‘I think anyone who isn’t in a long term, monogamous, allosexual, cishet relationship feels the pressure of society on us a bit around this time,’ Eunice explains.
She is an organizer behind Poly Speed Dating, a regular event in London for polyamorous people to meet like-minded others.
We spoke to her for Valentine’s Day about polyamorous dating, and how polyamorous people might celebrate the day.
‘Valentine’s Day is really not set up for most people in the GSRD (Gender, Sexuality, Relationship Diverse) pool,’ Eunice told GSN.
‘If you’re asexual, or single, or trans, or in multiple relationships (the list goes on) then it can be rather off-putting to see all the fluffy pink and red cutesy or sexy stuff – cards, squishy cuddly animals, jewelry, lingerie, etc. – promoting a very specific ideal of what it means to be “in love.”‘
Eunice’s partner is Charlotte. They’re both also mutually dating Conaire.
Coming out as polyamorous
Charlotte first realized she was polyamorous four years ago.
She adds it’s only been until recent years same-sex couples have Valentine’s Day cards made available to them in stores.
Eunice realized she was polyamorous just over a decade ago now. She met people who mentioned the concept to her – One of these people would go on to later become her metamour (the term for your partner’s other partner).
From there, she took a year out of dating to research the idea of polyamory. She spoke to other who had more experience and spent time thinking ‘deeply about what being ethically in relationships meant to me.’
At the end of that, identifying as polyamorous ‘just felt like the most natural step [she] could possibly take. It just clicked for [her]. [She] haven’t looked back since!.’
Thankfully Eunice is surrounded by many who are also GSRD and could relate to Eunice. So other than from her grandparents, she hasn’t face much stigma regarding her identity as a polyamorous woman. However, she knows some polyam people who have.
While her partner Charlotte also hasn’t face stigma, she adds: ‘My main issue is that I’m queer and all the cards with actual figures on are gendered. Last year I found out that card makers had managed to gender cure sparkly owls. Cute sparkly owls do not need gendering.’
There is really no normal way that Eunice, as a polyam person, might spend Valentine’s Day. However, ‘most of the time [Eunice spends] Valentines Day at home on my own.’
She takes the day to re-engage with herself and ‘remind [herself] to spend energy on my relationship with [herself].’
‘But other than that, the whole rest of the month of February is up for celebrating! Usually a fancy dinner out, maybe a show or dancing. Any time [Eunice see’s her partners] in February is a Valentine’s celebration,’ she adds.
The way that polyamorous people celebrate Valentine’s Day can vary.
‘There are about as many ways to celebrate as there are relationships – not even every monogamous couple celebrates the same way, so you can imagine the variety for polyamorous people!’
Eunice gave a few examples.
She said: ‘Some might spend it with one partner, and the next night with another, and so on. Some might decide to do big (or small) group celebrations,’ she said.
‘Some take a whole week. A few I know choose to make it a day to celebrate and connect with their metamours, instead of their partners. Some people choose not to celebrate at all.’
Do something that makes other people feel loved
Similarly, the way polyam people may celebrate with each partner varies. Eunice says the most loving way to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a partner is always in the ‘the way that makes them feel most loved.’
Examples Eunice gives here include:
‘So sometimes, that’s cooking someone dinner. Taking them to a show that they love but you’re not that interested in,’ she said.
‘Giving them a new teapot/lingerie/book/dildo for their collection. Cuddling up on the sofa under a duvet sharing cool music videos with each other.
‘Making them a beautiful piece of art. Going to swingers or kink parties together.
‘Or maybe, it’s sending them funny “I love you” memes/gifs and amusing articles all day.’
Charlotte echoed this idea polyam people celebrate Valentine’s Day ‘in as many ways as non – polyam people celebrate the holiday. We’re a pretty diverse bunch.’
She added added it is ‘probably more popular’ to celebrate on a day that isn’t the 14th.
‘Talk to your partners about what makes them feel loved’
Communication regarding Valentine’s Day however is of the utmost importance, just as it is with anything to do with a relationship.
‘Talk to your partners beforehand about what you all actually want,’ Eunice advises polyam people.
She reminds everyone a Valentine’s celebration doesn’t have to ‘look the way that society tells you.’
She continues: ‘Do it your way, the way that makes you feel loved, because that’s really the whole point of the day. And if you decide you find it all too much, and you don’t want to ‘celebrate’? That’s fine too! Have a nice bath on your own, with yummy chocolates and a good book and take care of yourself.’
The most important thing however is that you talk with your partner about how they wish to celebrate the day, if it all – ‘Talk about it before setting up a huge party with a hundred guests for your introverted poly network, because on the day is too late.’
Then Eunice adds: ‘In fact, that’s a good recommendation throughout the year: talk to your partners about what makes them feel loved. And then do that every so often. Not just on Valentine’s.’
Charlotte’s advice? ‘Communication, communication, communication. Talk about scheduling, who wants what, who wants to celebrate on the day and who would rather wait to have more time at the weekend. As usual communication and compromise win the day.’