The inevitable thirdness of being the third
A while ago, I made a commitment to myself to keep my heart open to whatever kind of love that would be available to me. This commitment to remain open has lead me to some unexpected places, including this relationship I'm now having with a married couple. We've approached it slowly and with little pressure on each other and allowed it to grow into whatever it would be, not some preconceived notion that any of us may have had.
So throughout that, and despite my general aversion to getting involved with couples, they have both really endeared themselves to me and I've found myself really grateful for their support in other ways (my current displaced life situation really could use some of that support). So the last couple of weekends, I've realized how attached I feel to them. We've had some lovely times together so far.
However, the last two weekends, the wife has been struggling. Each weekend started off fabulous but then she got very moody and ended up hiding herself under the covers last weekend, and the same thing happened this weekend. It felt very clearly that she needed me to leave her space and she got very moody again. She was clearly upset and overwhelmed. I wanted to comfort her, but not knowing if I was part of the problem I didn't really know where my place was. I sort of hovered in limbo for a bit before leaving. I left feeling very hurt. I texted her today to make sure she was alright, because clearly she wasn't yesterday. She apologized for what happened and said that she needs to do some soul searching about what happened and why she's reacting this way. I expressed that it hurt me and she said that it wasn't my fault and that she knew how horribly unfair it was to me. I said I'd hang back and follow her lead.
So here I am. The third. Keenly aware of what I have to lose and with nothing to do about it but wait. The future of my feelings with regard to each of them depends on them working this out and I will have little say in it. She will work this out with her husband and I will sit and wait. They will have each other while I have neither. This is exactly why being a third is hard.
I am working very hard to keep my heart open and not close it off after this experience. Things haven't ended between us and it could just very well be just a rough patch. But it's a rough patch that makes me keenly aware of the vulnerability of my position in this relationship. And the fact that I opened my heart to this possibility makes it hurt more.
That's kind of a hard place to be.