I just got engaged to two partners, who are also lifelong best friends, and we have lots of questions

I have been dear friends and cohabitants with two ladies for a few years now. We are all straight. They have been BFFs since childhood are are basically inseparable. I love them both dearly, and we are of an age where we want to have families soon. After some discussions, I recently formally proposed to both, and they accepted. We now have questions about the best way forward. 1) How public should we be? 2) Should I legally marry one? 3) We WANT to share one big bed, will it get awkward? 4) Both want to have children and would love to share the experience should both try at the same time? 5) Should we remove love making to separate bedroom? 6) We have discussed not doing so, and making love all 3 together, I am worried I won't be up to the task. We want it to be pure and beautiful not some playboy fantasy Good or Bad idea? 7) Should both or neither take my surname? 8) Should all children take a family name?

Most of the answers to these questions are going to be intensely personal, and not something that an internet writer who doesn’t know you three can prescribe for you. I strongly recommend that you three talk deeply and honestly about these questions. For some people, talking in person is a lot harder, so sending emails back and forth to go through these questions might be a great strategy. All I can do is answer your questions with more questions, things I encourage you to consider, and jumping off points for more conversation.

1.) How public should we be? That is going to depend on your lives and the risks involved. Do you live in a conservative area? Do any of you have professional lives that might be threatened by being public with this? Do any of you anticipate conflict with your families, and how will you navigate and support each other through that? What do you mean by ‘public’ - coming out to friends and family, or giving interviews to local news? If you decide to stay “private,” how will you negotiate that? What kind of ‘cover stories’ are you comfortable with? Who is, and isn’t, safe to tell? How will you manage it if some of you want to be more “out” and some of you want to stay more “private?”

2) Should I legally marry one? What does legal marriage mean to you? Are there financial, legal, insurance, citizenship, or other considerations? Does one of you need health insurance or other protections? Do you live in a state where marrying one person and “living as if married” with another puts you at risk of running afoul of bigamy laws? How would you make the choice about who to legally marry? How would you demonstrate commitment to the other person? Do you want to have a wedding ceremony? How will that interact with the legal marriage? Consider talking to a family law attorney about some of these questions as well.

3) We WANT to share one big bed, will it get awkward? I have literally no idea whether a hypothetical situation between three people I’ve never met will get awkward. You three should talk it out. Who sleeps hot, who sleeps cold? Do any of you have sleep issues? Light sleeper, heavy sleeper? If one person feels like masturbating, how do y’all feel about that in a shared bed? Use of phones in bed? Lights or music in the bedroom? Sleep schedules? Restless sleeper? If you decided not to share a big bed, what would the alternatives be? What are your realistic financial abilities to get a living space and bed that accommodates your needs? Consider some trial nights in hotels with king-sized beds.

4) Both want to have children and would love to share the experience should both try at the same time? Pregnancy is a very fickle thing, and if both women are trying at the same time, one may conceive and the other may not, or one may miscarry and the other may not. Would that cause resentment or conflict? Putting pressure on yourself to conceive at the same time as your best friend and metamour can make things a lot more complicated. But, being pregnant at the same time sounds pretty awesome! Consider whether you think it would be easier to raise two kids of roughly the same age - on the one hand, you can ‘get it all over with at once’ in terms of baby stuff; on the other hand, babies are hard! If they conceive 6 months apart, you could have a newborn and a teether at the same time, which sounds really challenging even with three parents. Think carefully about this, talk to friends of yours who have had babies, or a therapist who specializes in conception and family planning (Planned Parenthood may have some resources for you).

5) Should we remove love making to separate bedroom? Do you think that would help things be more healthy and fulfilling, or does it just feel like something you should do? What associations do you have with “the love making bedroom”? What needs would this meet? Do you have the financial resources to get a place with a bedroom that’s just for sex? Would the people who just had sex in there sleep in that bedroom? What would the other person do? How would all of you feel about that? Do you three have certain sexual preferences or interests that would make a separate room especially useful?

6) We have discussed not doing so, and making love all 3 together, I am worried I won't be up to the task. We want it to be pure and beautiful not some playboy fantasy Good or Bad idea? One of the worst things you can do for your sex life is to come to it with some preconceived prescription about what it should look like. I don’t know what, to you three, “pure and beautiful” sex looks like. But that sounds like an idealized fantasy and it’s too vague to give you any guidance. You should define that for yourselves - what does “pure and beautiful” really mean? What kinds of feelings do you want to have? What kinds of language and sex acts do you prefer? Do you want to avoid? What is it about the “playboy fantasy” that you are worried about?

7) Should both or neither take my surname? Do they want to? Do you want that? What would that symbolize to the three of you? How would the three of you feel about developing a new surname together? How would that interact with your desires to stay private or go public? Do any of you have personal or professional situations that would make a name change an especially good or bad idea?

8) Should all children take a family name? That’s something to consider a bit later, once pregnancies are happening. Some people think it’s important for all kids in a family to have the same name; other people don’t. You should talk to a family lawyer about custody and guardianship with three parents; having a shared name might help with logistical things and demonstrate that you are all one family with equal parenthood. You should also consider talking to a family therapist who specializes in blended or unique families about how to cultivate a strong sense of identity and security for the children.

I want to date a friend of mine who is polyam, but am afraid of bringing it up with her

I am very close friends with a poly triad and I want to pursue one of them (though I would happily be with all of them). Is it better to check in with her other partners who I also love and want to make sure they would be comfortable with me pursuing her before I talk to her about it? Or should I talk to her first, or just talk to them as a group? My main fear is ruining our friendship or making them feel weird. The power dynamic scares me b/c their friendship is really important to me.

You should always talk directly to the person who you’re having feelings about, whether it’s attraction, conflict, confusion, boundary issues, whatever. Asking other people sends the message that you think she needs their ‘permission,’ which isn’t a healthy framing of any relationship, and it risks causing extra drama because of all the cross-communication and triangulation. Talk to her! She has the best perspective on what she wants, how her current relationships are framed, etc.

Only you can decide whether it’s worth bringing it up. A lot of people think that expressing romantic feelings might “ruin a friendship,” but if she’s mature and a good friend, she’ll be able to say “thanks for having the courage to bring that up, but I don’t want to be anything more than friends,” and you two can move on as friends. I think the fear of “friendship ruining” by expressing feelings is generally overblown, and a friendship that would be “ruined” by that is probably not on solid ground to begin with. The fact is that you do want something to change about your relationship with her, and the only way to have any chance at getting what you want is to try.

You have just as much agency and control in this situation as she does. You can choose when, how, and whether to express yourself. And you can choose how to respond to whatever she says. I know that this friendship is important to you, but framing it as “she has all the power to give, or withhold, what I want” is dangerous and inaccurate. You two are friends - she cares for you, she sees you as an equal - so trust her, and trust yourself, to be able to talk through this without fearing that she will attempt to manipulate you based on how much you value her friendship. If you think this fear is founded; if she has a history of holding her friendship over people’s heads to control them, then this isn’t a healthy friendship in the first place.

One of my triad partners is keeping her feelings from our third partner - and we're all planning to move in together

I’m in a closed MFF triad. My partners raise 2 children together; I have none. Together we have been looking into getting our own place currently we stay with family. Our partner decided well realized she doesn’t want to be in a closed triad, feels trapped and wants to be able to date other men which we both know our boyfriend wouldn’t support. She’s suggested it and he’s turned it down. She’s also decided she doesn’t want to tell him until after we move. He knows none of it she told her best friend and I. Not sure what to do? I don’t want to betray her by telling him but can’t make her. So I have no clue what to do being “in the middle.”

You’re not “in the middle,” because this is immediately affecting you and whether you will have a stable living situation in the future. Moving is incredibly stressful, and having to end leases, find roommates, split belongings, etc. is messy and difficult. You have a right to act to protect yourself from future problems with your housing.

You can let her know that you think this needs to be discussed before the move, for the sake of everyone involved. Tell her that you’re worried about what will happen if this comes up after everyone moves in together and you don’t feel okay making that move knowing that this shoe is set to drop. You can let her know that you’ll need to tell your partner why you’re backing out of the move until this is resolved, and she can choose whether to tell him first herself, or let the chips fall where they may.

This is not about you betraying her; this is about you protecting your future self from horrible housing drama, which is, in my opinion, one of the worst kinds of drama. If this wasn’t directly affecting you, my advice would be different; but since she plans to keep this to herself until after everyone moves in together, you are well within your rights to put the brakes on that move until this gets worked out.

I'm part of a triad, but people only ever invite 2/3 of us to their weddings

This summer our girlfriend moved in with us. We were last minute invited to the wedding of a girl my husband and I have known for 20 years, and when I enquired about a third seat I was told no. My husband still attended while I refused to. But I eventually just put it down to the fact that she didn't have a lot of time to prepare, we were last minute additions as it was, even "she doesn't get it." I'm not usually bothered by people not understanding because almost everyone I know DOES. So my cousin got engaged and I reached out to him once we learned the wedding is across the country, eight months from now. I explained the situation and was floored when I got the response that they "weren't giving +1's", because she is not inherently less important than my husband. I held back a dozen sarcastic, petty responses - I won't clog up the ask with those - and I think I'll pin our refusal on financial reasons, but I still wish I had better coping skills for this, I guess.

I’m confused - if your cousin isn’t giving +1s, does that mean your husband isn’t invited either? Or that your husband and you were explicitly invited, and neither of you gets a +1, and the assumption is that even single people were asked not to bring anyone not explicitly invited?

The thing about weddings is that they tend to make people go bonkerspants. You don’t know if your cousin’s wife has an Aunt Margarine who will lose her mind if she sees a hint of anything Untraditional, and that they’re worn down and currently unable to pick that fight with her. You don’t know if their budget is super strained to the point that they really just can’t afford any guests besides the people they specifically invited.

I personally wouldn’t pick this fight, or take this too personally. People’s choices around their weddings are usually about them, and the whirlwind of family drama and expectations and nonsense that they’re caught up in, and very rarely a statement on anyone else’s lives. Polyamory is not very well understood by the general populace, and people who are emotionally and financially stretched thin don’t have the ability to parse through the deeply held identities and feelings behind every guest’s extra request.

Your cousin is very likely not intending to say that your girlfriend is “less important” than your husband - he’s trying to set personal and financial boundaries around his own wedding, and in such an emotionally charged situation, it’s easiest to hold to common, if arbitrary, standards around +1s and invitations. I understand that it’s really hurtful to get that message, but not all “messages received” are “messages sent,” so try to give your cousin the benefit of the doubt. It’s okay to decline the invitation, but it’s also okay to talk to your girlfriend about whether she’d be OK having a weekend to herself while you and your husband go catch up with family.

I'm in a triad and no longer want to date one of the people, but want to stay with the other one

I'm in a triad with a male Dom and female Dom, with me being the sub. They were a couple first. I tend to value independence in my Dominants, but the male Dom is almost 30 and still expects his mom to do his laundry, drive him, shopping, provide housing, cook, etc. There's no disability related reason preventing him from caring for himself, he simply chose to prioritize other things over his independence. He's finally moving out (not by choice) and ranted at both of us about how his mom packed for him as well as other things she "did wrong". This ranting is a pattern and usually sounds entitled and misogynistic.

Both of us got sick of it and separately told him he should stop expecting her to do things. He withheld emotional love from the other female and twisted what I said; as well as denied saying things I have proof in text he said previously. Honestly, after all this, I lost the spark I had for him completely; I don't find him attractive and worry he's being emotionally abusive in private to the other woman. I still care about the woman and am completely lost what to do. Address my concerns he's emotionally abusive with her privately? Break up with both of them? Propose staying with her and cutting him out? 

It sounds like you should end this relationship with him, period. You don't want to, and should not, continue dating him. It's up to your other partner whether she wants to continue dating you outside of the triad. You can ask her how she feels about that, and see what her concerns and hopes are.

You should not try and convince or cajole her into breaking up with him. Never give an ultimatum like "break up with him, or I'll break up with you." You can explain your concerns, give examples of his behavior that you find troubling, and be clear about why you no longer want to be in a relationship that includes him. She can then make her own choices. 

Obviously, the triad is over, but if you continue dating her, you'll need to be clear with her and with yourself about how comfortable you are with having him as a metamour (partner-of-partner) and how involved you're willing to be in any sex, conversations, hangouts, etc. where he's around. You may also need to draw clear boundaries around discussing him with her, especially in terms of his rants, drama, and manipulative behavior. 

It may simply not be possible to make a new relationship work with her, and that's frustrating and disappointing, but it happens. It is absolutely not worth continuing to put up with this guy just to stay with this woman, especially if staying with her means you continue to be emotionally or sexually wrapped up in his nonsense.

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My partner and I started seeing someone else, and they're worried they'll break us up

My partner and i just added a third. Our third is afraid of splitting my partner and I up. Is there anyway we can prove to our third that we both want it to be the three of us for the long haul?

Short answer, no: there is very little you can do to change how someone else thinks or feels, and there is nothing you can do in the present to provide 'proof' of something in the future.

However, you can try and talk things out and help everyone understand where everyone else is coming from. Ask your new partner: where are these feelings coming from? Is there something we're saying or doing that's sparking this anxiety? What could we do to help you feel more secure?

You can be reassuring, and let them know that you're both happy with the way things are now, and that you will let them know if concerns come up or something starts to change. Stick to your word on that - be open, honest, and vulnerable. People often find it easier to trust you after you've demonstrated that you're willing to say awkward, uncomfortable truths and share difficult feelings, even if it's a smaller-stakes issue.

Let them know that this isn't their problem to worry about, that you two are committed to making the triad work, and that if something comes up in the future, you'll handle it then. Talk about what you like about this new triad and your best-case-scenarios for the future.

Sometimes, things like this fade with time. Newness and change are scary, and our brains sometimes funnel that nebulous anxiety into specific fears, whether or not they're grounded. Stay in the present, knowing that the three of you can cross future bridges when you come to them, trusting your future selves to handle what comes up, and doing your best not to 'borrow trouble' if things are working out right now.

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I'm dating two people, but I also want them to date each other

My husband and I are poly. We've been together since HS and we talked about it a lot before deciding to try and meet people. Well, I met this wonderful girl and I have been dating her for a while. My husband likes her as a friend, and she likes him as a friends as well. However, I'd really like our relationship to include all of us, like we're all in a relationship with each other. Do you have any advice or tips on how to bring it up with the both of them without it coming off weird?

You can't 'want' two people into a relationship. It's fine for you to have a best-case scenario, a daydream, a fantasy, a wish - but two people will either have feelings for each other, or they won't. Just because it's ideal for you doesn't mean it can happen, will happen, or is the best for everyone else.

It's fine to bring it up as a hypothetical, saying something like "Hey Jeremeth, you seem to get along well with Clotilda - would you ever be interested in dating her too?" And then again with Clotilda. Bring it up when you two are alone, so no one feels pressured or awkward.

If they don't seem interested, it's best to drop it. Your desires don't really factor in here - they're two individual people who can want what they want. Don't make it sound like a suggestion or a request. It's not their obligation to try and conjure feelings for another person just because that would make you happiest.

Think through why you want this and whether you can meet those needs and desires another way. Recognize and honor the intimacy they already have as friends, and ask yourself what's missing from that that you're wanting. If it's physical intimacy, consider finding someone interested in a threesome. If it's deeper, more investment in the relationship, continue including her, doing things together the three of you - but recognize that you may not be able to get everything you want from this person and this relationship, if it turns out that they're both not interested in this arrangement.

I don't know how to identify "love" outside of monogamy

Hey! I'm newly in a triad with a couple that's been together for almost 5 years. I don't really know how to tell if I'm in love or just really like them. All the previous definitions of love I've had were very monogamous and idk how to draw the line between just really liking them and being in love.

This is a tough spot to be in - we are taught through media and socialization and all sorts of other sources that you "know" you're "in love" when you "only want to be with them" or "see yourself with just them for the rest of your life." So it's very fair to feel adrift and confused when you're in a romantic situation that you don't have a lot of models or blueprints for.

My advice would be to let go of this question. There is an entire dynamic, complex, highly individualized realm of human emotion that can't really be distilled down into a binary of "in love" vs. "just really like." You feel what you feel right now - find words for it that fit, without worrying about whether a specific word tied to a limited construct fits perfectly.

Do you feel committed? How committed? What kind of sacrifices and compromises do you feel willing to make? Not willing to make? What kinds of songs, images, and symbols capture your relationship well? What do you like to do together? What makes you feel happy, grateful, or fulfilled in this relationship? What positive things about yourself do your partners draw out?

Find ways to describe and understand your relationship that are unique and specific - because your relationship is unique and specific. Everyone's is, whether they're poly or mono. What I feel as "love" for my partner might not be what someone else identifies as "love." What I experience in a healthy relationship is different than what someone else needs. Don't worry about whether what you feel meets the "true" or "real" or "correct" definition of one word.

Would the stress of unicorn hunting be alleviated by having both members of the couple date the person separately?

Hey I've been doing some research (I'm new and still questioning) and I had an idea that I think would be more sensible than trying to add a third person straight into a couple and would like your opinion (please). My idea would be to have one person of the couple date the potential third person for a while and then the third person could start dating the other member of the original couple too before the triad is formed. I thought this might help reduce the stress on all involved but idk.

This kind of arrangement doesn’t really work, because it puts all sorts of prescriptions, demands, and expectations on the “third person” to date the other partner if they like one partner.

Think about how hard it is to find someone you ‘click’ with - someone you enjoy dating and want to be in a relationship with. Now imagine that you’re dating someone, and they go “also, as part of a PACKAGE DEAL, when you date me, you also date this other person! Who you didn’t get to choose, they’re just also here!”

It puts a lot of pressure on the “third” to like this other person. Even if you say you want to “take things slow” or “let things be organic,” there’s a major expectation there that “once you’re ready, you’ll start dating this person too!” What if they’re never ready? Most people I meet are not people I end up wanting to date. Simply being a partner of one of my partners doesn’t automatically make someone a perfectly eligible candidate for me. 

Almost no one likes being told who to date; there’s a reason arranged marriage is no longer in vogue for the most part. So this isn’t a very realistic plan, I’m afraid, since it requires someone essentially assigning a partner to someone else.

Ultimately, relationships are healthiest when they form organically, not out plans, arrangements, timelines, or prescriptions. If three people want to all date each other, let that happen. If it’s ultimately healthier and more sensible for a V-shape to form, well, it might be better to make that work than to try and force human relationships into an arrangement they’re not well suited for.

Check out this post, where I addressed a similar situation. Person A asking Person B and Person C to date is almost never sustainable or sensible.

I'm sort-of dating a couple and don't know where I stand

I recently became friends with benefits to a friend who has an ace partner that rarely experiences/wants that. Both of them agreed to it, but the ace partner has been more into that sort of thing lately and I’m no longer sure whether I fit in the dynamic. Recently I’ve now kissed both of them, and the ace one has made some comments about threesomes I’m unsure if are serious. As the third party I’m not sure if I should press a discussion about the dynamic shifts?

Yes, you as a third person absolutely have the right to “press a discussion.” 

Hey, quick aside to everyone but the letter-writer: We all, collectively, as a polyamorous community, need to do a much better job to squash this weird cultural notion that’s out there about “thirds” having less agency, less security, and less of a right to assert their needs. Let’s just end that. Okay? 

Back to you, letter-writer: of course you can bring this up. They already kissed you. You have every right to talk about that. To know where you stand. To get some clarity on the shifting-but-unspoken terms of the relationship. 

Say something like “Hey, can we talk about something? We’ve kissed a few times, and I just want to know where we stand on that and how you’re feeling about things.” or “Can I ask you about something? You’ve made some comments about threesomes, but I’m not sure if you’re serious. Here’s how I’d feel about a threesome - what page are you on?”

If they act like you are somehow out of line asking for clarity on this, to know what you can expect and what is expected of you - then they’re not healthy to be in this arrangement with. But give them the chance, first, to have this discussion in an open and intentional way!

Now again to everyone, though I’m mostly speaking to my past self here: if you feel, in a relationship situation, like you have to just sort of go along with your partner; if you feel like something fragile will get unbalanced if you set any boundary, ask for something, make the unspoken spoken - that’s such an insecure place to be, and it’s awful, and don’t let yourself linger there. There’s a big difference between someone who is mature and independent and someone who just never ever causes a fuss. Be more willing ask for things! Any relationship that’s threatened by you articulating your needs and asking for clarity from them is not worth preserving with all the emotional labor you’re doing on their behalf.

Also,never ever keep someone in this emotional zone. Especially couples who date thirds, and men who date women, but also, everyone: take heed.  

Am I polyamorous if I only want a triad?

Hi, I just recently discovered I’m into the concept of polyamory but for some reason only the concept of a triad really appeals to me. Does this mean I’m not really poly or is this just a preference like how I’m bisexual but tend to gravitate more toward men?

Triads and polyfidelity are a type of polyamory. So wanting a triad is a way of being polyamorous. You’re exactly right in that it is just a preference of a polyamorous person. Relax! You are polyamorous!

Your identity should never be a topic of debate, and if someone tells you that you’re “not really poly” because you only want a polyamorous triad, bounce their invalidating, gatekeeper ass right out of your life. 

I’m poly and gray asexual, but I’m in a monogamous relationship. The only person I can see myself having sex with is my boyfriend. Anyone else I don’t want that. If we agreed to bring someone in, could it only be for romantic purposes and not sexual?

You’re asking the wrong person here - I can’t be the one who gives the go-ahead for the relationship arrangement you want. That’s up to your boyfriend and anyone else you date.

Think through, really clearly, what you want and what you mean by “bring someone in” and “only for romantic purposes.” First off, be careful with language that accidentally frames things in a possessive or objectifying way - people are not toys you “bring in” to your relationship; you have a relationship with people, it’s two-sided and dynamic. And people are not “for…purposes” - polyamory is not permission to see or treat other people like need-meeting machines.

My advice for you is to sit down and really, clearly, honestly, clarify what you want.

Does that mean you want to date other people, but not have sex with them? That seems entirely possible, especially if you find another ace or gray-ace person.

Does that mean you want to add a third to your relationship and date someone as a couple? In that case, would this person have the option of sex with your boyfriend? Would you expect it to be a closed relationship between the two of you, or would you be okay with this third person having other romantic and/or sexual partners?

Keep in mind that the proposition “I want you to date me and my boyfriend, but not have sex with either of us, even though we’re having sex with each other” is a hard sell, and if you add, “and also, we don’t want you to date or have sex with anyone else,” it’s even worse. You may need to decide what you’re willing to compromise or sacrifice to get most of what you want, if all of what you want means making setting unreasonable terms.

You also need to work out a definition of what a “romantic” relationship means to you, as distinguished from a sexual one. How much physical affection does that include? How does it differ from a close friendship? What kind of commitment does it include? What labels would you prefer to use for each other?

We live in a vast world, one where just about anything is possible, and people have all sorts of different needs and desires when it comes to sex, romance, monogamy, and relationships. It’s entirely possible that you can find what you’re looking for. You just need to know what it is that you’re looking for, and have a relational arrangement that is healthy for everyone, including this hypothetical third person.

What do I do when me and a partner break up but my main partner still wants to date them?

That really depends on the specifics of the situation. If all three of you were in a triad, where there’s a single central relationship that bonds you three, then it sounds like that bond has been broken.

But, if you’re in a situation where the dating relationships look like: Adam&Ben, Adam&Carl, and Ben&Carl, then if Adam&Ben break up, then Adam&Carl and Ben&Carl can still continue to date. If Adam & Carl & Ben frequently hang out as a unit of three, that dynamic will necessarily change after a breakup, but the pair relationships don’t need to be all mutually reliant.

Of course, that assumes that the breakup between Adam&Ben was mutual and gentle. If there is drama such that Carl is put off by Adam’s behavior during the breakup, Carl and Adam’s relationship will be affected. 

It really depends on your situation. If you and someone broke up, but your other partner still wants to date that person, that might be totally sustainable with some time to cool down and some re-drawn boundaries. If you feel really uncomfortable with it, let your partner know, and talk to them about how to proceed.

On the one hand, it can feel unfair if someone’s relationship is impacted by an interpersonal situation between two other people that they have no part of or control over. On the other hand, some arrangements are just unsustainable, and if your partner decides that they no longer want to date your ex because they are your ex, that’s your partner’s prerogative. 

Two of my friends have been dating for a little while. I spend a lot of time with them and I know a lot about their relationship, to the point that we often joke about the three of us dating. How could I encourage/introduce this idea without being too bold about it?

Why are you worried about being “too bold”? Is there a specific concern you have, a reaction you definitely don’t want? In my experience, it’s nearly impossible to have a conversation like this without being bold.

You gotta just bring it up with honesty and openness. “Hey, you know how we joke sometimes about the three of us dating? Do you think that’s actually something you’d be interested in trying?” If they go “oh my god, no, I’m sorry, that really is just a joke!” then you have your answer - but if they are also interested, you can have a conversation about every person’s fears, desires, etc. Good luck!

i had my first experience in a triad, and i loved it. but things didnt work out. its been a while since its been over. I want to get back out there in the poly world but dont know how or where to look. the situation i was in before was with friends turned more. i need help

Here is my FAQ page about this

hi, i want to talk to you something about problems , can we chat via chat box? because i have long message to tell you :/ thanks!

Here is my FAQ page on that.

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.

Hi! So I know that two couples coming together and forming a quad relationship or a group marriage type of situation is something that is kind of common, but have you ever heard of like, two triads coming together and forming a relationship among each other? Thank you!

Have I heard of this? No. But I’m only one human who has walked this earth for fewer than three decades and I’ve only ever lived in a handful of places. Me being aware of something means very little!

It’s definitely something that can happen, and I’m sure it has at some point, given the vast range of human experience. But it doesn’t matter, really, what other people do or have done. If you want to seek that in your own life, go for it!

If you want to seek out stories of other people in a similar situation, try some of the forums and other resources on my page here.

So my bf and I have started dating this girl, and she definitely is more sweet and affectionate towards him then she is to me, even though I’m like that towards her. It always makes me a little jealous, and I try not let it bother me because I know their relationship will be a little different, but idk I’m a really affectionate person. I don’t really want to say anything to her though because i want to be natural. Thanks!

Something you have to let go of in polyamory is this belief, or fear, that openly talking about a feeling or a desire is not “natural.” You gotta be willing to talk about this kind of stuff. It feels awkward at first, but it’s critical.

It doesn’t have to be a serious, formalized thing, though. Next time you two are alone together, you can bring it up gently and positively. “Hey, can we talk about something for a sec? I’ve noticed that you’re more touchy-feely with Morgon than me - is everything alright? What are your preferences and feelings about physical intimacy?”

Then, make space for her answer. She might be attracted to you differently, or put off by something about your way of expression affection. She might just not have noticed, or misread your signals. No matter what, the best thing to do is to have a chat about how you’re feeling, what you’ve noticed, and how you two can better communicate your needs and meet each other’s needs going forward.

Do you think there have been situations in which polyamory happened naturally? Like, three people meeting each other and all being interested in one another and eventually deciding to form a relationship? Instead of like, a couple seeking out a third person??

Absolutely I think that has happened! In fact, I know that it has happened - I have seen it happen in my own life (not to me, but to other people) and I have gotten plenty of letters here about that.

Please note that “three people all being interested in each other” is not a synonym for polyamory - that is called a triad, or polyfidelity, and is only one way of being poly. But yes, people have definitely found themselves in situations like that organically.

i need triad date advice. What activities can my Ri and my fellow sub and i do together that will be fun with three people where no one will feel left out? Most date-type-activities tend to be oriented toward two people, instead of three. And we would like to do something other than just movie + dinner. Any thoughts?

I have no idea what “Ri” means in this context, and I tried Googling it - I hope it isn’t someone’s name! If you sent this message and need me to omit or clarify something, please shoot me a follow-up.

As to the actual question: there are lots of fun date activities that work for three people! Consider:

  • Hiking or visiting a beautiful natural spot near you
  • Visiting a craft show or farmer’s market
  • Seeing a museum together
  • Taking a class together - cooking, crafting, improv
  • Going to a spa or bath house (there is one near me that lets you rent private hot tub rooms by the hour)
  • Going to an amusement park near you
  • Checking out a local festival - there’s always something niche and interesting going on at some community center, like a Bonsai Tree Expo or a Garlic Festival
  • Volunteering together
  • Joining a local low-key sports league, like kickball or ultimate frisbee
  • Hosting a dinner party together
  • Camping
  • Going thrift shopping
  • Buying and refurbishing an old piece of furniture your way

Followers in triads, any other thoughts?