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Dobby Is a Free Elf: Polyamorous Partying Without Expectations

·624 words·3 mins

It all started with a silly meme that I made for Poly.Land’s Facebook page, mixing polyamory with a bit of Harry Potter. “Dobby has no master. Dobby is a free elf.”

But as fate would have it, I was throwing a party at my house that very evening. The first one since I started dating my three partners that they would all be in attendance: Skyspook, CC, and Ro.

I had _just _started dating CC the last time Skyspook and I threw a party (Ro was away on a trip). Last party I’d spent the entire night by CC’s side. Partly because I was half crosseyed from NRE, and partly because CC only knew a few other people, and as a hostess I strive to help newer people feel comfortable.

And it was a lovely night, except for two things.

  1. I felt like I shortchanged the other guests and myself by focusing so much on one person. I missed out on a wider variety of conversations. Dates are for hanging out with a partner. Parties can be something else entirely. They’re a unique opportunity, and I didn’t seize it.
  2. When I witnessed CC sharing a smooch with someone else in passing, I felt a little raw. No one had done anything wrong. No agreements were violated. I didn’t have a meltdown or anything. But I had a possessive gut reaction, which was kind of a buzzkill for me.

As I reflected on the party the next day, I realized that I’d gone into the party believing myself in a way to be “responsible” for CC’s party experience. And without realizing that I was doing it, I somehow formed an expectation that he would do the same. He had become _my _date. Possessiveness. Egads.

This had also happened in the distant past with Skyspook, and that was no fun either.

I didn’t want to make that same mistake again.

Dobby Is a Free Elf

Going into the new party, I was also a bit concerned about balancing time and attention. Skyspook and I live together, are married, and have been together for ages. Even at times when we’ve only dated each other, we’re used to spending most of the evening separately when hosting a party. Divide and conquer. Essentially “staffing” the party.

But would CC and Ro feel slighted if I paid one more attention than the other?

And then it hit me: I was letting expectations master me.

“Dobby is a free elf,” I said aloud. And I laughed at myself for doing so. But as I thought things over, the course for my evening became clear.

I would attend the party without worrying about any of it. I would spend time with a variety of people, wandering about as I do when I’m simply hosting and not dating new people. Chatting people up, flirting, making sure the guests’ needs are tended to.

Paying basically whatever attention I felt like to people in the moment, what flowed naturally, whether they were a friend, a lover, or someone I was just meeting.

“I’ve decided Dobby is a free elf,” I told guests at the party.

“Oh you’re much more attractive than Dobby,” a friend replied, as we both laughed. A minor debate ensued over which article of clothing had been sacrificed to me in order to secure my freedom.

I felt so much lighter, not worrying about what other people were up to.

Now, this didn’t mean I had license to violate any relationship agreements (I stayed squarely within the parameters of mine). But I was free of expectations, of the idea that I had to be anyone’s “date,” let alone three people’s at once.

And you know what? I had a total blast.


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