Valentine’s Day in Polyamory: What Real Queer People Do and Don’t Do
Feb 12 · 4 min read

by Chaya Milchtein

Red roses then a fancy dinner — when you get home candles are lit and the mood is set. Valentine’s Day has really become a Hallmark holiday with competition, fake romance and lots and lots of money involved.

Despite this some folks including myself love the premise of the day. To shower those you love with attention, romance and love.

While some may dedicate the day to the one person they love, polyamorous people must work to fit a very traditional holiday into a relationship style that might not be entirely compatible with it.

Here is some advice and stories from queer poly people making their love for the holiday and multiple partners work for them:

Don’t Romance For Show

I was in a relationship for over a decade that prioritized the theater of romance. We’d do something grand every year but our relationship was crap when it came to fundamentals. After healing from that I bring practicality into all of my relationships, and prefer little tokens of appreciation over the grand stuff. The pressure or need to do something for the holiday has fallen away for me. — Janelle Johnson

It’s OK to Prioritize Yourself

I’m getting a massage. I don’t do Valentine’s Day with partners. I did get everyone a card this year, but that’s it. This frees my partners up to give this time to their partners so no one feels they need to choose / balance. Valentine’s Day is a reminder to be kind and loving to your partner, you can do that whenever better fits into your schedule. — Jamie Deer

Know your Financial Limits

I think Valentine’s Day can make people feel a lot of pressure, especially people with multiple partners. I think it’s important to know your financial limits and to plan ahead so that you have enough time to spend with everyone. It’s okay to celebrate on the 13th, or the 15th, etc. Do what works for you and your partners and don’t let the expectations of the holiday stress you out. — Katie

Schedule, Schedule, Schedule

A calendar/schedule is your friend! Also be attentive to how your partners would be most comfortable celebrating the holiday, some of my partners don’t like “gifts”, some don’t like the holiday at all, some are over the moon for it. Communicate how you intend to spend your day with your partners so that no one is put out by the fact you may have plans with another partner. — Brittany

Tell Your Partners What Your Needs Are

It’s important not to build up expectations — especially when you do not know for sure that your partner(s) celebrate Valentine’s. Communicate your wants and make plans together instead of sitting around expecting and then getting mad afterwards. — Justė

Small Tokens of Love Are Appreciated

I’m a big believer in tokens of appreciation. Whether it’s buying a dollar chocolate or just a verbal statement of appreciation, I try and create something personal for everyone I love. — Janelle Johnson

Make Your Romantic Gestures Personal

Find something unique about each partner and focus on those things for your celebration. If one of your partners loves to sing, maybe go out together for karaoke. If another partner loves gaming, maybe set up a special gaming night at home. A dinner at their favorite restaurant, or making their favorite food at home, is also a great way to make it special for each specific person. — Katie

Just because the holiday is traditional, doesn’t mean you have to do it traditionally. Step out of the box, be unique and consider other days as possibilities for celebrations.

How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? Tweet me and let me know!

  • Comments have been edited for clarity and grammar.

About the Author:

Chaya Milchtein is the driving force behind Mechanic Shop Femme. As an automotive educator, speaker and writer, she’s made it her life’s mission to educate women and LGBT people about their cars. Her website also highlights her work on her other passion: empowering women to live their best lives in the bodies they have, through fashion and modeling. Chaya’s work has been featured in the Chicago Tribune, Go Magazine, and others. She lives with her fiancée and tortoise in Wisconsin. Follow her on twitter @mechanicfemme.

Written by is a program of the Matthew Shepard Foundation| Words by & for LGBTQ+ youth | #EraseHate | Want to submit? Email

Matthew’s Place is a program of the Matthew Shepard Foundation| Words by & for LGBTQ+ youth | #EraseHate | Want to submit for our publication? Email

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