The Polyamorous Mediator


The Polyamorous MediatorWell here I am again, ready to stir up trouble where previously there was peace. Because no one wants to hear me bitch about how busy I am (again) and I think a column in which, week after week, I simply harp on about how awesome my partners are, would wear thin pretty fast. (Though for the record, my partners are pretty awesome.)

In fact my partners are awesome and sweet and kind and kinky and smart and sexy as hell. But there is one rather big thing that they are not: my partners are not polyamorous.

Okay, they’re not exactly actively NOT polyamorous. I mean if actions speak louder than words, then they are at least non-monogamous. I believe Molly and Michael settled upon being “monogamish” (thank you Dan Savage), which I suppose makes me their “ish” – I do rather like that. As for D, well he and his wife have more of a don’t-ask, don’t-tell policy. Which I am content to honour for their sake.

My point is that none of my partners are actively pursuing non-monogamy in the way that I am; and I certainly don’t think any of them would call themselves “polyamorous”. While I have no complaints about the state of my relationships – they are almost freakishly healthy when you consider the limitations we contend with – there is something to be said for the fact that I don’t really have any partners with whom I can practice good poly behaviour.

Let’s take communication for example: I am something of a middle-man when it comes to keeping everyone in the loop. I am the one who has to update people and maintain balance. Which also feels quite self-serving – possibly because it is. After all, I am the poly one! Maintaining balance is probably more important for me than for anyone else. But it also means no one else ever really role models it to me. I’m the only one doing that mediating.

Then there are the silly little things that don’t really matter but which I think of as the trimmings of polyamory. And yes, this is a little poserish, but for example, I wouldn’t mind figuring out and using Google Calendar (or something similar, not run by the censorious anti-christ). But it does seem a little superfluous for my partners who really just need to know if, you know, I’m busy or not.

I also have a somewhat hesitant desire to introduce D to Molly and Michael and vice versa – which may happen in the new year. The prospect is exciting but it also fills me with a slight sense of trepidation as I will be the only really polyamorous person at the table. Which I don’t believe I need to worry about, but it still bears thinking about. Being the mediator can be tricky. Is this lovers meeting lovers or likeminded people having dinner together? Who do I sit next to? Who do I arrive with? Or more to the point, where exactly, and in what formations do people head off afterwards? See! It’s a minefield!

Okay, okay – I’m making mountains out of molehills. I’m not really that worried about them all meeting. In fact I’m quite pleased by the prospect; and it will give me a chance to practice that good poly behaviour I mentioned earlier. And perhaps communication would be a problem if, you know, it were a problem, but it’s not. Actually everything is pretty damn good.

All I am saying is that I really wouldn’t mind having a few more poly friends with whom to discuss the ins and outs of multiple relationships, and share the intricacies of maintaining them all. Similarly, I don’t feel any particular need for a fourth partner, but I do think, if/when I do, I should probably be looking in the poly toy-box. Yes, I know – I still need to be more proactive with my poly networking. It’s on my to do list – promise.


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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