I was putting the finishing touches on a Valentine’s Day post on the Sunday that turned into such an explosive mess and completely forgot to publish this post in the process. Ah well, here is:
With all the recent talking and frustrations and anger, I am happy to report that Valentine’s Day went well, at least. Which is great, since it had a rocky start, in terms of planning.
First, a little bit of backstory:
Building up to the first Valentine’s Day that Jon and I sent together, I was very nervous and wondered how we’d handle things. This was the first time that I was seriously dating someone who had two loves, and I envisioned that we’d probably all spend the evening together. Not to say that I wouldn’t have loved to spend Valentine’s Day with just Jon and I. But it’s our first Valetine’s Day, and as we’re poly, it seemed appropriate (and not shitty and uninclusive) to demand exclusivity with Jon on that day.
I swear to all I hold dear, that is actually what I was thinking before I learned how Valentine’s Day would actually go (in other words, not trying to make anybody look like an asshole).
As it happened, Lora felt extremely strongly that she and Jon needed to have Valentine’s Day together, just the two of them. I had a lot of mixed feelings about it – the first being I thought it was kinda shitty (See above. I honestly hadn’t expected Lora to insist on it spending the evening alone with Jon, and it caught me completely flat-footed that he was OK with it). The second being, I’d recently started to have some serious doubts about if Lora was really comfortable with the kind of polyamory that Jon and I practice and…well, work had been extremely stressful lately, and I we’d had a HUGE blow-up about Jon’s time over Christmas/New Years. I was still reeling from that, and felt like I couldn’t handling pushing on Valentine’s Day and risking another blow up. Give her the day, I thought. What could it hurt?
It actually hurt quite a lot. Which I find embarrassing to admit. I wish I didn’t think of Valentine’s Day as an important day. Blame middle school and high school dances. And my first two boyfriends who (I shit you not) both broke up with me within days of Valentine’s Day because they “didn’t feel like going through any effort for that stupidity”. I think the real cincher was when I hung up the phone after Breakup #2 and explained, shell-shocked, to my parents what happened, my dad said “Again?! Two years in a row?” And just shook his head and walked out of the kitchen.
I learned later that he felt really, helplessly bad, since this is one of those things that dad’s can’t help their daughters with, and I’d had years of my dad always buying things for my mom to watch. My dad wasn’t particularly creative (he rotated through a set of liquors, chocolates, and types of jewelry that he knew my mom was fond out), but he made it clear to me that honoring holidays like that was important and that both parties should do it (I’m assuming my mom bought new lingerie every year or something – she never mentioned anything to me, and I was (and still am) a bit too squicked out to ask*). Not in a “pull out all the stops and expect miracles” kind of way, but in an honest expression of taking the meaning the day seriously and honoring the person involved. Hallmark cards and traditional trappings of the holiday only necessary if one of the parties feels strongly about it.
Anyways, those were the expectations that my parents instilled about Valentine’s Day. Most of my Valentine’s Days followed a similar, shitty path. I won’t get into all of them, but suffice to say I had a love/hate relationship with Valentine’s Day and having the first Valentine’s Day I would spend with the most amazing man I’ve ever met comprise of us having a hurried meal during my lunch break felt really shitty. It hurt. I hated it. And I asked Jon that next year, we were able to go out to dinner and spend the night together, which he readily agreed to.
To counteract all that negativity, I concocted an excellent plan to spend Valentine’s Day with a couple of close friends that were visiting for the weekend. We were going to get booze, chocolates, a selection of other yummies and spend the evening in eating and crafting and being ridiculous. That way, I’d pass the evening with some other loves, and it would go a long way out for taking the sting out of it.
Oh plans, they always have such a way of going awry. This is why B Plans are such important things.
Wednesday night, my friend’s (mountainous) hometown had a huge snowfall and it became clear partway through Thursday that they just couldn’t dig out in time. The heavy snowfall had done some minor damage to their home – the kind that isn’t too hard to fix and happily isn’t hugely expensive, but really should be taken care of right away. So I was on my own.
What did I do? After I finished freaking out and being angry, I decided to keep the evening as it was, but instead, move the evening to a hotel that wasn’t particularly spectacular, but did have in-room hot tubs. So I had my evening in the hot tub, with all my favorite music and bites and did a little Skyping with my friends that were stuck at home.
I did tell Jon that I was upset and hurt that I asked him that we didn’t communicate at all that night. I was worried that my anger and unhappiness would bleed through into texts and I didn’t want to add a shitty dimension to his night with Lora.
When the day came, Jon and I had our quickie Valentine’s Day lunch, kissed goodbye, and he headed back home. I settled into work, and let him know around six that I was stopping communication with him for the night, but that I would let him know when I was going to sleep.
And that was that. I survived. And I even made it fun.
Coming back to this year’s Valentine’s Day, sometime in January, Lora started talking about finding things that work well for three people to do for Valentine’s Day. Hello, what’s this, I wondered. So when Lora kept mentioning that idea, I approached Jon and asked him if he remembered what was said and done last Valentine’s Day. Though he didn’t remember his promise (which frankly, I did feel a bit upset about), he knew that I wouldn’t imagine something like that, and agreed that it was fair that he and I be able to go out for V Day. So he went to talk to Lora.
After talking to Lora, he came back with an…interesting counter-offer. Lora and Jon both felt like it was shitty and divisive that Jon had to choose between the two of us on a day like this. They both felt like it’s be really nice if we all spent the day tonight, and the night snuggled together. I said that I totally agreed and I thought it was a lovely idea…that we should definitely start doing next year. Then Jon and I shared an awkward laugh. Yes Jon, I see what Lora did there. No Jon, I don’t feel really great that you brought it to me and didn’t think to say to Lora yourself “You know, that’s a really great idea. And we should do that next year, because this year I promised Liz that we’d go out”.
After more negotiation, we decided that Jon and Lora would spend the night before Valentine’s Day together, then go out to brunch and a little artisan-classes place that Lora had been interested in. Then we’d meet for a few hours of ice skating at the local park, before Jon and I headed out for dinner and dancing. Jon and I would come home when we came home, and spend the night together.
Amazingly, it went off without a hitch. No drama, no explosions, no repeated texting-and-calling from Lora while we were out. The three of us spent a bit of time together when Jon and I got home, and then Jon and good night to Lora and came to bed with me. And I feel really happy and relieved to say that all the extra sleeping (for me) in the morning really helped me with my energy levels, and extra pain-killers helped me with my pain levels, so Jon and I had the best sex that we’ve probably had in months.
It’s days like this that give me hope that things can get better. I’m not ready to believe it, and I’m not going to value one good evening more than the many bad days that we’ve had in the past few months. But if we can have a good night like that, then maybe there is hope.