As 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.)