how tf do hinges do it

I feel like being a hinge can be a lot to juggle. I'm getting my PhD right now and just maneuvering adult life in general; my goals, dreams, hobbies, making friends, etc. and there are times when having two relationships feels overwhelming. How do hinges out there keep their entire lives from centering around their romantic relationships? I'm finding it hard to make much time for myself, and while I'm a great multitasker and can do that for awhile with no issues, when shit hits the fan in any aspect of my life (as it did this past week when I got sick and had some family shit going on), I feel stretched too thin to handle it well.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Hi mountaingirl,

Being a hinge can be a tough job, especially if you want to be a good hinge. I am in an MFM V, and I see the hinge (Snowbunny) struggle sometimes to keep things fair and balanced between the two men in the V. Sometimes I think it's up to the men (the legs of the V) to be understanding about the hinge's difficult job. Sorry about your family troubles, and I hope your sickness recedes soon.

Sincerely,
Kevin T.
 

Evie

Kaitiaki
Staff member
For me, it's a shared Google calendar and good boundaries. I have partners who manage themselves/their emotions very well if I need to cancel or reschedule a date with them, and likewise if I get cancelled on, and I don't aim for 50/50 anything because each relationship is very different with much different needs.

So, my entire life doesn't centre around the relationships because I have deliberate time in my week for those relationships, and deliberate time for work and again for my own personal time. Work is the biggest chunk of my life. Then relationships, then personal time. I chose not to be a parent, so I don't have to factor in kids.

When I get sick, and I do, my personal time becomes the biggest chunk. Work goes out the window. I lean on my relationships for moral support. That may look like facetime or texting, but I don't try to meet any "normal" requirements. I'm sick, so I stop. If my partners weren't okay with that, they wouldn't be my partners!
 

AlwaysGrowing

Well-known member
Honestly... my life DOES revolve around my relationships, but not just romantic ones. Kid stuff takes priority then my partners and I are all equals. Not meaning we all get the same thing but we all get our needs met in a triage kind of arrangement. I can only see Boy on weekends so he gets priority there but if Hubby has to work and kid has a thing? Boy comes to kid thing or doesn't see me. I keep everyone's schedule in my head and the necessary parts on a calendar for all to see.

When I'm mentally done because it's exhausting juggling all the moving pieces, the guys pick up the slack and cover EVERYTHING so I can just... be. Whoever is available may cuddle me as I nap, read, play on my phone or whatever for a night or weekend to recover or they might take the kid somewhere so I can have a silent house.

Same when I'm physically ill. They cover everything else so I just need to care for myself, rest, and recover. If the germs aren't too scary, Boy comes over when he can to help out. If it's not worth exposing him, he usually ends up ordering pizza or something for Hubby as a show of support.

Yeah, being a hinge is hard work. But so is being any part of a polyam relationship. Finding the right people to do it with is what makes it work.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
How do hinges out there keep their entire lives from centering around their romantic relationships?

What would you like to center your life on during this phase of life?

What keeps you from doing that?

I'm finding it hard to make much time for myself

How much more is left before you have the degree? Are you pursuing the degree full time? Can you reduce it to part time?

When I was getting my degree I was solo poly. Because the degree was the priority and I told partners that. There would be no talk about living together, marriage, any kind of future together until I obtained the goal. Anyone who couldn't hack that? I just didn't date.

I discovered that I could juggle 4 partners but I wasn't leaving me any room for friends and family. So I dropped one. Then I realized I wasn't leaving me any room for emergencies. So I dropped another. I figured out I could do 2 relationships well and pursue the degree and feel ok there. And if an emergency happened I still had bandwidth to deal with it. So even if I was interested in someone else? I had to say "No" to myself because my dance card was already full. I didn't want to shortchange myself or others.

Number of partners might change in different ages/stages of life depending on what else is going on but I think everyone has a poly saturation point. Love alone is not enough. Love might be infinite but time, energy, money and other resources are not.

when shit hits the fan in any aspect of my life (as it did this past week when I got sick and had some family shit going on), I feel stretched too thin to handle it well.

When things like that happen? Be ok doing less. You don't have to do your "normal" best. Just do you "sick" best . Be ok if that looks different. Like...

  • Eat frozen food rather than cooking.
  • Use paper plate and disposable flatware rather than making dishes to wash.
  • Do laundry less and live with it. Like bedding every 2 weeks instead of every week.
  • Invest in more underwear and be ok wearing outer clothes twice before washing if not too messy or stinky. Like if you just wore an outfit to the grocery for meds and back? Wear it again another time.
  • Don't do as many things for other people. Let them do things for you when you are sick.
Don't take on new tasks. Reduce how much you hang out with partners, friends, family because right now at this time of life? The degree is the thing. It won't be forever. But right now that's the thing.

Can also exercise personal boundaries -- learn to say "I'm sorry to hear that. No, I cannot help you. My plate is already full." One of the biggest things in the 20s is separating "family of origin" from "immediate family." Because it changes. And sometimes the young adult has issues cutting the apron strings or the parents have issues cutting the apron strings. I remember both my parents and in-laws being intrusive in the early part of our marriage in our 20s and me having to put my foot down. My parents will always be my family of origin. But NO. They were extended relatives now, no longer my immediate family. Because I had a new immediate family I lived with -- first husband. Then later a husband and kids. My DH had to learn to put his foot down with his family of origin in similar fashion.

Just because you are the hinge doesn't mean you have to be doing all the work in a cohabitating poly ship either. Spread the load out.

Galagirl
 
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For me, it's a shared Google calendar and good boundaries.
This lol. School is flexible so I make a lot of adjustments. We all live together and have different schedules so it's really tempting when I come home and one of them wants to do something, stay up to watch a movie, etc. to say "Yeah sure why not!" but I find myself saying yes way too much. I love hanging out with both of them, I just need my alone time and have been sacrificing that to hang out. Neither of them are in school, they go to work and come home. Probably finding a boundary of when I'm going to sleep each night, what times I want to be working in lab, etc. would help.
I have partners who manage themselves/their emotions very well if I need to cancel or reschedule a date with them, and likewise if I get cancelled on, and I don't aim for 50/50 anything because each relationship is very different with much different needs.
I don't think either of them would take it personally if I needed time by myself or with other friends. As I get more used to having two relationships I have been taking some of the pressure off to be there for both of them 100% of the time. This was completely self inflicted; I felt like I needed two of me to be there for both of them but I've realized they're actually way lower maintenance than I am 🤪
Work (so school, but it's essentially more than a full time job) is definitely the biggest part of my life. I'm not sure if it will be like this forever, but they both knew when they met me that I would be in grad school for a time so I don't think there will be any issues in asserting more boundaries in that area.
 
I keep everyone's schedule in my head and the necessary parts on a calendar for all to see.
I am chronically disorganized. Calendars seem to be a theme on this thread lol I'm taking notes
When I'm mentally done because it's exhausting juggling all the moving pieces, the guys pick up the slack and cover EVERYTHING so I can just... be. Whoever is available may cuddle me as I nap, read, play on my phone or whatever for a night or weekend to recover or they might take the kid somewhere so I can have a silent house.
this sounds awesome :) they're definitely both there for me like this which I really appreciate. It helps that both of them work in healthcare soI feel very taken care of.
Yeah, being a hinge is hard work. But so is being any part of a polyam relationship. Finding the right people to do it with is what makes it work.
honestly, I think I put most of the stress on myself to be a "great partner" in every facet possible. It's been comforting reading all of these comments from other hinges; like when my life is upside down I don't necessarily have to be at 100%, I just need to get by until I feel better. I would never expect one of my partners to go above and beyond when they have stuff to deal with, so I shouldn't expect the same from myself.
 
When I was getting my degree I was solo poly. Because the degree was the priority and I told partners that. There would be no talk about living together, marriage, any kind of future together until I obtained the goal. Anyone who couldn't hack that? I just didn't date.
They both knew I would be in grad school when they met me. They actually moved out to CO because that's where I decided to go to school, so they definitely know how important this is to me. It helps that boyfriend is a couple years younger than me, so kids aren't on his mind. My husband has definitely talked about kids but knows that is not happening for at least 4-5 years.
I discovered that I could juggle 4 partners but I wasn't leaving me any room for friends and family. So I dropped one. Then I realized I wasn't leaving me any room for emergencies. So I dropped another. I figured out I could do 2 relationships well and pursue the degree and feel ok there. And if an emergency happened I still had bandwidth to deal with it. So even if I was interested in someone else? I had to say "No" to myself because my dance card was already full. I didn't want to shortchange myself or others.
omg 4 partners?! Yeah I think 2 partners is definitely my max while getting my degree. I can't lessen to part time, but honestly I don't think I would want to anyway. I'm trying to get this shit done 😬 Grad school just takes up so much of my time; in the grand scheme of things I really don't have to go out of my way much to hang with my husband or my boyfriend since we all live together, but when so much of my time is spent either at school or thinking about school it gets hard to juggle.
When things like that happen? Be ok doing less. You don't have to do your "normal" best. Just do you "sick" best . Be ok if that looks different. Like...
THIS. Academia doesn't make space for people to do "less" it seems. My advisor just pushes me as far as I can go so it's up to me to take a rest when I need it. Colleagues don't really share about rough times or having to lessen work loads; it's an oddly competitive or at least secretive atmosphere.
Just because you are the hinge doesn't mean you have to be doing all the work in a cohabitating poly ship either. Spread the load out.
Luckily I live with two of the cleanest men on the planet. Otherwise we never would have gotten this far lol but yeah I see what you mean. I make a lot of dinners so I'll try to pass that load on a bit when I'm not feeling well/don't have enough time.
 

Inaniel

Well-known member
This is an interesting topic because there are so many variables in every individual’s life, and when you multiply those variables by the number of people in a relationship the result is an exponential growth of chaos to deal with. lol

Career goals and ambitions alone for some individuals might be so high they cannot function in a relationship at all... So I see life as an equation of priorities.

I moved to the same State as did you to attend grad school! So we have that in common :). Poly during grad school for me involved a classmate, we shared study time together and travel for our academic program. And that was enough for her, the rest of my time was spent with Bird, it worked. Clear expectations and overlap with school made that a relatively low stress dynamic.

As I continue to grow into a poly lifestyle, I look at relationships a bit differently. Dating has become a recent interest and I think a lot about how someone fits into my life, what overlap exists if any, and what time I have available to share, and can I realistically honor that…

I am rarely idle, and therefore making space for someone comes at the expense of some other interest. Around the time I met Daisy I was also gaining momentum on a side hustle that I was passionate about. Something had to give….

A few years ago, I felt like I was drowning in my relationships… What helped me was communicating my needs and enforcing those boundaries, that meant trusting my partners to handle themselves. I don’t put out every fire and I’m not a qualified therapist, I make that clear and I have to maintain that boundary. As a hinge it is my responsibility to avoid getting swallowed up by everyone else’s “stuff”.

Now that we live together I have overlap in my favor… With the kitchen table arrangement quality time does not all have to be segregated, *some quality time can be simultaneous, *some intimacy can be simultaneous, and *some family time can be simultaneous. Daisy and I work from home, so some intimacy can overlap with work hours ect…. The point is, I can breathe again! 😂
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I am chronically disorganized. Calendars seem to be a theme on this thread lol I'm taking notes

Sounds like this is the area to work on then. My household also does shared Google Calendar.
it's really tempting when I come home and one of them wants to do something, stay up to watch a movie, etc. to say "Yeah sure why not!" but I find myself saying yes way too much. I love hanging out with both of them, I just need my alone time and have been sacrificing that to hang out.
I don't do spontaneous. My schedule doesn't allow for that right now. Spontaneous for me is scheduled. Like see that box on the calendar? That's "spontaneous day." I don't know what we're gonna do, we'll figure it out. But THAT is the day it happens. I have too many eldercare obligations to just ditch and run. I'd have to make arrangements. It was the same during early childhood parenting. One can't ditch kids and run. One has to make care arrangements.

I also do "pencil" standing dates with some friends. We check in the day before to "ink" and if something happened, nobody wigs. It's more like "Oh, well, try next week. See ya then!" Like me, they juggle work, kids, and elders.

Neither of them are in school, they go to work and come home. Probably finding a boundary of when I'm going to sleep each night, what times I want to be working in lab, etc. would help.
Make your schedule and stick with it. Remember that this "getting my degree" phase of life is not forever.

THIS. Academia doesn't make space for people to do "less" it seems. My advisor just pushes me as far as I can go so it's up to me to take a rest when I need it.

Then take it!

Colleagues don't really share about rough times or having to lessen work loads; it's an oddly competitive or at least secretive atmosphere.

When I was in that chapter of life? People I knew vented to the sides at family and friends, not really at school people. But it IS a huge load.

I make a lot of dinners so I'll try to pass that load on a bit when I'm not feeling well/don't have enough time.

Frozen, take out, meal kits, cereal, sandwiches, crockpot you can just load and ignore... That might be an area to trim back some.

I don't think either of them would take it personally if I needed time by myself or with other friends. As I get more used to having two relationships I have been taking some of the pressure off to be there for both of them 100% of the time. This was completely self inflicted; I felt like I needed two of me to be there for both of them but I've realized they're actually way lower maintenance than I am 🤪
Newbie hinges seem to take on too much (to me.)

Glad you are realizing some things.

honestly, I think I put most of the stress on myself to be a "great partner" in every facet possible. It's been comforting reading all of these comments from other hinges; like when my life is upside down I don't necessarily have to be at 100%, I just need to get by until I feel better. I would never expect one of my partners to go above and beyond when they have stuff to deal with, so I shouldn't expect the same from myself.

THIS. Cut yourself a break. Nobody has to run around being like Superman or Wonder Woman. It's ok to just be regular human beings doing their things in Life.

I hope you can find a better balance and let up on yourself.

Galagirl
 

dingedheart

Well-known member
I discovered that I could juggle 4 partners but I wasn't leaving me any room for friends and family. So I dropped one. Then I realized I wasn't leaving me any room for emergencies. So I dropped another. I figured out I could do 2 relationships well and pursue the degree and feel ok there. And if an emergency happened I still had bandwidth to deal with it. So even if I was interested in someone else? I had to say "No" to myself because my dance card was already full. I didn't want to shortchange myself or others.

Number of partners might change in different ages/stages of life depending on what else is going on but I think everyone has a poly saturation point. Love alone is not enough. Love might be infinite but time, energy, money and other resources are not.
I’ve had a few break up conversations in my day but I can’t imagine telling someone or being told by someone youre being dumped in case of an emergency. How exactly did that go ???? how much of that infinite love is needed to break past “ emergency time “ ?

i would argue maybe you actually couldn’t juggle 4 partners if has become the factor. Just a thought.

sorry I don’t mean to derail the thread I just read that and thought popped into my head.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I didn't dump him because of emergency. It was fun and pleasant, but he kept wanting to escalate it to be more serious where I wanted to keep it casual because I was getting my degree. I had told him so from the start but he really wanted to hop on the relationship escalator.

I realized "I'm not enjoying arguing about this. It is draining. Doing this circle conversation that goes nowhere repeatedly doesn't leave me space for other things." He kept calling wanting to discuss it over and over when it had already been covered.

That made up my mind to let it go. And when I healed from the break up I realized --- "Wow. I have all this time now." He'd been taking up my time for rest, friends, family, and if I had had an emergency I would have felt even more stress if had I still been dating him.

If he'd been able to keep it casual we could have continued because we got on great and cared about each other. But he was looking for a wife. And that was just not me at that point in time.

Galagirl
 
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Now that we live together I have overlap in my favor… With the kitchen table arrangement quality time does not all have to be segregated, *some quality time can be simultaneous, *some intimacy can be simultaneous, and *some family time can be simultaneous.
Kitchen table poly is the bees knees, if it works for you. My fav times are when all of us get to hang out together, or when I go to sleep listening to Joe and P laughing/talking :) When we lived separately making time for each other was definitely less trivial.
 
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