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Old 08-20-2011, 03:32 AM
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AnnabelMore AnnabelMore is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 2,285

Yikes, I *hate* when I lose a long post like that. :P

There are some things in this situation that are very promising! The fact that you and she are close friends is awesome. The fact that good communication seems to be happening is awesome. The fact that the bf and you were sensitive enough to stop when it appeared that something was wrong is awesome. This could be *awesome.*

Of course, and not to scare you, it could also implode horribly. In fact, situations like this involve so many complex emotions and potential pitfalls, that you have to work pretty darn hard, especially at the start, to *not* let it implode! If all three of you are up for some long conversations, some courage and emotional honesty, and some flexibility and openness to letting the relationship become what it naturally becomes rather than what you feel it *has* to be, you will do much, much better.

A few quick thoughts...

- It sounds like even though you're attracted to him you still don't know the bf that well yet. If it weren't a three-person situation, would you really be comfortable calling him your "boyfriend"? Saying you're "their" girlfriend means he's your boyfriend too, and it sounds like it *might* be a little premature for that? Just something to think about.

- Which brings us to the question of... what does "girlfriend" mean, anyway? What does "boyfriend" mean? What can you all expect from each other? One big potential pitfall here is that people might be holding different unspoken assumptions. Are they expecting sexual fidelity from you (i.e. no other partners but them)? Are they seeing this as their relationship staying unchanged but with you added in, or are they open to the idea of growing into a new, three-person configuration (if it's truly "equal" shouldn't this be a possibility? and if not, maybe it's not equal right now and that's ok but needs to be acknowledged so you can work out a fair arrangement for everyone)? What if you fall in love deeply with one of them or not the other (this is *very* common), could they be ok with that? I know, I know, here I'm supposed to be trying to help you find answers and I'm just asking more questions! But if these things haven't yet been discussed by ALL THREE of you together, you might end up really hurting each other. And what you all agree upon now might not end up being the final word... these sorts of things often have to be revisited.

- If these two have never actually done poly before, they're in for a raft of surprises (like when your gf didn't realize that seeing you with her bf would hurt... these surprises can come along more often than you might expect in this sort of situation) and, pretty inevitably, mistakes. By mistakes I don't mean failing to follow some set of "rules", I mean inadvertantly doing things that hurt each other. It's going to take a lot of patience and learning as you go to make this all work! I really strongly suggest that they also read the xeromag articles that Bahalana linked -- especially the ones on being a secondary, so they'll understand more about what it will be like for you (this stuff will apply even if they don't think of you as "secondary"), and the ones on jealousy, since it sounds like that's an issue. They need to be very, very sensitive to not making the mistakes common to "unicorn hunters" (a la this handy chart -- And you need to be very, very sensitive to not communicating with only one of them and not the other, not playing them off of each other, and not otherwise undermining their relationship.

- Take deep breaths, give her time on the sex thing, don't move too fast, go on dates together and separately to feel out where the points of connection are, stay flexible, keep it light, be honest, be brave, don't feel like you've failed if you click more with one of them than the other, speak up when you sense trouble brewing but try to figure out on your own what you're feeling and why first if possible, don't agree to anything that makes you miserable, stand up for your needs in the most compassionate way you can.

- Finally, and I cannot stress this enough... do NOT do NOT do NOT move in with them any time in the next year... seriously, on this board we've seen way too many third partners move in quickly with a couple, only to magnify times ten whatever issues needed to be worked out. Poly relationships can take a lot more time in working out the kinks than mono ones, and it's easy to try to commit too much too soon and have it all fall apart.

Phew! That's all I can think of for now.

HUG!!!! Sorry about all the run-on sentences and asides. My words aren't gospel, but I write because I care and because I've been there -- I'm coming up on my second year of dating a beautiful woman and being close friends with her lovely husband.
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