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Old 12-20-2011, 10:50 PM
kirsten kirsten is offline
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Default Accidental triad

I know this is going to be long, I appear to be incapable of brevity when it comes to personal stuff. Thanks in advance for reading!

As much as Iíd like to get everything out in the open, I have an ex that I donít really want knowing about my life. I know the chances are slim that my posts here would garner any attention but I am paranoid. If I include all the details of what brought me here, it would be easily identifiable.

So! Iíll just say that through a series of events, I began a long-distance relationship with a woman who has been in a poly marriage. My previous relationship ended shortly after (although that was a very good thing for me). Iíll call my gf Aurora. This was my first poly experience, although I had been poly-curious for a while.

Auroraís marriage was poly from the get-go. She wanted a long-term gf, while her husband tended to have more casual relationships. She did have a live-in gf for awhile. Funnily enough they were not aware of the word ďpolyamoryĒ or the poly community, but had worked out a lot of the basics of healthy poly relationships on their own. Aurora has an amazing sense of how to have healthy, good relationships, despite coming from an abusive family of origin. She helped me to realize how unhealthy my previous relationship was.

Aurora and I have an amazing connection when we are together. Itís hard for me to explain it, but I have never felt so connected to another human being in my life. When weíre apart, we communicate really well. Both of us need to talk through our feelings, sometimes in order to even understand what is going on with our own feelings. We have been each otherís sounding board in that way.

After my prior relationship ended, I felt that I needed a break to work out some things. I put Aurora in the ďfriend boxĒ for a few months. We still talked every day, but didnít talk romantically or about future plans. She was really great about this. Iím sure it was hard for her. She tried to not pressure me and said that she would wait for me to be ready.

In the meantime I started to work on my own issues, largely codependence. I was really oblivious to how unhealthy my relationships were. I just lived that way automatically, like breathing air, just doing it without thinking. I am seeing an individual therapist and am also part of a small group. I feel that Iím in a much healthier space already. I know that I still have work to do, though. A lot of it is childhood issues that I need to work through.

I began being romantic with Aurora again in August, both talking romantically and being intimate (all long-distance, use your imagination). Also talking about future plans. We will have to do the LDR thing for about a year and a half. I was planning to relocate at that point anyway. I would like to move to where she is, or at least close. It may be financially hard for me to live in the same town as she does. Depending on circumstances I may move directly in with her and her family but I think it would be much healthier to live separately, but within driving distance, first.

Now, all this while, I got to know my metamour very gradually. Her husband, who Iíll call Drew, is very introverted. He was very supportive through the demise of my previous relationship, but his support was mostly conveyed via Aurora because heís so shy. According to her he has been very happy for her, and happy that she found me. She was looking for a long time. I think she had given up when I sort of fell into her lap.

Drew started to talk with me more in September and as I got to know him, I found myself attracted to him. All three of us had known there was potential for a triad but I wasnít comfortable with the idea when I scarcely knew Drew. And there was never any pressure to go in that direction. Both Aurora and Drew are very big on no pressure, no expectations--whatever happens, happens. Which has been so important for me as I was dealing with the end of my prior relationship.

Drew and I were flirting more and more, and one day in September I initiated skypesex. I didnít really think through that decision, I just was following my libido. Drew and I started a LDR after that. I was a bit anxious about getting involved in a triad because of what Iíve read here. But it felt really good and natural to be with Drew in that way. It just felt right.

Drew and I both wanted to meet each other, and Aurora felt strongly that we should get to know each other without her (or their kids) around. So Drew came out to visit me last month. We had an amazing physical connection, although he holds back emotionally much more than I am used to. When he was here I realized that I rely on Aurora to interpret all the non-verbal signals that heís sending out. But he did open up to me, and I think for someone like him, thatís a big deal.

When it was just Aurora and I, I felt like there was something missing, and felt like I would eventually go looking for someone else to fill that hole. After meeting Drew I feel like he is what was missing. There is this sense of completeness that is hard to explain. It might be as simple as, I need a man in my life, because I am a bit more oriented towards men than women. But what I have with Drew is very special to me. Aurora has been full of compersion for us.
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Old 12-20-2011, 10:51 PM
kirsten kirsten is offline
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Default continued...

That strong connection I had with Aurora became muted by the distance. I think that I had to numb myself to those feelings because it hurt too much to be apart if I didnít. It was an unconscious coping mechanism. At this point I really need to renew that connection. Iím not 100% sure it will still be there because itís grown so faint. We have discussed this and are going to wait and see what happens when we see each other.

Iím going to visit them next month. I havenít met their kids yet but we talk on skype and they like me. I worry about juggling time with each person, when thereís a limited amount of time. The kids are important in there too, I see how they crave more time with me. I anticipate there being some emotional moments if one personís needs arenít getting met, just because I saw that when I was in my previous relationship and dating Aurora. But I feel like the three of us (me, Aurora, Drew) are pretty sensitive to each otherís feelings and needs and able to work through things.

Aurora has never made me feel like I am secondary. She isnít comfortable with the hierarchical system that some poly people seem to use (she has started to learn about the poly community since I introduced her to the term). However, Drew has made me feel secondary. His kids are the most important thing to him, and keeping the family intact is one of his highest priorities in life. Itís happened twice that he thought that his relationship with me was upsetting her, and he was willing to break it off with me in response. It makes me feel like Iím disposable to him, but I donít feel disposable to Aurora.

Aurora and I talk about everything, sometimes things like that, which Drew probably doesnít intend to reach my ears. Sometimes when Aurora shares the things that happen between her and Drew I feel a bit awkward, like I know something that Iím not supposed to. When I wasnít involved with Drew, it was sort of like, best friend venting about husband. Listen, be supportive. Now itís a bit more complicated than that because what goes on with them effects me. Sometimes she shares things that I donít think Drew would be ready to share with me, because weíre not at the same level of intimacy. I havenít asked her to censor herself but I just feel uncomfortable at times.

One thing I realized once I finally met Drew is that a lot of what Aurora will share about him is non-verbal cues that she picks up on. I donít pick up on them very well and I have a hard time reading him. Iím so verbal, and so accustomed to talking about emotions, and he is not. I actually find it harder to talk about that stuff with him, when normally I am fairly open with anyone Iím close with.

All three of us have issues under the surface. Drew seems to bottle up emotions and push them deep down inside. Whereas Aurora and I canít help but have our emotions bubble up and over, whether itís sadness, anger, whatever. I havenít fought with them, I think itís too early for that, but they fight from time to time. They seem to work things out though.

I donít really feel like I can tell my real-life friends about all of this. I told one friend who I consider to be pretty open-minded, and she thinks that it is doomed to fail. She is trying to prepare me for that. She also doesnít really understand poly--she has said more than once, ďultimately, youíll want to be the one special person to someone.Ē I could have done better to explain the poly thing but she really has her mind made up. And is trying to save me from poly.

Itís weird to me to live with my friends not knowing whatís going on in my personal life, but my closest friend is from a country thatís pretty sexually conservative. I think this would be a bit too much culture shock for her. One other friend knows that Iím dating, because she met Drew briefly when he visited. Though I didnít mention that heís married! She is worried for me because I got out of a bad relationship recently. So I feel like you layer poly on top of that and itís just ... too much for people to understand. I did just come out to my codependence group recently though.

I do worry about all of my issues impacting my decisions, my relationships, etc. The distance is forcing us to take things slowly, though and Iím hoping that will help with that. I am still sort of figuring out who I am, in the absence of a partner. I think itís a really good time for me to be living alone and working through my issues.

Plus Iím dealing with a lot outside of my relationships. Real life has been rough lately. But Iíll omit details due to the aforementioned paranoia about my ex recognizing me. We arenít officially poly-fi but I donít have room in my life right now for anything else. Aurora doesnít seem to have any interest in anyone else. Drew likes to play with other women from time to time but his most recent plaything was causing friction with Aurora. She didnít approve of the way he was being treated, and just generally disliked the woman.

Aurora likes to daydream and plan, and she ends up talking about future plans a bit more than Iím comfortable with. Up until recently, I would be like, ďI havenít even met Drew yet! Iím not going to assume he will father my children.Ē (Iím in my late 20s, they are older but would welcome more kids.) It helps that Iíve met him now but I need to spend more time with them both, and meet their kids. I want to take this slow and allow it to develop naturally. Sometimes I feel like sheís pushing things along. Sheís so sure that I am ďthe one,Ē the one that sheís been looking for. I am just being careful, because in my previous relationships, I really havenít been. (All two of them - it tends to take me a *really* long time to realize a relationship has gone bad.) At least Drew is happy to let things evolve naturally, gradually, to let me set the pace. Aurora will say that she is, but inside, she wants to push forward.

I welcome any advice for navigating a triad, comments on my situation, whatever you guys can offer.
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Old 01-09-2012, 09:39 AM
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BlackUnicorn BlackUnicorn is offline
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Thanks for posting!

Initial thoughts: if you are feeling more of a connection with Drew instead of Aurora, you need to be upfront about it. Triads are rife with disappointment and frustration exactly because people expect everyone to love and like each other equally.

I think there's lot of expectations wrapped up in every potential triad, because it's so unlikely to find like-minded individuals who are interested in coming together in that way. So Aurora's gushing is understandable.

Is it that you are feeling more of a friendship connection with Aurora and more of a lover connection with Drew?
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Old 01-09-2012, 10:39 PM
kirsten kirsten is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackUnicorn View Post
Initial thoughts: if you are feeling more of a connection with Drew instead of Aurora, you need to be upfront about it.
This is really good advice. My problem right now is that I haven't seen Aurora in many months and it's a bit hard to assess how I feel about her because of that. We have discussed the possibility that those feelings won't still be there for me, which was a pretty heart-wrenching conversation but it was really good to have. It prepared her for that possibility and prepared me to be open and honest about how I'm feeling.

So right now I feel like I need to spend time with her and figure out what is going on for me. I'm visiting them in less than a week so stay tuned!

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Triads are rife with disappointment and frustration exactly because people expect everyone to love and like each other equally.
I haven't felt that there is that expectation of equality. Aurora has said on multiple occasions that we need to allow each relationship to grow naturally, in its own direction. When Drew and I were just starting our relationship, she was understanding that sometimes I'd need to spend more time talking to him than to her. Drew has always been understanding of our need for girl time. So far, so good.

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Is it that you are feeling more of a friendship connection with Aurora and more of a lover connection with Drew?
At the moment, yes I think that would be fair to say. Aurora and I have awesome emotional intimacy, which I am realizing is really important to me. Drew and I, not so much, although I get glimpses here and there. Drew and I have crazy amounts of lust between us. Which isn't to say Aurora and I have zero, but we definitely have less at the moment.

However, when I was with Aurora in person, I felt this indescribable connection to her. I've never felt that way before. That is the number one reason that I have pursued this for this long, across this much distance. I just have to see where this is going.

The lust level between Aurora and I was definitely higher in person but we were sort of taking it slow. I realized in retrospect that we were moving faster in threesome situations than when it was just the two of us, and I want to avoid that this trip. I feel like we should develop that part of our relationship on our own, separately.

Comparing my feelings for Aurora to my feelings for Drew tends to be like comparing apples to oranges. What I get from each of them is so different. I know Aurora understands that, although I havenít really talked about it with Drew.

Thanks for your comments. And for bothering to read all of that!
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Old 01-09-2012, 11:02 PM
km34 km34 is offline
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Originally Posted by kirsten View Post
However, when I was with Aurora in person, I felt this indescribable connection to her. I've never felt that way before. That is the number one reason that I have pursued this for this long, across this much distance. I just have to see where this is going.
I can totally relate to this statement! I've found that this is how my relationships with women generally are. Yes, there is lust, but it doesn't seem as primal as it is with men. That emotional connection, though, is worth struggling through the stress that the lack of the physical part can lead to.

After reading all of this, I must say it seems the three of you are handling the LDR aspect of your relationships very well. Keeping the communication open is one of the biggest struggles, I think, because you aren't able to take the visual cues from body language and such.
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Old 01-10-2012, 05:25 PM
kirsten kirsten is offline
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I can totally relate to this statement! I've found that this is how my relationships with women generally are. Yes, there is lust, but it doesn't seem as primal as it is with men.
YES that's such a good way to put it, primal. Exactly. It's so awesome that someone else out there has the same experience.

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That emotional connection, though, is worth struggling through the stress that the lack of the physical part can lead to.
I just worry that Aurora will have stronger sexual feelings than I do. She's a bit more towards the lesbian side of the scale, and I'm more towards the hetero side. Then again, I am a chronic worrier. We seem to work through obstacles really well, and if it comes up, we'll deal with it then.

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Originally Posted by km34 View Post
After reading all of this, I must say it seems the three of you are handling the LDR aspect of your relationships very well. Keeping the communication open is one of the biggest struggles, I think, because you aren't able to take the visual cues from body language and such.
Aurora and I have really good communication. I do have a hard time communicating my needs at times but that's something I'm working on. I've basically had a lifetime NOT doing that so it's a totally new experience for me to be with someone who wants me to do that.

Drew is more closed-off, and for some reason I sometimes respond in kind. I'll feel shy about sharing something that I normally would just say. Not really mundane things, but emotional stuff. Since adolescence, I have been an open book, and would pour out emotions onto anyone who seemed interested. In retrospect I think I gradually closed that off to a healthier level of information exchange. But it's odd to suddenly realize that I'm not as open as I thought I was.

Another thing with Drew is that he does a lot of non-verbal communication that I do not pick up on at all. Aurora will sometimes let me know what's going on with him, like "Drew's kinda upset today about ..." and I didn't realize until I met him that 95% of what she's telling me about his emotional state was communicated non-verbally. And apparently I am not very good at picking up on the Drew-waves. Without Aurora as a translator I felt pretty lost as to where he was at emotionally. But I don't want to do the needy girl thing, "What are you thinking?" all the time. I'm pretty sure that just annoys guys!

I was listening to poly weekly #285 and Minx said, "What will empower you as you navigate your way through poly relationships is your ability to communicate. Which is great because you can always control your own ability to communicate." I think my natural inclination was to try to control Drew's communication level (not that I had any idea how to do that). But what I need to do is work on being more open myself.

Aurora tells me that he's more open with me, that I'm so in touch with my emotions that it's transferring to him. She says the way that they interact is changing because both of them are speaking in this emotional language with me, and then bringing it back to their own relationship.

Thanks for listening to me babble. It's great to have an outlet for this stuff, and even better to talk with other poly people about it.
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Old 01-10-2012, 07:10 PM
ThatGirlInGray ThatGirlInGray is offline
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Quote:
But I don't want to do the needy girl thing, "What are you thinking?" all the time. I'm pretty sure that just annoys guys!
This is gonna seem flippant, but I mean it seriously- So what if it annoys guys??

Monochrome doesn't always communicate well because he's so introverted. TGIB doesn't always communicate well because of his relationship history. I don't always communicate well because I take too long to get to the point/get distracted by other topics. One reason I think we work as well as we do, though, is because I TALK. About EVERYTHING. Do I sometimes come across as needy? Probably. But if the alternative is having something in my relationships blow up because of a lack of communication, I accept seeming needy occasionally as a small price to pay. And sometimes I even AM needy, and that's not necessarily a bad thing either, as long as I'm really listening to their responses and not just whining for attention.

How you talk matters, of course. Asking him what he's thinking because you really want to know is key. Being truly interested in what someone has to say is rarely going to come off as annoying. And especially in a new relationship, that's how you LEARN about the other person/people! Some of us are FANTASTIC at reading people. Awesome. Some of us (like me!) are not- we need the specific information because if we try to read between the lines we will get it WRONG, and that's no good for anyone.

I don't believe communicating well is a natural ability for most people- I think it's a skill you learn and that takes time. When everyone's open to the idea of working on how they communicate, it gets a lot easier, in my experience. It's when people are closed off because "this is how I am" that things are really difficult.
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Old 01-10-2012, 11:51 PM
km34 km34 is offline
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Not only can I relate to the relationship with Aurora, I get the chronic worrying thing too. Keith gets after me about it ALL THE TIME. So, his advice to me will be the same advice I give to you... Sometimes you have to be selfish! Yes, asking what Drew is thinking may get on his nerves, but if you explain why you are doing it he will hopefully realize that he needs to meet you halfway (or a quarter of the way or as far as he can that shows he is making an effort too) with the communication struggle.

As for the worry about Aurora... My main question would be whether you are lacking the attraction or just the lust. If it's the attraction, there could be an issue that you two will need to work out. If it's the lust (the thing that inspires you to initiate), there really shouldn't be since you would enjoy the sexual experiences once they get going even if you aren't driven to start anything.
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Old 01-13-2012, 05:29 PM
kirsten kirsten is offline
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I'm getting ready for my flight but wanted to respond to comments before I left. I expect I'll be neglecting my email while I'm there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ThatGirlInGray View Post
This is gonna seem flippant, but I mean it seriously- So what if it annoys guys??
...
But if the alternative is having something in my relationships blow up because of a lack of communication, I accept seeming needy occasionally as a small price to pay.
This is a really good point. Thanks!

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Originally Posted by ThatGirlInGray View Post
How you talk matters, of course. Asking him what he's thinking because you really want to know is key. Being truly interested in what someone has to say is rarely going to come off as annoying. And especially in a new relationship, that's how you LEARN about the other person/people!
Another really good point. I have just had a gut feeling that I need to not push him to open up too much, too soon. That it's something that will happen gradually, that he's guarded for a reason. The LDR thing is hard, and we haven't had a lot of in-person time yet.

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Originally Posted by ThatGirlInGray View Post
I don't believe communicating well is a natural ability for most people- I think it's a skill you learn and that takes time. When everyone's open to the idea of working on how they communicate, it gets a lot easier, in my experience. It's when people are closed off because "this is how I am" that things are really difficult.
Yet another good point, thank you. I should talk to Drew directly about this, to get an idea if he is in that ďthis is how I amĒ category or not.

Itís weird to me, that I have a hard time just being direct with him about some of these things. Hmm...
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Old 01-13-2012, 05:33 PM
kirsten kirsten is offline
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Not only can I relate to the relationship with Aurora, I get the chronic worrying thing too. Keith gets after me about it ALL THE TIME. So, his advice to me will be the same advice I give to you... Sometimes you have to be selfish! Yes, asking what Drew is thinking may get on his nerves, but if you explain why you are doing it he will hopefully realize that he needs to meet you halfway (or a quarter of the way or as far as he can that shows he is making an effort too) with the communication struggle.
Yeah I am realizing as I embark on these relationships that I am more neurotic than I thought. I am trying to work through my worries by writing in a journal. It seems to help put things in perspective, and at least filter out the really unnecessary worries.

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As for the worry about Aurora... My main question would be whether you are lacking the attraction or just the lust. If it's the attraction, there could be an issue that you two will need to work out. If it's the lust (the thing that inspires you to initiate), there really shouldn't be since you would enjoy the sexual experiences once they get going even if you aren't driven to start anything.
It is SO hard to say right now, which it is. I'm not sure if it's even either of those things. I'm going off of these fairly faded memories at this point. I need spend some quality face-to-face time with her to even have insight into that.

And fortunately I will get to very soon! I can't wait to see them both.
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