schedules wasn’t meshing up.

It is something that has been very rarely extended to me.  And when it has, it’s gone like this: Let’s say Lora is taking a day to go out so Jon and I have some alone time. When Lora gets back, her and Jon spend the rest of the evening together. So the assumption is that my time with Jon while Lora was out “counted” towards the day – which is rather different than the day-to-day living situation that we seem to have going on. Should the time be counted differently because she’s going out specifically to give us time together? If that’s the case, then I think I’d feel…uncomfortable…-is the only word I can think of- about the times when I went out or holed up in a bedroom specifically so that Jon and Lora could have more time together.

One of the things that has concerned me lately is that Jon has repeatedly mentioned that Lora and I are both saying the same thing, which is that neither of us gets enough time with him. I’m absolutely sure that we can both feel that way. However, if I’m seeing Jon for two hours most days and Lora is seeing him for five, then there needs to be a potentially painful discussion about the different in time and if Jon does want our time to be divided up like that. If he does, it’s something that I need to know that we’re all aware of, and acknowledging. Because again, I need to think about that, and think about how I feel about it and if it’s something that I feel comfortable with.

Given the much-more-equal way that time was handled before we all lived together, I’m not comfortable with things staying the way they are now. I want to know what has changed to cause Jon to see to want to regulate his time with us so differently.

Which does raise the question: what are Jon’s thoughts on this? As I said, whenever I mention the time equality, he always goes back to saying that Lora and I are both saying that we don’t spend enough time with him. The next time we have this conversation, I think I need to say “ok, I understand that. But that isn’t what I’m asking you. I’m asking how you feel knowing that you’ve told both of us that you want to spend roughly the same amount of time with us, but in reality, you spend a lot more time with Lora. Are you OK with that? Is that the way you want things to be from now on?”

I worry right now that part of what Jon is afraid of, in being transparent about this time thing, that it’s going to mean Lora will have less time with him, and that she’s going to be angry about that. I’m worried-because of the abusive garbage that I’ve heard before-that she’s going to say that him being willing to spend less time with her means that he really doesn’t love her.

I’m also worried because…I don’t know how to express this. I have a feeling that Lora and I will both always want to spend more time with Jon than he has available for both of us. I know that we both really love spending time with him, and want to spend as much time as possible. It doesn’t feel good to remember all the times that I’ve actively had in my mind her schedule, and kept track of their time, so that I would know that I wasn’t taking up all his time, because I didn’t want to. Because I do want her to feel like she has time with Jon, and I’m not trying to take all his attention. I want her to know that I care about the amount of time they spend together, and that if there’s an imbalance between the two of us, that I’m going to actively address that with Jon and switch things around as needed, so that he does have time with her. But I don’t see that courtesy being extended in my direction more than every once in a while. It’s starting to feel really one-sided.

There are a lot of things that seem pretty one-sided these days. And that is why I’m getting really tired of trying to make this work. Because it feels like I’m looking for things to be pretty equal and watch out for Lora, and for Jon, and for myself. But it feels more and more like Lora is mostly only looking out for Lora, and Jon is also mostly looking out for Lora – and I worry that he’s mostly looking out for Lora because she’ll scream and threaten and fight with him when she doesn’t feel like she’s getting her way. Whereas I’ll be unhappy, and want to talk about it, but I won’t scream the walls down or threaten our relationship.

This is a really bad way to live. And if it doesn’t get reconciled soon, we’re going to have to stop living together.

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lizeden

polyamorist, cat-lover, hopeless optimist when I'm not being a firm realist.

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