BuzzFeed LGBT: "What Makes A Happy, Successful Throuple"
Another how-to article gets key concepts spot on, and not just for gay guys. Here's another sign that our message is getting out correctly. Excerpts:
We Talked To People In Poly Relationships About What Makes A Happy, Successful Throuple
Because sometimes three is so much better than two.
Michelle Rial / BuzzFeed News
By Nico Lang
Decades ago, such a ceremony might have seemed unthinkable. However, the practice of polyamory — among both queer and heterosexual populations — has become more visible in recent years....
But aside from books like The Ethical Slut or Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert’s More Than Two, the resources for people in relationships like John, Jim, and Thomas’s remain few and far between. BuzzFeed talked to poly folks about what makes their relationships work — and what they would recommend for others willing to give triads a shot.
Find Your Balance
...John mentioned that negotiating that imbalance, where two partners live together and the other does not, has made it important to make Thomas feel welcome from day one. “I never want him to feel like it’s two against one,” John said.
All three of them grew up in the city, enough to know that life, like the city’s ever-shifting neighborhoods, changes. Restaurants come and go, your favorite independent café becomes a high-rise, and friends move to other cities. But bringing Thomas into their relationship has provided unexpected stability, giving them an equilibrium that they otherwise lacked....
Foster Open, Healthy Communication
...According to Anna, 32, poly folks are forced to practice conflict resolution in a way that many couples do not. “[Communication] is not something you’re born with,” she said. “It’s a skill — like riding a bike. They’re forced to develop it, because they’re forced to talk about all these problems that you wouldn’t even think about in other relationship configurations. You don’t take anything for granted.”
When I asked how John, Jim, and Thomas ensure honest and open communication among the three of them, they all were quick to respond — at the exact same time: “group texts!” They also agreed that having a third person around to hash out issues can actually be a boon to communication. “When you’re in a one-on-one relationship, you always think you’re right,” John said. “In a group, there’s always someone to be the voice of reason.”...
Be Mindful About Scheduling
For Billy, Danny, and Dominic, the biggest issue wasn’t communication but scheduling, including negotiating their varying schedules.
...“At that time I was working two jobs and was really busy and lived 40 minutes from Dom,” Billy said. “Danny lived even further away. I would get jealous because they would get to spend most of a weekend together, whereas I might only get to see them for one evening.”
...Billy explained that making time together has remained a challenge for their relationship. “We do have to plan things quite far in advance to make sure we can all get the time off,” he said.
According to Kari David, 28, the issue is that triads aren’t just a matter of coordinating three peoples’ calendars. You have to worry about three partners with potentially very different schedules.
“There’s more logistical concerns: It really is a balancing of four relationships, not just one,” he said.
Negotiate Your Boundaries
In addition to communication and scheduling, a common problem in poly relationships is negotiating jealousy. “Triads can definitely amplify relationship problems,” Kari David said. In one of his relationships — the less successful one — each of his partners would come to him to vent about the other’s perceived faults, instead of addressing the complaint directly. That might have eased tension in the short term, but it rarely solved anything.
“It was really hard for all of us to figure out how to have boundaries when we were all so intimate with each other, but not equally suited to one another or all equally involved in every conflict,” he said.
But in good triads, forcing each partner to be more mindful about how they interact with each other can strengthen the relationship. According to Kari David, the “biggest lesson” he has learned from engaging in polyamory is “not to make assumptions and to negotiate things explicitly”: “Even if two people luck out and are on the same page, the third is likely to want something different,” he said.
Amanda, 34, agreed.... “Understand that your relationship is a living thing, and that it will change, and have a degree of understanding and flexibility when confronted with that reality.”
Be Willing to Learn and Grow
Polyamory often involves a lot of trial and error — trying things that don’t work and being open to to the fact that you might be afraid of life outside monogamy....
As Amanda explained, it can be difficult to deal with the pervasive stigma around poly relationships. But what’s so great about them is that you get to reflect on those societal pressures and define the terms of your relationships for yourself. How you love and whom you love is up to you....
While John explained that he’s “learned a lot more patience” through dating Jim and Thomas, he felt that what has made their triad work is that it’s a democracy. “It’s majority rules — what works best for the most amount of people,” John said. “This wouldn’t work if we were all extremely stubborn....
Read the whole article (March 12, 2016).