Poly Communication Issues

You allow Apple to neglect the (you + Apple) connection?
Yes, I am not comfortable making demands or putting expectations on others. It feels like I am imposing upon them. I recognize this as an irrational ACOA thing and I am working on it.

Along with not speaking PLAIN... you seem to choose vocab that is indirect.

"The communication challenges that I personally experience make connecting for intimacy difficult"

is not as direct

"I'm having a hard time initiating sex."
Yes. You are right. This is an issue.

Does being more assertive in your communication feel aggressive because you aren't used to it? And because you and Apple used to communicate passively by "doing for others" like acts of service and not really saying anything direct?
Yes, I am not naturally an aggressive person, so it feels very incongruent to my existing modalities. I had not considered the passivity of our previous communication style. That makes a lot of sense. Apple has been much more direct and explicit about their wants, needs, and boundaries. Your phrasing is making a few things click for me.

Have you both still been using "more shy communication" from meeting as teens rather than letting the communication style "grow up" along with you? Could that be a possibility?
Yes. That is a perfect way to describe how I communicate and how we have communicated until recently. Over the years we would have peaks and valleys of this communication style and I can see how we were "stuck" now. They have definitely grown past this with Banana. This seems like the thing I need to focus on.

You sound pretty isolated. Even if you don't make poly friends, I think you could join more things online or in your local community that you like to do. Book group, hobby thing, volunteer, etc.
I know. Working on it. I just joined local a writing group, so there is progress there.

You seem to center Apple A LOT.
Yeah, I do that.

What makes YOU happy? Brings YOU joy? What needs do you have that need meeting?

So far I see
  • social wellness needs -- hanging with people NOT Apple and NOT Banana
  • sex needs -- with Apple
  • sex needs with Banana
  • Missing talks that need to happen with Apple
  • Missing talks that need to happen with Banana
  • Speaking more plain/assertive when you DO communicate, rather than being so meek and mild or just letting things slide.

GG
This is all very accurate. I really appreciate your perspective on this. I probably shouldn't thank you for the list above, but my brain works that way, so I am grateful. :)
 
In regards to feeling taken for granted, I have not said that plainly to Apple yet. I need to, but I also know I have a tendency to allow it.

As far as dating and Banana, I'm not really worried about dating. I do want to feel connected with the people I love. They both have stated numerous times that they want me in their lives and that they love me.
Actions speak louder than words, though, don't they? Maybe they don't want to "rock the boat" either, so say placating things to you to keep you somewhat content in the household, while also showing by their actions that they're not that into you in reality.

I hear that you have an establishment, so to speak, of a long time connection, only partner(s) ever, kids, homeschooling, home business. I can relate to this, to an extent, since, when my ex h and I had started poly in 1999, we'd been together since I was 19 (although I'd had sex with 10 people by then, and a few more or less serious relationships). We'd been together 20 years. We committed to each other too young. He was 21 when we met.

But we checked a lot of each others' boxes, so we committed quickly and married when I was 22. He had a more lucrative career than I did, so when I was 29 we started having kids and I was able to stay home and homeschool them entirely. However, I had lots of friends through parenting, he had friends through being a musician, I did regular volunteer work, we were involved in homeschool groups, etc.

But after two decades together, we'd started to grow apart. It's a long story. I did "everything I could" to keep us together; I tried to be more submissive; I tried to help him build his self-esteem; we did years of counseling/therapy. I/we held on too long, really. We weren't getting along and I know it wasn't a great example for our kids. So we split in 2008. (Our youngest was 16, the others were 19 and 21.) It was a huge leap for me. I took a big financial hit, we had to sell the house, farm out some of the pets, and get our own apartments. The kids were becoming independent, starting college, one had mental issues/drug dependency, etc., etc., so that all needed managing.

Still, it was entirely worth it. Once we realized that no amount of therapy was going to change things, we parted amicably. We both found partners that were better suited to us in our middle age.
You are correct about the communication struggles are causing an issue in all other areas.


I don't think I would break up with anyone. We are very integrated, and I don't think that would even be an option at this point. I think we would have to talk about our relationship dynamics and what everything would look like.
This is what I am addressing. It would be hard to split up after all this time. I felt my ex and I were 60% suited and 40% unsuited for each other. But that really wasn't enough. I needed more. I needed to either be alone or find some more suitable people to date. I couldn't keep bending myself into pretzels to try and please him and make him feel things were good between us. And I got tired of trying. It was a waste of energy and I wasn't getting any younger.

It took courage to step off that cliff. But I'd built a support system and gotten the finances sorted out so I could do it and have a roof over my head, enough to eat and a few dollars left for gas for my car, and for fun.
Banana is the only other person I have been with aside from Apple. I am okay with that. There are no negative feelings for me about this. When we were all connecting emotionally, the intimacy was wonderful.
As you may be gathering, long-term successful, happy triads are very rare. They do better when they are not proscribed, like yours, where the metamours in a V just happen to click. But still, keeping 3 dyads all on the same page is almost impossible. There are always going to be preferences, and someone is going to feel left out.

It's pretty obvious Apple would just prefer spending more time, intimate and other, with Banana, and that's the bottom line.
I had not considered that. We have successfully done so much, that I see the intrinsic value of what we have built. Grief is a good word though that I would not have thought of for how I feel about the idea of what our relationship was.
You can appreciate the good things while still coming to terms with the changes and growth patterns maybe not keeping everyone on the same path you've walked for 2 or more decades.
There has been a lot of significant change in our lives not associated with this relationship. However, our relationship has experienced a good bit of fluctuation over the past four years. It was V hinge for a long time. Then we evolved into a triad. Our communication issues have only become more challenging as Apple and Banana have grown as a couple. We are not quite either a V or Triad right now.
Yeah. You can see the changes happening. You can't fight change. You can't make yourself into a "new better" person, who is more like them, just to please these two and stay in their "in group." It's going to seem false, as you've seen.
I am comfortable in the V or the triad.
Except you're not comfortable now.
Yes, Apple has pulled away as they have grown closer to Banana. My communication was given as the cause for the distance that has grown between us. Apple said they did want to maintain the triad. Actually that is one of the reasons we went to couple's therapy to begin with. Neither one of us want to lose the other.
She wants change (to be more into Banana than you) at the same time she is used to the old status quo. She likes your role as a dad, a homeschooling parent, that you stay at home writing while facilitating the kids' education, and are doing the home-restoration business-partner thing. But if deep emotional needs that make a romantic connection are no longer there, it's time to face the facts and regroup in a more realistic way.
This part is pretty poor. I don't really have a social life. I write novels from home and spend time with Apple, Banana, the kids, and my disabled sister. I do work out regularly.


Apple, Banana and I also run a home restoration company out of the house, and we homeschool our two minors who still live at home. (Apple and Banana each have one kid.)

Right. I am not looking to change the relationships, I just am trying to learn new ways to communicate more effectively to meet Apple's, and the relationship's, needs.
GalaGirl is trying, but it's hard to tell if your communication needs to change, or if that's just a red herring to avoid saying the unsaid, she's more into Banana now.

However, GG's words seem to be therapeutic and eye-opening for you, so maybe she's on the right track and I'm being too pessimistic. Your words just rang a bell for me, how it's hard to break up an "institution" after 2 decades together, even if things have gone south.
 
Oh, one more thing I wanted to address: you mentioned up front that Apple was assigned female at birth, but is now identifying more as masc? Are they still using "she" pronouns? Are they transitioning to male, or remaining more in the non-binary area (at least so far; I know things can change)? Has their sexual preference changed? Are they more into women? I think you said Banana was also assigned female at birth, but you didn't mention a qualifier. Are they a cis-female or is there some gender questioning going on there too? This might all also affect their (plural) interest in having sex with you. I wonder if it also affects your feelings about having sex with Apple and/or Banana.
 
I probably shouldn't thank you for the list above, but my brain works that way, so I am grateful. :)

You are welcome. But wow, you REALLY have that "meek and mild" thing going on. I am guessing this Adult Child of Alcoholic leftover stuff?

You remind me of my spouse when we first met and he was recovering from some traumatic things from his childhood. My spouse used to struggle to say a "plain thank you."

In your sentence: THINK if it you have to, but don't actually say it. Good enough words are good enough.

I probably shouldn't thank you for the list above, but my brain works that way, so I am grateful. :)

Stop apologizing for thinking, feeling, being, existing in the world. Take up your fair share of the space.

I don't know what happened in your ACOA life, and you don't have to say here. I see you are working to heal it. But remember it's ok that you GREW UP and you are OUT OF THAT. You don't have to keep shrinking yourself like maybe you used to. Give yourself permission to take up your full adult self/adult space.

Yes, I am not comfortable making demands or putting expectations on others. It feels like I am imposing upon them. I recognize this as an irrational ACOA thing and I am working on it.

Making REQUESTS is not demanding or putting unreasonable expectations on people. They are free to say "yes, I can do that" or "no, I'm sorry."

You are not comfortable here in this triad right now. You also are not comfortable making requests so things change in the triad.

When everything is hard, you are gonna have to pick your hard then. Pick that hard that leads to things getting better, not just more of the same.

Yes, I am not naturally an aggressive person, so it feels very incongruent to my existing modalities.

Did you mean ASSERTIVE? You are not naturally an assertive person? Being assertive is NOT being aggressive, though I know for shy people, it can FEEL like it is.

Yes. That is a perfect way to describe how I communicate and how we have communicated until recently. Over the years we would have peaks and valleys of this communication style and I can see how we were "stuck" now. They have definitely grown past this with Banana. This seems like the thing I need to focus on.

Look at the NVC material as previous suggested by another poster. The simple sheet is here.


Work on letting your communication style "grow up" from whatever it was as a shy teen coming out of an alcoholic home. You are not a teen any more. Keep working to heal your ACOA stuff.

I'm glad you are working on your social wellness and joined a writing group. Good for you!

STOP centering Apple so much. It's ok to love them a lot, but you have to love you too. Would it be horrible to center YOURSELF first? Like meeting your own basic needs and doing your self care first, BEFORE helping your 2 partners and kids with their reasonable and rational requests?

Selflessness is NOT a virtue, where you keep thinking about themthemthem (whoever "them" is in your life), and then you end up doing self neglect.

If that was a kid-coping tool when you were trapped in an alcoholic home, I get it. Kids don't get many options when clocking time to grow up so they can finally LEAVE. Wanting to "pre-manage" the Volcano person and "keep them happy" to stave off a blow up or at least fly under the radar is something a lot of kids try to do. It's ok to put that down now and learn other ways of going. You are safe enough now.

And gently.... you said Banana is even "softer" than you.

If part of the attraction to each other is that, all 3 being similarly meek and mild, part of the problem might be everyone going around in passive communication circles, wanting someone else "to go first, "from the fear of "saying anything bad" or "hurting anyone" or "losing each other." But then you aren't being your authentic selves if everyone goes around pussyfooting like that, from fear of upsetting the others in some way. Is that happening here?

Galagirl
 
Last edited:
Actions speak louder than words, though, don't they? Maybe they don't want to "rock the boat" either, so say placating things to you to keep you somewhat content in the household, while also showing by their actions that they're not that into you in reality.
They aren't doing anything to placate me, just letting me know that I need to work on my communication. Their actions, though, as you say, do paint a different picture.
I hear that you have an establishment, so to speak, of a long time connection, only partner(s) ever, kids, homeschooling, home business. I can relate to an extent, since, when my ex h and I had started poly in 1999, we'd been together since I was 19 (although I'd had sex with 10 people by then, and a few more or less serious relationships). We'd been together 20 years. We committed to each other too young. He was 21 when we met.

But we checked a lot of each others' boxes, so we committed quickly and married when I was 22. He had a more lucrative career than I did, so when I was 29 we started having kids and I was able to stay home and homeschool them entirely. However, I had lots of friends through parenting, he had friends through being a musician, I did regular volunteer work, we were involved in homeschool groups, etc.

But after two decades together, we'd started to grow apart. It's a long story. I did "everything I could" to keep us together; I tried to be more submissive; I tried to help him build his self-esteem; we did years of counseling/therapy. I/we held on too long, really. We weren't getting along and I know it wasn't a great example for our kids. So we split in 2008. (Our youngest was 16, the others were 19 and 21.) It was a huge leap for me. I took a big financial hit, we had to sell the house, farm out some of the pets, and get our own apartments. The kids were becoming independent, starting college, one had mental issues/drug dependency, etc., etc., so that all needed managing.

Still, it was entirely worth it. Once we realized that no amount of therapy was going to change things, we parted amicably. We both found partners that were better suited to us in our middle age.

This is what I am addressing. It would be hard to split up after all this time. I felt my ex and I were 60% suited and 40% unsuited for each other. But that really wasn't enough. I needed more. I needed to either be alone or find some more suitable people to date. I couldn't keep bending myself into pretzels to try and please him and make him feel things were good between us. And I got tired of trying. It was a waste of energy and I wasn't getting any younger.

It took courage to step off that cliff. But I'd built a support system and gotten the finances sorted out so I could do it and have a roof over my head, enough to eat and a few dollars left for gas for my car, and for fun.

As you may be gathering, long-term triads successful happy triads are very rare. They do better when they are not proscribed, like yours, where the metamours in a V just happen to click. But still, keeping 3 dyads all on the same page is almost impossible. There are always going to be preferences, and someone is going to feel left out.

It's pretty obvious Apple would just prefer spending more time, intimate and other, with Banana, and that's the bottom line.

You can appreciate the good things while still coming to terms with change and growth maybe not keeping everyone on the same path you've walked for 2 or more decades.

Yeah. You can see the changes happening. You can't fight change. You can't make yourself into a "new better" person, who is more like them, just to please these two and stay in their "in group." It's going to seem false, as you've seen.
Maybe, I'm hoping it's just miscommunication.
Except you're not comfortable now.
Corret.
She wants change (to be more into Banana than you) at the same time she is used to the old status quo. She likes your role as a dad, a homeschooling parent, staying at home writing while facilitating the kids' education, doing the home restoration business partner thing. But if deep emotional needs that make a romantic connection are no longer there, it's time to face the facts and regroup in a more realistic way.



GalaGirl is trying, but it's hard to tell if your communication needs to change, or if that's just a red herring to avoid saying the unsaid, she's more into Banana now.

However, GG's words seem to be therapeutic and eye-opening for you, so maybe she's on the right track and I'm being too pessimistic. Your words just rang a bell for me, how it's hard to break up an "institution" after 2 decades together, even if things have gone south.

Thanks for the reply and sharing your story. I think, yes, all of this is part of it and right now we are somehow trying to establish a new relationship dynamic. They did the homeschooling, I was working in Special Education. They did the massive work with the homeschooling, I have been support. I agree, the conversation with GalaGirl has been tremendously therapeutic, and it is helping me process my feelings of being in limbo.

I am personally not ready for any type of separation, but I understand that is something that we will have to discuss.
 
Oh, one more thing I wanted to address: you mentioned up front that Apple was assigned female at birth, but is now identifying more as masc? Are they still using "she" pronouns? Are they transitioning to male, or remaining more in the non-binary area (at least so far; I know things can change)? Has their sexual preference changed? Are they more into women? I think you said Banana was also assigned female at birth, but you didn't mention a qualifier. Are they a cis-female or is there some gender questioning going on there too? This might all also affect their (plural) interest in having sex with you. I wonder if it also affects your feelings about having sex with Apple and/or Banana.
No, Apple is using "they/them" pronouns and are non-binary, masc-leaning. They have expressed they no longer want penetrative sex and definitely seem more into women. Banana was het-cis and has previously identified as bi, but now identifies as lesbian, with me being the exception. Yes, I agree, all of this does affect our sex life.
 
You are welcome.

But wow. You REALLY have that "meek and mild" thing going on. I am guessing this Adult Child of Alcoholic leftover stuff?
Yes, that and being molested a few times as s kid.
You remind me of my spouse when we first m
et and he was recovering from some trauma things from his childhood. My spouse used to struggle to say a "plain thank you."
I say, "thank you" for everything. Sorry too. I recognize it as a conditioned response.
In your sentence? THINK if it you have to, but don't actually say it. Good enough words is good enough.



Stop apologizing for thinking, feeling, being, existing in the world. Take up your fair share of the space.

I don't know what happened in your ACOA life, and you don't have to say here. I see you are working to heal it.
But remember it's ok that you GREW UP and you are OUT OF THAT.

You don't have to keep shrinking yourself like maybe you used to.

Give yourself permission to take up your full adult self/adult space.



Making REQUESTS is not demanding or putting unreasonable expectations on people.

They are free to say "yes, I can do that" or "no, I'm sorry."

You are not comfortable here in this triad right not. You also are not comfortable making requests so things change in the triad.

When everything is hard? You are gonna have to pick your hard then. Pick that hard that leads to things getting better, not just more of same.
Yeah, I'm working on all of that.

Did you mean ASSERTIVE? You are not naturally an assertive person?

Cuz being assertive is NOT being aggressive. Though I know for shy people, it can FEEL like it is.
No, I was replying to a question above about being aggressive. I am neither.

Look at the NVC material as previous suggested by another poster. The simple sheet is here.

Got it. Thank you.
Work on letting your communication style "grow up" from whatever it was as a shy teen coming out of an alcoholic home. You are not a teen any more. Keep working to heal your ACOA stuff.

Glad you are working on your social wellness and joined a writing group. Good for you!

STOP centering Apple so much. It's ok to love them a lot, but you have to love you too. Would it be horrible to center YOU first? Like meeting your own basic needs and doing your self care first? BEFORE helping your 2 partners and kids with their reasonable and rational requests?

Selflessness is NOT a virtue. Where you keep thinking about themthemthem -- whoever "them" is in your life. And then you end up doing self neglect.
I know rationally, but it doesn't come naturally.

If that was a kid coping tool when you were trapped in an alcoholic home? I get it. Kids don't get many options when clocking time to grow up so they can finally LEAVE. Wanting to "pre-manage" the Volcano person and "keep them happy" to stave off a blow up or at least fly under the radar is something a lot of kids try to do.

It's ok to put that down now. And learn other ways of going. You are safe enough now.
I never feel safe. Its a constant theme in my life.
And gently.... you said Banana is even "softer" than you.

If part of the attraction to each other is that? All 3 being all meek and mild similar? Part of the problem might be everyone going around in passive communication circles wanting someone else "to go first." From the fear of "saying anything bad" or "hurting anyone" or "losing each other." But then you aren't being your authentic selves if everyone goes around pussyfooting like that from fear of upsetting the others in some way.

Is that happening here?
No. Banana and I are soft. Banana is very soft. Apple is very different. They have a soft side, but are much more Type-A and Alpha Leadership material, in all the good ways. I do have a tendency to pussyfoot around a lot.
Thank you. :)
 
They aren't doing anything to placate me, just letting me know that I need to work on my communication.
Maybe you all need to work on your communication, which is probably a good goal for therapy. Have you had individual counseling over the years?
Their actions, though, as you say, do paint a different picture.


Thanks for the reply and sharing your story.
You're welcome. Of course our experiences are different (childhood and adult relationship-wise) but maybe you don't often get to hear about how others struggle in these kinds of situations, and the choices they make.
I think, yes, all of this is part of it and right now we are somehow trying to establish a new relationship dynamic.
Being as you're trying to work on your r'ships with 2 very different people, the important part, I am getting, is becoming more comfortable with taking space in your world, feeling like you are a valuable person who doesn't need to apologize for being here. All of your r'ships, with partners, kids, colleagues, other family, will benefit from a better grasp of NVC skills.

My current bf apologizes too much too. He was raised in a less than ideal environment, and is a people pleaser, to an extent. He's working on it.

It's funny how he tells me I deserve love, good sex, care, etc. I KNOW I do haha. He's the one who doesn't know he deserves that.
I was working in Special Education. They did the massive work with the homeschooling; I have been support. I agree, the conversation with GalaGirl has been tremendously therapeutic, and it is helping me process my feelings of being in limbo.

I am personally not ready for any type of separation, but I understand that is something that we will have to discuss.
When my ex and I started our therapy with our second-to-last therapist, she told us that a good goal was to learn how to get along, see if we shared goals and interests, see how we could improve communication and trust. And if that didn't work, the other goal was to see clearly that we were no longer suited for each other, and work on splitting amicably.

Unfortunately my ex was extremely passive aggressive. And he'd hold in his feelings, do too much for others, but then resent them for not being "grateful" enough for what he did, and not "respecting" him enough. And he just couldn't seem to grow past this. He'd be able to go back to one stage of his childhood, but couldn't face the deeper traumas that were holding him back. He was stuck.
 
Apple is using "They/Them" pronouns and are non-binary masc-leaning. They have expressed they no longer want penetrative sex and definitely seem more into women.
So no matter how good your communication skills are, they are not highly motivated to have sex with you anyway, it sounds like. Will they get you off happily, digitally or orally, or do they not want to come in contact with your genitals at all?
Banana was het-cis and has previously identified as bi, but now identifies as lesbian, with me being the exception. Yes, I agree, all of this does affect our sex life.
So she is a lesbian cis-woman who can do a bit of PIV with you because she likes or loves you.

These don't sound like great prospective sex partners for you, any way you cut it! How do you feel about that? Do you secretly wish or fantasize that you had a partner who really craved dick (preferably your dick)? Be honest.

No one would blame you if you had trouble initiating sex with women who don't really enjoy sex with men!
 
Yes, that and being molested a few times as s kid.

I'm sorry that's also been part of your experience.

I never feel safe. Its a constant theme in my life.

You might not feel "totally safe, but here you are. You seem to feel "safe enough" with Apple and Banana, so much so that you hate the idea of breaking up and "losing them."

Are you able to feel/notice when you are "safe enough"?

What Mags brought up matters too, though.

If Apple no longer wants penetrative sex and Banana is basically lesbian but makes an exception for you, are you also grieving that loss, that neither of your partners craves you sexually, like you crave them? Is that part of the "growing distant" or "growing apart" thing you are experiencing?

Like... yeah. It's safe enough here in this home, but it's not really fulfilling. Maybe it feels disloyal to say it "out loud" like that.

GG
 
I’ve been following and you are getting great feedback! One thing nobody has suggested is: Have you considered changing the dynamic in each relationship to make it easier for each of you?

Example: my husband wouldn’t give me the physical touch of my primary love language or sex much at all. Also wasn’t interested in learning how to please me. Outside of that we are best friends, love each other very much, and have built a life together that we don’t want to give up. when I suggested opening our relationship it was to get my needs met by someone else. I quickly learned that did not work. I had those needs from him and getting them elsewhere just satisfied my needs from my new partner. (That’s when I grasped how polyamory worked and found it was the fit for me, among other reasons). Upon realizing that it wasn’t going to work, I had a choice. End a very loving and connected relationship or change it. I hopped off the escalator and took the elevator down a floor and ended our sexual/romantic relationship. It was non existent anyway but the act of officially ending it didn’t change our relationship that we actually had, it just made physical touch beyond what you might do with friends, off limits. It was freeing for me to not have the burden of not being wanted or him not wanting to make me feel loved in that way. The expectation changed from “he should be doing this for me” to “that’s no longer a part of the relationship” by my choice.

Now we are happily poly and I get to love my partners for what we have and who they are instead of resenting them for who they aren’t. You would have to figure out for yourself what would need to end in either relationship to make this work for you. (This could also be a trial, say a month, to see how it goes and re evaluate) It also might be worth dating and maybe finding another partner that’s not part of the triad dynamic. It appears that Apple and Banana are more into each other than you and you dating might take the stress off the triad and allow each relationship to find it’s way.

It also sounds like you all might need some space from each other to change the codependency that’s happening which is probably exasperated by the ACOA. It took me decades to break that pattern so I know what that’s like. Life on the other side is a breath of fresh air but worth going through the excruciating work to get space. When You work together, live together and have no outside activities, friends, or hobbies…it’s too much. You need to find out who you are outside of them. If you can’t make friends or date then take a weekly class. Dance, art, martial arts, something to get you away for a few hours per week and be social with others in the class while doing it. You wont regret it.

I really hope you can find a dynamic that works for each of your relationships.
 
Maybe you all need to work on your communication, which is probably a good goal for therapy. Have you had individual counseling over the years?
Yes, we are seeing a couple therapist and we each have our own for other growth opportunities.
You're welcome. Of course our experiences are different (childhood and adult relationship-wise) but maybe you don't often get to hear about how others struggle in these kinds of situations, and the choices they make.

Being as you're trying to work on your r'ships with 2 very different people, the important part, I am getting, is becoming more comfortable with taking space in your world, feeling like you are a valuable person who doesn't need to apologize for being here. All of your r'ships, with partners, kids, colleagues, other family, will benefit from a better grasp of NVC skills.
I am working on using NVC skills in my life with Apple and Banana in addition to being okay with taking up space.

My current bf apologizes too much too. He was raised in a less than ideal environment, and is a people pleaser, to an extent. He's working on it.

It's funny how he tells me I deserve love, good sex, care, etc. I KNOW I do haha. He's the one who doesn't know he deserves that.
Working on that too...
When my ex and I started our therapy with our second-to-last therapist, she told us that a good goal was to learn how to get along, see if we shared goals and interests, see how we could improve communication and trust. And if that didn't work, the other goal was to see clearly that we were no longer suited for each other, and work on splitting amicably.

Unfortunately my ex was extremely passive aggressive. And he'd hold in his feelings, do too much for others, but then resent them for not being "grateful" enough for what he did, and not "respecting" him enough. And he just couldn't seem to grow past this. He'd be able to go back to one stage of his childhood, but couldn't face the deeper traumas that were holding him back. He was stuck.
I'm sorry that you had that experience with him, that sounds rough.


Thanks for taking the time here with all of this.
 
So no matter how good your communication skills are, they are not highly motivated to have sex with you anyway, it sounds like. Will they get you off happily, digitally or orally, or do they not want to come in contact with your genitals at all?
Yes, we actually have had sex. They are okay with my genitals. It's more like the vibe of penetrative sex. Like the difference in physiological style, I think.
So she is a lesbian cis-woman who can do a bit of PIV with you because she likes or loves you.
Yes.
These don't sound like great prospective sex partners for you, any way you cut it! How do you feel about that? Do you secretly wish or fantasize that you had a partner who really craved dick (preferably your dick)? Be honest.
I love them both and we have shared a lot. It would be great to be desired, yes.
No one would blame you if you had trouble initiating sex with women who don't really enjoy sex with men!
I know. Life is complicated.
 
I'm sorry that's also been part of your experience.
Thanks.
You might not feel "totally safe."
I know that rationally. It's just something that I would like to have more of, since I'm still living.
But here you are. You seem to feel "safe enough" with Apple and Banana. So much so that you hate the idea of breaking up and "losing them."
True. The safety I need is of course something I need to provide for myself first. Rationally, I know this.
Are you able to feel/notice when you are "safe enough?"
I know the feeling and I know it is up to me.
What Mags brought up matters too though.
If Apple no longer wants penetrative sex and Banana is basically lesbian but makes an exception for you... are you also grieving that loss? That neither of your partners craves you sexually like you crave them? And that's part of the "growing distant" or "growing apart" thing you are experiencing?
Maybe, this another thing I had not considered. Not being desired sexually isn't the best feeling, but Apple and I were actually friends first and maintained friendship through trials and challenges. Banana and I are working on our friendship and trying to understand one another, we get stuck talking in circles about things and not understanding one another often. I want them both to be happy and satisfied. They do that for each other, I can see that. The gulf between Apple/Banana and myself is affected by our lack of sexual interaction, but I am not sure to what degree for me. I guess I need to figure that one out.
Like... yeah. It's safe enough here in this home. But it's not really fulfilling?

Maybe it feels disloyal to say it "out loud" like that?

GG
Parts of it are fulfilling, enough to bring me here and seek help from people who are much wiser. Personally, the past few years have been very eye opening for me as a white het-cis male. I have been accepted into our local queer community and actually am fighting as a board member against local bullies attacking LGTBQ+ (or adjacent) books. Going to couple's therapy was also a leap with Apple and Banana, I really would like to see if we can get this work. We have a ll taken a lot of leaps lately and maybe I will never communicate in the same manner as Banana, but I think Apple and I, and Banana to a degree, have chemistry. We are all good people who typically get along very well. They go with me, so I think they want our triad to work. I don't know what they see for our future and we need to have that conversation along with a few more. I know I need to work on speaking plainly and directly, which I also know I am afraid to do.

I totally forgot to mention that Banana works with Apple and I and homeschools at our house. Banana will probably be moving in with her child at some point in the near future.

There is a lot more talking that needs to happen. Thanks GalaGirl.
 
I’ve been following and you are getting great feedback! One thing nobody has suggested is: Have you considered changing the dynamic in each relationship to make it easier for each of you?
No. I have followed Apple's lead on this.
Example: my husband wouldn’t give me the physical touch of my primary love language or sex much at all. Also wasn’t interested in learning how to please me. Outside of that we are best friends, love each other very much, and have built a life together that we don’t want to give up. when I suggested opening our relationship it was to get my needs met by someone else. I quickly learned that did not work. I had those needs from him and getting them elsewhere just satisfied my needs from my new partner. (That’s when I grasped how polyamory worked and found it was the fit for me, among other reasons). Upon realizing that it wasn’t going to work, I had a choice. End a very loving and connected relationship or change it. I hopped off the escalator and took the elevator down a floor and ended our sexual/romantic relationship. It was non existent anyway but the act of officially ending it didn’t change our relationship that we actually had, it just made physical touch beyond what you might do with friends, off limits. It was freeing for me to not have the burden of not being wanted or him not wanting to make me feel loved in that way. The expectation changed from “he should be doing this for me” to “that’s no longer a part of the relationship” by my choice.

Now we are happily poly and I get to love my partners for what we have and who they are instead of resenting them for who they aren’t. You would have to figure out for yourself what would need to end in either relationship to make this work for you. (This could also be a trial, say a month, to see how it goes and re evaluate) It also might be worth dating and maybe finding another partner that’s not part of the triad dynamic. It appears that Apple and Banana are more into each other than you and you dating might take the stress off the triad and allow each relationship to find it’s way.
I am really happy for you. That sounds fantastic. When I think about what another person in my life would be, I definitely lean into that territory. I have really solid friendship with both Apple and Banana. I think if I am wishing someone would pay attention to me, or ask me a question, or touch me, well, that seems like it is an issue. Just not sure how to even start that process. I guess the first step would be talking to Apple and Banana about what their boundaries are, and then going from there.
It also sounds like you all might need some space from each other to change the codependency that’s happening which is probably exasperated by the ACOA. It took me decades to break that pattern so I know what that’s like. Life on the other side is a breath of fresh air but worth going through the excruciating work to get space. When You work together, live together and have no outside activities, friends, or hobbies…it’s too much. You need to find out who you are outside of them. If you can’t make friends or date then take a weekly class. Dance, art, martial arts, something to get you away for a few hours per week and be social with others in the class while doing it. You wont regret it.
I know you're right, and I joined two groups this week in my community, and I am looking for more people to interact with. As a bit of an introverted hermit, it is a challenge. :)
I really hope you can find a dynamic that works for each of your relationships.
Thanks, I appreciate your kindness.
 
Last edited:
I am going to be very vulnerable here for a moment and add one more wrinkle to this thread.

I have undiagnosed narcolepsy that sometimes manifests in groping, and I have tried to have sex with both Apple and Banana in my sleep at different times. Over the past four years, it has only occurred once with Apple and twice with Banana. We know it is tied to my emotions and anxiety. I am seeing someone for this. Neither Apple nor Banana hold it against me, I am not awake and have no memory of it, I have reorganized the kitchen, tried to drive off, etc. while asleep. It leaves us all disheveled and unsteady.

However, Apple and Banana have both expressed feelings about me not being safe for them. Which I totally understand and respect.

Now I mostly sleep in another room when Banana is over and if I am sleeping in the same bed with either, I stay really far away.
It has really complicates things a bit more than they already were.

Again, I am seeing a psychiatrist for this specific thing, and he suggests that it is tied to emotional regulation and a healthy expression of emotions. It's just right now, Apple/Banana and I are not connecting which limits our opportunities for healthy emotional connection, and I already feel guilty about this and don't know how to move forward. Leading me to all of the above on this thread.
 
Last edited:
Sleeping in your own bed solves accidentally groping a partner when you have narcoleptic-sleep weirdness. It makes it a non-issue cuz there's nobody there but you.

When you and a partner want to share sex, you invite the partner to share sex with you in your room, or they suggest theirs.

One can share emotional intimacy without sharing sex. But if in your communication style you were passive and letting a lot of "doing" and "acts of service" take the place of actual talking, you are going to actually have to speak up to share emotional intimacy that is NOT tied to the sexual act.

The idea of Banana moving in... does it have to be HERE? Would you all be able to move to another space that gives all of you your own bedrooms? Or would this home provide that? Maybe having your own rooms also takes some of this "relationship pressure" off.

As you all figure out what each dyad is going to end up being.

  • You + Apple
  • You + Banana
  • Apple + Banana

Like from the list of things...

  • friends
  • roomies
  • FWB
  • romantic partner
  • sex partner
  • marriage partner
  • coparent
  • homeschool helper
  • coworker
  • business co-owner
  • and anything else.
What actually applies to each one and feels GOOD in this new chapter of life, rather than doing whatever from HABIT?

In the Apple bucket you would put what words? Would Apple agree or adjust some of the words? What actually aligns?

In the Banana bucket you would put what words? Would Banana agree or adjust some of the words? What actually aligns?

I'm kinda wondering if:
  • You and Banana break up and go back to being friends.
  • You and Apple become platonic spouses.
  • You three share a home as roomies, but with your own bedrooms.
  • You three finish raising the children together
  • You continue to work with the therapist on personal issues
  • You eventually poly date other people that don't live here
Which is the simplest path for you, that actually pays attention to what YOU need to be happy and supports your long term well being, rather than you kinda people pleasing and putting Apple's happiness and Banana's happiness ahead of your own happiness?

Like subsuming yourself to these relationships?

It's ok to question and wonder, and you don't have to answer anything here. But I encourage you to be brave and talk this out with your counselor. Not what would make Apple or Banana happiest, not what feels "easy" either, but what actually would lead to you being the healthiest version of you, the happiest version of you, and not all bent into pretzels or bottled up.

GG
 
Last edited:
Sleeping in your own bed solves accidentally groping a partner when you have narcoleptic-sleep weirdness. It makes it a non-issue cuz there's nobody there but you.
Thank you for the compassionate response. I have a lot of guilt and shame associated with these weird incidents.
When you and a partner want to share sex, you invite the partner to share sex with you in your room, or they suggest theirs.
Well, when I'm not in the bed, I'm on the couch. All the other bedrooms are taken by kiddos.
One can share emotional intimacy without sharing sex. But if in your communication style you were passive and letting a lot of "doing" and "acts of service" take the place of actual talking, you are going to actually have to speak up to share emotional intimacy that is NOT tied to the sexual act.
I can see that over the course of this thread. It is all starting to click for me.
The idea of Banana moving in... does it have to be HERE? Would you all be able to move to another space that gives all of you your own bedrooms? Or would this home provide that? Maybe having your own rooms also takes some of this "relationship pressure" off.
Yes. We are on ten acres of Apple's family land in a house we built twenty years ago. There is little chance we are moving. However, we do have a large room that used to be a business that will become another bedroom/bathroom in the next year or so. I agree, it would help with the relationship pressure.
As you all figure out what each dyad is going to end up being.

  • You + Apple
  • You + Banana
  • Apple + Banana

Like from the list of things...

  • friends
  • roomies
  • FWB
  • romantic partner
  • sex partner
  • marriage partner
  • coparent
  • homeschool helper
  • coworker
  • business co-owner
  • and anything else.
What actually applies to each one and feels GOOD in this new chapter of life, rather than doing whatever from HABIT?

In the Apple bucket you would put what words? Would Apple agree or adjust some of the words? What actually aligns?

In the Banana bucket you would put what words? Would Banana agree or adjust some of the words? What actually aligns?

I'm kinda wondering if:
  • You and Banana break up and go back to being friends.
  • You and Apple become platonic spouses.
  • You three share a home as roomies, but with your own bedrooms.
  • You three finish raising the children together
  • You continue to work with the therapist on personal issues
  • You eventually poly date other people that don't live here
Which is the simplest path for you, that actually pays attention to what YOU need to be happy and supports your long term well being, rather than you kinda people pleasing and putting Apple's happiness and Banana's happiness ahead of your own happiness?
You put this so simply, and it really resonated with me all night, I stayed up to think about it in the living room. This scenario felt right as I processed it.
Like subsuming yourself to these relationships?

It's ok to question and wonder, and you don't have to answer anything here. But I encourage you to be brave and talk this out with your counselor. Not what would make Apple or Banana happiest, not what feels "easy" either, but what actually would lead to you being the healthiest version of you, the happiest version of you, and not all bent into pretzels or bottled up.

GG
Yeah, I know that my relationships all benefit when I am taking care of myself and being there for myself. That really seems like a big part of my struggles. Thanks again for taking the time with all of this and being so kind.
 
Well, when I'm not in the bed, I'm on the couch. All the other bedrooms are taken by kiddos.

Then NO, Banana and her kid(s) cannot move in, when you don't even have a bedroom of your own yet and are on the couch. Why add to the pressure cooker?

Yes. We are on ten acres of Apple's family land in a house we built twenty years ago. There is little chance we are moving. However, we do have a large room that used to be a business that will become another bedroom/bathroom in the next year or so. I agree, it would help with the relationship pressure.

So, no moving in until this remodel is done and you have your own bathroom/bedroom.

Given that there's all this land, could the house be added on to? Could two cottages be added, so you have your space, and Banana has their space, so you are living together on the same land, but not all on top of each other?

You put this so simply, and it really resonated with me all night, I stayed up to think about it in the living room. This scenario felt right as I processed it.

I'm glad that resonated. It doesn't have to be hard. The FEELINGS might be tough, but the actions seem straightforward. Each dyad needs to figure out what it is now, in THIS new chapter of life.

Yeah, I know that my relationships all benefit when I am taking care of myself and being there for myself. That really seems like a big part of my struggles.

I encourage you to think about your own health and wellbeing, then.

Thanks again for taking the time with all of this and being so kind.

Most welcome.

GG
 
I have really solid friendships with both Apple and Banana. I think if I am wishing someone would pay attention to me, or ask me a question, or touch me, well, that seems like it is an issue.

Are you saying neither of your domestic partners, who claim to love you, and like you, do NOT pay attention to you, or ever ask you a question (how was your day? what do you think about this? what do you want for dinner? do these jeans make my ass look fat?)? And they never touch you?

Or maybe Apple does touch you, when THEY FEEL LIKE IT, maybe Banana touches you, once a week, but no one really cares about your opinion on anything, and you just always let your partners decide what's going to happen in the family, where you are going, what you are eating, when you may make any changes to your environment whatsoever. Are you that submissive?

Can you explain this more?

I am just not sure how to even start that process. I guess the first step would be talking to Apple and Banana about what their boundaries are, and then going from there.

Their boundaries around having conversations where your opinion is sought and valued? Their boundaries around a good morning or good night hug and kiss? Their boundaries around [paying attention to you] looking at you at all, so you feel noticed and that you matter? Has it really come to that: no questions, no touches (no matter how casual), no attention coming your way at all?

Can you not even ask Apple for a hug, or a back scratch, or something? Does she shrink away if you seem to be trying to hug her, or even letting your legs touch while sitting on the couch watching TV or something?

How are these "solid friendships"? It sounds pretty cold in your world.
 
Back
Top