It can be a tricky rite of passage in polyamory: Being alone for the evening for the first time while your nesting partner has a date with someone else.
I’ll be the first to admit that it was brutally difficult for me at first when I experienced this rite of passage many years ago, but adapt I did. And these days, I actually look forward to having time alone. In fact, in periods when my nesting partner isn’t going on a lot of dates, I miss it. And I’ll create that some other way — usually by getting up earlier in the morning to find Me Time.
Here are a few things that I found helpful back when I was struggling:
1. Take Yourself on a Date
Being alone was truly difficult at first, until I stumbled onto one of the easiest, best strategies I discovered for dealing with: Planning mini staycations at home for myself. Essentially, what I did was start to indulge in all the things I normally wouldn’t do if my nesting partner were around. I would cook things that they didn’t like to eat. Watch TV that I loved but that they couldn’t stand (trashy TV is a guilty pleasure of mine)
One partner hated Tyra Banks’ voice. So when they were out on a date night, I would binge on America’s Next Top Model, all while practicing my smize in the mirror.
With another partner, I basically cook curry any time they’re out for the night.
I’ve even cheesed up the self-romance angle with a bubble bath and candles.
What exactly your staycation entails will depend largely on who you are and what guilty pleasures you look forward to indulging in. The importance, however, is to have alone time be something you look forward to, not dread.
Yes, I know you don’t have to be alone. You can go on dates of your own. And even if you don’t have a date lined up, you can hang out with a friend or something. Or go out and find something social to do.
But personally? Sometimes I really want to get in my time vegging out at home.
I like being able to be happy alone. Something I never thought was realistic for me.
2. Date Night Stash
As part of your staycation strategy, I also advise creating a Date Night Stash. Essentially, over time you create a collection of things that you’re excited about. Books you want to read, movies you’d like to watch, any hobby stuff (arts, crafts, etc.) that looks cool to you.
But instead of indulging in it right away, you put it into storage (whether that’s in a closet or a special box), stashing it away for date nights. That way when you crack into your stash, it’s like an exciting mini holiday where you have a trove of presents that past you selected especially to your taste.
How thoughtful of you!
3. If You Don’t Have Your Own Friends, Make Some
As I wrote in an earlier piece:
The other nice side effect from getting used to spending time alone was the fact that I ventured out on my own and made my own connections. Some of these were romantic, sure, but many of them were platonic.
For the first time in many years, I began to make my own friends.
Sure, I’d always been allowed prior to being polyamorous. It’s a rare monogamous relationship where people aren’t allowed to have friends outside of it (although such relationships do exist and can be quite isolating). But I did find that even without having it directly prohibited, I nonetheless tended to spend more time with people who got along with both of us. And because Seth and I had very different taste in friends, this often meant that I didn’t spend time with folks I might have had I been single.
None of this was really conscious or noticeable to me until our relationship became polyamorous and when left to my own devices I began to pursue more friendships with people that maybe weren’t my partner’s cup of tea.
Like many other things, this wasn’t something I was expecting when I ventured into polyamory. But it was a huge upside.
These new friends don’t have to be polyamorous of course. You may have friends you spent less time with after you entered in a monogamous relationship who would frankly love it if you came back and were more social with them again.
If not, it might be time to look into meetups or other social gatherings as a way to widen the circle of people you know.
Additionally, if you’re looking to meet polyamorous people, there are poly meetups and other events you can look into. For more information, please see this post on how to meet polyamorous people.
For more reframes and tools to maintain healthy polyamorous relationships, please see Dealing with Difficult Metamours, a guide to troubleshooting challenging polyamorous dynamics as well as guidance on how to not create them in the first place.