After my initial peevishness about Lora being frustrated about not seeing Jon as soon as she got home faded, I had some actual constructive thoughts. As I said in that post, I feel like I know exactly where Lora is, in terms of expecting to see Jon as soon as she gets home, and then learning he actually won’t be home for awhile. It is a crappy feeling that I am familiar with. I’m also familiar with ways to make it less crappy, and I wanted to share that with Lora.
First though, I wanted to talk to Jonathan about it, as I was unsure if I was “supposed” to know that Lora was upset about Jon not being home when she got home. So I shot Jon a quick message asking him if me bringing that up would be a problem (and telling him that I specifically wanted to bring it up in order to make some (hopefully) helpful suggestions). He said that he knows that Lora feels really sensitive/attuned to me being upset when they fight*, so it might worry her that I am bringing up them fighting, but if I have some good ideas, it would probably be worthwhile to bring it up and share them.
With that in mind, I sent Lora an email. I let her know that Jon had mentioned that she was unhappy that he wouldn’t be home when she got home, and that I’d had a hard time with similar feelings. In my particular case, there were days when packed up work to take home with me and left at six (as early as I could), so that I could get home and spend time with Jon. But when I got home, Jon was actually in the middle of doing his private time, and wouldn’t be ready to hang out for another hour or so. At this point, I was firmly in “spend time with Jon” mode mentally, and getting my shit together to chug out the remainder of my work felt really hard – I needed to decompress! So, what I started doing was texting him a few hours before my workday was over, to find out where he was with his day, and see if he’d be ready to hang out when I got home around seven. If he’s not going to be ready to hang out until eight, then I can stay at work, blast through my last bit of work, and get home having an expectation of what the evening would look like, time-wise.
I also mentioned to Lora that I knew she wanted to go straight to the gym after work some days, and since I *also* want to do that some days (and both of our gyms close around nine at night), maybe it would be helpful for us to all have a quick email towards the end of the day about who is doing what when. And I stressed to her that, while I don’t know how she feels about these things (yet), I know that I get irritated when I have one expectation of how the night is going to go, and it turns out that it’s wildly different from reality. It’s just hard for me to switch gears that way.
Lora wrote back and thanked me for the advice, and said that she thought it would definitely also help her out. She also said she felt the same way – trying to pack in a full course-load of school work, plus a full-time job, PLUS the overtime work-at-home stuff they offered her is a LOT and she would much rather really manage every minute of her time and feel prepared than feel like she’s wasting precious time because she thought say, she’d be hanging out with Jon for a few hours, when in reality, he’s busy and she should be studying (or doing work) for a few hours.
Does this sound insanely micro-managey? I feel like time management is an on-going joke among my poly friends, in that we’re doing it damn well near ALL the time. I feel like my life as a monogamous person was similar, the only difference was making time to see friends more, as there were no other lovers. Now I’m still making time to see friends, and some of the friends are *also* lovers, but before I can make those plans to see friends (and/or lover-friends), I need to get my head straight around how Jon, Lora, and I are seeing each other. Especially since Jon’s schedule is both seasonal and involves big jobs where he’s sometimes working sixteen-hour days. When he’s working that much, then I definitely don’t want to make plans with someone else on the one day that he’s free – unless perhaps, he’s going to spend time with Lora first that evening, and then he and I will spend time together later that night. If I know that will be the plan for the evening, then it does make sense for me to grab that drink with a coworker, or meet a friend for a little happy hour before going home.
Or at least, that type of planning will happen once I’m physically healthier. Currently, instead of going out to see friends, I might be making an appointment with my physical therapist. Or coming home to take a nap. Or getting a therapeutic massage. The important point is that the better Jon, Lora, and I plan things, the easier it is on all of us.
I’m really glad that Lora appreciated my email and found it helpful. In some ways, I still don’t feel like I know her really well (and I am still feeling hesitant about getting to know her, out of concern that closeness will translate in her feeling comfortable enough to abuse me too, which will not end well for any of us). I wasn’t sure if my email would seem too controlling or ridiculous. I used to be more comfortable playing things by ear, and in some situations, I still am. But with chronic pain, my ability to roll with the punches, or make quick switches mentally is really compromised. Hell, pretty much *all* my abilities are pretty compromised.
It was a relief to hear that Lora also was fine with the idea of doing a lot of planning – we both feel better planning things out a lot right now, and making sure we’re managing our time the best that we can. Jon is generally -I think – more laid back about planning than Lora and I are at this point, but he also knows that all our time is very finite, and does want to make sure he’s spending a goodly amount of time with both of us (as well as seeing his friends sometimes), and those things aren’t going to happen without a fair amount of time management.
I think this added communication about the evening will do good things for all of us, and our ability to plan. And I feel relieved (and happy) to know that Lora shares some of the same time-worries that I do, and also wants to be proactive about making sure things work out in the best way possible for all of us.
* I should probably make a mental note to address the idea that Jon and Lora fighting stresses me out. It’s not necessarily fighting that stresses me out (not that I love hearing people fight. It’s surely much nicer for there to not be fighting), it’s fighting that involves abusive behaviors or abusive words (like telling Jonathan that he’s a huge fuck-up, or that he’s as horrible to Lora as her drug-addicted ex was. Or threatening to break up with him if he doesn’t do something that she wants) that…not stresses me out…but pisses me off and makes me not want to live with (or ever see) Lora. I think that’s an important enough distinction that it would be worthwhile to make sure that we are all aware of exactly what I find unacceptable (abuse) and what I find irritating and not awesome, but understand is something that happens in relationships (fighting).