Trouble with Thirds
Well, our other partner ditches us on New Years and slept with someone else. Yeeouch. Let me give a bit of context:
We've (my primary partner of several years and I) been dating Jess for, oh, 7 months, but have known her for years. We ended up actually getting together when we went back home to visit her on the east coast, and our attractions to each other (all three of us). It was wonderful. We flew her out here to SF so she could see what Pride was like. Heaven on earth. She then joined the Navy, and we were in contact with her – writing letters since she couldnt receive any other form of communication, and doing what we could to be there for her. She moved to San Antonio for A-School, and we've been on communication, skyping, calling, texting, and she flew up here once.
We all went back East to spend new years together. Something happened to make me unsafe, where she invited a fourth partner to come back with us without asking us. One of us was onboard (she also is seeing this girl back in SF), the other wasn't so much (they want to be friends but no sexual chemistry). So, understandably, an awkward night ensued. We ended up sleeping on the futon of the apartment we rented because it was just so awkward. Granted, one of us should have spoken up. Especially the one that was having a hard time. Except she froze.
The next day, they all discussed what happened, the insecurities and concerns of the partner who didn't want to be involved with this new addition (not that she was restricting the others to be), and how they wanted to spend time with their other partner while it was limited. They had a few days together, and all understood that there were certain days and times that we needed to spend together because while we all have big friend circles (and separate ones) back home, we all were missing each other like crazy people.
Note, also, that we were was thrilled about this new addition for Jess (our sailor), especially since she might at some point be needing more attention and love than she was getting out of being a secondary. We were waiting, but not scared of, the day when she starts to get NRE for someone else. She has been allowed to date who she wants back in Texas – our one requirement is that she jsut lets us know if someone comes along that will change our relationship with her, so we're not surprised if she becomes distant or needs to break off with a new partner for a while.
Also, since one of the parts of this primary relationship was also dating this new addition back home, things looked good.
We had a date planned for new years. We went to a play, went our separate ways (planned), then were going to meet up at midnight to be together when the ball drops.
Well, she didnt show up. She told us she was going somewhere, and then tet us at 4am that she needed to take a nap for a few hours then would come see us (ungh. please). Well, like we figured, she ran off to spend time with the new addition and told her that we were totally cool with it (we, clearly, were not). Lots of lying. Essentially, cheating. She wanted what she wanted, and she did what she had to do to get it. That's not okay behavior in our relationship, and that crosses all lines.
Needless to say, the relationship has ended because we don't feel safe trusting our emotions to her. We got burned, badly.
This has now happened to us twice, in the only two triad-relationships that we've had. The first one, we introduced two newly-poly people to each other figuring they'd get along (one we were dating already for a few months), and their response was, essentially (in actions more than words) "Hey, thanks! We do like each other! See ya!". This pretty much happened with Jess, too. We actually introduced her to this new partner, figuring it was safe because one of us was developing a friendship with her, one a relationship, and we were all into what was happening. Then, Jess disappeared.
Have any of you been in a similar situation? We both are all about secondary rights and making sure they feel heard and cared for and that their needs are being met. But these two situations have been rough.
Is it because we're dating people that aren't already poly? Both instances, the partners have been bad at monogamy, interested in both of us, and wanting to give it a whirl. Well, they both have found someone else, who is single (or at least not in a primary relationship), and left. But not just left. I'm talking, fuck up and blow it up so badly that the relationship is forced to end. In both instances, it didnt have to. But I guess maybe they didnt have the tools, or guidance from us to help them navigate NRE and meeting a new partner?
Any input, advice, recommendations (do you use a Bill of Rights type of thing for third partners? what ground rules do you have, what boundaries?), would be hugely appreciated here. Because we've had our hearts broken twice by secondaries, and it really blows.