hi, me and my partner have been together almost a year. they starting dating another guy last year, and recently we became a triad. but now i’m starting to notice lots of red flags in the way the new guy acts. it took me months and heartbreak to realize it wasn’t just my jealousy clouding my vision: New Guy has possessive and manipulative tendencies. what if they get worse? how do i warn my original partner? what do i do?

In my experience, trying to ‘diagnose’ someone’s personality or say that they have something inherent about them that you can see is nearly guaranteed to invite defensiveness. Who are you to say that “so and so is manipulative”? 

My advice is to focus instead on specific actions and behaviors that made you uncomfortable. “Hey, Gregorella, when I told you that I needed some alone time and you kept knocking on my door to ask if I wanted to share your popcorn or play a board game, that really bothered me - I need to trust that you will hear and believe me when I tell you what I need.” Or, “Hey, Boberta, when Gregorella yelled at you for forgetting to water the plants even though he never texted you the reminder you asked for, that really bothered me, because he was making you the villain and him the victim without taking any responsibility. Have you noticed that too?”

If New Guy and/or your partner agree that the behavior you point out was problematic, then you can strategize together on how to heal and move forward with fewer issues. If they deny the pattern that you’re seeing, then you need to decide whether staying in this triad situation is right for you.