The other night I got to hang out with a group of polyfolk that I know fairly well. Of about 25-30 folks I would say I know about 15-20. Being a social setting but also a known poly gathering, there is quite a bit of poly talk along with just casual socializing.
This particular evening I noticed something interesting. A woman I know that we'll call Lucy was there with her boyfriend we'll call Rickie. Lucy's girlfriend Ethel was also there with her boyfriend Fred. Now, I've been around Lucy and Ethel a few times so I know how they usually act in public. But I've never seen them with Rickie and Fred around. What I noticed was that Lucy and Ethel really didn't interact with each other much which I can only attribute to the guys being there. I found that interesting because everyone there was openly poly.
Why would the girls feel the need to step back from each other with the guys around?
Unfortunately I didn't get the opportunity to ask and really it is none of my business.
What it did do was make me think once again about how I want to act in a social setting where more than one of my partners is in attendance. I really don't want anyone to feel left out or neglected and I don't see any reason they should. Of course, if I'm attending with a particular person and expecting to go home with that same person I will show them respect. I won't be snogging in the corner with someone else all evening. At the same time, if one of my other partners is there I'm not going to ignore them. I'll most definitely talk to them, give them a hug and a kiss, and may spend some time with them. And I would expect if any of my partners SO's are there, they would do the same.
I think for me a part of Poly is being able to openly display affection for my loves when they are around. To deny my feelings just because more than one of my loves is around, or because we are in a social setting just doesn't seem right.
What I'm curious about is how you react in a social situation where more than one of your partners is present. Do you change your behavior at all? And when multiple members of your poly family are attending an event do you designate one person as your official date for the event?
Maybe even a better question would be; How do you (or would you) react in a situation like I've described if one of your loves wasn't paying you much attention or obviously withholding affection?