Polyamory.com Forum  

Go Back   Polyamory.com Forum > Polyamory > Poly Relationships Corner

Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 05-08-2011, 01:25 PM
polycouple polycouple is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: CT/RI area
Posts: 55
Default Moving toward equanimity in a triad - What is your experience?

Hi all,

I am just curious to hear if anyone has had similar experiences to me. You can read this whole long story or just skip to the last paragraph....

I am currently in a relationship with two wonderful people who prior to meeting me were a swinger couple for four years. Within the first few months of meeting I fell in love with both of them, and lucky for me, they both fell in love with me as well! I introduced poly to them. Tom, the male in the relationship, was familiar and slightly experienced with concepts of freelove and multiple partner relationships. Sarah, on the other hand, was not. While she fell deeply in love with me, she still has reservations, fears, insecurities when it comes to the topic of being in a equal relationship together.

She worries primarily about losing Tom, not being enough for him, or that he will enjoy his time with me more than with her if we have freedom to express ourselves without limits. Basically, she is worried about being left out. So right now there are restrictions on Tom and I as to what we can do when Sarah is at work. She is not comfortable with us being intimate in any way really, aside from kissing maybe. She has unrealistic expectations sometimes about wanting to know the details about every conversation we have, and get's hurt and defensive if she learns that we have discussed something without her knowledge. Rather than recognizing that it is difficult and frustrating to have to essentially report out to her every day, she believes that we intentionally withhold information from her. She also does not want Tom and I to go out, meet friends together when she is not there. Tom and I both feel no need to limit Sara despite the fact that she feels the need to impose boundaries. She has ultimate freedom and control in this relationship. I'm happy that at least one person in this relationship can be without limits, though at times I find it frustrating that I have to hold back, and be monitored in this relationship.

On an intellectual level Sara recognizes that the relationship is unfair at the moment. She is genuinely trying to be comfortable with the idea of having a relationship that is not dictated by her fears and insecurities. There has been some great upward movement in this regard thus far. For instance, Tom and I no longer have to ask permission to meet up when she is at work, or to catch a bite to eat. We simply have to make sure that she is aware. The other day she told Tom to give me a kiss for her while she was at work. She is really making an effort. She also seems to be processing the dynamic of the relationship on both an intellectual and emotional level. The other day she told me that she thinks she might be ready for this to be an equal relationship sooner than she originally thought, though when I probed her, she could not come up with any rough time frame.

So I guess my question is, has anyone been in a situation where a lover was able to overcome insecurities, fears, jealousies, to enjoy the free exchange of love that poly can offer. Or am I just being naive? If I can't eventually be an equal participant in this relationship then it just won't last. This worries me because I love them deeply, and I truly feel that the relationship between the three of us will be a positive and transformational experience for us all (it already has been). I am viewing this as a transitional stage. That is what I tell myself in order to rationalize being in a dynamic that I feel marginalizes me.

What's been your experience? Has anyone had an equilateral triadic relationship work between three people, two of which were committed to one another first?

Thanks for your stories and feedback!
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 05-08-2011, 02:40 PM
Ariakas Ariakas is offline
Moderator
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 2,872
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by polycouple View Post
Hi all,

What's been your experience? Has anyone had an equilateral triadic relationship work between three people, two of which were committed to one another first?

Thanks for your stories and feedback!
I mighty not have the best news for ya. In the time i have been poly I have never seen a true equilateral triad. All of them I have seen are usually more scalene. And past that, sometimes even fluid with peoples roles changing consistenltly.

Some people need those roles to stay comfortable. Primary secondary is used in a lot of poly relationships because it's give people comfort. That's a tough thing to overcome.

To your question on insecurities lots of people have overcome them. With time and consistency. Insecurities can be rooted in something as simple as fear of losing time, or a side they thought was unique to them. Lots of reasons, lots of excuses. Can you ever get rid of them, I dont know. I still have them. Can you learn to focus on the reality instead of what you create in your head. I think that's really the key to overcoming insecurities.

Best of luck
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 05-08-2011, 05:56 PM
BlackUnicorn's Avatar
BlackUnicorn BlackUnicorn is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 906
Default

Hullo!

Sorry to hear you are struggling. I might need a little bit more background in order to give any useful input. Is it that Tom and Sara are the more established couple? In what circumstances did your relationship begin? How long have you been together? What are your living circumstances? Is Sara the only one working?

My triady situation is very new but everyone is very committed to making it work. "My" couple has sought out a third for years, so that creates a different set of pressures than if you stumble upon a triad situation accidentally. Still, I think the strain that is caused by one couple/person in the triad wanting to progress faster than the others is pretty universal. It is not a sign of doom to struggle with this, IMHO, if Sara is willing to try. Is there any history between you and Tom that would explain Sara's insecurities?
__________________
Me: bi female in my twenties
Dating: Moonlightrunner
Metamour: Windflower
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 05-08-2011, 07:11 PM
polycouple polycouple is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: CT/RI area
Posts: 55
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackUnicorn View Post
Hullo!

Sorry to hear you are struggling. I might need a little bit more background in order to give any useful input. Is it that Tom and Sara are the more established couple? In what circumstances did your relationship begin? How long have you been together? What are your living circumstances? Is Sara the only one working?
Yes, Tom and Sarah are the established couple. They have been living together for several years. We have only been together for several months. The relationship moved extremely fast because we live very close and see each other almost on a daily basis. Sarah is not the only one working. In fact, all three of us work and go to school. We are all super busy. That is why having the restrictions is particularly difficult because although we see each other daily, the interactions can be short, or we are busy studying/working. Of course, things are much better now that school is over for the summer for Sara and I. The more time we get to spend together the easier things get because we bond, and she begins to trust that I am in this relationship because I love BOTH of them, not just Tom.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackUnicorn View Post
My triady situation is very new but everyone is very committed to making it work. "My" couple has sought out a third for years, so that creates a different set of pressures than if you stumble upon a triad situation accidentally. Still, I think the strain that is caused by one couple/person in the triad wanting to progress faster than the others is pretty universal. It is not a sign of doom to struggle with this, IMHO, if Sara is willing to try. Is there any history between you and Tom that would explain Sara's insecurities?
Sarah and Tom were always looking for a girlfriend. Because of this, I was originally surprised when the insecurities and rules started to pop up (I know, naive). Then I later learned that Sara meant really just a friend with benefits that they could go out with and have fun with now and then. They didn't mean a legitimate loving, intimate kind of girlfriend. Apparently, it was never Sara's intent to fall in love, or for Tom to fall in love. Sara was the first one to drop the L-word. She is completely comfortable with the two of us being in love (her and I). It is the fact that Tom and I are love as well that causes the insecurities. There is no history between Tom and I, but there is history with Tom. He has a past of infidelity with his past long term relationships. Of course, I think this has a lot to do with the fact that he is polyamorous but never found an outlet, or a means to practice it ethically. Though I think I am also making excuses for bad behavior with that one.

Thanks for the response. I look forward to your feedback !!
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 05-09-2011, 01:27 AM
redpepper's Avatar
redpepper redpepper is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Canada
Posts: 7,634
Default

It sounds like she is doing her best to get there, but it will never be even. It just doesn't work like that. Love is never even with anyone. It doesn't mean one is more important than the other, its just different.

Your situation would be my nightmare (I just wouldn't put myself there any more, I likely would only chose people who are experienced at poly at this point) but I think if I were you I would keep doing your best to accommodate her if she is working on loosening her control issues. Keep your agreements and don't agree to stuff you can't do. You get to put your foot down when necessary. Pick your battles.

I hope it is made very clear to her that primary/secondary relationships only work if all agree. If you intend to be in a position of equal, then make sure she know that and are investing in that. That you are agreeing to her whims because you intend to be there for the long haul and expect to be treated as equal.
__________________
Anyone want to be friends on Facebook?
Send me your name via PM
My blog

Last edited by redpepper; 05-09-2011 at 07:49 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 05-09-2011, 02:01 AM
Derbylicious's Avatar
Derbylicious Derbylicious is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Victoria BC
Posts: 1,603
Default

It sounds to me that she is slowly loosening her grip on what she's comfortable with when she's not around. Since there's a history of Tom cheating it sounds to me that she's still working on regaining trust in him.

It also sounds that things are moving forward, not stagnating or moving backwards. There's something that is said here a lot of the time of moving at the pace of the slowest person in the relationship. As time goes on I expect that more and more of the restrictions on you and Tom will be lifted.

It sounds to me that you are all talking together and are committed to working things out between the 3 of you.
__________________
Everything will be ok in the end. If it's not ok it's not the end.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 05-11-2011, 03:00 AM
polycouple polycouple is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: CT/RI area
Posts: 55
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by redpepper View Post
It sounds like she is doing her best to get there, but it will never be even. It just doesn't work like that. Love is never even with anyone. It doesn't mean one is more important than the other, its just different.

Your situation would be my nightmare (I just wouldn't put myself there any more, I likely would only chose people who are experienced at poly at this point) but I think if I were you I would keep doing your best to accommodate her if she is working on loosening her control issues. Keep your agreements and don't agree to stuff you can't do. You get to put your foot down when necessary. Pick your battles.

I hope it is made very clear to her that primary/secondary relationships only work if all agree. If you intend to be in a position of equal, then make sure she know that and are investing in that. That you are agreeing to her whims because you intend to be there for the long haul and expect to be treated as equal.
You give some really good advice, thank you! I am patient with her needs at this point but I do communicate that I am in this situation because I love her, and I hope for it to last. I also remind her that it will only last if we are moving towards equality (as much as it can be equal). I understand there is no genuine equal relationship. I guess what I mean is that we each have the same freedoms within the relationship.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 05-09-2011, 01:24 PM
RfromRMC's Avatar
RfromRMC RfromRMC is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina
Posts: 239
Default

Hopefully this will improve with time. I think it's paramount to concentrate on each pair within the Triad. Make 100% sure she's getting all the one-on-one quality time with both Tom and with you...so that when you and Tom are together, it just seems more natural. (Everyone needs a little alone time and she's surely eventually gonna want some as well, thus giving you and Tom a good opportunity.)

If she's had no trouble falling in love with you, then I don't think she's struggling so much with the concept of polyamory....but it's more like she just has this innate instinct of jealousy/envy that's been ingrained in her head like every other person in the world raised in a monogamy-oriented society. Unfortunately, she's just having a harder time getting over it. All three of you need to work on that...as well as other trust-building work within the group.

I'm not ashamed to say it...we actually had to go to a therapist to discuss this issues in our early days of our triad. (Make sure it's a counselor who's experienced with polyamory!). It helped a good deal.
Good luck!
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 05-09-2011, 06:23 PM
BlackUnicorn's Avatar
BlackUnicorn BlackUnicorn is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 906
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by polycouple View Post
There is no history between Tom and I, but there is history with Tom. He has a past of infidelity with his past long term relationships.
Yup, there you have it. Imagine Tom and Sara would have a history of communication where Tom would be the assertive, confident decision-maker and Sara would have a pattern where she would be too timid to voice objections out loud and thus would go along with things she was uncomfortable with only to please Tom, while harboring resentment and lashing out later at most unexpected times. So Tom and you would make holiday plans for the three of you, with Sara feeling she must oblige or seek angering/disappointing the two of you. Then, week before the said holiday, she would break down in tears and start shouting that the two of you are leaving her out and making all the decisions without a care for how she feels.

In this scenario, the pattern was there before you came along, and you did nothing to bring it about - your presence made the problem more acute, but didn't create it. The same goes for Sara's insecurities about Tom's past behavior. You are not the cause of this - nobody really is the problem here, so I think you really can work through this.
__________________
Me: bi female in my twenties
Dating: Moonlightrunner
Metamour: Windflower
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 05-10-2011, 12:00 AM
cxJvak's Avatar
cxJvak cxJvak is offline
New Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Little Rock, AR
Posts: 1
Default

First my story then some advice!

I've been in a relationship with my husband for 8 years, 3 years ago we got married and 1 year ago we moved far away from our conservative and religious families. We were always very open with each other in our relationship and he was very accepting when I shared I was bisexual. (a struggle I had going through a Christian highschool) We didn't ever go "looking" for polyamorous relationships, but when he met Sarah through school she naturally fell into our lives.
I gave John permission to pursue a relationship with her as long as she didn't feel uncomfortable.
Sarah admitted to me that she was attracted to John and I shared with her that I was fine with that.
Sarah was raised fairly conservative as well and we helped her out of a bad long-term and long-distance relationship. She moved in with us about 5 months ago.
We're all students and take turns taking care of each other. We describe our relationship as genuine concern for the other's wellbeing.

So clearly, there's a "dominate" relationship in our triad as well. My Sarah believes she has problems with insecurities because of her past relationship. We try to focus on constant, honest communication. It's really hard sometimes and requires a lot of rational analysis. By attempting to discover when and why someone feels left out we are able to identify when our relationships struggle.

I try to keep communication open by leaving them both note, texts, and messages to remind them that I have unconditional concern for them. I try to make it a point to let them know that I am here to take care of them. This helps to alleviate feelings of insecurity. Jealously, which leads to insecurity, is based on fear. Attempting to identify the source of the fear (infidelity?) and confronting the issue may help to remove this dilemma from your relationship. You can't do much about Tom's past, but you can let your Sarah know that you will be as honest as you can.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
time management, triad

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 08:47 AM.