We've fallen into a semi-routine of having what girlfriend #1 calls 'poly playdate'. She and her partner have yet to attend, as they're always being cool and going to interesting places. But they're booked for the next one (are you taking notes, girlfriend?). So it's me (obvs), boyfriends 1 & 2, girlfriend #2, #2's partner, and sometimes my kids and other friends. We have lunch, chat, laugh, catch up. As we don't often have dates all together (apart from the triad dates, which don't include everyone), our other partners don't get to see us interacting that often. So, for example, #2's partner sees her in specific situations with boyfriend #2, but not that much in social situations, and not that often when I'm also around. He hardly ever sees just her and I together, because we tend to have dates when none of the boys are around. Boyfriend #1 also doesn't get to see me with them very often.
I'll get to a point. Two points, actually. First one is: we can get jealous of another partner when we imagine that our partner's relationship with them is somehow 'better' or 'more' than our own. Communication helps to lighten this. But the easiest way to feel better about it is to see them interacting with the other partner and understand that, though their relationship may have slightly different patterns, the one you love isn't some whole other person with them. It's reassuring. You're not missing out on some special part of your partner that this other person gets.
Second point is that, despite knowing the above, I always feel slightly odd when more than one of my romantic partners is around. Like: who do I kiss now, who gets special attention, who might be hurt if I give that other partner a quick kiss as I head to the kitchen? It's kind of silly, but it's also, for me, a throwback to a time when I was with a partner who didn't want to see any evidence of other romances, even if he knew that I was romantically involved with someone else who was actually at that social occasion. But (hooray!) spending this time together in a relaxed way has helped me to feel a whole lot less awkward about that. And let's face it, there's nothing to make shit awkward like actually feeling awkward to start with. You tend to botch by overcompensating.
And, of course, I get to spend a bit of time with the partners of people I love, getting to know them better and checking in on how they're doing. That's really important for me. Plus, food, wine, and I am blessed with a really hilarious group of partners so it's a laugh a minute.
Poly play date is not for everyone. Some people don't really want to know their partner's partner's, or hang out with them. But I can highly recommend it, even infrequently, because it's a wonderful way to smooth those all-important channels of communication.
Because I know what went through some of your minds when you read the blog title: yes, there is a whole different kind of poly play date that's a little less PG. And I'll talk about that some time.
Throw me some comments, kids. I need feedback or I'll just keep blathering on and not know whether I'm making any sense at all....