Working with my Feelings
I am currently part of a FFM triad, with some loose definitions. My male live in partner (T) started seeing started seeing a woman (A) in the early spring. She was a friend of a friend that we both knew a little bit. One night when I was on a date, I got a text from him asking if he could go home with her, and I said yes even though I didn't feel super comfortable, but felt it would be hypocritical to say no since I was on a date. He stayed out that night until 5 in the morning, had sex with her many more times than he normally does with me, and it all culminated in a morning of hurt and crying.
They continued seeing each other for a bit, and eventually asked me to join them. I started seeing A separately as well. Through this all though, I have still had a lot of negative feelings that I have been trying to deal with, with little success.
A large part of this is my insecurity about his sexual attraction to her versus me. Many months later, it is still very common for him to fuck her 3 or so times on a date, whereas I feel he turns me down for sex fairly often. T and I have been together for about 4 years now, so I understand this is likely part of it, but it hurts that he seems to prefer A sexually so much. I tried dealing with this before by asking that we do something sexual when he comes home from dates with her, but he was too tired and unable to do this. All of us in the triad all have rather high sex drives, but with T turning me down and being tired after seeing A, and with me not seeing A as often as T is more assertive is asking for dates and my schedule, I'm feeling like my needs are not being met.
As well, I'm feeling like I'm not being cared about as much as I need. T and A are quite close, but I'm not sure how to read it. Anytime I ask T about the state of their relationship, he continues to state that he prefers me sexually, that things with her are just friendly, that he prefers me in all ways. I feel like it might be deeper than that with them, and it always makes me feel a bit crazy that what I'm seeing and what he's saying don't match up. I often feel like T and A are more into each other than me, and that I'm just being kept on out of convenience. Part of this is likely a lack of self confidence or my depression coming out, but it's a very hard feeling to live with everyday.
T and A had a discussion the other night to talk about how to make this easier on me. The only solution they could come up with was to take a break, which feels like a terrible option to me, as it would make me feel like I destroyed something wonderful for them. I want us to be able to stay together and be happy, but I'm really struggling with overcoming these feelings. How do I deal with feelings of sexual inadequacy, and the fact that T and A are having more sex than I do with either of them? How do I let myself believe that I am cared for when I so often feel I am seeing evidence to the contrary?
Are you sure this is a triad? Because how would taking a break ruin something beautiful for THEM only? If its not working, its not working for all of you. Why are they deciding whether or not this triad continues or takes a break? Why isn't this a three party discussion?
Because if this is them and you on the outside while they continue a facade of calling it a triad - that's pretty disrespectful.
Maybe the break is a good idea and you and A take sometime to discern if there is an actual mutual relationship here. Because if there isn't - why'd they ask for it. Why is she not speaking up about her interest level. Are you interested in HER?
What's YOUR proposed solution when you talk with them? How do they receive it?
To let yourself believe your are cared for -- you could focus on caring behavior examples rather than on sex only. You already have the NRE thing as a reasonable, rational explanation for that. In due course of time it will calm down.
What other behaviors do they do to demonstrate caring? What behaviors do they do that demonstrate NOT caring for you? Could you list each in detail? Which is longer?
What do you need from him to meet ORE nurture needs besides sex? For him to ask you out on dates? What do you need from her? Does anything in jealousy management help? Esp page 5 or 6?
Last but not least, how do YOU demonstrate caring behavior for YOU? Or not? And what bucket would you place this behavior of yours in:
Could part of the problem be that YOU do not show caring, self-respecting behavior for yourself and drain your confidence/self esteem reserves and then look to them to fill it back up?
I don't actually expect you to answer me. I just pose the questions to you to try to help your sort out how you feel to yourself. You probably could ask yourself other questions as you do your soul searching.
You could try to pull back to evaluate the situation from all angles, not just the sex angle. To see if that gives you a better picture of what's going on and where things could be improved. What he could do, what she could do, what you could do to help so you feel reassured and emotionally safe in the triad.
I would ask not to be told how often my partners have sex - it's not my business and if its hurting you and not something you find sexy, then ask for it to not be mentioned again. Not that you wont know they are having sex, but why would you want reasons to be unhappy, to have the subject come up in a way that is stressing you each time?
The only solution that I can come up with is to decide what you need in the relationship to be happy (sex every X often, dates every X often, feeling heard by your partner, etc) and see if you are getting that, and if not, work towards it, and if your partners arent willing to work towards that or let you know they can't provide it, then the relationship probably is going to be a source of stress for as long as you let it feel that way.
I know I'd be unhappy if my partner who I'd like to have more sex with started having lots of sex with somebody else, so I'll make sure I never ask about frequency, though I would ask if it was awesome (and hope it was). Comparison is just a bad thing, never useful in dating or love.
I understand where you are coming from and can empathise with your feelings.
Let's look at some possibilities.
It could be that he is more sexually attracted to her than he is to you. Let's take that as a worst-case scenario.
If he is, this is clearly a problem for you - and that's understandable. Some people don't seem to mind about the sexual element, if other parts are fulfilled. Me personally? I want a primary who is as interested in sex with me as I am in having sex with them. I also want a primary who is equally, if not more, interested in having sex with me as they are with other people.
So.... if that's the case for you, that's a relationship expectation. It's ok to know what you need and to communicate it.
However.... on the plus side..... your boyfriend *could* be saying "we are intimate in so many other ways; sex isn't important".... but he isn't. So, either he's bending the truth, because he doesn't want to hurt you or doesn't want to lose you... or.... he is actually telling the truth.
Onto him having sex with her multiple times, each time. There could be many reasons for this. Yes, it is newer, so that's one thing. That, like everything in life, will probably wear off with time and comfort.
Let's say for a second that he actually does prefer sex with you. Possible reasons for his multiple-sex-sessions with her could be anything. It could be that he feels pressured to perform. It could be that he doesn't see her that often (?). It could be that he is more fulfilled with you sexually and doesn't need to do it multiple times.
On that strain of thought... I'll give you an anecdote. My girlfriend often has periods of sleeping with her husband about once a week. Sometimes twice. When they have sex, it's mainly vanilla, quick, comfortable. I wouldn't want that kind of sex, but she insists that she likes it. Her and I, on the other hand, have sex less often, probably once every two or three weeks, it's kinky, it lasts longer, it's very passionate, fun and intense. I used to be bothered that she had sex with her husband more than with me.... but then we realised something. We realised that actually, the kind of sex we have is so deeply fulfilling, that we don't feel the need to do it every week. Also, because a lot more thought goes into it, it can take more energy and effort. We've agreed that we'd rather have fantastic sex once every 2-3 weeks than mediocre sex twice a week.
When my girlfriend has new boyfriends, she tends to be very sexually focused on them. I have the same fears that you do. I've talked to her and she insists that she does not 'prefer' her sexual exploration with her boyfriends - but still needs it, to fulfill a side of herself. She once said that even though she is never going to give up sex with other guys, she feels that our particular sexual relationship is irreplaceable.
I would consider hearing less about each other's sex lives, though. Certain acts are going to drive us crazy, because we aren't inside our partner's heads - so, we will project our own feelings onto their actions. For example... my girlfriend never enjoyed receiving oral sex, until she met me. I found this so special and so amazing, that I had given her that new experience. Then, she found a new guy to date. She told me that she had given him instructions, using the things that I do to her, to teach him how to perform oral sex on her - and it worked. I hated hearing that. I was flattered; yet, at the same time, felt robbed. Which is stupid. So - better if I had never heard about it.
The same thing for you - you can only project your own thoughts onto his actions.... so.... wouldn't it be better not to hear about his actions?
Overall, I'd say talk to him again. Sit him down and really tell him that you're having an issue, but you just can't feel comfortable with them having a break. The fact that they are both willing to offer it (which is more than my girlfriend would do) hopefully means that you know how committed to you he is. With that beautiful act in mind, you might be able to turn this around. He's offered to stop - but if you encourage him to go for it, you are gaining some control back, in your subconscious mind. A small break might help - whatever you think is appropriate - whilst you work through your feelings and get some more reassurance from him.
Above all - I know that working through your emotions is very hard.... but I really think you will get there. It sounds like your boyfriend is patient and considerate; so that is a wonderful thing.
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