The Non-Monogamy To Do List

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The Non-Monogamy To Do ListAs anyone who knows me even moderately well can tell you, I have a thing for lists. I have a list for work, a list for writing, a list for housework, a list for all the bits and pieces that keep day-to-day life on the go. I do, quite literally, live by lists; and from time to time, I will write a list for myself that is not quite a collection of things “to do”, but rather a list of goals. Things rarely get checked off this kind of list, because I tend to abandon the actual list long before anything is achieved, and anyway, I find that with long term goals, it is more about the impetus to start working in a certain direction than it is about the ultimate achievement. For example, I might strive to get high marks for an essay and write “work until I have a 1:1 for this piece of coursework.” The important part of this is the working; by the time I get my results back I will barely remember what I’ve written, but if I’ve done the hard work and put my all into the essay, then I’ve done my part. And then perhaps, if I don’t get particularly high marks after all, the work I have put into this essay will serve as an excellent foundation for the next.

You get the picture.

So I thought, for fun or direction, I might write a list of things I would like to achieve when it comes to non-monogamy. I know better than to write a list of immediate ‘to do’s: for me, writing things like “have an MFM threesome” has only ever served to set up and dash expectations. But when it comes to learning and growing, I have a few areas I could definitely work on.

Like communication! Funnily enough this has been somewhat tenuous. I can switch from the best communicator to the worst in the space of a few hours. In the midst of all my “I’m a terrible communicator!” scribblings, a good friend called me on it and said she thought I wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I seemed to think I was. Which has put a little more confidence in my step. But who couldn’t do with working on communication? For me it seems to be a matter of quashing bad habits and manning up; and I’d like to give my time and energy to that.

Something I’ve been thinking about quite a lot recently is compersion. Whilst I have put an awful lot of effort into ridding myself of bad, jealous behaviour, not being an overly-possessive, passive-aggressive partner is really only half the battle. I can now breathe into jealous moments and diffuse them with little difficulty. But what remains afterwards is apathy and indifference. Which is okay, but no more than that. I still haven’t found much enthusiasm for others’ bliss – or at least not to any great extent – and in the name of health and happiness all round, I think this warrants a little attention from me.

One thing I have thought about a lot since I embarked on this non-monogamous adventure, but not done all that much about, is proactively meeting non-monogamous people. Instead I seem to be stretching my partners out from the kink world and asking them to cover non-monogamy as well. With varied results. Or I meet people who are sort of non-monogamous by default, but don’t really discuss it or consider it with anything more than a passing idea of convenience. Understandably, this isn’t quite as effective as I wish it was. So yes, I could do with putting myself out there a little more and making more actively non-monogamous friends.

There are many smaller things I would like to improve as well, but for a starting point I think these three are well placed as starting points, and in many ways I think they encompass everything else.

Speak, be glad, and come into the light. (Which, I would like to point out, is different from going into the light.)

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Harper Eliot is a writer and podcaster whose work mainly centers around eroticism and social observation. You can find an archive of work, and links to all her other projects, on her website Harper Eliot. Harper lives in London, but rarely sees her own house, spending most of her time on public transport, listening to podcasts and tweeting too much. Her vices include cigarettes, lubricant, Earl Grey tea, opera, nail polish, and pinwheels.

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