Weird triad breakup? Help!

journey666

New member
Hey everyone! I’m pretty new here but I’d really appreciate some help with a situation I’m struggling with.

Me and my partner (25f/24f) (let’s call her Jane) have been dating for 4 years and living together for 2 of those years. We have been seeing one of our male friends (27m) (let’s call him Dave) for around 6 months.

At this point, I’m seriously considering ending my relationship with Jane. She’s a wonderful person that I still want to have in my life, but our relationship has been very codependent and suffocating since it started. I would really like to spend some time single to get to know myself better and grow as a person, and I think that would be good for her as well. However, she is a very anxious person and relies on me (and Dave to a lesser extent) for support, and she has expressed that she wants to be with me for the rest of her life. I really don’t want to cause her pain, but our relationship is fairly one-sided as her stress and anxiety take up so much space and time. I also really want kids, and she isn’t sure she does. I just don’t see her being someone I will spend the rest of my life with romantically, and worry I am wasting her time or “stringing her along”.

The problem is, our relationship with Dave is one of the best parts of all of our lives. We do a number of activities and hobbies together, travel together, and have made a lot of purchases as a group. I know he does not have many close friends other than me and my partner, and he has expressed that his worst case scenario would be the two of us breaking up because of him. I’m worried that Jane and I breaking up would devastate him and ruin the relationships we all have. At this point, doing the activities we do with Dave is the main thing I look forward to in my life, and I am terrified of losing that. I have developed very strong feelings for him, and I can’t help worrying that ending my relationship with Jane would end everything we have. I am also very worried about Dave being able to cope on his own if things fell apart, as he is very depressed and the two of us as pretty much his support system/social life.

Any help navigating this situation would be greatly appreciated - I am involved with two amazing people who I care about deeply, and I want to handle this in the best way possible.
 
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WaywardWillow

New member
Do yourself and Jane have a whole lot of time shared with just the two of you? It sounds like the two of you need to have a seat and chat about the state of your romantic relationship.

There's obviously still a chance that Dave would be upset by it, but I do think that if you and Jane can get on the same page, there's a good chance that things could stay kosher and fun. You say that she is a wonderful person who you still want in your life; some people just don't work out romantically.

I would take some time for you and Jane to really reflect on your relationship in a healthy way. Dave will still be a factor, but there is no reason everyone can't stay civil. If Dave is still convinced that he is the cause, have a list prepared between yourself and Jane of all the positive ways he has influenced both your lives. It seems like he just needs to be able to trust that he is not a negative factor.
 

journey666

New member
Do yourself and Jane have a whole lot of time shared with just the two of you? It sounds like the two of you need to have a seat and chat about the state of your romantic relationship.

There's obviously still a chance that Dave would be upset by it, but I do think that if you and Jane can get on the same page, there's a good chance that things could stay kosher and fun. You say that she is a wonderful person who you still want in your life; some people just don't work out romantically.

I would take some time for you and Jane to really reflect on your relationship in a healthy way. Dave will still be a factor, but there is no reason everyone can't stay civil. If Dave is still convinced that he is the cause, have a list prepared between yourself and Jane of all the positive ways he has influenced both your lives. It seems like he just needs to be able to trust that he is not a negative factor.
Hi, thank you for your thoughtful response!

Jane and I have had some really productive conversations recently, and to her credit she has been trying very hard to be more independent and work on the issues she struggles with. This makes me very happy to see, but I’m still unsure about our future together - I feel we are more like best friends than lovers.

The issue is that she doesn’t seem to feel the same way - by her accounts, she really loves me and wants to get married and spend the rest of our lives together. I am honestly unsure how much of that is just that she is reliant on me for support and fears being alone, but I have to take her at her word. I fear that she would take the breakup incredibly hard and no longer be able to spend time with me, which would then put Dave in the position of having to see us separately, disconnect entirely, or “choose sides” if Jane feels wronged.

I’ll have to see how it works out, but either way your suggestion of the list is fantastic. I think you are right that things could remain civil if handled well, and I will try to remain optimistic of that potential and work towards it if possible.
 

WaywardWillow

New member
Hi, thank you for your thoughtful response!

Jane and I have had some really productive conversations recently, and to her credit she has been trying very hard to be more independent and work on the issues she struggles with. This makes me very happy to see, but I’m still unsure about our future together - I feel we are more like best friends than lovers.

The issue is that she doesn’t seem to feel the same way - by her accounts, she really loves me and wants to get married and spend the rest of our lives together. I am honestly unsure how much of that is just that she is reliant on me for support and fears being alone, but I have to take her at her word. I fear that she would take the breakup incredibly hard and no longer be able to spend time with me, which would then put Dave in the position of having to see us separately, disconnect entirely, or “choose sides” if Jane feels wronged.

I’ll have to see how it works out, but either way your suggestion of the list is fantastic. I think you are right that things could remain civil if handled well, and I will try to remain optimistic of that potential and work towards it if possible.
It really does seem like you only have the best intent. I totally feel for your position. Remain friends with her, for sure. You probably know her better than anyone else. But alongside the positive reassurance list, I would tell you to figure out your boundaries with Jane and STICK WITH THEM. This is sooooooo important. You will be walking a very fine line once you reach that point and it will be very easy for you to slip back over. Put a mental timer on the hugs if you have to. Jane is going to need strict boundaries to be able to let go and move on. That doesn't make you bad or cruel, if anything, she will have so much appreciation for it 10 years from now.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Hello journey666,

It sounds like Jane is the weak link in your triad, you do not want to hurt her, but you are tired of being suffocated. There is an article you might want to read: The Most Skipped Step When Opening a Relationship.

Could you transition to a platonic friendship with Jane, and could your triad transition to an FMF V, with Dave as the hinge? You and Jane could still be close friends, and both of you would be linked through Dave. You could explain to Dave that he's not the reason why you're transitioning to a V, honestly Jane is the reason.

In a V, you could have an emotional triad where the three of you continued to do lots of things together, make joint purchases, and share travel and hobbies. You don't have to "break up" with Jane, just transition to an emotional triad. An emotional triad is where the legs of the V have such a close friendship with each other, that it is almost as if they still have a romantic relationship.

Another option would be that you could take a temporary break from Jane, and get back together with her, say, in three months. This way you would have a chance to clear your head, while Jane and Dave would not have to worry about you and Jane breaking up (because of Dave, based on how he sees it).

It is very sweet of you to worry about Jane's and Dave's welfare, but you must take care of yourself, too. What if staying romantically connected to Jane causes you to have long-term damage? You already know you are not comfortable in that romantic relationship. What if you are never able to have children because you are with Jane? These are just some of the effects that staying with Jane could have on you.

Of course, the ideal solution would be for Jane to stop being so codependent, but that is something only she can do. Perhaps you could sit down with her and explain that she must become more independent if you and she are to continue as a romantic couple. Have her read the article I mentioned earlier in this post, she needs to understand that codependence isn't healthy.

Just some thoughts,
Kevin T.
 

Magdlyn

Moderator
Staff member
It can be tough, especially if we are very caring people, and again, when we are youngish, to have a partner who struggles with mental illness, and to feel like we are responsible for helping them keep their shit together. That's a big burden. You may feel guilt or fear at withdrawing for your own peace of mind and your own mental health. I know some partners will go so far as to threaten suicide if their partner leaves them or wants to reshape their relationship. I've had that happen to me too, with more than one partner.

But truly, each person is responsible for their own mental health, for getting care and treatment from health professionals. A good friend or a lover can only do so much.

Also, you don't owe it to Dave to date Jane just to make him happy. He can date you both separately. The world does not end when a relationship evolves. Life is about change, and we all have to learn to deal with changes, make adjustments and keep on keepin' on.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I'm sorry you are struggling.
At this point, I’m seriously considering ending my relationship with Jane. She’s a wonderful person that I still want to have in my life, but our relationship has been very codependent and suffocating since it started. I would really like to spend some time single to get to know myself better and grow as a person, and I think that would be good for her as well.

Could end it with Jane then. Align your behaviors to what it is you seek.

However, she is a very anxious person and relies on me (and Dave to a lesser extent) for support, and she has expressed that she wants to be with me for the rest of her life.

Well, anyone can want things. But if I said I want all your money, are you going to give it to me? Just one person wanting a thing doesn't make it so.

I really don’t want to cause her pain, but our relationship is fairly one-sided as her stress and anxiety take up so much space and time. I also really want kids, and she isn’t sure she does. I just don’t see her being someone I will spend the rest of my life with romantically, and worry I am wasting her time or “stringing her along”.

Again, part ways.

And yes, break ups come with some sadness. But it is REASONABLE to feel some sadness at a break up.

And breaking up is a reasonable risk of dating because not everyone you date will be a long haul runner.

Learning to part ways decently is a skill like any other. I suggest polite, firm, and clean. No dragging out or wavering.

"I need to break up. This isn't working out for me. I'm glad to have known you. I wish you well." or similar. Shake hands, be done.

The problem is, our relationship with Dave is one of the best parts of all of our lives. We do a number of activities and hobbies together, travel together, and have made a lot of purchases as a group. I know he does not have many close friends other than me and my partner, and he has expressed that his worst case scenario would be the two of us breaking up because of him.

You aren't breaking up because of him. You are ending it with Jane because from the beginning it's been kinda one sided and suffocating. Plus you wants kids in your future and she isn't sure. You don't see a big future with Jane and you want to spend some of your young adult time getting to know your own self.

That's the reality.

I get you have soft feelings for them, but it doesn't change the incompatibility. So part ways, quick, clean, polite but FIRM. So you can all linger in the healing place and not the dragging out a break up space.

If you break up with Jane, be prepared if Dave doesn't want to continue to date you. It's ok for you to keep being friends with Dave if he wants to be. You all might want 30 days no contact to close this chapter before trying to be friends. And I'm guessing either you or Jane would move? It may be too weird living with an ex.

I am also very worried about Dave being able to cope on his own if things fell apart, as he is very depressed and the two of us as pretty much his support system/social life.

You do not exist to be other people's "life raft" person. It's ok to want to live your own life for yourself and not to go around propping up other people. If you keep picking out people to be with who aren't esp healthy.... why is that?

Any help navigating this situation would be greatly appreciated - I am involved with two amazing people who I care about deeply, and I want to handle this in the best way possible.

You are done here dating Jane. Be polite, but firm in the break up. Then let the chips fall where they may. The others might want to just be done. Or they might be willing to allow the relationships to change into friendship.

You aren't doing this to hurt people like to be MEAN to them. But you also cannot keep participating in things that you want to stop doing like being mean to your own self. You have to love you too.

Galagirl
 
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