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I remember the very first night my partner went on a date after we opened up our relationship – it was one of the scariest, most exciting, most terrible nights of my life. I began the day feeling apprehensive and terrified, but pushed those feelings deep down until they became nothing but a slightly nauseous feeling in my stomach. Later, I was feeling excited and even, (dare I say it?), proud of myself for being so chill and cool with everything.

 I watched my partner shave his five o clock stubble and put on that nice floral shit that I really liked. I kissed him good-bye and genuinely wished him all the success on his date. I cried non-stop until 3am.

Lucky for me, I’ve managed to improve my experience significantly by developing a few strategies that significantly reduce the drama factor to my partner’s date nights. Whether you’re new to poly and are looking for advice to guide you through your partner’s first date, or you’re more experienced and just looking for some different opinions, read on for a peek at some of my own personal coping strategies.

Communicate your needs before the date

 I know that most poly people are sick to death of being told to communicate but I really can’t stress this enough; talk to your partner about your needs and wants before they head out the door! If they unknowingly cross your boundaries that’s not fun for anyone and the harm can be hard to take back. Discuss your needs and expectations clearly; what is going to make this the most comfortable possible experience for you? Do you need your partner to come straight to bed and cuddle you when they get home, or do you need them to give you space and sleep on the couch? Would a phone call or text half way through the date be helpful? How much information do you need after? All of these things and many others are important to consider, but remember – these are always only ever requests, never demands. Try to treat your partner with compassion and understanding if circumstances mean that not all your needs are not met straight away.

DDo something that fulfils you

A few of my poly friends like to organise a date for themselves while their partner is out with someone else, but there are two reasons why I don’t personally like this approach. 1: Scrambling through my little black book to find a date just because my live in partner is on one feels a little like using my lovers as accessories. People are people, not emotional buffers. And 2: It does nothing to address the underlying fear of being in one’s own company that underlies so much of the discomfort we feel when our partner is on a date. As an alternative, I try to organise to keep myself busy doing things that boost my self esteem and make me feel fulfilled; going to a dance class, catching up with a friend, going to a late-night film, or working on my writing are all proven winners for me. What works for you may be totally different depending on your interests and your life-style

Book quality time with your partner

         I find it infinitely easier to cope with my partner being out on dates when I know we have quality time coing up in the next few days. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy, expensive or extravagant; often we’ll plan something as simple as taking the dog for a big walk around the park the next day. Just having this plan in place makes me feel significantly less jealous on the night, and it is also comforting to know that there is designated time for me to discuss any feelings, needs or issues that arose the night before. I simply write them down so I’m not ruminating on these thoughts all night and get on to the important job of enjoying my self care time. Now excuse me while I go run the bubble bath and prepare to starfish sleep to my heart’s content!

You can find some great literature on Polyamorous relationships right here at our Vancouver sex store, The Art of Loving, along with a huge array of titles on love, sex, kink, health and heaps more. Here are some of my favourite titles:

“More Than Two” by Franklin Veaux and Eve Ricket

“The Ethical Slut” by Janet W. Hardy and Dossie Easton