How to Deal with Valentine’s Day When you are Polyamorous
I am pretty sure when Stu asked me to write an article about how people in polyamorous relationships handle Valentine’s Day he had visions of threesomes in his head. And while that is a totally valid way to celebrate, like most things in poly relationships this comes down to more communication than most mono-peeps care to hear about. If you are new to poly or just curious here are the questions you should be asking and some ideas for way to celebrate. And also most of these are good ideas for mono-relationships too.
Do your partners care about Valentine’s day?
Seriously, not everyone gives a shit. Ask your partners how they feel about it and what their expectations are. It may turn out they don’t care at all. I honestly don’t care all that much about it. My first Valentine’s Day with my married boyfriend we just sent each other texts with silly meme valentines from our favorite shows and books. That was all I needed or wanted that day.
What is your partner’s love language?
Marriage counselor Gary Chapman lays out a really good guide to how partners express and receive love. His idea is that there are five basic love languages – words of affirmation, acts of service, gifts, quality time and touch. Different people care more and less about each. I don’t really care about gifts. But bring me coffee in bed or take me on a weekend adventure and I am super happy. It may be a card with a heartfelt personal note is all your partner wants for Valentine’s day. If you live together, taking care of a household chore that is usually your partner’s may make her day. It may turn out your various partners have completely different needs on Valentine’s Day and you can easily meet them on the same day.
Do you partners want to spend time with other partners that day?
I have a boyfriend who has a wife who has a boyfriend, and another boyfriend who has a another girlfriend. Shared google calendars is the answer to what you are thinking right now. I have a standing Wednesday date with one of my partners, so I asked if he wanted to keep it this week. Turns out his other partner was out of town and he wanted to keep it. I also already had planned to go away for the weekend the Friday after Valentine’s with my other partner. This happened to work out well for everyone. That said, we started discussing it a month ago, so don’t wait until the last minute.
So, now that you have established everyone’s need, What do you actually do?
All go out together
Does your polycule all get along? Have everyone just go out together. Do something silly or social and go bowling, or go to a bar with video games, or just reserve a big group table at a fun restaurant.
Have a party
Take a cue from Julia and Paul Childs and host a party. Forget about trying to make it a couples night and have party for your partners, family and friends. This way no one feels left out plus you can give your single friends a fun night as well. Since it’s a Wednesday this year make it a potluck and trade silly valentines with everyone like you did as a kid. No one said Valentine’s Day had to only about romantic love.
Make plans for different days
If your partners all want to celebrate but not with each other, set expectations well ahead of time and make plans for different days. Go out with one on Tuesday and one on Wednesday. Yeah, one person may feel a little left out but that is just part of the deal with poly. As long as everyone is on the same page and knows what to expect well ahead of time you have done your duty.
Last year my boyfriend just left town and sent his wife and I flowers. Granted he had to travel for his job but you know… problem solved.
Fine, just have a three-some (or more-some)
Just make sure everyone leaves happy.