Long Post - Complex Situation
This is kind of a long and complex situation, so I’m going to start at the very beginning. For anonymity, I decided to use letters; but for ease of reading, I’ve changed them to names.
Adam and Beth met in grade school. Adam liked Beth since he remembers knowing her, but he was rather shy and it took him a few years before he came up with the courage to really talk to her. Right about the time that Adam started to approach Beth (in Junior High, I think), Adam’s best childhood friend (Caleb) asked Beth out. Beth agreed, and she and Caleb began a very tumultuous relationship. Throughout high school, they would break up, Beth and Caleb would go to Adam for a shoulder to cry on, Adam would get them to talk through their differences and Beth and Caleb would get back together. Throughout all this, Adam still had feelings for Beth; but he strongly believed that it would be immoral to come between Beth and Caleb, so he never acted on them.
Then Beth and Caleb had an “oops” and the first child was born (they were about 17?) They both had to drop out of school and have had a hard time of it since. Caleb did not prove to be the person that Beth hoped he would be. He’s run into trouble with the law and has physically attacked her in the past. She now has two kids with him and they are married. Meanwhile, Adam’s family moved a bit and he and Beth grew somewhat apart.
I come in to the picture when Adam and I are about 19. I’ll call myself Dakota. To make a long story short, we ended up dating, and we were married this last summer (I’m now 23). I like to think that Adam and I have a pretty good relationship; we have conflict occasionally, but we handle it well and we communicate a lot.
We’ve also happened to move closer to Beth and Caleb. I’ve always liked Beth – in some ways she is the person I’ve always wanted to be. Beth and I have become pretty good friends (I consider Beth my best female friend), and the four of us have been hanging out on a regular basis for about a year. Beth is bisexual, with a preference for women; I’m bicurious and I think I might really like becoming intimate with another woman, although I think I prefer men. (So far Adam is my first and only sexual experience.) We both had crushes on each other when we started hanging out. It made things awkward at first – both of us were worried that we would make the other uncomfortable – but we’ve talked about it and agreed that far more than anything else, we both want to be friends. Adam and I have talked a bit about the possibility of a casual threesome or just Beth and I, but my past opinion has been that I really don’t want to risk our friendship on what I might feel after having sex. In addition, Caleb would want “in on the action,” and neither Adam nor I are all that close to Caleb – we don’t trust him and mostly hang out with him to get to be around Beth.
The really complicated things started happening in the last month or so. Adam and I have both noticed that Beth struggles with depression. One night Adam stayed late at Beth and Caleb’s, and went on a long walk with her where she disclosed a lot about her relationship with Caleb. She doesn’t love him anymore, hasn’t even liked him in a long time; she says she stays with him mostly because of the kids. She’s tried to change him, tried to talk things out with him, and he doesn’t get it – he’s just fine with the relationship as it is. She confided to Adam that she thinks she made the wrong choice years ago when she decided to date Caleb instead of Adam – in fact, if Adam wasn’t with me, she’d leave Caleb for Adam. But then she’d get depressed again because she cares about me, and feels guilty that she’d even think about being with “my” guy. There was a lot more, but that’s probably enough to get the gist.
Adam came back to me that night and spent a long time letting me know everything that had been going on. He talked to me how he feels horribly guilty that he has feelings for Beth, but he doesn’t think he can just stop – he cares about her deeply and has for a long time. I care for Beth too, and having grown up in a situation where my mom made essentially the choice that Beth has made so far, I have some empathy for her situation. Adam let me know that he would be willing to walk away and not have contact with Beth if I told him I needed him to do that, but it’s easy to tell that would hurt both of them deeply. I don’t want to walk away from Beth – my initial reaction was jealousy, but what it comes down to is that I care about her and enjoy spending time with her, a lot more than I want anything else in this situation. In addition, I trust Adam, a lot, and it helps me a lot too that he’s been very open with me on everything that’s been going on.
Since then Adam and I have talked a lot about what we should / shouldn’t / can / can’t / will / won’t do about this situation. I’ve grown up very monogamous, and outside of this situation I probably wouldn’t be all that interested in poly. With Beth, I think I might be interested; Adam thinks so too. We’ve both agreed that the main decider right now is what Beth decides to do about Caleb. We won’t even tell her that we might be interested in trying something more intimate and committed than just friends unless and until she makes the decision on her own to leave Caleb, and follows through with it. If she makes that decision, we will be there to support her; but we don’t want to set up a situation where she “leaves Caleb for us.” We feel that it would need to be something that she does on her own and because it’s best for her and the kids, regardless of how anything with Adam and I may or may not work out.
If she does leave Caleb – that’s where everything falls into a billion questions. If she wants to, she would be welcome to move in with us, and she would need a place to stay. From things that Beth has said in the past – that she’s sexually attracted to me and to Adam, and that she’s joked around about polygamy – I think she might be open to trying a polyfidelous triad. But from everything I’ve read online in the last few days on poly, I think it would be necessary that we keep anything other than close friendship in the closet. She has two young kids who are nowhere near old enough to “keep secrets,” even if asking the kids to “just not tell” WAS something we would consider – I’d rather not. I don’t know if Caleb would fight for custody, but he has parents who might push if they found out. In addition, we all come from pretty conservative families – one reason I’m bicurious and not bi is because I never felt the familial repercussions were worth indulging my curiosity, not when I was quite happy being with a male. AND Adam and I are both going in to fairly conservative career fields, Adam especially. I lean towards thinking that things might work best if we just set up Adam and I as “uncle and aunt” to the kids, and keep anything intimate (beyond hugs between friends) to when the kids aren’t home.
Finally, I’m all conflicted with my feelings about where this may or may not go. I used to think I was highly monogamous – certainly I didn’t want any other girls coming on to my guy. And I definitely have some feelings of jealousy, and I really don’t want anything to happen where I end up being seriously angry with Beth / hating Beth – she is my best friend. But at the same time the possibility of a triad between us three is weirdly enticing.
So, I don’t know. Has anyone been in a similar situation? Any tips or suggestions? It’s all mostly very theoretical right now, depending on whether or not Beth decides to stay with Caleb; but if she decides to leave him some parts could move along very quickly. (Any kind of sexual intimacy I’m never taking quickly – if the possibility occurs, then that part can move at its own pace.) Honestly, I’m mostly looking for a place to talk about this; other than Adam, right now there isn’t anyone I know that I’m comfortable talking to about this.