Poly on Valentine’s Day

 

Today’s piece is a shortish one since I’m sick. But I couldn’t let this day pass by without writing something about Valentine’s day from a polyamorous point of view.

Myself, I won’t be celebrating Valentine’s this year. Nomad doesn’t celebrate it and has an unrelated special day today, so I’m on my own. How do I feel about that? I’m fine with Nomad not celebrating it with me – we never have – but I have to admit I’m not hugely thrilled about being alone in itself. This is the first year I haven’t been celebrating it since 2005 (so since I was fourteen years old…) and waking up to a Facebook news-feed full of everyone talking about all the lovely romantic things they’re doing today has sort of made it very difficult to ignore.

In principal, I don’t think Valentine’s is a big deal, and of course we all know it’s hugely over-commercialised. It’s also extremely heteronormative and mono-normative, like all mainstream notions of romance. (Ever tried to find a Valentine’s card that doesn’t present love as being all about exclusivity and being someone’s one-and-only forever and ever?) So I’ve been spending today having a taking-care-of-the-Jess day. I’ve been dozing on and off all afternoon and it’s been lovely. And I’ll probably go dancing later, which always does me good.

The ongoing joke about polyamory and Valentine’s, of course, is that it must get ridiculously expensive. The other commonly raised question is which partner do you spend it with? For me, it’s never been an issue, as I’ve never concurrently had two partners who wanted to celebrate it with me.

So I’m curious, my lovely readers – how do YOU spend the February day of love? Do you spend it with one partner, or more, or alone? Do you go all out, or do you ignore it entirely? Leave your thoughts or stories in the comments.

Whatever you’re doing or not doing, I hope today and every day is filled with love and joy xxx<3

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23 thoughts on “Poly on Valentine’s Day

  1. Ancelin says:

    I have one long-distance partner. She planned to do something with her other partner but it is cancelled because she has to work that evening.

    I was planning to go to a restaurant with a friend (yes, friendships are good too!) but it is cancelled because my friend is sick and cannot travel.

    So I will end up doing nothing. It is ok, there is still 364 days in the year to celebrate love :)

  2. Amanda says:

    I have been married for 5 years, and we always commemorate the day, but not in a big way. Usually a special meal or just some time together. I am not big for buying junk one does not need, so no flowers or teddies. But this is the first year that I have had an additional partner. He is also married, so we are spending it with our spouses, making them feel extra special and cared for. Although we did (my bf and I) just come back from a weekend together, which was a first for us, so it makes sense to spend it with our spouses this year.

    I wonder how it will pan out next year? Similarly perhaps?

  3. Anskar Argoni says:

    I had a kind of different perspective on it this year. We (my wife and I) don’t do much for it usually – anniversaries are bigger events for us (woe betide me if I should not arrange something for one). This year, neither her nor I felt like doing much, as we were feeling unwell, but my girlfriend (for lack of a paragraph describing the relationship) was messaging me to go do stuff with my wife, because she felt I should be doing something for it.

    Although I do have an ongoing issue regarding the, as you said, heteronormative nature of how people consider romantic dates (i.e. Valentines Day and anniversaries). Why am I (as the nominal male) expected to be the one doing romantic gestures for my wife? In the lead up to the day, no-one was telling my wife to do something romantic for me, only that I must do something romantic for her.

    • missamaranth says:

      Absolutely. There’s a lot of pressure on men to do the big romantic gesture on Valentine’s day. Then again, there’s also a lot of pressure on women to _get_ the big romantic gesture. The socially-enforced competitive thing again, which I wrote about a few weeks ago….

  4. Byghan says:

    Over the last 3 years of having 2 partners, the 3 of us have tended to have a meal together to ‘celebrate’. Its not usually a big romantic thing for us, and in the past I have usually avoided the date, but we decided to make an effort to make sure everyone felt included.
    I think that it stems from a sense that being alone on Valentine’s day and especially being separated from people you love can be particularly difficult because of the social pressures and constant reminders of what one ‘should’ be enjoying (i.e. intimacy and romance if not actually heart-shaped balloons) – it seems obvious that that pressure would ideally be water off a ducks back, but in a poly relationship and especially when there is a lot of conflicted emotions (e.g. one partner is mono etc) sometimes paying extra attention to hurt feelings and loneliness makes a lot of differeme.

    p.s. In response to Anskar Argoni: I think its because stereotypically men aren’t interested in romance and therefore do not require romantic gestures to feel appreciated. In my experience thats a load of crap but thats stereotypes for you. I think similar issues exist in the way homosexual couples are often expected to take roles that reflect a parallel dichotomy or that lesbians(and feminists) shouldn’t be interested in romance because that is too girly/unempowering etc etc.
    Well sod it, I can buy flowers for my girl or my boy any time I like ;-)

    • Anskar Argoni says:

      Hear, hear! I admit I’m not as romantic as some people, but as they say, it’s the thought that counts. But expected male-female roles in society is a whole different topic.

    • missamaranth says:

      Aww – that’s lovely. Yay!

      I completely agree. It should all be about being able to do the soppy romantic stuff if you like… or choosing not to, and either way being okay! :-)

  5. I hope you are feeling better. I started Valentine’s Day at midnight. From 12-3:45 AM I left love song youtube videos on all my friends’ facebook pages. I walked by the river with my new soon to be lover, and we swept each other off our feet making out. I chatted online with my other possible lover who was coming back to our town later in the week. And, then I went to a wonderful home made dinner party with several special friends. And, when I came home, someone had left me vegan chocolate chip scones with a card reminding me to love myself. It was a beautiful, validating Valentine’s. :)

  6. Jen says:

    When I have more than one partner, there’s usually someone who is, y’know, more prominent in my love life, or lives nearer to me, or isn’t going to be busy with another partner, so I’ll try to spend some time on the day with them. Like so much in life, you play it by ear and hope it works out alright.

    I like it as an excuse to show someone I think of them when they’re not around; a long time ago when I was long-term-doley and so cash-poor and time-rich I got into the habit of making cards for partners and for the other people in my life who made the world that much shinier and who inspired me or rescued me when life went floomp. I’m a tiny bit better off now but still try to do that. It’s not ridiculously expensive if you’re making rather than buying: you end up using small amounts of art and craft stuff, some of the leftovers from which you can than hoard for next year. It just takes time (95% of which is coming up with a card design idea…)

    Making your own cards helps dodge the “you are THE ONE” vein of Hallmark-et-al designs.

    And being poly makes for room for fresh dodgy valentines pomes, along the lines of “roses are red/ violets are blue/ i love four people/ and one of them’s you” :)

  7. Aliona says:

    Hey hey :) I believe you can find lots and lots of super funny, geeky and even poly valentine cards on the internet, or even make your own. I myself knowing that gonna have a nice dinner with my husband and girlfriend, made them hand made cards saying “Bee mine… or they’ll never find your body” and “Roses are red, violets are blue, age marks are brown, if you get them we are thru”. We had a nice laugh about these:)

    • missamaranth says:

      Very true! I’ve been contemplating a new little crafting project, designing poly greetings cards. Not just for Valentine’s day, but what about…. ‘happy anniversary to my girlfriend and her husband?’ or ‘to an awesome metamour’ or….? The possibilities are endless! *grin.*

      Glad you and your loved ones did something nice and something personal to you :)

  8. EmberiaT says:

    A little late but…

    I took my guys out to a nice dinner, after dinner drinks and gelatto for the big day. We went 4 days early, the Friday before, so that if there were others to have time spent with it would be available ON the day or closer to it.

    I surprised them with it, I paid and I drove. :) Girl Power! :)

  9. Fire_Kitten says:

    I spent the evening with 2 close friends having cake and silly conversation.
    My general ‘tradition’ is that we (as in myself and any / all of my partners) will do something fun and romantic “later”, in whatever groupings work that year,

    This year I am
    Babysitting for partner A so he and his wife can have a night out
    Going for a midweek break with partner B and a metamour (the metamour and I are then abandoning partner B and going to the spa for a day )
    Something else with partner C – which we haven’t planned yet

    It was a hard thing on the day though opening my post first thing– which was an MOT reminder for my car, and then chatting with colleagues about all their romantic plans.

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