Being the Third Wheel.
So, I'm relatively new to polyamory and the past few months, since I've been involved in open relationships, I've never felt so myself before.
But I need some advice about being the third wheel - something that's made me pretty lonely lately.
I've been in an open relationship with a good activist friend of mine (D) for the past few months. Our dynamic is made up mostly of sex and pillow talk.
D and M, a female friend of mine (who I'm not sexually engaged with), have been intense lovers for some time - bonded in a way he and I never have been.
When all three of us, who are politically active together, hang around each other, I can't help but feel left out, alittle awkward. They gently stroke each others hands and are constantly engaged in conversation that I can never really include myself in.
D doesn't seem to want to show much affection with me when M is there.
I tend to feel as if I have no right to be there, when they're together, though M tries to include me by being affectionate, by constantly asking in general terms "how I'm doing" or kissing me gently on the cheek.
I love them both and don't really feel any animosity. But I do feel very alone (i'm not really engaged in any other relationships for now). I'd love to be able to hang around with them in a group, but it's so much harder.
As the third wheel, what should I do?
I deduce that you are female? Are you and/or M straight or bi? This matters insofar as it bringsinsight to the dynamic between the two fo you - and allows us to know if this relationship is fashioning itself as a V or a triad. Th edynamic is different for each, and varies within each as well.
The simplest answer is also a question - have you talked to each/both of them about it, where you want to be and where they see you in the relationship?
Hi..I've experienced this as well but have made a lot of progress.
Here's a link to my own issues around being a third wheel. Not sure if it's any help, but always nice to share :)
Here is the big thing. Although I may feel alone or isolated in group settings, this is a self generated feeling for the most part. That sense of being a "hang around" to their relationship and that they would have more fun or be more relaxed if I wasn't there is often nothing more than my own insecurities and feeling that I am "less" important and not essential to their lives. This is a projection of how I feel onto them. I also project that the other people around us would prefer if I weren’t there. In poly settings it comes from my feeling of un-acceptance in being mono and the boundaries I have within the relationship. This is not totally untrue in some cases but for the most part is again a fabrication of my own mind. Apparently people do indeed like to be around me for no other reason than they enjoy my company as a separate individual.
You’ve said that M engages you with affection in these situations…embrace that, return that and let yourself feel good in that. M is doing that because they want to!
Redpepper does this to me as well and her husband does too, just in a different way.
At first during our monthly poly meetings I felt so separated because of my nature that I was lost if Redpepper and her husband weren’t talking with me. I felt completely isolated. I’ve come to develop my own independence in these settings and found people I am comfortable with and eagerly engage on my own. Now I seek their company during those meetings because I have an interest in there well-being and we have fun talking. Then we all get together after the meeting and share what we have learned.
****Learn to identify as yourself with them, not as a portion of them through them.
Find your individuality in group settings; accept the affection given you by M….and don’t project!
Hope this helps
Mono….the isolated, separate, community of one, un-included….. I could go on but it’s all self generated bullshit…see what I mean? ;)
speaking from the point of view of the one who isn't the third wheel I find that it is of utmost importance to hear from Mono when he is feeling left out... well, actually to hear from him continuously about everything. I see it as my responsibility to show him how much he is cared for and how important he is to the inner functionings of our relationship as a whole. We are forever changed because he is in our lives, and for the better! There was adjusting to that though and you may be experiencing that uneasy adjusting energy.
I see it as his responsibility to let us know when he is feeling uncomfortable or left out. I can't read his mind, well I come pretty close, but...;) ... so he needs to keep us informed every step of the way before his feelings get away on him and he wanders too far from reality in the situation. It's much better to check in when something seems silly than to leave it and let it grow into a real issue.
With time the silly issues have subsided as he knows where he stands and knows he is supported. We both love him dearly and he is one with us now.... this process was a struggle, but all good things are a struggle to get to it seems....
Keep talking, expressing, accepting that they love and want you in their lives and with them and see where it goes. If it is a good thing for you and them, it will be revealed...
Mono and RP, you once again have hit the nail squarely on the head. Good job!
Great answers mono and rp. I was all ready to write something-but I think you both put it much clearer than I could! :D
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