Another gay triad goes public. . .
These 3 Gay Men Are in a Successful, Loving Triad Relationship — Here's How It Works
By Mathew Rodriguez
Quick, name a romantic comedy where Sandra Bullock must choose between two romantic partners and decides to end up with both of them — and the two men she chooses want to be with each other too. It's OK: Gregory Rayo, Kai Stenstrum and Mark Aldridge, three gay men in love and living together as a triad outside of Boston, haven't heard of any either.
Gregory Rayo, Kai Stenstrum and Mark Aldridge
...A month or two into their long-distance romance, a guilt-wracked Rayo confessed to hooking up with a friend at a party. That's when Stenstrum (who responded with "Was he hot?") floated the idea of opening the relationship. First, it was sex with other people, and then dating other people.
...Then in March 2014, a Hollywood-sized act of fate occurred. While on a ski trip in New Hampshire with Stenstrum and Aldridge, Rayo conked his head and landed in the hospital, requiring some help at home upon his release. Aldridge, who lived a few miles away from the other two, stayed with Stenstrum and Rayo for the weekend to tend to their mutual beau.
As of that weekend, they made a mutual decision to become a triad. Rayo was relieved of his two-man juggle, and Stenstrum and Aldridge were excited to close the open loop in their three-person arrangement.
...In Nancy Meyers' rom-coms, a character's house reflects a character's inner self. Sunk into a brown sofa, a clean oasis in an accumulation of belongings, Stenstrum made clear what their one-bedroom apartment said about them.
"There's too much stuff all over the place," he said. "We're fitting too many people in too small a place right now."
...Stenstrum said the three were largely in unchartered territory. "We have no books or rom-coms to go off of," he said.
"You need to kind of become comfortable with the fact that you have negative emotions, things like jealousy," Aldridge told Mic.
"Jealousy always gets a bad rap, but it doesn't have to be that way," Scott Kramer, a social worker and psychotherapist who sees polyamorous patients, told Mic. Kramer said every relationship needs a little jealousy to thrive.
"With a healthy jealousy we might be able to say, 'Hey, wait a second, something doesn't feel right or seem right. Let me unpack things and see where this jealousy really comes from,'" he said. "Then talk to the people in the relationship and see if that jealousy is founded or unfounded."
...On most days, Stenstrum cooks and Aldridge scrubs the dishes. "One of our big things is dishes, because we don't have a dishwasher and I have to have things a certain way if I'm going to do dishes," Aldridge said.
"I get upset about that one thing because I've asked [Greg] to make our home together nice and when you don't do that it feels like you haven't listened to me or you don't want to help keep me happy," he said. "I need to feel like we're all on the same team."
"I'm a messy person and I've been trying to undo that part of myself," Rayo said. "I'm getting better by doing more chores around the house."
They said they all prefer to nip conflict in the bud.
"It doesn't usually end up in like one big fight," Stenstrum said. "It's usually like, Mark and I will notice it and start to get frustrated and we sit Greg down and start to talk to him about it."
Aldridge uses Stenstrum as a springboard for solutions. "I go to Kai to make sure I'm not being completely ridiculous," he said.
For Aldridge, who is new to polyamory, this method of conflict is a vast improvement.
"It's been so fantastic to have someone who's not part of the fight but is concerned with the welfare of both parties," Aldridge said. "It's interesting to have a third person who cares about both of you and can kind of help resolve situations and keep you in check and say, 'No, you're being irrational' or 'Your demands are not good demands to make of someone you love.'"...
...The unit did express a tension with their queer, monogamous counterparts. In the time of marriage equality, they said they often have had to fight to be seen as three individuals in one legitimate, loving relationship....
Read the whole article (October 20, 2015).