A VERY new person on this forum but not new to Poly. I read this thread with great interest as we lived as a MFM triad for almost 5 years. I always considered us to be VERY lucky because of our unique situation in that we have two homes in the same farm yard. We are also very lucky in finding the other M for our V. He moved into the second house and it worked very well. It afforded him some privacy, some space to call his own, a retreat for when he needed some ME time and a place our wife and him could be alone when they wanted that. A second home also allowed us to dodge some of the judgemental people in our community who would not be understanding about Poly at all. Some of the things we discovered over time were:
1. If two of us argued the third person should not take sides. Provide an ear to listen, perhaps give some cogent advice or even a new point of view but do not take sides. All couples argue so why wouldn't Triads, Quads or any number? It is important to let the disagreeing parties sort it out themselves while remaining supportive of people you care about.
2. All people need space at times. Some more than others, some less but they need it and deserve respect when seeking it.
3. I always tried to put myself in his shoes. My wife and I have had over 30 fantastic years together and at times can communicate without saying a word. Of course he is going to have feelings of being a third wheel or being left out...who wouldn't? So I went out of my way to make him feel welcome and truly cared about. He was and still is one of my best friends in the world and I always let him know that.
4. Because we are not "out" this put more constraints on his time with our wife than my time so I would give them time together whenever I could. Many times they would insist that they wanted me there too and that was fine but I knew that there were times when they could not be together when they wanted to be with each other so I made allowances.
5. It was great having a good friend right there who I could trust completely. Family security issues, fixing a dishwasher when I was away at work, someone to help me fix things when you just had to have that extra pair of hands the list goes on and on. It was a great 5 years and I miss our friend dearly but wish him and his new lady all the best in the world.
6. I treated "his" home as HIS home not our property. I knocked before I entered. I asked his permission to borrow a cup of sugar et al. We told him he was welcome to paint, wallpaper or whatever else he chose to do with HIS home. Maybe it's a guy thing but I felt he needed that from me and was happy to do it. Our wife on the other hand had the opportunity to chose paint colours in TWO homes. Isn't that every woman's dream come true?
7. He was/is a very affectionate man and I know it bothered him to not be able to show her public affection. When we travelled away from home I gave them as much space and opportunity to share PDA as I could although it was fun to hold hands as a 3some and walk down the street. We still laugh at the BC hotel desk clerk who refused to rent us a room because of her "religous" beliefs. This was after she saw the 3 of us walk into the lobby holding hands and smootching.
We completely believe in the power of love and my wife and I have never had any jealousy or security issues. We sort of look at it this way "If I can love this wonderful, special person so much why wouldn't someone else love them too??" In the end our friend met and fell in love with a very nice woman who would not move from monogamy. He was torn between us and caused him no small amount of angst. In the end we told him we would always love him and he could come back at any time but he should not walk away from his feelings for this wonderful lady and they ended up moving to her home in eastern Canada. Multi-partner co-habitation worked very well for us as long as you allow the caveat of a seperate home in the same yard.