Polysaturation: When You’ve Reached Your Poly Limit

Are you busier than you can handle? Do you need an Excel chart to keep track of your dates, promises, and dinners with various in-laws? Do you have too many lovers to actually give a damn about sex?

You may have reached your polysaturation point!

What Is Polysaturation?

Polysaturation is when a polyamorous person has spread themselves too thin over various relationships and can no longer handle the number of partners they have and the commitments and obligations they have to their lovers.

Polysaturation is when you are not comfortably thriving in a network of affirming relationships as an individual or community, but are juggling the needs and demands of too many partners.

If polyamory is the love of many, polysaturation can be described as “too many loves.”

Read: Adding a New Partner: 4 Things to Consider

Who Experiences Polysaturation?

Every individual is unique and has a different set of strengths and weaknesses, of skills and problem areas. Every individual has a different situation and schedule, a different workload, and different responsibilities.

One person may find it emotionally challenging to date one person, even though they are retired and free all day. Another may work sixty hours including midnight shifts and find it rewarding and relaxing to cater to their partners’ needs in the few hours they have left.

Someone else may be fine in a polycule with four others partners, but then something comes up, such as a promotion at work, or a parent’s illness, and suddenly, they can no longer cope with their commitment to their lovers.

Read: 4 Expressions of Commitment in Poly Relationships

How Many Partners Spell Polysaturation?

There is no set number that defines polysaturation.

A solo poly woman may have ongoing relationships with ten men and women, but she seldom sees half of those people and only schedules or commits to what she can cope with outside of work.

A polycule might include eight people and some of those have casual partners in addition to the main community, with everyone thriving.

A couple who swings may find one encounter monthly is thrilling but weekly socializing and swinging has cut into their time with their children.

A throuple may find they can’t meet the needs and expectations of the third partner, but the throuple they were in before this one had room for more.

Read: The Magic Number: How Many Lovers Is Ideal?

Factors Leading to Polysaturation

The factors involved in polysaturation are always different and depend on the individual and on their partners, because there are always different levels of time, emotion, responsibility, and commitment between lovers.

That said, there are some factors involved in the polysaturation phenomenon.

One is the nature of the person implicated. Are you introverted or extroverted?

If more people give you more energy, you may thrive on a busy calendar with lovers’ families and children and friends, and have no problem adding more to the mix.

Read: 4 Signs It’s Time for an Additional Poly Partner

If you need a lot of solitude to recharge, or want more one on one time with each partner, growing your dance card list won’t help you meet those needs.

The nature of the relationships you are in is also a main factor in polysaturation. If you have several discreet or casual connections that don’t require a lot of time, that leaves you a wider berth than if you have a very active, hands-on relationship that includes relationships with your partners’ families and friends. It can be impossible to juggle holidays with multiple lovers’ families, for example, or weekly dinners with besties or metamours.

Read: How to Make More Time with Your Partners

Your health is a big factor, too. You may have had a lot of energy for many partners and their kids, dogs, and parents, plus lots of sex, when you were thirty. If you’re dealing with a major illness, or just the toils of aging, the intensity may be taking a toll.

Your job and other responsibilities also speak to polysaturation. If you work as a social media influencer, you might set your own hours. If you’re an emergency room surgeon who is always on call, you may not have time to eat or bathe, never mind go to go to swingers clubs and poly mingles.

Your priorities and values, individually and in your relationships, is also a polysaturation factor. You may value intimate quiet time, both privately and together, while prioritizing your education. If you’re getting your Masters degree and working full time, while wanting to spend a lot of time with each partner, there are only so many hours in the day.

If your partner wants more time solo because she wants to study, you may have more time for more partners in order to support her need for focus.

Read: 4 Ways to Offer Support in Poly Relationships

Signs of Polysaturation

Signs of polysaturation include obvious ones like not having enough days in the week to allot to your commitments and responsibilities, not getting enough sleep, and being exhausted from work and play.

Others include not seeing your friends and family or keeping up with your responsibilities. You may not be getting enough sleep. You may notice your finances are slipping because you are too active socially. Your job may be suffering or you may be neglecting your fitness, pets, or siblings.

You may not be getting quality time with your partners. You may feel resentful and find yourself arguing in your relationships. You may feel depressed, overwhelmed, stressed, anxious. You might be drinking or smoking too much or eating poorly.

You may be forgetting important appointments or avoiding calls from people you love. You may not be enjoying anything you are doing, and hurrying through those things. You may feel like you are always behind schedule.

Read: 4 Tips for Carving Out “Me Time” in Your Poly Life

How To Deal with Polysaturation

There are only so many hours in the day and seven days in the week.

Take stock honestly of where you are at. Think about your priorities, whether relationships or work and family and interests.

You can ask all of your lovers for some leeway and space while you sort things out. You can stop building your repertoire of lovers. You might politely back down from relationships that you don’t have meaningful time for. You might change some of your expectations and ask your lovers to change some of theirs.

Read: Honesty in Polyamorous Relationships: Why It’s So Important

It’s best to deal with polysaturation honestly and communicate with your partners openly about how things are affecting you, and them. They may have simple suggestions or offer you more space and leniency. You can delegate some of your commitments and responsibilities in some situations.

You may find that some of your partners also feel the polysaturation and may welcome a lighter schedule or changed expectations.

Read: Tips for Maintaining Communication in Poly Relationships

It’s important to get more sleep and more quality food and exercise so that the body and mind can be optimized through a stressful time. Don’t be afraid to tell your partners you simply need more rest and need to sit out a few dates or social events and reprioritize your time.

Have you experienced polysaturation? How did you cope?

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