Everyone has a metaphor for their availability, emotionally and sexually, but most people talk about the sexual side of things more. (Many people are emotionally unavailable, but that’s another conversation for another day.)
There’s lots of people who say things like “I’m taken” or “I have a boyfriend/girlfriend already.” But since I’m not monogamous or into matrimonial exclusivity, I use a different metaphor: “My dance card is full.” It’s a nice funny throwback to the days of high school dances and ice cream floats and going steady. In those day, people actually wrote their name on a school dance card to reserve a dance with you.
There was only a limited number of people who could fit on the card, depending on the length of the dance, and you had to be smart about who you allowed to take up those spots. You wouldn’t just let anyone sign your card, because then that nerdy dude who you didn’t like the smell of would be all up on you for four minutes of slow dancing while you looked around at better options.
So you have to choose wisely, and as we get older it’s not just at the high school dance anymore. You may have been polyamorous when you were young and wild and free, but being poly when you’re older takes a lot of different space and time up. It means you have to make decisions about who you’re going to invest your long-term focus on, not just next weekend. And that means sharing yourself beyond your belief at times. But how far is too far?
Consider yourself at capacity when it comes to bringing new people into your inner circle. You have say, five lovers in your life right now. Things are good. Not all of them get along, but they all know about each other and have a decent understanding of who you are. You have healthy poly relationships with them and are happy to spend one day a week with each one of them, with a day or two to yourself to recharge.
Sometimes you have that one extra day to make up for a date with someone you had, and you might need to reschedule something occasionally. But you have a tight arrangement of lovers and personal space for yourself and your friends and family. Your dance card is damn near full. It IS full, actually. And then you decide one day, to go to the nude beach with a lover. It’s gonna be fine, right? Wrong!
You’re having fun with your lover… and then you see someone else that simply blows you away with how beautiful and attractive they are. You smile, and they smile back. You say hi, and they say come by. You see and feel the potential for so much more to happen between you. But your dance card is full, remember? So what do you do?
Follow your heart, is all I can say. Do you have extra space in your poly life? Can you sacrifice a LITTLE time with someone else to make time for this person? Do you have the desire to be with this new person enough to deny yourself your own free time and space? Will you maybe not see your friends as much to make room for this? Will you try to do it all, and then fuck it up with someone else?
You won’t know the answer to any of these questions unless you go for it, and that’s why I say follow your heart.
If you have a full dance card, and that cute-ass crush you had from last year who you never thought you’d see again walks into the dance at the last song, you might have to ask them to hold hands with you on the walk home because… you just CAN’T let that chance go by.
What would you decide if your dance card was full?