MFF Triad Went Horribly Wrong-Help Needed
I am really in need of the opinions of others who can give me a different perspective on what is happening in my life.
My long-term male boyfriend and I have been together for 5 years now (no children) and from the very start he knew I was a bisexual female. Because of this, over the 5 year span, we have had one-time threesome encounters with 3 different women, 2/3 neither of us have communication with afterwards, and 1/3 we are casual friends with now with no sexual connection.
This is something I initially agreed to because I felt that having a threesome would allow me to express both sides of my sexuality and help him live out a male fantasy.
Somewhere down the line, I decided I wanted more than just one-night stand , and we decided to look for a full triad mff relationship.
8 months ago I met my girlfriend who I fell in love with quickly because we had so much in common, I loved her personality, and we agreed on what we wanted in a future. When I met her, she was married to a man for 7 years, but was ending the marriage due to his infidelity. All 3 of us while she was married for her to become the 3rd person in our triad. (she is now divorced)
Things were going great at first, and together, when we were all three together, everything was going well both sexually and just in general as a relationship.
From the beginning, we had set clear boundaries that:
-him and her could not have sex behind my back
-no lies, no secrets, we all 3 needed to be included
-I was not comfortable with him performing oral sex on her
These boundaries were set because I needed time to become more comfortable with sharing both a gf and a bf.
Last week I found out that him and her have been sexting each other and having sex behind my back multiple times for the last 2 1/2 months (I found out because I was using her phone and the text messages popped up- so I read the previous messages). I also found out he has been having oral sex with her, even though I specifically asked him not to as a boundary.
When I confronted them both, their response was that they knew it was wrong and it just happened and they were going to tell me when the time was right. They also said they were doing it to "fill holes" because he wanted sex more often that when we all had sex together.
I am now just confused, nauseated, and extremely hurt because both of them I love, and I trusted them both, as both romantic partners and as best friends.
I don't know what to do now because both of them claim they don't wanna be without me, but I now feel uncomfortable seeing them interact at all because I feel like the outsider and rejected now.
I also feel so hurt that even with each of them by themselves, I feel I don't trust them or anything they tell me now.
They both said they want to prove they are trustworthy and not interact with each other, just me, putting me in a V where I'm the hinge. At this point, I don't want this either, and I don't want to lose them both, but feel like I need to either choose one or the other, or leave both of them. This is difficult to do because I already feel so alone.
Accept you have yucky feelings right now. That is not unreasonable to have. Give yourself a time out to cool off, and everyone get back into better temper before examining how this came to pass. When ready, meet calmly to break the elephant in the room down into manageable parts. It could take several conflict resolution sessions if anyone experiences emotional flooding. That's ok. Elephants are big. They take time to break all the way down.
I think you had some unclear soft limits without a "check back in" time frame there. Questions added are mine. Because they are not clear to ME.
The honorable thing to do would have been to turn to you and go "Hey, it's been like X weeks/months. Can we talk and revisit the conversation at least? Because our feelings are changing here and we want to go places and are finding these old boundaries a bit restrictive now. "
I don't think you were realistic about the polymath in a triad relationship.
The whole shebang
There's other relationship tiers that may want expression on their own tier. You and BF alone for instance. You and GF alone. And yes, BF and GF alone if this is a TRIAD situation. Or were you actually wanting a "V" with "special occasion benefits" instead so you could have your birthday threesome but not them together at any other time?
Any weak spot there in communication of clear wants, needs, and limits causes a tension in the chain. It's like sitting on a water bed and someone flings themselves on there the whole crew is set to bobbling about uneasy.
They sound sorry, and that they were struggling to come to you to talk it out. Both before they went there and after. (Why is that? Is that elephant part on them to SPIT IT OUT or on you to CHECK IN AND NOT OSTRICH or both? Or something else?)
You could choose to REACT to the heat of emotion. And get all ragey crazy at them. (which feels good to dump, but moves nothing else forward really.)
Or you could choose to ACT WITH INTENTION. Admit to feeling UGH at the situation. And then focus on what in the situation could have lessened the UGH factor. Better communication -- who owns what here in the break down of communication? Better boundary setting so it is more real/doable/keepable? Like how? With a check in time frame?
Where do we want to go now? What are we going to do about it?
So that YOU can regain emotional safety and trust?
And so THEY can develop their leg of the triangle without boundaries that cannot be kept realistically.
Ask them -- had I given a time limit like "let's check back in 3 mos", could you have held out? Or would you have brought it up to me before then that it needs revisit sooner? Or would you have gone behind my back still? How can I expect to be treated from this point forward?
It is painful, and I am sorry you hurt. But if you want to be together, acknowledge this is growing pains and you guys have to sort yourselves out in how to best function in your triad so you are all in right relationship to each other.
People cannot be mind readers. There's rights and responsibilities in a relationship to BE in right relationship with each other. Do you have such a framework? What about conflict resolution?
Explained better than I ever could have...a triad needs to really be a triad :)
You say you want a triad. A triad is 3 people in an intimate relationship. That means 3 people being intimate any way they want. That means 2 of them could be having sex while the other is off grocery shopping or traveling on business.
In a true triad, it is impossible for 2 of the partners to have sex behind the back of the other partner, because the freedom to do what they want is there. The rule that says "we can only have sex when its all 3 of us" is based on fear. Fear is not freedom. It would help you to decide what you really want, and talk about your fears more, rather than making more rules to protect you from your fears. What you have here is a "yes, go ahead, but not really - ok, but only when I..." situation.
@GalaGirl-Thanks for your help
Thank you for your response. Now that I have shared what is going on with someone, I don't feel so alone.
I am breathing a little bit more now. To clarify where I am right now, I have heard both versions from each of them separately on why this occurred. But you are right, we have not sat down and had the conversation with all 3 of us together about the elephant in the room.
The overlapping reason from both of them is that they both didn't tell me what was happening because they didn't want to hurt me emotionally and didn't know how I would react.
I told both of them my feelings are more hurt because our goal was to be okay with everyone being intimate whenever, separate or together but I just simply needed time to get there and feel they should have told me beforehand they wanted to re-review the boundaries.
You are right. In retrospect,being new at being in a triad, I did have soft limits, we did not set a time for us to "check back in" and I only specifically had additional conversations during the last 8 months with my gf about me not wanting them to have sex without me right now until we had been together in a triad longer than a couple months because it was new to all of us, I was the first girl she says she has been intimate with, and I knew she was still married (and she had affairs in the past before I met her) and things were already complicated as they were.
In these conversations, I gave her ample opportunity to let me know how she felt,and asked her specifically if they were being intimate without me without my knowledge, and she told me on more than one occasion, "no, I wouldn't do that to you, and I don't want that anyway right now, I don't even know when we would have the time or opportunity to be intimate without you"
The time and opportunity was because although me and my bf live together, she would stay over quite a bit and when I left to go to work, they were intimate.
1. Behind my back- we had agreed that my bf and gf would not be intimate with each other without me present. Right before this happened, we all 3 had discussed her moving in at which I felt we would obviously need to re-adjust and review the boundaries set. I had already given her a key to our house two days prior.
2. No lies, no secrets- in my attempt to have open communication, the agreement was to have no lies, no secrets in communication. I shared all the conversations I had with each other with the other, and we had group texts.- I now realize I wasn't really clear or realistic about this.
3. Time limit/ their boundaries- there was not hard time limit set, because of what my gf told me in regards to also not wanting this right now, I thought it would be something we would re-assess once she moved in. I was told their boundaries were:
GF- no intimacy with him without me present
I now know that COMMUNICATION was and is the biggest problem along with now TRUST.
My first step it seems should be to have a conversation with both of them together and ask the hard questions you mentioned.
My next step is to REALLY think about if a TRIAD is what I can mentally, emotionally handle and if I am truly mature enough to be in a TRIAD situation.
Thank you for your help through this.
[/QUOTE] Fear is not freedom. It would help you to decide what you really want, and talk about your fears more, rather than making more rules to protect you from your fears. What you have here is a "yes, go ahead, but not really - ok, but only when I..." situation.[/QUOTE]
@snowmelt, yes you are right. fear played a big factor in why the rules were in place. because everything was so new, I had a fear that I would wind up being alone, and lose both of them. My soft limits and indecisiveness just made what I didn't want to feel, become more likely to happen because of me not being realistic.
You don't just GET a magical clean new garden bed out of the air to plant happy triad plants in. You actually have to get a little dirty sometimes.
Work with your polypeeps. Take deep beaths. Break down the elephant. You can do it if all are willing. You can LEARN to be able. :)
WARNING --- LONG ANSWER.
Most of you sound like you are struggling with this:
You are trying to get it out there. But you could get better on time limits for "check back in" -- are you guys going to have a weekly pow wow or monthly or what? Esp with her moving in? Get more firm on your wants, needs, and limits and not so wishywashy. That helps nobody -- even you. It's ok not to know FOR SURE. Just to check in to reconnect on the trio tier and see where everyone's temperature is at.
Even if nothing changes yet on the boundaries! You all get to see who is moving closer to the line and can expect a line adjustment in near future. Temperature checks. It's not permanent limbo and if someone is dragging their feet avoiding doing personal growth work -- they can be held accountable then. At the checkpoints.
Because they were denied sexual expression on their duo tier? Without a check in time limit for them to hold out to? It went haywire. They did not SPIT IT OUT that the boundary needed revisiting for their OWN needs. (their bad) And YOU seem to be the driving time keeper in the rship -- who assumes things (your bad) and this trio doesn't set a real time on the calendar for review in trio. (trio bad) So nobody wanted to own the elephant. Nobody was checking. And look! It made a big poo in the living room. Argh!
If they are making you be this job because of shirky and you do not want it? SAY SO. And they step it up! Articulate! Speak UP! If you took this job and aren't doing it? The time keeper, family meeting reminder person? ADMIT IT.
Better if you all just AGREED on a family meeting time and frequency and just slap it on the calendar and DO IT. Every 3rd Friday. GO! That is the expectation in this polyship!
"Ok, gf. I hear you. You say it's not wanted right now. So how about next checkpoint on that is when you move in then? And if that appointment changes for you and needs to be earlier-- you let me know? Treat me well here. I don't like being blindsided with yucky. That duo tier will need expression eventually. I take it better when you hard truth it. We can sort it out then. Even if I feel some weird, I can work with it better knowing and than have to get over yucky. I prefer weird!"
You need apology from the GF. SHE was not clear with her wants, needs, and limits even when you would periodically check in, you did not get your right to clear communication from her. She was not realistic in understanding the polymath of a triad that there would come a time on the GF + BF tier where they'd want time apart and alone as duo. You were not clear on that either. Own it. Both of you. Apologize to each other on that one.
YOU also apologize to her for not being clear yourself and making more space for her to air out her wants, needs, limits WHILE setting down your expectation for how you want to be treated. She was afraid of how you would react -- because you did not clarify how you want to be treated and how you expect yourself to behave in the situation should it arise. Then she could feel braver about speaking up because she could hold you accountable to your own stated behavior expectation.
You need apology from the BF -- because HE didn't bother to think about it, he had no boundaries. OR he was super honest that he was going to play without boundaries? So he gets points for honest, but minus points for behaving like a foot loose single rather than a triad man who shows considerations for partners. Which is it?
Either way? He also was not clear in stating wants, needs, and limits. Leaving you AND the GF without right to clear communication about where he is at or how you can expect to be treated and considered.
She might be feeling kinda ugh about HIM not shouldering some responsibility here. It takes two to tango -- she didn't have sex alone. He may have to apologize to her too.
He doesn't seem to understand polymath tiers in your triad either?
Nobody recognized that the
which led to shaky on the
which led to shaky on the
Any tier in the polymath going haywire can cascade on some of the others. Learn to ID your tiers in your config. Tend each little rship inside the larger polyship better and with gentle care. The trio could apologize to the trio.
In my universe, they'd be on strike one. It is a lie of omission, but since the triad is new and I'd expect some growing pain dings... if contrite and remorseful and I see them struggling and TRYING? I could move it to 3 strikes you are out rather than 1 and give it another go.
With the reminder it's on strike 1. So play ball, already.
Communication is a TWO WAY street.
Air out and unravel what needs to be unraveled so you can knit it back up again in a better way. Honestly, calmly, everyone taking a piece of the elephant. Because you care about each other and in service to the larger polyship.
Next time, own that elephant and break it down -- this fear of being left alone. Why not just have the convo with your partners? "People -- if we were to break up, could I get a guarantee we'd try to still be friends? That makes my fear of ending up alone a smaller, more bearable elephant. Can we talk on that one?"
I am optimistic that you guys can get back into right relationship with each other if your partners are willing to try as hard as you are trying here. :)
Just BREATHE. One baby step at a time, but keep moving it forward.
Honestly, take GG's advice.
Take their offer to back off for a short time-set two week time limit to rediscuss what LITTLE changes back towards a more normal dynamic and keep doing that every two weeks.
In your first two weeks-plan a romantic date with each of them each week-for you and time to reconnect WITHOUT DISCUSSING THIS DRAMA.
Also-take a SPECIFIED time (1 hour) with the two of them together to air your feelings (be sure ALL THREE OF YOU KNOW ITS JUST TO AIR THE FEELING AND GET REASSURANCE-not to fix anything).
Then schedule alone time for you daily if possible to consider "perfect world" for you (do'nt consider what happened-just what would be perfect for you).
THEN BUILD IT.
It sounds like you three were onto something, but boundaries were constrained and communication went array. That happens to the best of us. It means boundaries need reconsidered-it's OK TO HAVE STRICTER BOUNDARIES for a short time to figure out how to get there-and rebuild trust. But be aCTIVE in building the trust.
Their apology and their willingness to step back honorably and immediately are GREAT signs that you have a great group with the ability to learn and grow together.
And remember-feelings are fickle-they come they go. Sometimes they hang out a little longer-like a winter storm-but they WILL pass. So don't get too caught up in the bad feelings-don't let yourself believe the lie that these feelings are "your real life forever". They are just your feelings at the moment.
Did you also have a rule that you and your bf could not have sex alone behind your gf's back? And did you ask your gf what sex acts she didn't want your bf doing with you before forbidding him from going down on her?
If not, then there was an unfair imbalance (and people always want what they cannot have!) and your rules treated her as less important. I'd feel like shit if a couple treated me that way. Besides the fact that the rules were pretty unrealistic.
I haven't read the entire thread in detail, but I do agree that you don't need to walk away from this. It is clearly time to renegotiate boundaries. But I hope you do so with the thought process that a triad is not a Couple Plus One situation. It is a One Plus One Plus One situation, and anyone having a place above another just plain sucks and is disrespectful, if you want it to work as a whole.
There are four relationships in a Triad:
A + B
A + C
B + C
A + B + C
Treat them all as equally important, nurture each according to what is needed by those individuals, and let each relationship grow of its own accord. Sit down regularly to check in with each other. Have boundaries that are about what you need to be happy and satisfied, NOT about how to control other people's actions. You have already found out you can't control them, anyway. Who cares that you were with him first, you're with them both now. Don't treat her as second class. Loosen up, lighten up, and move forward with a more generous spirit, and I think the three of you can heal and have something really great together.
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