One of the fun things about having lots of partners and lots of love is lots of anniversaries to celebrate. I understand that pop culture has painted this as a chore (“HE FORGOT OUR ANNIVERSARY AGAIN!!!”; “What will you get him/her for your anniversary?”) but honestly? It’s just a fun excuse to mark the passage of time with someone you love and intend to spend more time with. I’m not sure I see a downside. Anything else is accepting external expectations that you can have a conversation ahead of time about whether you’re accepting them or not. This includes gifts past a little note or card expressing how you feel (If you don’t like writing out your own words, finding a song or poem you like the words of and writing them down, or buying a card that you like are both great alternatives!) and whether or not you celebrate on the exact day beyond a call or text to say “Happy anniversary!”
I’m pretty easy about not celebrating events on their actual days. Most of my anniversaries have been arbitrarily chosen as the year mark approaches because it took us most of that year (or more than a year) to determine that, actually, we were in the kind of relationship that celebrated anniversaries - so when is ours, again? - and there have been a few very good dates to debate over. In the handful of relationships where marking the actual day DID matter, I’ve burned through some of the better arbitrary-versaries available - notably, every relationship since has asked if we can use the Ides of March and I’ve had to ruefully go “I’d rather not, it was my anniversary for a half-decade before I married my exhusband” - and while partners and I have kept anniversaries in our calendars, they’ve often been celebrated the weekend after, three weeks later when one of us was working a conference and the other was coming along for a long weekend, along with Valentine’s a little before, or along with my birthday just after in a festival style.
As you might have noticed, I like remembering that time has passed. I note that actual events happened, and if someone doesn’t want an arbitrary anniversary, I’m actually very good at the “well, here are some early milestones and their dates that I remember” game. I like anniversaries, and celebrating connection - I’m just also a realist who knows that between work, families, responsibilities we’ve signed up for, and other partners, getting an exact date marked out on the calendar is not often a priority so unless it’s a Big Year Anniversary or the anniversary falls on a regular date night for me, I shouldn’t hang my hat on the Actual Day. (And everyone’s Big Years are different. Ken and I have decided that we’re going to celebrate in style in egg carton years - 6, 12, 18 - instead of 5, 10, 15, partly to be different and partly because we’re not trying to do a big-feeling celebration in a pandemic. Your mileage may vary.) I’m the partner who knows it’s not our *actual* anniversary but will send you a “happy anniversary of our first kiss! <heart eyes emoji>” text stupidly early in the morning if we aren’t together on that day, and will remind you of it over coffee as you make a series of panicked and annoyed faces as you process thinking that you missed our anniversary and then that it is not our anniversary, I’m just being very sentimental.
The nice thing about the chosen anniversary model is that you get to - if you’re smart about it - neatly sidestep the possible problems of having gone on a first date too close to a family member or other partner’s birthday and piled all your occasions into one time of year. I, generally, am not that smart about it. My last two chosen anniversaries were a week apart from my birthday and Valentine’s day, and ended up combined with those occasions. (The near Valentine’s one, to our credit, often isn’t - we celebrate in March more often than in February when there isn’t a pandemic, with the exception of counting the year turning over this month. I think we’ve only combined it once, and Valentine’s is just an excuse for lots of chocolate anyway.) It’s still okay. We all make it through the holiday-every-couple-weeks-treadmill at the end of the year, many of us with additional family birthdays thrown in between Halloween and Christmas - we’ll live with some not ideally timed anniversaries, too.
I’m waxing on about this because it’s Polyamory Week, the lead-up to Valentine’s Day suggested as the time frame for us all to get in our declarations of love, and because my fifth anniversary with my partner is later this month, so I’ve got anniversaries on the brain. I hope all of you doing sweet things for your loved ones are staying safe in the pandemic, and that everyone has an amazing week.
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