Valentine’s Day, a day to celebrate love, can feel so hard for so many of us. There’s a lot of pressure to show up with the right card, flowers, gifts, and meals for that special someone.
This is the one day of the year dedicated to showing your one and only just how special and important they are to us.
But, what if you don’t just have one special someone? What if you are polyamorous and have multiple Valentines?
The pressure and guilt that often come with Valentine’s Day can feel compounded with multiple partners. There can be a lot of anxiety and anticipation leading up to the holiday. The marketing and materialism associated with Valentine’s Day runs deep and strong and, no matter your personal beliefs, it can leave us feeling inadequate or unappreciated.
So, how can we meet the needs and expectations of all our loves this Valentine’s Day while maintaining our sanity?
Celebrate your love day-to-day, instead of putting tons of pressure on yourself due to the holiday. I’ve found for myself, as a polyamorous person, Valentine’s Day has become so much easier than it was when I was practicing monogamy.
When I was monogamous, it felt uncomfortable to ask for what I wanted. My partner should be a mind reader who just knew what would make me feel happy and cherished! There always seemed like there was a solid expectation that we would spend Valentine’s Day together and it felt so obvious at the time. All of our friends would ask, “where did you go?”, “what did you do?”, or “what did you get?” The pressure put on couples by friends, family, and Hallmark is huge!
Eventually, I realized that I would much rather put effort in on a day-to-day basis to show my partners how I feel, rather than make grand gestures on a random day in February. I am a BIG fan of regular special dates and random love showers.
Of course, even if you are already doing that, it doesn’t necessarily mean your partners aren’t expecting some sort of heart-shaped something this Valentine’s Day.
One of the most important things that us Polyamorous people learn early on is that communication is key!
It’s so lovely to ask your partners what they expect and need, to feel loved. We can spend SO much time guessing and second-guessing, but every person is so different that the best way to know is simply to ask. The best way to manage expectations and prevent hurt feelings is to talk about it.
First, do your partners even care about Valentine’s Day?
You may discover that one partner couldn’t care less, while another has a deep desire to receive a heartfelt card. I know my girlfriend and I are both pretty partial to the cheesiness of a heart-shaped box, a cheap stuffed bear, and classroom style cards, but they’re not for everyone!
If you have multiple partners who are all dig Valentine’s Day, you have several options. You can split the holiday between your partners (i.e. have brunch with one, dinner with a movie with another), or even avoid scheduling any dates for the actual 14th of February and throw a polycule party with your partners and metamours instead! These are all wonderful ways to celebrate the love in your life. My personal favorite is to spread the holiday out over a week (or month)! However you do it, just be sure that everyone is communicating their desires and expectations clearly and never forget that comparison is the thief of joy. Things don’t have to be equal among partners if everyone is upfront about what feels important to them.
Next, do your partners even want to spend the holiday with their other partners?
A fact of polyamorous living that gets highlighted on holidays is that the calendar is King. While it’s amazing to have multiple people who love and cherish us, we have to keep in mind that they love and cherish others as well. So, by being upfront about what we need and what we expect, we are able to (hopefully) avoid being disappointed.
In my case, my partners each have multiple other partners to shower with love as well, so being flexible is very important. Knowing what my partners each plan to do really helps minimize any disappointment that might pop up.
…But what if you find yourself alone on Valentine’s Day, despite having multiple partners??
This is one of the potential downfalls of Polyamory, but it could happen in any relationship structure and why it’s crucial to not put too much importance on this commercial holiday.
Consider this a wonderful opportunity to get deeply in touch with yourself and find the things that bring you pleasure outside of romantic relationships. Think about things like visiting with friends, treating yourself to your favorite snack, or setting yourself up on a self-pleasure date.
However you feel about Valentine’s Day, it can be a fun holiday for Polyamorous folks to celebrate the amazing lives full of love that we are living.