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.

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 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?

What do you do to help with being the wife sharing time with a new wife? Just beginning a polyamorous relationship and planning for both of us to have a commitment ceremony with our unicorn but new to willingly giving up time with my spouse. So far what time I’ve shared is primarily when I’m working so not really given up any but with the shift in our relationship I’m sure it will change. Any advice?

First off, mazel tov on your commitment ceremony!

I think the key issue here is the framing. You talk about “willingly giving up time with your spouse,” like time with them is a finite resource that belongs to you, and any time she gets is something you have to “give up.” It’s important to remember that if you three are all married, you are all on equal footing. She is not taking away something that is yours; she is spending time with her spouse. You are not “the wife,” you are “a wife.” Take a close look at the language you used here, do some introspection, and make sure you aren’t seeing her as somehow less important, less connected, less entitled to intimacy with your spouse.

Try and figure out why you have an issue with the two of them spending time together without you. Is it just the “principle” of it - that you have to give up something you feel entitled to - or is it more specific, like you don’t get as much of your spouse’s time and attention as you need? If it’s the first one, like I said above, you need a re-framing. The three of you are just going to need to live your lives as a married triad, which means different people will be around at different times. If it bothers you to know they’re together without you, you need to work on that with yourself if this arrangement is going to work.

If you’re worried about something more concrete - like being asked to leave so they can have time together, or being stuck on your own, that’s less emotionally significant, and therefore more easily solvable. Usually, in relationships like this, things settle into natural rhythms. Everyone needs alone time; you might find yourself grateful that if you’re not in a social mood, they can hang out together and no one will pester you for attention. And it is likely that the two of them may plan or need quality time together - in which case, your best bet is to just make other plans. She should do the same for you if and when you need one on one time with your spouse.

But neither of you is graciously deigning to “share” that person. Be wary of that framing - if you start seeing it that way, it can start to feel zero-sum, and possessive, and threatening, and that is not a good road to go down. 

I’m in a triad with my wife and our mutual boyfriend, but as of late I feel very alone even when we are all together. I’m not sure why but I think it’s because I’m a combat veteran and neither of them can relate. Any advice?

That sounds really tough, and I’m sorry! It is, sadly, a known phenomenon that people who have experienced combat feel like they can’t relate or be understood by people who haven’t. 

My advice would be to first find a combat veteran social or support group in your area, where you can spend time around people who can share what you’re going through. There are also support groups online you can check out. Consider also talking to a therapist who specializes in veteran related issues.

Second, have you talked to your wife and boyfriend about this? It’s okay to say hey, I’ve been feeling alone and isolated, and it’s no one’s fault, but I need some help feeling more present and included. Be gentle with yourself and let them enter into this with you.

Try thinking through some of the reasons you may be feeling this way. Maybe there are certain topics of conversation that they get into what you can’t relate to. Maybe you’ve been feeling this way lately because an important date, a change in weather, a life experience, etc. has brought back memories of your time in combat. 

If there are specific things you feel alone in, specific feelings that they can’t relate to, naming those could help. Maybe there are articles you three could read together or documentaries you could watch that would help them understand what you’re going through. Maybe you need them to sit with you through these feelings and let you talk through your experiences as a combat veteran. 

To be honest, I don’t have much experience with veterans’ issues. This sounds like a tough situation and not one with an easy fix - but also, not something that can’t be dealt with through honesty, patience, and love. It’s okay to ask for more, or something new, to help get your needs met, once you identify them more clearly. Best of luck. I’m rooting for you and your triad!