Simple logic says a triad is three. A couple is two. My partners have been married to each other for 20 years. I've been with them for a little over a year. This is my first successful poly relationship that's worth talking about. (I could talk about the creepy JTK poly relationship, maybe, but that's certainly for another time.)
From my perspective, our triad is the only relationship I've know with A. and R. From A.'s perspective and from R.'s too....they have known their dyad and now our triad. When I first moved in, our focus was on our triad. As most people know, it's easy to get "stuck" in a groove. A few months plus in, A. began asking for dyad time with R. and dyad time with me. There had always been this general knowledge that in our triad there are really five relationships: our triad, A. and R., A. and me, R. and me, and of course - time with ourselves too. We were totally not practicing that, even though we knew it logically.
So it began. Couple time. I did not handle this very well at first. (Like I said, sometimes I've got to be willing to share the ugly in order for my blog to have purpose to me and hopefully others.) I'm not sure I would say I was jealous of the time that A. and R. spent together. I was hurt, felt alone, felt less than, sometimes I'd think “They are probably in there trying to figure out how to get me leave.” Some moments I'd think they were each thinking that they were finally able to spend time with their "real" partner. (I know, I know. Aren't insecurities grand?)
Initially we kept missing the boat. R. would spend time with A. but would drop the ball when it came to spending time with me. In my opinion, it's hard from his perspective because he knows he is going to upset or hurt one of his spouses. Things would come, life would get in the way and two weeks would go by and R. would spend time with A. again, and then not with me. Now in some fairness....A. was expressing her need. I would say "Yeah, I want that too", but I wouldn't really ask for it, or demand it.
We work on trying to know ourselves better, understanding our insecurities and be able to work through them. I would ask myself, what does it mean when i feel a "ping" or a "twinge" when moments like that happen? I'm in the room and A. says, “R. do you think I can take pain meds?” Almost as if I'm not there. Why does that bother me, why does it matter? Logically, I get that she is just used to asking him about things. So it shouldn't bother me. These are the things that my insecurities try to use as proof when I'm feeling insecure. (When I mentioned this example to A., she had another perspective: I wasn’t awake when she’d last taken her meds, so of course asking me wouldn’t really help.)
It is really important to talk about what those “pings” are because there’s “his story”, “her story”, “my story”... and somewhere in there lies the truth of the matter. The more we share and talk, the closer to the truth -- as we all three see it -- we get. A bonus to this communication is greater bonding. Now that A. and R. know some of the “pings” I feel, they can be more sensitive in how they do those things. And in talking to them about those “pings”, I’ve felt more secure because they have listened -- both to my trouble and in making those little changes.
The good thing is most of the time I'm secure in my place in my family....otherwise I might go crazy. Of course that would be a short trip anyway. ;-)
Going back to dyad nights... In the beginning, I would have a *really* hard time dealing with their time together. I felt like my time with R. was good, it allowed us to be intimate without worry to A.’s feelings, it allowed me to work on building a relationship with him that was separate from the triad. Don’t miss understand, A. and I do the same “work”, but since I work from home, we have a little more time together so it just flows more naturally. To cope with those nights, I would focus on things I could do for two hours. I didn’t really want to watch a movie because my thoughts could wander. I wanted to actively do something, so I took the dog to the dog park, I played video games, I did the dishes from dinner, I would listen to music through my headphones at the top volume. I would do whatever was necessary to get through the time period. Slowly I began to notice that I had no trouble getting through the time, but the departure (them going back to the bedroom) was awkward at best and the reunion of the triad was awkward. A. and I are different in how we handle things. I tend to withdrawal, she tends to desire affection. Then slowly, but surely, going back wasn’t terribly awkward, getting through the time was fine, but the reunion still needed some work. Currently we meet in the pool for a late night swim. It’s a great way for us to come back together.
Recently while taking dyad time with R. we were talking about ….well I don’t even remember. What I do remember is having this sudden flood of emotion. Emotion telling me he is my husband. Not A.’s husband, not our husband, but *my* husband. I felt like I finally got what A. was talking about.
Today I can tell you that I *love* my husband and I *love* my wife. They are both equally important to me. Is every dyad time perfect? Nope. Do we still argue? Yup! Except lately we’ve been learning and growing and fighting less and more “above the belt” and I know without a shadow of a doubt if we keep talking, trusting, and loving our lives will be filled with more good than bad.