There’s many conventions of dating that can change or shift when in a polyamorous relationship. Deciding to engage in a polyamorous relationship hasn’t taken away our favourite conventions from our days of monogamy but it has affected exactly what those conventions look like. For example, date night.
Of course not every night you’re with a loved one is inherently a date. Especially as a relationship goes on, you move in together, you must handle day to day tasks and not all your time together is spent focused on how much you adore each other. That’s what makes date nights so special, right? Ben and I have always tried to plan date nights where we can focus on each other and maybe take time to get outside our routine to try something new or do something just for fun. This was part of Maggie and Tom’s marriage, too, so it’s no surprise that we all still love a good date night.
But what exactly does date night mean for us now?
Well – any two of us, really. I have date nights with Ben, date nights with Maggie and date nights with Tom. What we do with the time depends on who I’m with and what we need in that moment.
Having multiple relationships pushes each of us to be cognizant of the time, effort and energy that we give each other. If we weren’t conscious of our actions and efforts it might be easy to become very romantic with one partner while becoming very pragmatic with another.
For example, Maggie and I are both planners. We like organization, timelines, details and knowing exactly how our days and weeks should unfold. Both Ben and Tom are used to these qualities and leave a lot of planning to us. This means that in our time together it’s easy for us to get preoccupied with planning. We check in with each other about upcoming events, meal plans, who needs to be where when…. before we know it dinner is over and we might be super satisfied with the plans we made but we didn’t really take time for ourselves.
Planning a date night is a signal to ourselves as much as it’s a signal to everyone else: This is relationship building time. The practical stuff can wait. Right now, it’s about nurturing our love for each other.
In all three of my relationships I look foreword to our date time and the chance to nurture these unique relationships.
We often plan date nights according to events we’re interested in. Concerts, plays, and festivals all make great venues for a date. We also plan according to important dates like anniversaries. This can mean that a date night for one couple isn’t necessarily a date night for another.
For example, if Ben and Maggie go to a beer festival that doesn’t automatically mean Tom and I will hunt for date plans. We’ll more than likely be enjoying the time to ourselves but in a less formalized way. We might catch up on some t.v, sneak out for icecream and maybe get some derby cars built.
I’ve written before about the effect of “compersion” – the opposite of jealousy. This can really be felt on a date night where two of us staying home are perfectly content and happy for our partners who are off to enjoy some well deserved time together.
I guess it’s also convenient too as we can choose to invite partners to events that interest them and not force partners that aren’t interested. Maggie and I can catch all the “girly” movies together, call it a date when we get our nails done, and plan shopping trips to spend time together. Meanwhile Ben can take Maggie to all the beer festivals which they both enjoy and neither Tom or I have interest in. Tom and I this summer have gone to watch a lot of the derbys he hasn’t participated in while Maggie and Tom have always liked a good dinner and movie date.
Ultimately having multiple partners has meant having more opportunity to connect over common interests and not force date nights in venues only one partner is really interested.
Not surprisingly there are things that get all 4 of us interested. Sometime’s it’s a new Marvel movie or a big concert like Trackside Country Music festival in London, Ontario. On these occasions we go as a family. I guess the idea of being out somewhere and seeing your partner with other partners is very strange to some but it’s become our daily norm.
It’s really nice to get out sometimes and bond as a family. However unique our individual relationships with each other we’ve ultimately moved in together and committed to living our day to day lives together. It’s nice when our common interests bring us together.
I guess in conclusion the biggest thing people struggle with is thinking of all the potential for awkward moments and weirdness. Like is it weird knowing that your spouse is on a date? Is it awkward saying bye to them as they leave, or greeting them when they come home? Do we flip coins for who’s with who for what?
Yeah, we went through that phase too. We spent time staring at each other trying to figure out how to ask for a date night or suggest a date for an event or something. We wondered what the proper protocols might be for coming and going and how to interact with each other in all kinds of new situations.
Then, all of a sudden we woke up one day and didn’t wonder anymore. We loved each other, we trusted and were happy together, there was nothing to be weird about.