Who am I accountable to? In my life, there are:
Boyfriend #1 + his girlfriend + her boyfriend
Boyfriend #2 + his girlfriend + her husband
Girlfriend #1 + her boyfriend
My children + their father
So those +'s are people I'm theoretically not directly accountable to. And the boyfriends are not directly accountable to the partners of their other girlfriends. But it just doesn't always work out that way. And often, in my life, I land up being the one who checks in with *everyone* when we're making plans - or at least reminds my partners that I can't take a plan as confirmed until they've checked in with their 'chain of accountability'. You have to wonder how we get anything done.
And this is why, this weekend, we'll be inaugurating a (hopefully) weekly scheduling meeting for as many of us as are able and willing to make it. We're basing it on this article, which gives a lot of handy ideas, including ways for us to include the people who live out of town and can't always be present. Afterwards, we'll have pizza and play games. So it's a playdate as well as a meeting. Setting that up required about 8 messages, and I'm pretty sure the boyfriends didn't actually check in with their other girlfriends before agreeing to it (not so bad, since neither of them have plans with those girlfriends for Sunday afternoon). This means, of course, that either or both of the girlfriends won't be there, which is not great but at least we can get this thing off the ground. Because we need to. I'm now up to 5 out of 7 nights in a week booked as date nights. Add busy jobs and other projects in to that, for myself and the others, and it starts to look a bit crazy.
Because at the end of the day, I'm accountable to everyone in my relationship circle. I'm entitled to expect that my partners will be accountable to their partners, and will maintain open, honest communications with everyone. But if I'm not taking the needs of others into account when I'm advocating for my own needs (and vice versa), we're all going to land up too stretched. I need to remember, if I want or need to change date night with my girlfriend, that her boyfriend may have plans for them that night. Plans he might not even yet have mentioned to her because he's entitled, to some extent, to expect that our date night stays the same from week to week. And I have to check with Boyfriend #1 that he's ok that I'm moving that date to a night we often treat as an 'informal' date night. In case he was making a list of 'new house tasks' I might help him with that night.
Sounds like so much work, doesn't it? It kind of is. Check out how many date nights I get, though. <smiles> As Boyfriend #2 recently noted, just because we are the kind of people to whom the emotional/ romantic side of poly comes very naturally, doesn't mean we have to do less work at the day-to-day logistics stuff. It just means we are really committed to doing it, because these relationships make us happy. And they really do.