Poly Date Night
While not quite the norm, polyamory is far more common at Twin Oaks than in mainstream society. Community living provides unique opportunities for making non-monogamous relationships work comfortably, and I am glad to be part of what has so far been a wildly successful group of loving individuals. Elspeth and Rosie are a well-established couple that have been together for a number of of years, and in the past year have each started dating another person, Elspeth seeing me and Rosie dating Brittany. We’re all really comfortable and happy with each other, and the four of us have been able to build a friendly support system for each other.
Rosie and Elspeth had been planning for some time to have a baby, and two months ago accomplished this task with the birth of Sylvia. As plenty of new parents have reported, it can be hard to keep romantic energy active while taking care of an infant. One would think that this would be made near-impossible by having two partners. Instead, quite to my surprise, it turns out that having this extended support system has made things work out quite smoothly, as smoothly as one could hope for with a newborn in the mix. This is exemplified in the arrangement of our twice-a-week date nights.
Now, ‘date night’ in this context does not necessarily (in fact, quite rarely) mean going out somewhere, such as dinner, movies, etc. It’s just an evening set aside to be with one’s partner. Elspeth and Rosie live together, sharing a pair of rooms next door to each other, so date night for us is a chance for me to hang out with Elspeth and Rosie to see Brittany. Before the baby, it made clear sense to have both couples doing date night on the same night, but as the baby got close we knew something would have to change. Someone would have to be taking care of the baby while others were getting their romance time. At first glance, it seemed to make sense to not have a shared date night, giving Rosie an evening with Brittany while Elspeth took care of Sylvia, and vice-versa. But we soon hit on what has turned out to be a better idea: a split date night. Elspeth and I take care of Sylvia for half of the evening, giving Rosie and Brittany a chance to be alone. Then we switch off. We try to coordinate feeding around handoff times, but both mamas are able to feed the baby so it’s never a problem if one isn’t around. We’re a bit new to the whole dynamic, but it has been generally successful. We’re trying to switch up the order in which we do things (who gets the baby in the early/late part of the evening?) and which couple spends the night with the baby. Sometimes we part ways and the two mamas spend the night with Sylvia, while on other nights one of the couples gets a night off with each other.
Practicality aside, this arrangement lends itself to absurd amounts of cuteness. Dinners on Sunday often involve mini conferences between the four of us (okay, five of us, though Sylvia’s not expressing strong opinions yet) in which we end up huddled together working out the plan for the evening. During handoff times, it’s often the case that we all end up in the same room, handing her from one adorable baby-carrying apparatus to another while getting updated on her feeding and excretion habits of the past couple hours. And everyone gets what co needs. It feels great to get my special romance time, an opportunity to take care of a little ball of cuteness, and the chance help out these new mothers whom I care about oh so much.