My live-in V is turning into a triad

Mya

Member
Me and my two partners have lived together for a year and a half now. I’ve been with rory for 4.5 years and with Hank for 2.5 years. About a year ago rory developed romantic feelings for Hank, but at the time Hank didn’t feel the same way. They continued as friends. Yesterday Hank told me that he’s started to develop feelings for rory too. I freaked out about this a year ago, and even though I did a lot of processing back then, I guess there was a limit how much I was able to process when the situation didn’t go anywhere because Hank didn’t return rory’s feelings. But now he does and I’m freaking out again. Please help.

My initial feeling is that I don’t want to be in a triad. They’ve said that they don’t want to do anything about their feelings at this point, or at least they want to take it very slow. They both understand it’s a delicate situation. They are not “in a relationship”. Yet. (<- This addition is my brain telling me that it’s only a matter of time, but neither of them has said that.) In the last 5 weeks or so rory has been on sick leave from work, so he’s been home a lot more. This has led to rory and Hank spending more time together and the three of us also spending more time together as a group. I enjoy those times, but at the same time I often crave the kind of intimacy you can only get from one-on-one time. For our entire relationship me and Hank have struggled with our different needs when it comes to the amount of time spent together. As you can see from my signature, I’m dating quite a few people, but even now in this situation, I still want more one-on-one time with Hank than he wants with me. Me and rory have almost always spent enough time together, regardless of our situations. Since our desire to spend time with each other matches well, we’ve been able to arrange that in most situations.

I’m not jealous of rory. I get what I want from him, mostly. I am however jealous of Hank in this situation since I’m already not getting what I want from him: enough time. I’m afraid he’ll start spending a lot of time with rory one-on-one, leaving me on my own in a different room when I don’t want to be left alone. And if that happens, I’m afraid I’ll start treating rory differently because he’s “taking Hank away from me” when I’m already not having enough of his time. I hope I can be more rational than that, but I’m scared. I fully understand that I’d have to face this same challenge if Hank started spending a lot of time with someone new who isn’t my partner, but what makes this worse is the above fear – how this can influence me and rory too.

Triads are unstable with so many moving parts. I’m so scared that this development will ruin our family now that there are more emotionally close relationships on the line affecting the outcome. :(

But of course I want Hank and rory to be happy. If being with each other makes them happy, that is what they’ll have to do. I just need help getting over my fears so that I can be more supportive of them and whatever happens between them. Right now I just need a lot of reassurance from rory and Hank that they're not running into the sunset together and leaving me behind. They're giving me that and telling me it'll all be fine. But if there is someone out there who has experienced something similar, I would really like to hear from you! And even if you don't have similar experiences, advice is still welcome.
 

PinkPig

Well-known member
Well, obviously, adding people always complicates things. BUT, you've all been successfully living together for awhile, right? If things have gone well in that regard, then you have just as much reason to believe that things could continue to go well if Hank & Rory start dating as you do that things could implode. I think if you just all keep the channels of communication open, check in on how everyone's feeling, and discuss your boundaries (including a break-up plan...especially a break-up plan since you are all living together), then it could possibly turn into a beautiful thing... or not. But, at least you'll be as prepared as you can be for whatever eventuality occurs. Thing is, in the end, you really don't have any control over whether they start a relationship.

I know this isn't the same thing at all, but when Blue starts dating someone new, if I'm feeling jealous or insecure, it helps me to write out my feelings to help me root out the causes of the insecurity... So maybe in your case it would be: Fear that you'll have less time with Hank than you have now (which isn't enough), Fear that the new dynamic will affect your relationship with Hank negatively (jealousy), Fear that a break-up will affect your living arrangement, etc, etc. In some cases, that will help you see where you might need to advocate for what you want (more time with Hank, an exit plan if the relationship implodes, etc.) In other cases, just deconstructing my feelings usually helps me feel better/more in control and helps me get back to the place where I can genuinely be happy and excited for Blue's date(s).

And, sometimes, when no amount of communicating, deconstructing, or rationalizing allays my fears (usually when I'm already in a fearful/negative place from something else), I use visualization to help break the negative thoughts. I like to use STOP (picture a stop sign and yell stop in my head) when negative thoughts pop up. Or, I imagine writing out the thoughts on paper and burning them. Sometimes, I actually do write them out and burn them :)

ETA: One reason triads are notorious for being unstable is because people attempt to 'create' a triad. In this case, it's happening organically. Plus, it sounds like it would be more like a triple V... you as a hinge between Rory & Hank... and as a leg with Rory as hinge and as a leg with Hank as a hinge. So, really, the same number of relationships that you currently have, just one that is currently platonic/familial like will now be romantic as well?
 
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breathemusic

Active member
One question.... I know you said that you currently already struggle to get as much time as you want with Hank because you want more time with him than he wants with you. Is his desire for X amount of time because he's already spending time doing lots of other things and seeing other people? Or does he actually have down time but just isn't the type that wants to spend a bunch of time with any one person? If he already has down time, I would suggest that you keep in mind when that fear comes to the surface that he can see Rory during the down time that he already has and that seeing Rory doesn't necessarily mean that he has to take time from you.

I also can understand wanting to make sure that you still get one-on-one time. I think maintaining good communication channels and regularly checking in will help with that. You guys can make sure that you discuss this need up front so that if you want to do something with one of the guys, no one takes it personally that both guys weren't invited to X, etc.

It sounds like the idea that everyone takes the transition slow will be important in figuring out what can work for everyone. I get that you can't help but worry, but you guys seem to have pretty strong relationships/friendships already, so I think you already have a great foundation for getting through this new development and possibly finding a "new normal."
 

MightyMax

Banned
I think that the key to this is you addressing whether the discord in needs between you and Hank is something that is livable in the long-term. Personally, I have had mostly negative experiences with this sort of situation because it led to me constantly feeling envious of their other relationships.

It's sometimes awkward to admit that you are content with what you share with someone and don't want or need anything more but I think it's important because it can lead to assumptions like the "secondary" who assumes that if it wasn't for their partner's "primary" relationship, they'd live together and is then very disappointed when the primary relationship terminates and their partner isn't interested in promoting their relationship to replace it.

I also know from experience the freedom of polyamory does not compensate for wanting something specific from a particular person. I've had to walk away for my own mental health.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
But of course I want Hank and rory to be happy. If being with each other makes them happy, that is what they’ll have to do. I just need help getting over my fears so that I can be more supportive of them and whatever happens between them. Right now I just need a lot of reassurance from rory and Hank that they're not running into the sunset together and leaving me behind. They're giving me that and telling me it'll all be fine.

Sounds like you are getting what you need in that bucket.

What about this bucket?

  • I often crave the kind of intimacy you can only get from one-on-one time.
  • I still want more one-on-one time with Hank than he wants with me.

You want time or intimacy? Or you want time because you think it will lead to intimacy? I am not clear there.

Have you and Hank talked about ways to create more intimacy within the time you already have? Does he want more intimacy?

I’m afraid he’ll start spending a lot of time with rory one-on-one, leaving me on my own in a different room when I don’t want to be left alone.
To me?

Jealousy is you being afraid someone will take what you have.
Envy is wanting what someone else has for yourself.

Sounds to me like envy. You envy that Rory will get lots of Hank Time and you want time with Hank for yourself. (Or time because you think it leads to intimacy)

  • Are you not able to ask Hank out and get your time with him on the calendar? Sure you are.
  • If you don't want to be left alone in your room by yourself... are you not able to leave the room and go be with people so you are not alone? Sure you are.

I think you could talk back to you anxiety voice like that when it starts to wig out to center and ground yourself. Talk back and remind yourself that you CAN do stuff, you HAVE choices. See if you feel better doing that self reassuring. The guys are reassuring you -- you can also do it. Rather than adding to your anxiety pile take away from it.

It takes time to arrive at the "new normal." I get that it feels weird right now, but I think the best thing in the moment is to do your self care. Get the anxiety settled, and ask for what you need from your partners along the way. They sound willing to help.

Galagirl
 
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Mya

Member
Well, obviously, adding people always complicates things. BUT, you've all been successfully living together for awhile, right? If things have gone well in that regard, then you have just as much reason to believe that things could continue to go well if Hank & Rory start dating as you do that things could implode.

Yes, us living together has been going really well, we work as a family. I guess what I worry about is whether they start calling it a relationship or not, they will most likely want to get closer and start spending more time together (well, this has already happened). That in turn means there is a bigger possibility for things blowing up.

I think if you just all keep the channels of communication open, check in on how everyone's feeling, and discuss your boundaries (including a break-up plan...especially a break-up plan since you are all living together), then it could possibly turn into a beautiful thing... or not. But, at least you'll be as prepared as you can be for whatever eventuality occurs. Thing is, in the end, you really don't have any control over whether they start a relationship.

Break-up plan, that's an idea I've never considered. I'll think about that. And it's true that I have no control over whether they start a relationship or not, which is why I'm trying to get my feelings on it under control and asking for help.

I know this isn't the same thing at all, but when Blue starts dating someone new, if I'm feeling jealous or insecure, it helps me to write out my feelings to help me root out the causes of the insecurity... So maybe in your case it would be: Fear that you'll have less time with Hank than you have now (which isn't enough), Fear that the new dynamic will affect your relationship with Hank negatively (jealousy), Fear that a break-up will affect your living arrangement, etc, etc. In some cases, that will help you see where you might need to advocate for what you want (more time with Hank, an exit plan if the relationship implodes, etc.) In other cases, just deconstructing my feelings usually helps me feel better/more in control and helps me get back to the place where I can genuinely be happy and excited for Blue's date(s).

I've been doing that already, because I'm really aware that jealousy always has underlying feelings that make it happen. But maybe I could dig even deeper in that regard.

And, sometimes, when no amount of communicating, deconstructing, or rationalizing allays my fears (usually when I'm already in a fearful/negative place from something else), I use visualization to help break the negative thoughts. I like to use STOP (picture a stop sign and yell stop in my head) when negative thoughts pop up. Or, I imagine writing out the thoughts on paper and burning them. Sometimes, I actually do write them out and burn them :)

Thanks for that, maybe I'll give your tip a go. :)

ETA: One reason triads are notorious for being unstable is because people attempt to 'create' a triad. In this case, it's happening organically. Plus, it sounds like it would be more like a triple V... you as a hinge between Rory & Hank... and as a leg with Rory as hinge and as a leg with Hank as a hinge. So, really, the same number of relationships that you currently have, just one that is currently platonic/familial like will now be romantic as well?

Yeah, I suppose you're right. But the reason I feel like it could turn into a triad rather than triple V is that I have noticed during these 5 weeks that when Hank's feelings have developed, he's wanted to spend much more time with both me and rory at the same time than he did before. So basically I'm seeing him around more, but I'm seeing less of him one-on-one. I feel like my two relationships are merging into one and I really don’t like that.
 

Mya

Member
One question.... I know you said that you currently already struggle to get as much time as you want with Hank because you want more time with him than he wants with you. Is his desire for X amount of time because he's already spending time doing lots of other things and seeing other people? Or does he actually have down time but just isn't the type that wants to spend a bunch of time with any one person? If he already has down time, I would suggest that you keep in mind when that fear comes to the surface that he can see Rory during the down time that he already has and that seeing Rory doesn't necessarily mean that he has to take time from you.

This is a very good point. Hank indeed isn't the type that wants to spend a bunch of time with any one person. I know this for a fact. Where I think the fear is coming from is that while I know he has time he could spend with rory that he wouldn't spend with me anyway, it would feel worse if he'd choose to be with rory instead of friends or being alone. Because often when Hank chooses not to be with me, I can hang out with rory. If they chose to be together when I'm also around, I'd probably feel quite lonely.

I also can understand wanting to make sure that you still get one-on-one time. I think maintaining good communication channels and regularly checking in will help with that. You guys can make sure that you discuss this need up front so that if you want to do something with one of the guys, no one takes it personally that both guys weren't invited to X, etc.

We've talked about that and it's a little challenging when nobody wants to make the third one feel left out. But I think all of us need to get better at this to make it work.

It sounds like the idea that everyone takes the transition slow will be important in figuring out what can work for everyone. I get that you can't help but worry, but you guys seem to have pretty strong relationships/friendships already, so I think you already have a great foundation for getting through this new development and possibly finding a "new normal."

Thanks. :) I do think we already have strong relationships, so I hope you're right that it will make it easier in finding the new normal.
 
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Mya

Member
I think that the key to this is you addressing whether the discord in needs between you and Hank is something that is livable in the long-term. Personally, I have had mostly negative experiences with this sort of situation because it led to me constantly feeling envious of their other relationships.

It's sometimes awkward to admit that you are content with what you share with someone and don't want or need anything more but I think it's important because it can lead to assumptions like the "secondary" who assumes that if it wasn't for their partner's "primary" relationship, they'd live together and is then very disappointed when the primary relationship terminates and their partner isn't interested in promoting their relationship to replace it.

I also know from experience the freedom of polyamory does not compensate for wanting something specific from a particular person. I've had to walk away for my own mental health.

Well this is quite worrying, but I guess I needed to hear it. I actually felt quite recently that I made some progress when it comes to mine and Hank's time problem. I even wrote in my blog here about it. It seems to ebb and flow, but it has gotten better with time. I have learned to deal with it a bit better. But I guess this new situation made me take a couple of steps back from where I was and now it bothers me more again. I hope I can make peace with it again, so that this won't stand in the way of mine and Hank's happiness. But I guess the same applies here what they say about polyamory in general casting light on all the relationship issues you might have and have been able to ignore before.
 

Mya

Member
What about this bucket?

  • I often crave the kind of intimacy you can only get from one-on-one time.
  • I still want more one-on-one time with Hank than he wants with me.

You want time or intimacy? Or you want time because you think it will lead to intimacy? I am not clear there.

Hmm, good question. I want both, time and intimacy. But one of the reasons I want time is that deep and vulnerable conversations create intimacy and you need one-on-one time to have deep and vulnerable conversations.

Have you and Hank talked about ways to create more intimacy within the time you already have? Does he want more intimacy?

We haven’t talked about that. Do you have any suggestions how we could get more from the time we have?

Jealousy is you being afraid someone will take what you have.
Envy is wanting what someone else has for yourself.

Sounds to me like envy. You envy that Rory will get lots of Hank Time and you want time with Hank for yourself. (Or time because you think it leads to intimacy)

But… In a way I am afraid that “someone (=rory) will take what I have (=time with Hank)”. Believe me, I would love to frame this as envy more than jealousy, but I don’t think that would be very honest of me.

  • Are you not able to ask Hank out and get your time with him on the calendar? Sure you are.
  • If you don't want to be left alone in your room by yourself... are you not able to leave the room and go be with people so you are not alone? Sure you are.

Unfortunately Hank doesn't want to do regular date nights. We had them in the past, but he noticed that he'd rather only spend time with me when he genuinely wants to in the moment, not because he promised to do so earlier. We had too many date nights when he felt tired or grumpy or just didn't feel like being with me. So now I only put time with him on the calendar if there's a specific reason, for example knowing that one of us will be away for a long time. This is not my preference, but I can't make him have date nights with me when he doesn't want to.

I really wish I had more friends who'd be up for spontaneous hangouts, but I don't. Almost all of my friends are also poly, so everyone's really busy all the time and you need to make plans with them several days or weeks beforehand. If that wasn't the case, I would definitely leave the room and go be with people instead of being alone. But I guess next time I could at least try to see if anyone is available before giving up.

I think you could talk back to you anxiety voice like that when it starts to wig out to center and ground yourself. Talk back and remind yourself that you CAN do stuff, you HAVE choices. See if you feel better doing that self reassuring. The guys are reassuring you -- you can also do it. Rather than adding to your anxiety pile take away from it.

It takes time to arrive at the "new normal." I get that it feels weird right now, but I think the best thing in the moment is to do your self care. Get the anxiety settled, and ask for what you need from your partners along the way. They sound willing to help.

That's a good advice, thank you. I want to start working on reassuring myself and taking away from the anxiety pile.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
You have identified several layers here.

  • I want deep and vulnerable conversations that create intimacy

So how are you spending your time together? Conversing?

I wonder if you feel left out/demoted somehow?

If so? You can ask him and Rory to read poly hell and talk to you about how to combat those things as he and Rory get into NRE with each other.

I really wish I had more friends who'd be up for spontaneous hangouts

Spend some of your time cultivating those friendships then.

I am afraid that someone (Rory) will take what I have (time with Hank).

Are you saying Rory invades your dates with Hank and interrupts? I don't think you are... To me it sounds more like you are worried Hank will choose to spend his extra time on Rory rather than spending time with you. Well, it is his time. He can spend it where he wants.

You could ask Hank to spend time with you so your connection needs are met. He either meets your request or not.

Personalities.

Hanks personality sounds maybe not as social. He doesn't want or need a lot of "togetherness time." Your personality does enjoy lots of social time together. This is not right or wrong -- it's just how you guys are.

I think...

  • You could accept him how he is because it is worth it and focus on getting your social needs met with your other partners.
  • Or you could decide it's not worth it with Hank because you end up frustrated for more time with him that he cannot provide. You could let the want or the relationship go so you can stop being frustrated. He is giving all he can give -- it's on you to determine if that is enough for you or not.

I want to start working on reassuring myself and taking away from the anxiety pile.

Good for you! Do more of that and see if you feel better over time.

Galagirl
 
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kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Hi Mya,
Any news?

I don't have a lot to add, the advice already given seems good. I just would emphasize the importance of (productive) communication, and suggest you, Hank, and rory do a lot of communicating while your trio dynamic goes through a time of change. Express feelings, needs, etc.

Possibly it could help to cultivate fun/enjoyable things to do yourself when Hank and rory are off by themselves. Maybe you can meet/make some new friends that are often up for spontaneous visits. A local pub? (a decent place ...) A club? A park? Just shooting out ideas here ...

Who knows, maybe a triad will turn out to be a great thing (for all three of you). It's often hard for us to imagine what the future will really be like.

Hang in there!
Sincerely,
Kevin T.
 
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