Losing attraction for one of my partners (triad)

I could really use some advice, guys. Really going to try to give you the CliffNotes version of everything. A few months ago, I ended a 12-year relationship. Though we were mono for most of that time, we’d both had positive poly experiences in the past. We are trying to keep things amicable as we move forward.

I know that I’m still healing from the breakup and wasn’t actively looking for anything. However, a triad has organically formed between me and a married couple (who happen to be long-time friends of mine). Out of the three of us, two of us have poly experience. The presumed monogomous partner is actually the one who expressed an interest in starting this type of relationship, so she’s learning to navigate poly for the first time. Our relationship has been going on for about three months. We are already living together because it just seemed like the natural thing. (Anyone else, and I wouldn’t have agreed to move in so quickly. It’s just that these are some of my best friends, and we’ve always spent a lot of time together anyway.) We mesh together so well. Because we’ve known each other for years, it’s wonderful to be able to love each other on this brand new level. The dynamic is other-worldly and quite amazing.

The only problem is that I’m starting to become less attracted to one of my partners. The thing that makes me upset most of all, is that there’s no reason for me to feel this way. She is perfectly lovely. She’s attentive, she’s sweet. She’s romantic. She’s emotionally in-tune. That being said, it all feels a bit much to me. She is constantly smothering me. Always wants to be sitting next to me, touching me, kissing me…. And don’t get me wrong… I’m an affectionate person. Physical touch is one of my love languages. But over the past three weeks or so, I almost feel revulsion toward her. I noticed that her teeth have plaque buildup on them, and it’s a huge turn off. She brushes her teeth… she just has a fear of the dentist so it’s been years since she’s had a cleaning. I know this makes me sound completely vain and material… and I hate it. I want so badly to be attracted to her. But lately I’ve noticed my attraction for her has taken a nosedive.

I try to be self-aware, and have been thinking of the reasons this could be happening. I know that I fear losing my independence. One of the benefits of ending my long-term relationship was having some time to myself. And my new partners respect my time… it’s not like they don’t want me to have alone time. But still, I fear losing my independence. Some days I wake up and think, “This is what my life is going to be like from here on out.” Sometimes it gives me joy, and sometimes it strikes terror in my heart. I also recognize that I have a fear of abandonment. So self-sabotage could be one way that I’m avoiding intimacy. I really don’t know what to make of it all.

The bottom line is, my attraction for one partner is steadfast and seems to be growing each day as I learn more about her. My attraction for the other partner is waning, and waning fast. These are wonderful friends and salt-of-the-earth people. And it's definitely not an option to date one and not the other. This is definitely a package deal. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings at all. I don’t want to mess up a good thing. But if this keeps up, I’m going to build up a resentment toward her that she simply doesn’t deserve. She is an amazing human who deserves the best this world can offer.

What do you think? Is it possible to rekindle attraction if I’m already losing it after three months? Thanks in advance for any advice!
 

tdh

Member
That being said, it all feels a bit much to me. She is constantly smothering me. Always wants to be sitting next to me, touching me, kissing me…. And don’t get me wrong… I’m an affectionate person. Physical touch is one of my love languages. But over the past three weeks or so, I almost feel revulsion toward her.
Have you tried talking to her about your boundaries needs? This might be her new relationship type which she defaults to and without you expressing your needs, it will keep having the revulsion affect. No one can read minds and feeling that way tends to cause people to nitpick every problem after.

Also will point out everything can look worse once they initial issue happens; however, hygiene can be a real deal breaker for some. I once dated a women who just didn't know how to take care of her mouth because she never learned from her family. I try not assume everyone has the same experiences but it was an awkward conversation to have about her breath and dental care.

If they are a package deal, you clearly know the line. If you can be partners to both, not the same partner but a partner, then you can continue forward. Else it might be time to walk away.
 
Thank you so much for your reply. You’re right... I definitely should talk about boundaries. Pretty sure I’ve been putting that off because I’m not exactly sure how to approach it... Because my other partner doesn’t make me feel that same way. So by singling her out, I felt like it would be more hurtful. Perhaps I could have a one-on-one conversation with her. Then she can choose to share with our other partner or not.

I do think it’s possible that I can still have a relationship with both of them. But the differences are quite clear to me already. Thankfully in poly, everyone brings something unique to the table. So I need to think more about what each of my two relationships with them will look like.

Thanks for helping me mentally work through these things.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
Yucky teeth are a turnoff for me too. I love my DH, but he had a stint of really terrible teeth in our early life because he had no insurance for a long while, and then was just starting in his career and had basic health but no vision or dental. Plus he was scared of dentists. I had to tell him it was gross, and I got him fresh tools -- floss, toothbrush, tongue scraper, interdental picks, Listerine, toothpaste, etc. Also helped him find a dentist who was someone he could deal with. And then I went with him for moral support the first few times also. To this day he still procrastinates about scheduling his cleanings but he will go to them and he likes the dentist people we have. His teeth are in better shape too -- fixing some of his things that were giving his mouth pain made it so regular cleanings weren't as painful.

Could just tell her that her poor mouth hygiene is kinda of a turn off and would she please consider seeing someone for a cleaning and doing better? Would she like help?

Could also tell her it's great she's so into you, but please dial the PDA down some. It's possible that your NRE is wearing off faster than hers if this is the partner who's never been in a poly thing before. She might be too "gushy" all over the place with her NRE. I don't know about you but certain times of the month and def during some of this perimenopause phase I'm in -- I just want NO TOUCHING at all unless I ask for it.

Could also consider some time on your own ALONE. Between pandemic, moving in so soon, and then not really having a lot of space between one serious 12 relationship and what seems like a serious-ish triad... maybe you need some breaks? Feel cooped up? Need some room to breathe?

But still, I fear losing my independence. Some days I wake up and think, “This is what my life is going to be like from here on out.” Sometimes it gives me joy, and sometimes it strikes terror in my heart.

I think it's NORMAL to feel like that. I remember feeling like that.

I worried about losing my independence, worried about moving one one serious relationship to another without enough time in between to be single and kinda smell the roses. My solution to that was to slow things WAY down.

It may also be that you ARE more attracted to partner A and while you dated partner B, find it's not a long haul runner on that side. Enough in common for friendship, not not a long haul romantic relationship. But since they come as a "package deal" you have to end it with both if they don't want it to be like a V thing.

Life just comes with choices.

I think you will feel better though if you align your choices with what you value the most. Like if you cannot have ALL the values, answer to the highest one(s) then. Then you can live with the choice and be at peace in your mind because you are living true to you, being authentic.

I encourage you to do your soul searching. But in the meanwhile?

Boundaries with the PDA and request she address her health hygiene. Cuz if her partners don't tell her that her teeth are ugh who will?

Galagirl
 
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Marcus

Active member
So I need to think more about what each of my two relationships with them will look like.

I'm not aware of a way to create sexual attraction for someone that I'm not sexually attracted to; I expect that's not really a thing.

I would just have a chat with the one you're not attracted to and let her know that you want to adjust how you relate to them. I'm sure that won't be a comfortable conversation, but you're living with them so it's going to have be handled directly... nowhere to hide. This is where you test out how adult everyone is about communicating (both sending and receiving) bad news.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Hello polywannacrackeryo,

You seem to have two fears that you need to investigate; first, the fear of losing your independence; second, the fear of abandonment. These two fears are on opposite poles, and are tag-teaming you. If you get less abandonment, you also get less independence. If you get more independence, you also get more abandonment. At least that is the general notion I get from your description. You need to find out what is driving these fears. Is there something in your past, some situation in which someone abandoned you, and in which someone stopped you from having any independence? Who was that person (or those people)? Were they important to you? Did you ever heal from that? The answers to these questions might be the beginning of rekindling your attraction toward your one partner. Good luck!

Sincerely,
Kevin T.
 

Magdlyn

Well-known member
It sounds to me like there are several problems all stacked up, and that is causing you confusion and stress.

The first and biggest issue may be having started 2 new romantic/sexual relationships so soon after another long term one ended. You had no time to get to know yourself and your needs at this point in your life.

The second thing is, you moved in with an established couple almost immediately after having started this new kind of relationship with each: going from friend to lover. Usually it's a good idea to date for a good year before moving in with someone. Even if you spend half the week with them, at least you have a safe peaceful retreat of your own, and a haven should the relationship(s) not work out.

The next thing is, you're attempting a triad. Even though you say it happened "organically," it did not. This couple has determined that they will only date as a couple. They want a unicorn or nothing. So, as you find yourself more sexually attracted to one than the other, you're forced to choose to either fuck the one with the gross teeth, who is too clingy, just to have access to the one you really want, or break up with both and find your own place. Yikes!

Finally, you have abandonment issues. This is deep. You may have moved in with this couple right away because you just broke up with your former partner, and you fear being alone, even for a short time. This is inside work that needs to be addressed. Maybe you unconsciously started a triad as double insurance of being with someone, but now you see it's not practical or fulfilling in reality.
 
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