My Threesome Didn’t Work Out Like I’d Hoped

Eli and Josie bring in a third to talk about jealousy, sharing, and other issues that happen when you bring in a third.

Originally appeared at She Said He Said

Dear Sexes: I always told my husband that my ideal future would be to have a husband and a wife – a threesome relationship. Long story short, we met a girl, one thing lead to another, and it happened. It’s been a month now, and I don’t feel right. I thought to find a new friend, but it seems that he found a new friend. They’ve connected in a way that me and her didn’t, and now I am jealous. He promises that he respects me, and that nothing happens when I’m not around. She calls him and not me. What should I do?

She Said: While my gut tells me that a situation like this is nearly impossible to make work, I don’t want to discount the success other families have had in incorporating others into the bedroom, and maybe even into their day-to-day lives. I wish I knew more on the subject! But since I don’t, I’ve decided to do a She Said He Said first and reach out to a friend and colleague of ours who knows a lot about non-monogamous lifestyles and love. Hopefully she can add some really helpful insight!

Julie Said:  I have a lot of questions for you! How much research and reading did you and your husband do prior to engaging in this new relationship? How many detailed conversations did the two of you have when you were discussing ideal relationships? Was there processing work done prior to meeting this third person? When you met her, were there lengthy conversations with her about her needs and desires in being part of a poly triad? Was she experienced with poly relationships or was this her first experience with something so complex?

It’s hard to answer your question without the answers to this question, but I’m going to make an assumption that this was an idealistic dream and there wasn’t much prep work going into it, and that the third person really knew what she was getting into. As someone who is focused on human sexuality and promotes healthy open communication around sexuality and relationships, polyamory is of great interest to me.

While it’s not a form for everyone, and is hard work to learn how to do well, polyamory can be an immensely rewarding form of relationship. This is simply my opinion from knowing successful poly couples, it is not something that can be done well, without a lot of preparation. Even then, people are complex creatures and moving from the complexity of two contact bonds (him and you) to the multi-layered complexity of what, four bonds (you and him, him and her, you and her and the three of you together) …well that’s a lot of relationships to manage. And frankly, it’s very hard to find a third person that connects equally with both parties all the time and forever. Just think about how friendships work!

First things first: The two of you (you and your husband) need to sit down and have a brutally honest conversation about what you want out of polyamory and out of your own long term marriage. You need to both be very clear about your desires. If he has a sexual interest in her, I hope he is honest with you about it. If you have a threesome relationship, define that. Ask lots of questions:

  • Only sex and emotional connection between the three of you?
  • Can you and your husband be intimate without her?
  • Can you and she be intimate without him?
  • Can he and her? How will you handle time, home sharing, responsibilities, financials? You need to talk about what jealousy means in the context of your relationship and for you.
  • Is the jealousy sexual? Is it that you are not getting what you wanted out of the situation?
  • Are you resentful that he is?
  • What would happen if the tables were reversed and he was jealous?
  • How out will you be in a country that is not entirely friendly to alternative arrangements?
  • If you have or want children, how much will you share with them and at what point?

Once you discuss all this, then you need to have a conversation with her about what it is she wants. If she wants sex/intimacy with him and not you, you all will need to determine if you are willing to move forward with that. While you are doing all of that work, I’d suggest finding a poly friendly counselor in your area and doing some counseling work on what integrating a third person into your relationship will mean for you, him and her. I’d also google poly groups in your area—these are casual fun groups of people who all identify as poly and can give guidance and support.

Finally, get some books and start reading: The Ethical Slut (Dossie Easton and Catherine Lizst), Opening Up (Tristan Taormino), www.xeromag.com/fvpoly.htmlwww.polyamoryonline.comwww.polyamory.com and listening to podcasts like PolyWeekly.com. Realize that finding one partner is hard, finding another one (someone poly interested, mature, willing to share, etc) is harder. It isn’t all fun and games and a third person is not a romantic toy. I cannot emphasize that enough. The third person is a human being with desires and needs of their own and deserve equal rights in the relationship to feel the love they feel for whoever it is they feel it for.

Just like traditional marriage, a long term poly triad will take open communication, a willingness to feel and work through difficult emotions, an ability to self regulate emotions, time management, and a realization that all members of the triad are free individuals who may have varying feelings about the state of the relationship at given points.  Because it’s more complex due to more people, it may take even more of the qualities listed above to do in a way that is mutually respectful of all parties.

He Said:The grass is always greener in a threesome’s pants. But no pants and no grass are perfect. So… your ideal future involves a threesome relationship? There’s nothing wrong with that, (or threesomes in general), but you’re only a month into this threesome and there’s already a bevy of issues to resolve.

I recommended finding a new partner for you and your husband. One who you both connect with (a bit more evenly). Your husband should be concerned with your happiness so, whatever it takes…

The next thing you need to do is to communicate. I mean, really communicate! If a good, monogamous relationship requires a ton of open and honest communication, a threesome requires even more of this type of discussion. Everyone involved needs to discuss their concerns, worries, dreams, and visions for what this love triangle is supposed to look like.

And remember, three is an odd number. Things will either be unanimous or uneven, with a greater chance of things being uneven. If you can make it work, all the power to you. Enjoy the bounty! If not, you might want to rethink your ideas about threesomes being your ideal future.

Got a question for Eli and Josie? Ask it here!

 Photo—Christine Rondeau/Flickr

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About She Said He Said

Eli and Josie, friends since college, realized how lucky they were to have one another—an honest friend of the opposite sex who tells it like it is. They wanted to share that with the world and so www.shesaidhesaid.me was born.

Comments

  1. Eric M. says:

    Some people are, others aren’t. Apparently, she’s not. If you’re not poly it won’t work no matter what you do.

  2. Julie makes it sound freaking exhausting! Having ONE partner is almost too much for me. There is a lot to be said for just being single. :-)

  3. The gigantic warning flag to me in this is the “he promises nothing happens when I’m not around.” Did you want a relationship where you called the third in for a good time in bed? Or a true poly relationship? Not all sexual and emotional bonding will occur with your strictly watching it in a poly relationship. They will have private moments that just they share. If that’s not something you are comfortable with then you probably need to go back to the drawing board on what you really want in your relationship.

    You just wanted a friend? Someone only you got to talk and hang out with that occasionally hooked up with you and/or your husband? Did you make it clear to the other woman that she was just going to be a friend? Or did she come in thinking this was going to be a romantic relationship like a poly relationship would be? Maybe she just feels more connected to your husband than you. Have you all three sat down and talked about what everyone’s expectations are?

    I’ve done open relationships in my past and that alone is hard. Never mind trying to balance all the emotional connections in a poly relationship. If I had my ideal in a marriage it would probably look more like swinging than anything now. But I agree you need to start having some conversations and start getting honest with your self about what you truly actually want before she gets any deeper into her relationship with your husband or your husband any deeper with her.

    • I pretty much agree with everything Kat said. I only have the barest of experiences with poly/open/swing relationships, but it always seemed like you had to take the amount of communication neccessary in any good relationship (which is already a lot) and square it when you add another person.

      And, while I hope everything works out for you, there’s no “reset” button here. Both your husband and this other woman are real people whom you don’t have any real control over. You very well may have opened Pandora’s Box. While there’s no going back, I hope you can find a way to move forward that is satisfactory (though, maybe not ideal) for all three of you.

  4. I know what you must be going through and my heart goes out to you. A poly relationship without love between all partners is going to be rough on the emotions.

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