Polyamory.com Forum  

Go Back   Polyamory.com Forum > Polyamory > General Poly Discussions

Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 09-08-2009, 12:18 AM
Ceoli Ceoli is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: London, UK
Posts: 900
Default 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.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 09-08-2009, 01:26 AM
River's Avatar
River River is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: NM, USA
Posts: 1,894
Default

Well, I of course don't know the situation. Just as there are crucial things you do not know yourself. Nevertheless, if I remember correctly, both of these two with whom you are involved expect you to depart the country and the continent before too long -- heading back to England. I have no idea how this plays into whatever is going on with her, him, them, and all of you. But I do know this. If I were involved with someone likely to be leaving the country pretty soon, I'd assume that our regular intimacies would have a sort of limit imposed. (I don't have funds to fly across the pond regularly, etc.) Just a thought. How relevant, I have no idea.
__________________
bi, partnered, available

River's Blog
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 09-08-2009, 01:59 AM
Ceoli Ceoli is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: London, UK
Posts: 900
Default

Actually, that's a whole separate thing that's different from the issues that arose this weekend. It was hard for me to enter into this knowing the impermanence of me being here, but we all agreed that it was better to be open to what might happen. I've always found it a bad idea to enforce a limit upon feelings that develop. Feelings rarely follow directions

But you make a good point.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 09-08-2009, 02:17 AM
Rarechild's Avatar
Rarechild Rarechild is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: SW Michigan
Posts: 600
Default

Sorry to hear you're having a rough time. And thanks for sharing it- you give me a lot to think about in regards to being one of a couple and how to take care of someone who would come into one of our lives and have to deal with both of us.
__________________
"Rocks will open and make a way for the lover."
~Hazrat Inayat Khan


I love Catfish and Charlie.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 09-08-2009, 02:49 AM
Ceoli Ceoli is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: London, UK
Posts: 900
Default

Thanks for that Rarechild. That's kind of why I wanted to post it.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 09-08-2009, 03:37 PM
Fidelia Fidelia is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Right here. Right now.
Posts: 649
Default

Like Rarechild, I would like to offer my thanks for sharing your feelings with us about this sensitve moment in your relationships. I can't say I know just how you feel, as I have never been the third, but my heart goes out you. *hugs* I do know just how it feels to be waiting for another to address issues that are vitally important to me, without any control over how/when.

I would like to ask some questions and offer some thoughts:

First, it looks to me like you are working to keep the lines of communication open. Good for you! That's exactly needed what's make a poly relationship work. (So I hear. My own triad is no more, for that very reason, among others.)

It also sounds like the wife is periodically shutting you, and everything else, out by hiding in bed. If the weekends started out "fabulous" something happened to trigger the shutdowns. Were there intermediate steps between fabulous and shutdown? There usually are. Identifying where things went off the track may point the way to the solution.

May I ask what kind of relationship do the three of you have? Is it a triad, a V, or something else (perhaps double V or something more extended)? This, in my mind, makes a significant difference, because if you're in a triad, she's not merely the wife, but also your girlfriend.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ceoli View Post
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.
Why do you feel you have no power or right to address the issue(s) involved? You may be the "third" but this is your relationship, too, and you have the right and responsibility to be fully engaged in it. To be alternately allowed in/ pushed out is not fair, and will eventually doom the relationship.

IMO, it is a good and compassionate thing to give the wife/gf some space to think and soul-search. But while she is doing so, why do you not feel you cannot talk and connect with the husband/bf? It seems to me that you need healing in this situation, too, and that need deserves respect and attention too.

I wish you and your others peace and joy, however this works out.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 09-09-2009, 05:41 AM
redpepper's Avatar
redpepper redpepper is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Canada
Posts: 7,634
Default

What a great insight into what it's like to be a third...thanks for that!

I think about my relationship with my two men and remember how important it was at the beginning that I make sure I keep Mono (the third) up to date on everything that came up for me and my husband. My husband did the same. There were times I was completely over whelmed by it all but I realized that I had a responsibility to both of them and that it wasn't an option to hide in bed. I was (and am) completely open about how I felt as it came up. Sometimes I had know idea what it was coming up, just that I was feeling strongly. I don't know if I would be satisfied with "following the lead." I think I would be a bit more demanding.

I would be asking what the trigger is and working on finding out WITH them. I would want to know what she wants me to do if she deeks and avoids in bed. I'd ask if she wants you to come and console her, chat with her, sit in silence, get the hell out of the house, what?! If you are unclear about what you should do or what your role is, shouldn't you be asking, discussing, setting boundaries. Perhaps it is not okay for you that she does that rather than talk it out? And the should be fine. Radical honesty baby. If you are really becoming a part of their already established relationship then shouldn't these things be out in the open?

What does the husband want? There is no mention of what he thinks and what their already established dynamic is around her repeating this behaviour. It sounds as if she may be accustom to trotting off to bed when the going gets tough.

If you are going to be three then shouldn't you BE IN IT? It just seems that you have put yourself in a position of being the third wheel, rather than the third.
__________________
Anyone want to be friends on Facebook?
Send me your name via PM
My blog
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 09-10-2009, 11:05 PM
foxflame88's Avatar
foxflame88 foxflame88 is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Birmingham, AL, USA
Posts: 582
Default

Just want to offer hugs and moral support.

I've been in your exact position, so I know what it's like to have the feelings you are experiencing... and feeling somewhat "helpless" while the established couple figure out what it is they want. In my situation, they made it clear that no matter what, THEY came before WE. My opinions would never matter as much as theirs... Therefore, it was easy for me to walk away from the relationship.
__________________
Alli
Sex between a man and a woman can be absolutely wonderful - provided you get between the right man and the right woman. ~Woody Allen
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 09-10-2009, 11:17 PM
Ceoli Ceoli is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: London, UK
Posts: 900
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fidelia View Post
May I ask what kind of relationship do the three of you have? Is it a triad, a V, or something else (perhaps double V or something more extended)? This, in my mind, makes a significant difference, because if you're in a triad, she's not merely the wife, but also your girlfriend.
We are a triad. I am definitely in relationship with both of them. I've been avoiding using terms girlfriend or boyfriend in general because for myself, it's not to the point where I feel that describes our relationship. More of that has to do with myself and my past and how those terms get a bit loaded for me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fidelia View Post
Why do you feel you have no power or right to address the issue(s) involved? You may be the "third" but this is your relationship, too, and you have the right and responsibility to be fully engaged in it. To be alternately allowed in/ pushed out is not fair, and will eventually doom the relationship.
I addressed the issues involved by letting her know the effect her actions were having on me. These two people have been together for 15 years. I've been there for about 3 months and we've not had regular face to face contact for those 3 months. Things have been definitely getting more serious in the past month, but the fact remains that this is still very new and how deep the relationship is going to run in our lives still remains to be seen. Those issues that were coming up for her go much further back than the 3 months I've been there. So I feel as fully engaged as I can be under the circumstances.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fidelia View Post
IMO, it is a good and compassionate thing to give the wife/gf some space to think and soul-search. But while she is doing so, why do you not feel you cannot talk and connect with the husband/bf? It seems to me that you need healing in this situation, too, and that need deserves respect and attention too.
I have talked a bit with him about it and he has been as reassuring as he can be, much of what arose for her was about having difficulty sharing. Since my contact with him is directly related to that issue, I need to be sensitive to that. The fact is, I still come in second to each of them and that is an undeniable fact in the design of this relationship at this stage. So if my needs end up being in conflict with any of their needs, I can keenly feel the weight against me in such negotiations.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 09-10-2009, 11:38 PM
Ceoli Ceoli is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: London, UK
Posts: 900
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by redpepper View Post
Sometimes I had know idea what it was coming up, just that I was feeling strongly. I don't know if I would be satisfied with "following the lead." I think I would be a bit more demanding.
Perhaps, but in my case, she is letting me know what's coming up and if I were to be more demanding, I don't see how that would help her work through the issues she's having. I don't see putting pressure on her as being productive. I can't demand that she get over it. If I was struggling with something and someone demanded that of me, I would be pretty pissed off and alienated by that. I have let her know very clearly what impact this is having on me, I don't see how I can demand more of her at this point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by redpepper View Post
I'd ask if she wants you to come and console her, chat with her, sit in silence, get the hell out of the house, what?! If you are unclear about what you should do or what your role is, shouldn't you be asking, discussing, setting boundaries. Perhaps it is not okay for you that she does that rather than talk it out? And the should be fine. Radical honesty baby. If you are really becoming a part of their already established relationship then shouldn't these things be out in the open?
Oh, I'm all for radical honesty. I'm all about calling things out then and there and that's a practice I follow in all my relationships. And I asked her those questions at the time practically verbatim. She couldn't give an answer as to what she wanted, so it sort of grew into that general funk and air of tension that I elected to leave. Many of those boundaries are still being set. As I said earlier, this is in it's very early stages and we've been taking things slowly. We still haven't established how much of a part of this relationship I am. Plus we all know that I'll eventually be moving back overseas. So while things are in the open, that still doesn't make things certain. We're just very open about the uncertainty.

Quote:
Originally Posted by redpepper View Post
What does the husband want? There is no mention of what he thinks and what their already established dynamic is around her repeating this behaviour. It sounds as if she may be accustom to trotting off to bed when the going gets tough.
He only arrived towards the tail end of all this. At the time, he was comforting to me and squeezing my hand and making sure I felt wanted by him, but as I said earlier in my previous post, much of this issue is about her struggling with the sharing. We've talked about it since and he has been supportive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by redpepper View Post
If you are going to be three then shouldn't you BE IN IT? It just seems that you have put yourself in a position of being the third wheel, rather than the third.
The reality of the situation is what it is. I am in it as much as I can be at the moment. I have been honest about my feelings and the effects. I have offered what I can, and what she needs more than anything from me at the moment is space. I have only been involved with these people for a few months. They have been together for 15 years. These realities can't be denied when dealing with such things. I don't see any more I can do at this point that wouldn't be overstepping the limits of my position in this relationship at the moment. And this is why I try not to get involved with couples in this way. But feelings rarely follow directions.

Last edited by Ceoli; 09-10-2009 at 11:40 PM.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
third partner, third wheel, thirds

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 10:32 AM.