Gay Triad: One partner is kind of closet-y and a friendship of his doesn't help
I'm a gay guy who is the newest member in a triad relationship with two other men. One guy identifies somewhere between a Kinsey 4 and 5 bisexual, and he has a couple of close emotional friendships with women, although he is sexually only interested in men.
I'm planning on moving in with the two of them soon, and I have a bit of concern about my one partner:
He has has our other partner as his partner for the better part of a decade now. However, he has had trouble with coming out and has some internalized homophobia that I think partially manifests himself in his relationship with his friend.
While he has explained her as being just a friend, they are often interpretted publicly as being an intimate couple. This past Saturday at dinner, he mentioned that the two of them were going to brunch the next day with another couple. This, along with the public displays of affection that she shows him, had me confused about their relationship, so I asked him to clarify it for me. Again, he said that she's just a friend.
The PDA wouldn't bother me at all if he wasn't awkward about myself and our other partner doing the same, even at an appropriate level. He expressed concern about flaunting our sexuality and making people uncomfortable even just by hugging when we have straight guests in our home.
Along with this issue is the perception that this gives off. The two of them are often perceived as an intimate couple or married, and he rarely corrects people saying that his relationships are none of their business. The problem I see with this is that it's a dishonest face that he presents for the "straight world" and I fear that I may be compartmentalized into a "gay life" category of his life that he only seen behind closed doors.
Amongst closer associates (such as at work), he is out...ish, in that his coworkers are aware of our other partner, but it's up to them to figure out the relationship, as it's never explained unless directly asked. To use a closet analogy, it's like the doors are open for anybody to see, but he's uneasy when stepping out. In this context, I see his friendship with this woman as being kind of a social safety-net.
When I brought these things up (trying hard not to be accusatory because I sincerely doubt he was conscious of these things), he didn't really see it.
I think that there are really two issues here:
1) His friend may not be totally clear on where they stand and/or where he stands with his other two partners. Or she is just taking whatever affection she can get from him. I sincerely doubt there is any malice to her actions, though.
2) He has some serious internalized homophobia and is more comfortable being seen in a heterosexual relationship that doesn't exist than in his real relationships. I think that his issue of the comfort of others is more of a projection of his own discomfort with being seen just by his sexuality, rather than as a full man who happens to be homosexual.
These two issues are intertwined with eachother, of course. If socially, he wants to spend time with his friend and either of his partnerns, she continues to dote on him and gives off the typical social cues that the two of them are together (such as internlocking arms, sitting close on a couch, etc), which makes me uncomfortable as a primary partner and is probably the number one cue that tells me that she doesn't really 'get it'. He doesn't like to correct people about his relationships because it's none of their business, but by asking, aren't they making it their business?
I want to address these issues as I transition from the position of a secondary partner into a primary partner, but our other partner is not concerned. He isn't threatened by her (neither am I, at least not consciously), and the partner in question has come a damn long way in coming out in the 6ish years since the two of them have been together. However, am I really in a place to express concerns about an existing friendship if I'm new in the relationship?
Along with our discussion on these issues yesterday, I expressed concern about how I will be introduced to his family and friends once I am living with my partners full-time; something that I don't think he gave previous thought to.
Thanks very much for any help, advice, questions, or comments.