by Briana Bliss
Valentine’s Day can be a rewarding holiday for the polyamorous community. However, it can also be a tricky day to navigate (like all other holidays shared by multiple people). It is a holiday about love, romance, companionship and truly taking time out of your year to appreciate each other (or others). It is also a holiday that may lead to hurt feelings, miscommunications and it can be very stressful for scheduling purposes. I would like to share some of my positive, and not so positive, experiences that I have had with the numerous poly Valentine’s Days I have participated in.
Communication is so very important in any relationship, platonic or otherwise. Then add the complexities of multiple partners, multiple schedules and never having enough hours in the day. What is a person to do? Communicate, communicate, communicate! Discuss with your partners your expectations and your desires and be sure to keep the assumptions at an all-time low. Important topics to explore include: Which holidays hold high significance to you as a person or as part of a couple, triad etc.? What are the limitations to spending said holidays together? How can you try and please all of those involved without putting one partner above another or allowing couple’s privilege to enter stage right?
If you haven’t had these discussions, perhaps now is a good time to do so. It truly does make holidays less stressful and it could bring you closer to a partner. You are discussing an important topic to both (or more) people. It reiterates how much you value your partner and their desires. Enlightened discoveries may lead you to find out that Valentine’s Day is of high significance to one partner and another partner could care less. Maybe another partner loves shenanigans under the fireworks for the 4th of July or maybe they have traditions that they would like to share with you and have you participate in regarding this or other holidays. Perhaps partners would rather have a full day/weekend to spend quality time together than something on the day of. However, the opposite of the coin could be that Valentine’s Day is important to everyone involved. Let’s explore a few creative solutions to help alleviate the scheduling stress!
If Valentine’s Day is a significant day in your relationship, and others in the polycule don’t care either way, spend the day together with that partner doing things that you both enjoy. If there isn’t anyone that cares for Valentine’s Day, you can forgo the commercial holiday and treat it as any other day. If it matters to all of you, let’s explore a few ideas to include everyone:
If everyone gets along, you are very fortunate by the way, perhaps you can share a nice meal out together or do some mutually enjoyable activity amongst all of the partners. Spending time together as a polycule could help so that no one feels slighted. At least make the options available to all. If your tribe do not all get along, perhaps you could have breakfast with a partner, lunch with a partner and dinner with another partner? Or one Friday, one Saturday and one Sunday? You can absolutely make it work. Do whatever feels comfortable for you and for your whole polycule. Maybe a couple of partners get along and the other one walks to the beat of their individual drum (that is what you love about them right?). Spend some one-on-one time with that person and then a group outing for the others. As long as everyone is somewhat flexible, everyone should be able to get at least some of what they want and desire.
When you are communicating with your partners, remember to keep an open mind and listen up. Listen to what your partners want or need and how they would like to share mutual time. Listen to understand. If you cannot work something out on your own, perhaps you could all discuss the situation together and figure out some sort of resolution that would work for everyone involved.
What if everyone’s feelings will be hurt if you spend time with other partners? The “no one is happy” phenomena. I have had friends in the past either take themselves on a “self love” date and just do something solo that day. Go for that massage you have been wanting or go see that cool new movie that none of your other partners are interested in. This is an extreme example and was used because it was the only way to “make peace” with everyone. If Valentine’s Day really isn’t your thing and it is a metamour’s, allow for schedule changes. If your normal date night is every Thursday with one partner, be open-minded to exchanging days with another partner. If there is a “problem” in the scheduling department, come armed with ideas and suggestions, not just words of hurt and anger. Be proactive and figure this stuff out well in advance.
My plan this year is to spend time with loved ones, whichever loved ones happen to be around. My kids, my partners, etc. are more than welcome to share the day with me. What is Valentine’s Day truly all about? I believe that it is a day that we specifically set aside to show our partners and others that we value them. Make your partners feel special. Love them as you always do. Whatever the situation, with the help of good conversation, openness and understanding, Valentine’s Day can be perfect.