Setting a Relationships Rent

Setting relationship rent

A while back an ex-poly-partner posted a very good piece that she’d had permission to publish by its original author. It’s all about the concept of paying rent within a relationship – “Always pay your rent”

It’s really good, hence I refer to it again and start thinking about the subject once again.

Following the break up I  later wrote a post on Rent control – “Rent Control” It’s all about how the rent can increase as a relationship develops and sometimes however the level required can become prohibitive. I wish to make it completely clear that this is not meant as an attack, purely an observation. We all decide what we want, need and desire, we are all responsible for placing a value upon the our relationships and love.

Then it occurred to me that I have never really thought about how you set and agree what the rent level will be and the form it will take. So this evening I’ve decided to put metaphorical pen to paper (fingers on keys) and look at this subject a bit more.

I guess rent can really take many forms within a relationship, but more often that not time is a key one and often a limiting factor. Any relationship worth having will take time, the big questions are likely to be:-

  1. How much time is already committed?
  2. How much time is required?
  3. Do you have that time that’s required?
  4. Will the amount required increase and by how much?
  5. How flexible can you be with your time?
  6. How flexible can the other person be with their time?

Being honest about each of these elements from the beginning is likely to help, but time management is not always an exact since when you add the human element into the mix.

How much time is already committed?

This one is always hard to quantify, trust me I’ve tried. We all have busy lives and juggling all the things we need to get done in a day is no mean feat. Demands upon out time cannot be neglected, such as existing relationship, family commitments, work, sleep, travel eating and friends. We all often take a lot of this for granted without realising it.

Its important to remember that you can’t always keep running at 110%, trying to squeeze every second out of the day. It will eventually catch up with you and when its does the effects can be catastrophic from a mental, physical and emotional perspective.

Another element that is overlooked is “Me Time”, no matter how much of a social animal you are, you will always need some”Me Time”. It could be a good book, surfing the web or some other past time, don’t be tempted to sacrifice it on the sacred alter of polyamory, you’re likely to regret it later.

How much time is required?

Don’t be fooled into convincing yourself that this will be easy to work out, life and relationships don’t work like that. A simple chat with a partner can overrun way beyond what you agreed or expected, that one hour time window you allotted suddenly seems like only a few minutes when the conversation starts to flow. Also remember that other people have lives just as crazy busy as your own and may have their own time constraints that your not fully aware of. The key is like to be plan but be flexible, a factor of at least two more often a more realistic bet.

The key is to be flexible and accept that others will have exactly the same issues.

It’s probably why things like google calendar get talked about a lot on poly forums and groups. You will probably have to become a master of time management and scheduling to really make it work.

Do you have that time that’s required?

This is really about being honest and hoping that others do the same, expectation of what time will be available and how that will continue are so dangerous. This is especially true when you are riding that amazing initial wave of NRE at the beginning of any relationship.

This initial phase is so critical and likely to be the time when the bar is set, so managing your expectations and those of a perspective new partner are critical.

Will the amount required increase and by how much?

The simple answer to this is ‘Yes it will!’, however if this doesn’t occur the relationship is likely to be in decline and fading.

Judging how much additional time may be needed in the future is likely to require a crystal ball, the honest answer is who knows…

Just don’t underestimate how this will grow with time, you are likely to be surprised.

How flexible can you be with your time?

This is down to personal time management and truly a bit of a dark art. Some people are very relaxed and go with the flow others get worked up if you are a few minutes late. If you want it to work relax and be flexible, it will pay dividends. However don’t let others drive you before the wind and abuse this flexibility if you chose to provide it.

Grabbing additional moment when you can to message, call or just say’Hi, I’m thinking of you”will not go unnoticed.

How flexible can the other person be with their time?

This is only something you will find out as the relationship builds and grows. Best intentions often fall by the way side. If you find a partner that’s as flexible as you are or at least willing to try you won’t go far wrong.

Final words…

With time management the best thing you can do is communicate and be honest.

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