What is a 3 way relationship called
10 FAQs About Being in a Throuple: Definition, Dynamic, and MoreShare on Pinterest
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Maybe you caught that one “House Hunters” episode that had HGTV-lovers around the globe up in arms. Or maybe you binged “Politician” specifically for that throuple subplot (#relatable).
Or maybe you were rooting for (read: turned on by) Alice, Nat, and Gigi in Showtime’s “The L Word: Generation Q.”
Whatever the reason, you stumbled across this article because you’re curious about what exactly a throuple is and how it works.
Luckily for you, Liz Powell, PsyD, licensed psychologist, LGBTQ-friendly sex educator, and author of “Building Open Relationships: Your Hands-On Guide to Swinging, Polyamory & Beyond,” and Lateef Taylor, pleasure-based, queer-inclusive sex educator and sex-positivity advocate, are here to explain.
Taylor offers this definition: “A throuple is a relationship between three people who have all unanimously agreed to be in a romantic, loving, relationship together with the consent of all people involved.”
You may also hear a throuple referred to as a three-way relationship, triad, or closed triad.
Typically, an open relationship is a relationship that occurs between two people who have mutually agreed to open their relationship up to sex — but not romance or love — with other people.
If two folks in an open (or closed) relationship have sex together with a third person, this is a threesome, not a throuple!
A threesome is explicitly sexual in nature. While throuples can (and often do!) have a sexual component, throuples are ongoing relationships that are full of feels and romance. Threesomes (usually) aren’t.
Here’s where it gets tricky: A throuple can be an open or closed relationship.
If it’s open, it means that the people in the throuple can only have romance within the throuple, but can have sex with folks outside of the relationship.
If it’s closed, it means that the people in the throuple can only have romance and sex with the other people within the throuple.
A throuple relationship can also be polyamorous.
This means that the individuals within the throuple can have sex and romance or love with folks outside of their three-person relationship.
“As with a two-person relationship, what the throuple looks like is dependent on what the people in the relationship’s boundaries, needs, and wants are,” explains Taylor.
“Being in a throuple gives you access to more or different types of emotional affection, intimacy, care, and joy,” says Taylor.
And if the throuple is sexual: sex, pleasure, and orgasms!
There are three main ways a throuple can form:
- a preexisting couple decides to add a third person to their relationship and actively seeks out a third
- a preexisting couple organically adds a third to the relationship
- three people organically come together around the same(ish) time and choose to enter a relationship together
A throuple can include any combination of people of any gender or sexual identity.
According to Powell, “A lot of times a throuple is formed when a heterosexual couple seeks out a hot bisexual babe.” (P.S. This is called unicorn hunting).
Powell adds that a three-way relationship may be especially attractive to folks who are bisexual, queer, or pansexual.
If you’re in a preexisting relationship, a throuple may work well for you and your partner if:
- you have an incredibly healthy preexisting relationship complete with A+ communication skills
- you’re equally enthusiastic about being in a throuple
- you both experience compersion (more on this term below) and have developed healthy coping skills for jealousy
- you have a shared view on what a throuple might look like for you, but are both willing to adapt that view based on the third’s needs
- you’re both willing to unpack your couple privilege (learn more about couple privilege here)
If you’re single, a throuple may work well for you if:
- you’re attracted physically, emotionally, spiritually, and — if the relationship is going to be sexual — sexually to both parties
- you experience compersion and have healthy coping skills for jealousy
- you know how to communicate your boundaries and advocate for yourself
“Many of the benefits of a throuple are similar to the benefits of a two-person relationship,” says Taylor. These include:
- someone(s) who enjoy your same hobbies, and someone(s) to pick up new hobbies through
- someone(s) to emotionally support you through hard times
- someone(s) for you to emotionally support
- someone(s) to teach you something
There are also benefits specific to being in a throuple.
If, for instance, you’re someone who experiences compersion — joy from witnessing another person’s joy, which is essentially vicarious joy — you get that in spades from a throuple. You get to watch two people who you love, love and be loved by another person.
There are also the logistical benefits of a throuple.
If you live together, for instance, there are more people to contribute to household upkeep and finances. If there are kids, there are more people to help with child-rearing responsibilities.
There aren’t necessarily any disadvantages of being in a throuple.
But there are unrealistic expectations about what a throuple will actually look or feel like. Or, how much work it actually takes.
“Couples who want to add a third person need to be prepared for their original relationship to undergo a complete shift,” says Powell.
Unfortunately, OG couples aren’t always prepared for that.
Powell explains: “[Often] they come up with tons of rules around what the throuple is going to look like and what the boundaries will be in order to preserve the relationship.” Then they go out to try to find a third.
The trouble? For starters, this is extremely disempowering to the third person!
“Any conversation about the boundaries of the throuple needs to take place with all people involved,” says Powell.
Beyond that, it’s just not realistic.
“A throuple isn’t just a slightly different take on a relationship between two people,” says Powell. “It’s four different relationships: the three individual relationships and one group relationship.”
No doubt, this can work. But it requires a lot of work and communicating from all people involved — like, a lot.
We aren’t going to sugarcoat it: If all parties aren’t prepared to put in the work, the throuple will not last.
It may not need to be said, but “transitioning your two-person relationship to a three-person relationship isn’t going to fix any underlying issues in a relationship,” says Taylor. “It’s going to exacerbate them.”
This is especially true if the issue in the relationship is lack of, or poor, communication.
Currently in a two-person relationship? Before you bring it up with your current partner, ask yourself:
- Why am I interested in a throuple?
- Why am I interested in a throuple, as opposed to a polyamorous relationship where my partner and I can have individual romantic relationships outside of the relationship?
- Why am I interested in a throuple, as opposed to an open relationship where my partner and I can have individual sexual relationships outside of each other?
- Am I willing for my current relationship to completely undergo a shift?
Taylor adds, “Before you bring it up with your partner, you need to know if you’re willing to continue your current relationship if your partner says no. ” Or if it’s throuple or bust.
Once you know the answers to these Qs, you’re ready to bring it up. Start with an “I” statement, then pose a question. For example:
- “Ever since watching “The L Word,” I’ve been really intrigued by the concept of a throuple and I think it’s something I might be interested in exploring together. Would you ever be interested in bringing another person into our relationship, romantically and sexually?”
- “I think watching someone else love and have sex with you would bring me a lot of joy and pleasure. Would you ever be interested in sharing our life with another partner?”
- “I recently read an article about throuples and I think that may be something I’d like to explore. Would you consider learning more about throuples with me and talking about whether or not that relationship style might work for us?”
Remember: Your partner may not be interested, and they reserve the right to say no without being pressured.
This is supposed to be a conversation, not a debate. K?
Financial, sexual, relationship, and familial boundaries all need to be discussed.
- If there are children, how will the child-rearing responsibilities be shared?
- How will you handle finances? For instance, who will pay on dates? Who will pay rent?
- What will the living situation be?
- What pregnancy prevention measures and safer sex practices will be used, and by whom?
- How much will you share with family members, co-workers, and friends? How will you interact in front of those people?
- Will the throuple be closed or open?
More often than you think you need to!
“You don’t want to wait for things to come up before you talk about them,” says Taylor. “You want to be proactive.” Fair.
They recommend establishing a weekly check-in meeting where all parties are present.
If you want to learn more about throuples, Powell recommends also learning about polyamory and open relationships.
Popular polyamory and open relationship resources include:
- “More Than Two: A Practical Guide to Ethical Polyamory” by Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert
- “The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships & Other Adventures” by Janet W. Hardy and Dossie Easton
- “Building Open Relationships: Your Hands-On Guide to Swinging, Polyamory, and Beyond!” by Liz Powell
For resources specifically about or for throuples, check out:
- Amory podcast
- Throuple.life and Throuple_trouble on Instagram
- The Triad Book
Gabrielle Kassel is a New York–based sex and wellness writer and CrossFit Level 1 Trainer. She’s become a morning person, tested over 200 vibrators, and eaten, drunk, and brushed with charcoal — all in the name of journalism. In her free time, she can be found reading self-help books and romance novels, bench-pressing, or pole dancing. Follow her on Instagram.
Throuples: How They Work, Rules & FAQs About 3-Way Relationships
What is a throuple?
A throuple, which is a mix of the words couple and three, is a romantic relationship between three people, in which every person is intimately linked with the other two. Although media representation usually focuses on two bisexual women and one straight man, throuples can consist of any kind of gender constellation. Throuples can be just as committed to one another as couples, despite lacking legal frameworks to recognize their relationships.
"Three individuals who are in a relationship with each other very often prefer to be called a 'triad' rather than 'throuple,'" adds Jennifer Schneider, MSW, LCSW, LICSW, a licensed therapist and social worker who has clinical experience working with non-monogamous people. (This article will use the terms interchangeably.)
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Throuple vs. polyamory vs. open relationship.
A throuple is not quite the same as polyamory or an open relationship, although there is some overlap between the terms. All three terms are subsets of ethical non-monogamy.
Polyamory refers to the practice of, or desire for, intimate relationships with more than one person, with the informed consent of all people involved. Polyamorous people believe and honor the idea that it's perfectly normal, desirable, and possible to love, be attracted to, and be intimate with more than one person at a time.
An open relationship is a relationship in which a romantically bonded couple (or throuple!) decide to have sex with people outside of their relationship—usually without forming long-lasting emotional bonds or commitment. (Here's how to ask your partner for an open relationship if that's sparking some curiosity.)
A throuple is an example of polyamory, i.e., loving more than one person at a time, and throuples may or may not be in open relationships, depending on the preferences of those involved. Throuples may also be open to love outside of the threesome, and each person in the relationship may also have other partners, lovers, or dates.
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What are the "rules" in a throuple relationship?
"There are no specific 'rules' that all triads follow," Schneider says. Most throuples have their own unique relationship agreements, so it's therefore not possible to give across-the-board examples of how they work. As a unit, the three people must decide what approach they want to take and what dynamics feel good to them in terms of who has sex with whom, where everyone sleeps, how date nights work, and the like.
There are various options that might be in play, Schneider says.
"A V relationship is one in which one individual is the 'hinge,' where they have two relationships, but their partners are not in a relationship with each other. A visual representation of it is simply the letter 'V,'" explains Schneider.
The way in which the people in a V relationship relate to one another differs from relationship to relationship. "I've seen many configurations of V dynamics in my work, and they all look different. There's a broad spectrum of how closely all parties involved in Vs relate. Sometimes the metamours (people with a shared partner) are dear friends, housemates, and/or co-parents. Sometimes they prefer not to know one another at all," says Dow.
While triads or throuples are usually three people who all share a romantic and sexual link with both of the other parties, sometimes people refer to V relationships as triads too.
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Sleeping with people outside the triad.
It might be perfectly fine for the throuple members to seek out love or sex outside of the triad. Or it might be counted as cheating for some throuples. It all depends on the mutually agreed-upon rules that govern a particular relationship.
Not all throuples are open relationships, Schneider explains: "Some triads are polyfidelitous, meaning that the triad might be considered 'closed,' in that members of it do not date outside of it." In other situations, they may be open to having relationships outside of the triad with certain agreements in place. "Triad members may wish to be consulted before a member dates someone outside of it, or not," she explains. "There may be one member of the triad that does not wish to date outside of it, whereas the other two do."
"I've heard people say before that it's best for all three parties in a throuple to sleep together so nobody feels left out. To me any absolute of that nature in regards to how relationships 'should' function is ridiculous," says Anna Dow, LCSW, a therapist who specializes in non-monogamous relationships in her clinical work at Vast Love and who also practices consensual non-monogamy herself. "We humans are each one-of-a-kind creatures. Thus it makes much more sense to structure our relationships around the preferences of the people involved rather than defaulting to any preconceived 'shoulds.' One of my partners is especially sensitive to sensory input and prefers sleeping alone. If he and I were in a triad relationship, he would still prefer to sleep alone."
So while some triads share a bed every night, some rotate between partners so as to give each configuration of lovers quality time, and some sleep apart regardless. What's most important is that the arrangement takes into account each individual's needs. "Relationships with three people are similar to relationships with two in that the individuals involved have a lot of agency in how they're crafted, and each dynamic is unique," says Dow.
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Just like sleeping arrangements, date nights and quality time for people in triads are usually a mix of activities involving all three members of the relationship and some with just two of them. There are no hard-and-fast rules.
"Rules are useful in dynamics with power differentials, like parenting. In adult relationships, in which people treat one another as equals, it's much healthier for people to instead all share openly about their thoughts, feelings, boundaries, and desires with the goal of coming to agreements that are considerate of all parties involved," explains Dow.
What is a unicorn in a throuple?
No, not a mythical horse but rumored to be just as hard to find. "A unicorn is an individual, very frequently a heteroflexible or bisexual/pansexual woman, who a couple seeks out to form a triad," says Schneider. "The couples who most frequently go 'unicorn-hunting' are composed of a straight man and a bisexual woman."
Unicorn-hunting is frequently looked down upon in non-monogamous circles because it often results in an objectification of the unicorn, who ceases to be seen as her own person. Couples may treat the unicorn as existing solely for the benefit of the existing couple unit and disregard her feelings and need to feel seen, heard, and respected. Schneider notes that unicorn-hunting is often done by couples who are new to ethical non-monogamy: "Having separate polyamorous relationships feels too threatening."
Are throuples legal?
It's perfectly legal for three consenting adults to have a relationship, but when it comes to being recognized by the state, things get a little harder. It's currently not possible for three people to be married and enjoy the benefits that come along with that, such as filing taxes together. However, there are small signs of progress. For example, a court in Canada ruled that two men and one woman who were in a throuple could all be registered as the legal parents of their child, who was born in 2017.
What about jealousy?
A common misconception about polyamorous people is that they don't get jealous. In fact, jealousy is a feeling that pops up for just about everyone at some time or another. One person in a throuple might feel jealous of the other two and the bond they have or the time they spend together, or they may feel jealous of their relationships with other partners outside the triad.
When jealousy strikes in a non-monogamous context, it's usually seen as an opportunity to interrogate emotions and find space for dialogue to work through the difficult feelings. On the other hand, many people in triads are buoyed in their relationships by the experience of compersion, a feeling of unselfish joy that's felt when one's partner is fulfilled in their other relationships.
The unique challenges of being in a throuple.
While being in a triad offers an abundance of love and security, it also comes with some unique challenges. Depending on the origins of the throuple, there might be insecurities at play. "A newer member of the triad might feel, at times, very separate from the other two, in that those two's relationship might have originally been just the two of them," Schneider explains. Furthermore, "sometimes the original couple that then forms a triad might not have fully 'worked out' what polyamory means for them."
In these cases, a lack of communication and clarity can have calamitous results for the relationship. With three people's needs in competition with one another, "a triad might start to feel more like a scalene or obtuse triangle rather than the original goal of an equilateral one," warns Schneider.
The problems that throuples face aren't just internal but structural as well. Dow explains: "The main con that comes to mind for me [with triads] is that society is designed for two. People tend to get +1 invitations for weddings, it's expected to only bring one partner to work events, families often aren't welcoming of more than one partner at holidays, marriage is only legal for two, couples resorts cater to dyads, many roller coaster rides only have two seats, and this list could go on for days."
This society-sanctioned dismissal of triads can lead to personal friction. "Because dyadic partnerships are the norm, couples get a good bit of privilege in society. In triads this often leads to the person who entered the relationship last getting excluded in certain contexts like holidays, weddings, or work events," Dow says. "This is especially true if people in the relationship don't feel comfortable coming out as queer or non-monogamous. It can be very painful for people to be in a position of secrecy when their other partners are able to present as a couple to the public and reap the benefits that doing so provides."
Lastly, the realities of how humans create and maintain connections with one another are brought into sharp focus through triads. "When more than two people form an intimate relationship system together, it's not a realistic expectation that all of the connections within the dynamic will evolve at the same speed or to the same depth. Inequities in that regard often bring up painful feelings for people that have to be processed and worked through on the individual and team levels," says Dow.
How to know if a throuple is right for you.
Knowing that a triad is the right fit for you is a little complicated. After all, you never know until you try. Schneider's advice is to start by considering your feelings about ethical non-monogamy in general: "Are you someone who is interested in polyamory, as you have felt drawn to it and find yourself rejecting traditional monogamous values?"
If you've always felt that the status quo leaves you unsatisfied and you're invested in considering your own and others' feelings with a lot of care and deliberation, then a triad might be for you.
"You must also fully accept that traversing uncharted territories tends to be hard work that's full of surprises!" says Dow. Building a triad takes vulnerability and communication; it's not just an excuse to have a threesome. A triad is "one of the most complex poly relationships that exists," says Beth Bloomfield-Fox, LPC. "In a triad there are many relationships happening; person 1 with person 2, person 1 with person 3, person 2 with person 3, etc., and the relationship that exists between all three people together. Being in a relationship with this dynamic requires a significant amount of conversation, patience, and personal responsibility."
If you're curious about thinking deeper about throuples and other forms of polyamory, then Schneider recommends the following books:
- The Smart Girl's Guide to Polyamory by Dedeker Winston (Useful for everyone, not just girls! adds Schneider)
- The Jealousy Workbook by Kathy Labriola
- Polysecure by Jessica Fern (I just finished reading this last week, and it's a really solid book for beginners and more experienced non-monogamists alike. )
Another smart path to take before deciding if a triad is right for you is therapy. "Meeting with a therapist or relationship coach who is poly aware and accepting before introducing new parties and dynamics is a great first step," recommends Bloomfield-Fox. In order to find a therapist who has the competence needed to help navigate poly issues, you can use this useful directory.
What it's like being in a throuple.
Here, some people who are in, or have been in, throuples, talk about what it is or was like for them:
- "We've been together for two years. We did not actively seek or choose being in a throuple; we stumbled across it, and the way of life chose us accordingly. If you ask us about the barriers we face—most of them are external. For example, because our way of life is still not considered 'normal,' we keep having to explain to people why and how we are the way we are and why there is one more person than usual. Also, sleeping/sitting arrangements outside are usually made for two people, so we have to adjust there. When it comes to our relationship itself on an internal/emotional level, making two relationships work at the same time (and dealing with two egos...!) is definitely more challenging. However, the flip side to this is beyond beautiful. Two people rarely fulfill each other on every level, and a third person can definitely complement the relationship. To give you an example, Martha and Karan are both highly extroverted and energetic, which their relationship thrives upon. Nevertheless, their relationship needs Inga's calmness and nurturance to remain stable. Additionally, since we are now three people unconditionally supporting each other and splitting daily tasks accordingly, we end up with more time to pursue our individual interests. And if one of us does something alone/away from the others, they know that the others are well taken care of because they are two people, and you're not leaving one person alone." —Inga (25), Karan (34), and Martha (23)
- "I was in a throuple for six months with a couple I met on Tinder. At first it was kind of like a montage from a movie. I couldn't believe how fun it was. But over time, cracks started to show, and I realized that they really hadn't prepared for opening up their original relationship. I felt more and more pushed out and annoyed. It ended up blowing up pretty bad." —Amanda (29)
- "I didn't exactly choose to end up in a 'V.' It just kind of happened. I made friends with a couple through my bar job, and me and the guy started sleeping together. I was new to non-monogamy and couldn't really believe that his girlfriend didn't mind and that she even wanted to be friends with me. We ended up spending like a year traveling together through Asia. In the end we all transitioned to just being friends, and we're inseparable. Nowadays I'm in a monogamous relationship, and I think it works better for me, but I am glad I tried something different." —Em (30)
How polyamorous people live - Poster Daily
Polyamory is a romantic relationship with more than one person at the same time or openness to such a relationship. Six members of two polyamorous unions talk about how this is done in practice.
This text uses a word that begins with the letter B. Since it is important for the disclosure of the topic, but the law forbids us to print it, we will replace it with the word Mizulin (in honor of the most famous fighter for public morality in the Russian parliament).
The story of Alice, Charlie and Bob
Polyamory is based on the idea that sex is not the main and not the main content of the relationship, that in the age of contraceptives, sex exclusivity has lost its meaning. And that in general people, if they want, can have many romantic relationships, and not one: provided that all participants are informed and agreed (this is the key point), there is absolutely nothing wrong with this. There are a lot of forms of non-monogamous relationships, and some of them, I would say, differ from each other more than monogamy from individual forms of polyamory. Everything else depends on the specific agreements in the couple/commonwealth.
My husband and I lived in a closed monogamous marriage for several years and did not think about polyamory at all. Then I learned about the existence of the LessWrong rationalist community, among which there are many open polyamorous people - this is how I got acquainted with this phenomenon. My husband and I discussed various forms of polyamory for a long time, possible problems, our desires, and as a result, six months ago, we decided that we wanted to try. For a while I just experimented with different formats, met new people, several times these experiments turned out to be wonderful sex, but in general I did not feel that polyamory somehow drastically changes my life. Then I met Bob, and it became clear that this relationship is special and for a long time. I'm very happy.
Why do I need it? For all of us. For happiness. After all, in order to hack the ugly, patriarchal, sex-centric system in which there are so few happy couples and so many unhappy ones. There are so many cool people in the world, and the opportunity to have different relationships and love many enriches. I don't believe that love is an item that you can only give to one person. I believe that this is a feeling that arises and intensifies in response to a reciprocal feeling, so there can be as much love as there is enough strength and time.
In practice, polyamory can look different - from marriage with occasional sex on the side to polyamorous communities, when three or more people live under the same roof and raise common children together. In our case, the boundaries are quite clear: my husband and I have a common child, a common life and budget, we live together and now we don’t even consider the possibility of living together with anyone else. But we can meet other people and build long-term relationships with them. If someone becomes uncomfortable for any reason, we will discuss this and come up with some other rules.
The last rule applies not only to my relationship with my husband, but also to my relationship with partners. I believe that responsibility is necessary in all respects - even if it's a one-night stand. Anyway, this is a certain level of trust, and responsibility is the other side of trust.
Since we switched to an open relationship, my life with my husband has become fuller and more varied, a special closeness and trust has appeared between us, more than before. I can, for example, tell my husband that I'm sad because I miss my boyfriend. And I know that I will receive support, not condemnation. It's a fantastic feeling. I was a little afraid that I would be jealous, because there is still a certain distance between conscious decisions and emotions, but I was surprised to find that I was not just not jealous, but very glad about my husband’s other romantic relationships. I love him and want him to be well. When he rejoices, I rejoice too.
We haven't come out yet - I feel ready for this and would like to talk about my preferences (I'm a very open person and I like to talk about everything - my husband jokes that I can't do anything without doing about this lecture), but this will automatically make public information about my husband, who is not ready for this.
Those who know generally react positively, say it's cool, ask smart questions that are nice to answer. Distrust is less common - have you decided to save the marriage and therefore tolerate each other's betrayals? (Not). What will you do if someone wants to live with another person? (The same as monogamous couples - we will discuss everything, we will go to the family therapist, if we cannot figure it out ourselves, we will make a decision). How do you explain this to your child when he starts asking questions? (Words through the mouth, like everything else!)
We live in a society in which a lot is tied to sex, and as long as there is no sex, pluralism does not bother anyone. No one seriously discusses whether it is possible to be friends with more than one person at the same time. But the idea that you are friends with several people, and with some of them you also have sex, causes misunderstanding and rejection. For me, sex is just another item on the list of everything I love to do with people close to me.
In general, the attitude towards polyamory is not uniform. On the one hand, every year there are more and more materials about it as an interesting new phenomenon that will definitely not remain on the outskirts of society. In Colombia, they even recently concluded the world's first marriage between three men. On the other hand, LGBTQIA+ people are still being discriminated against, including hate-motivated killings, and I'm sure open polyamorous people also suffer from people with so-called traditional values.
One often comes across the opinion that polyamory is the same as group sex. Or just an excuse for Mizulinstvo . In fact, both are not true. The difference between polyamory and group sex is simple. Group sex is a sexual practice, like cunnilingus or BDSM. Accordingly, among polyamers there are both people who practice group sex and those who do not; and at the same time there are couples who are identified as monogamous, but at the same time open to group sex.
As for the differences between polyamory and Mizulinism , it is more complicated. Most often, a woman is called Mizulina if she demonstrates free sexual behavior and does not correspond to the patriarchal ideal of a modest, quiet woman. Brightly painted; put on a short skirt; sent an obsessive guy; had more than three sexual partners in her life. By the way, note that all this applies only to women. This phenomenon is called "slut shaming", and not only polyamorous girls, but monogamous girls are at risk of such insults: it is worth "too often", according to society, to change partners or "too often" to have sex, and that's it - you are guaranteed a stigma. This is a xenophobic reaction of people who grew up in a patriarchal community to freedom and openness.
Charlie, Alice's husband
Polyamory basically excludes a situation like "you are in a happy marriage, but suddenly fell in love - it means that you must definitely choose one partner and suffer a break with the second. " Just like the thesis “if you love a person, then with all the other attractive people you try to keep a friendly distance so that you don’t fall in love and spoil everything for everyone.”
To be honest, I myself would not risk experimenting. First, it was necessary to find out that such a model already exists, and to understand the general principles of polyamory (a good guide in English is on morethantwo.com. But in fact, little has changed in my life. I used to think that there should be equality and attention in a couple to each other's feelings and boundaries. That sex is not the most important thing, but just one of the components. That relationships require attention, care and joint efforts. That partners may have some different interests, and this does not necessarily harm the union, unlike attempts to control and impose restrictions on each other. Polyamory is all the same, only not with one person, but with several. It remains only to discuss whether you want this with a partner.
Those who are attracted to the idea of relationships with several people need to understand themselves well, be able to talk about their feelings, needs and boundaries, and be able to listen to others. This is also useful in monogamous relationships. But for them, there are many ready-made models in culture that allow you to do without discussions, but not for polyamory. And of course, it is difficult when partners have different views - a compromise cannot always be found.
Bob, Alice's partner
After kissing Alice for the first time, I accepted all the conditions that we talked about before. That she has a husband, has or could potentially have other relationships. But it is important to me that Alice is awesome. I feel good about our relationship - I don't need anything else. I enjoy the here and now. Next to her, I feel special.
We have a warm, trusting relationship that I enjoy. We meet whenever possible. When not, we call. We often call up - there is always something to talk about, and our conversations cheer up and relieve stress if it has accumulated during the day. Good communication is sometimes even more important than sex. Sex is possible with anyone, but a wonderful conversation, endorphins, dopamine - only with the elite.
When we realized that the matter was more serious than sex for a couple of nights, we discussed the rules of conduct. Alice can tell me about her other relationships if she wishes. Or maybe not to tell - that's just her business. It is important for her not to accidentally hurt me, and I appreciate it and hope not to hurt her myself.
I can't be jealous of her because I don't want to and because it's stupid to be jealous. We agreed to share our feelings if Alice or me starts to get stressed out. It is important not to let the sensations develop into something unpleasant. If I get another partner who will not accept the relationship with Alice, we will discuss how to reformat them and how to deal with the new variable in the equation. In any case, my potential relationship should not affect our confidential communication, and this is the most significant find for me.
Those who are close to me are aware of these relationships - those with whom I can basically discuss my personal life. They react with interest, ask about various details, feelings. I did not face disapproval, and it would be strange - my life, after all, go to hell with your disapproval.
The story of Vova, Sasha and Nastya
There was no such thing that I read somewhere about polyamory or someone told me about it. Until the age of twenty, I didn’t think about it at all. But gradually it began to seem to me that it is quite possible to have more than one romantic connection and they may not replace each other, but be complementary.
I started practicing in alliance with Sasha. When we met, she had another boyfriend with whom we studied at the institute. And even then, Sasha and I had contacts that went beyond friendship. I do not classify this experience as conscious, but it clearly influenced the fact that we eventually came to this. We have known each other for ten years, and we have been living together for almost four years. Two years ago, we started talking openly about polyamory. The initiative was mine - this stemmed partly from what I saw complexes in Sasha. It seemed to her that no one liked her and no one would want to meet her. And I said, "Why don't you check? Post a profile on a dating site, meet someone, and you'll find out." Then it was more talk.
An important turning point was the emergence of the Polyamorous Moscow group on Vkontakte. We joined it, got acquainted with the party and finally accepted the idea.
The first episode of the new life was a chance meeting with a girl who both me and Sasha liked at the same time. Nothing came of it, but it gave us a boost. We even fantasized about how to seduce her. And it brought us closer. Soon, another friend from my past appeared, with whom I had previously had an exclusively sexual relationship. And then suddenly we met again, and we had a threesome when she came to visit us. Everyone liked it. Then there was another girl, a chance meeting, a threesome. And then Nastya appeared.
We met at a group lesson in vocals and improvisation. She danced, moved, sang something - perhaps the body language conveyed something to me. My gaze caught on her, I held out my hand to her and called for me.
Nastya later told me that at first she did not understand: how is it that he is clearly flirting with me, but he already has a girlfriend. When I told that Sasha and I are free people in an open relationship, this shocked her somewhat, but aroused her interest. It took her a week to accept.
We meet with Nastya for half a year, regularly, about twice a week. Our relationship has gone beyond sexual interaction, there is clearly both a romantic component and a spiritually friendly one. Interestingly, Sasha and Nastya also made contact. We are a triangle that is valid on all three sides. I meet separately at home with Nastya when Sasha is away. All three of us meet if Nastya comes to visit. Sasha sometimes meets with Nastya on her own to chat somewhere. We also have threesomes, and it works out very well, getting better and better.
Sasha is not surprised if, when she comes home, she finds Nastya and me naked or almost naked, it has already happened. For her, this is no longer traumatic - because we all have trust in everyone. It is not clear what advice we can give our readers for a happy relationship. Except this one: everything is built on the opportunity to openly discuss anything. If I don't want to answer my partner's questions, I won't build a polyamorous relationship.
Jealousy happens in any relationship, and polyamorous relationships are no exception. In general, it happens, it seems to me, for three reasons. These are fear of loss, fear of loneliness and low self-esteem. About ten years ago, I was also afraid that I was somehow not like that, nobody needed me. And the attention of the girl with whom I have a relationship to someone else intensified these feelings. But for the most part, I worked this out even before the start of our relationship with Sasha. I already had the confidence that people are different. If she goes to another, then she wants another at the moment. This does not mean that I am worse. If you want vegetables, you will not eat candy, and then eat candy whenever you want, that's all. But it is not so easy to come to this, it is a certain spiritual work.
When Sasha comes back from a date, I always ask: “Well, how was it with you?” I'm pleased. There is such a term - "compression", the antonym of jealousy. Apparently, polyamory came up with. I don't know how common it is. The bottom line is that you experience pleasant sensations when your partner is happy with someone else. Some say it turns him on. Someone is just happy for a girlfriend or friend. I definitely have this feeling.
Being polyamorous does not mean wanting to have sex with many people. This means the very assumption of the possibility of more than one contact in case a person has hooked you. At some point, polyamorous can only be in one relationship. Or even he may be alone. In this regard, he is no worse than any other person. Polyamory is more of a mindset. And I know privately that I will never stop being polyamorous in terms of worldview.
It seems to me that society does not react as sharply to polyamorous people as it does to LGBT people. The latter, according to my observations, often cause a painful negative. And here, with whomever I accidentally spoke about this, in addition to fear, I also see interest. I see eyes light up. And just like in that joke - why, could it be? A person who can honestly ask himself whether he wants to be polyamorous already has a chance to be one. I insist that polyamory does not oblige you to have many contacts. This is the ideology of allowing more than one contact. And in this regard, I think many, if not all, can.
I would not want to ask myself, for example, whether Sasha and I will be together in five years or whether Nastya will be in my life in two years. The current moment is more important to me. As of now, Nastya is definitely a part of my life. We have very good sexual compatibility. It's already worth a lot. None of us have specific plans for children yet. So far, we are at such a stage that we have just begun to understand ourselves. And - here the three of us converge - until you understand yourself, it's better to wait with the children. But someday, yes, probably.
I was born in Moscow and grew up here. Intelligent family: mother is a radio physicist, father is an electrical engineer. I graduated from the Physics and Mathematics School and MEPhI. At some point, I became seriously interested in music, and this turned out to be much more interesting than, say, programming. Therefore, now I am a musician-arranger, and I also repair computers, as well as layout, editing, proofreading texts. I am a freelancer.
I live in the present moment. Planning scares me because expectations always spoil reality. I've come to the conclusion that when I don't expect anything from life, I feel better.
Trying to build a long-term relationship with my first boyfriend, I positioned myself as a monogamous woman who wants to cook borscht and have children for her husband. And I even tried to act out the model that I would lead the house, my lover would be my revolutionary, inspirer, and I would be his muse. We talked a lot with each other, shared our feelings. But he had a penchant for all sorts of psychological experiments. He deliberately provoked me, convincing me that I did not know how to control my emotions. I was so jealous of him that I could have hit him. In the end, we broke up, but it was he who introduced me to Vova.
The three of us had a close friendship, we even had sex together. In fact, on the first day we met Vova, we almost had a threesome. In general, I had some strange things in my head for a long time, despite the fact that I knew that there were attitudes in society: let's make up your mind, either you love Vasya or Petya. And meeting one and looking at someone else is wrong. But I felt something else in myself. And when I myself see how my loved one has sex with someone, I get excited. I would like to do the same. I want to be with them.
Last summer, Vova and I officially opened a relationship. This means that each of us can date the person he likes. He can bring him to our common territory when the other is absent, or invite him to visit if this person is of interest to both. Probably for about half a year it turned out that I was mostly interested in new people. Vova is an introvert, stays at home a lot and is selective in communication. Talking to five people in a day is a lot for him, I think.
I got to know each other in different ways: once after a concert I went up to a guy I liked, went with Vova to meetings of Moscow polyamers from the public in Vkontakte. There are only 284 people there, very few for the whole of Moscow. At meetings, some burning topics are usually discussed: "How do you deal with jealousy", "What details do you share. " Age - from 20 to 40. Those who are 21-24 come to hear how it happens. And older people started when no one knew such words, but they already tried to experiment with relationships. These are often people from parties like role players. Experiments on consciousness lead to the fact that you start trying everything in a row. Today you are an elf, tomorrow you are polyamorous. And the day after tomorrow you will put on a woman's dress and, perhaps, you will be happy too. In general, in a polyamorous family there are a lot of options. Someone only sleeps with people, someone, on the contrary, only communicates and at the same time experiences some kind of romantic feelings. There are polyamorous asexuals, they are not interested in sex, but they can communicate closely and spend time with several people.
In general, as I see it now, I am looking for new friends. And I just don't draw a line between a friend and a lover. I tried to meet a couple of times just for sex, but I realized that without the ability to make deep contact with a person verbally, I can’t.
About a month and a half ago, I met a young man and felt like an old close friend. Him and his wife. He, unfortunately, went to the USA for a year to work. But we keep in touch with him, share our thoughts and experiences. And this exchange of emotions brings me vitality. It seems to me that if he had not left, then our couples could have had a very interesting communication, including on the basis of joint music-making. But usually Vova is not privy to all the details of my relationship. Not because we have some kind of ban on this, but because I have so many meetings and acquaintances that he says: “I just don’t remember everyone. I do not need it. If you're fine, then fine. If something does not suit you, then let's discuss it. But in general, I don’t want to know all these details.”
If I have jealousy or other negativity, I try to understand what exactly I need. It happens that I miss a person and I just want to sit and watch a movie with him. Some physical contact. Sharing the latest impressions and emotions. And it happens that, for example, I need to do some things, and out of reluctance to do them and fear, I run away to any other way to spend time, instead of doing something that is also necessary. Vova is sensitive to my emotional state, he sees what is written on my face, often even better than I do. And he says: "I see that you don't like it, I don't want it, if you don't like it, I won't insist."
I was born and raised in St. Petersburg, where I studied at school and at the institute. But since in my third year I met my future young man, instead of graduate school, where I entered, I went to him in Moscow. By education, I am a linguist-translator from English and Swedish, but for the last three years I have worked as a research assistant in the field of geophysics: I communicated with scientists, edited their texts, and sometimes helped organize conferences. And then I realized that not all of my skills and abilities are realized, and now I'm changing jobs. I like to speak in front of people, to tell something, to make presentations. For now, I plan to teach English, work with adult groups.
Of course, when I come to an interview, I will not say: "Hello, I am polyamorous, I have many partners, and we are all happy." But if in a conversation it turns out that a person looks at things more or less broadly, I will tell you. I have not yet encountered open rejection.
For me now, the most important thing is myself and what I feel, and relationships are not the main goal in life. Self-realization is very important to me. I want to practice singing, for example. I dream of taking part in the recording of the album. Perform on the big stage at some music festival as a backing vocalist or even a vocalist. Find some occupation for which I will receive money, but at the same time see that I bring people something new, important and useful. Teaching can be such a thing. Therefore, I do not break off if someone does not spend time with me.
In our relationship there is no concept of betrayal, but there is the concept of "deceit". For example, if I hid some of my negative emotions, agreed to something, and then said to Vova: "I felt bad, but I agreed because I decided that it would be better for you." To this he can tell me: "You deceived me - and you shouldn't have done so." Because it hurts everyone.
I am sure of my desire to spend a lot of time with Vova and I am almost ready to accept him as a possible father of my children. And I will be fine with the fact that our relationship will be long. It is also important for me that it is interesting and good for him. Living together because we have children, but we hate each other - this option is not for me at all.
I can't fully answer for other people, but I have a hunch that even when people exist in monogamous relationships, they still want other people. And the taboo nature of these thoughts does not affect their emergence in any way. And if Vova suddenly offers me to close our relationship, I will ask - what then to do with this part of our consciousness? And what level of honesty between us will this lead to?
The global difference between polyamory and the “husband, wife and mistress” situation is that people openly discuss everything, are aware of everything, and everything that happens comes from the consent and, if possible, the emotional well-being of each of the participants. And a mistress is deceit and betrayal. People do things they didn't agree to. There is another variant of relationships like don't ask, don't tell, only within the framework of monogamy. You don't tell me, but if anything, let you have a mistress, but I will never know about it. Let people try to do this, it is impossible to forbid them, but it is better not to do this. Just to keep the head in place.
I was born in Kaluga. When I was six years old, my family and I moved to live in Kirov, where I graduated from the Vyatka humanitarian gymnasium with in-depth study of the English language. After high school, I studied at the American University in Bulgaria, and moved to Moscow seven years ago. Now I am studying vocals and playing Indian tabla (percussion). In private practice, I teach English and translate. I also underwent professional retraining in the field of "Jungian psychotherapy" at the MAAP (Moscow Association of Analytical Psychology).
I grew up in an environment where the topic of intimacy was taboo, opposed to the spiritual, sublime. The complexes and prohibitions formed on an unconscious level prevented me from building relationships with men. Two and a half years of personal Jungian psychoanalysis made me aware of my emotional and physical needs. I began to get to know my body and six months ago I went to a good sexologist, who helped me say goodbye to pathological scenarios in the field of sexuality and sensuality. I started to do special self-massages and various psychological exercises, for example, I wrote down my negative attitudes like “I don’t get an orgasm”, “I don’t love my body” or “I don’t deserve a stable and good sexual partner”, and then burned them. Right in the room. It smelled for three days.
And soon I met Vova and Sasha at the authentic voice class. Chemistry immediately arose between me and Vova. He came up to me and started flirting. Then we began to correspond, the conversation immediately began frank and honest, without excessive modesty and equivocation. He said he was open to new sexual relationships, having already had a stable and deep relationship with one girl. Initially, the proposal seemed dubious to me, because I thought that it meant only the role of a mistress, and I also wanted a relationship and emotional intimacy. But in the end, I got both good sex, and friendship, and intimacy, as well as a friend and close person Sasha.
I can't say that everything went smoothly from the very beginning. I had all sorts of emotions, of course. For example, jealousy, especially since we do not live together. My abandonment complex was activated: that their couple is mom and dad, and I am a child who is excluded from the parental bedroom and from solving various “adult issues” like housekeeping. But we shared all this, discussed it. Now I have practically no jealousy, although periodic "glitches" - scenarios of inferiority - may pop up, but we can always discuss them. I learned a valuable lesson - that my relationship with each person is unique, it is no better or worse than his relationship with other partners and mine with others. These are all different zones of my disclosure in love and intimacy, and my partners have the same zones.
I appreciate the opportunities polyamory gives me. I began to communicate with men, realizing that I could have sex with them if I wanted to. At the same time, I can tell my current partner about this - and this will not be condemned and regarded as treason. At this stage, I have developed a deep relationship with Vova and Sasha. First of all, Vova excites me sexually, but I also have a homosexual part, and I live it.
I like how everything is developing: the liveliness of relations, the fact that we live here and now in contact, trust and openness. Since this is a new experience for me, it is difficult for me to predict how long a polyamorous type of relationship will be relevant for me. But now it is very natural for me and allows me to open up and get to know other people (especially the opposite sex) as much as possible. Polyamory for me is a very important step towards personal freedom, which includes sexual freedom.
what polyamory is and who it suits – bit.ua Media about life and technology in the new
It is impossible to calculate the exact moment when monogamous relationships in society were no longer considered the only “correct” model. The destruction of the traditional institution of the family did not begin suddenly: it was preceded by the byword of ancient Roman orgies, the relatively recent sexual revolution and the hippie movement, the emergence of the first dating sites and dating applications. Marriage remains the current model and people still sign/arrange traditional weddings. But more and more we hear about polyamorous people and how happy they are compared to those in boring monogamous relationships.
Understanding what polyamory is, why it should not be confused with polygamy, and who it is ideal for.
Polyamory is a romantic relationship with an unlimited number of participants. Its trick is that everyone knows about each other, while no one protests, does not arrange jealousy scenes. And most importantly, relations are built on the principle of mutual respect, mutual assistance and freedom of choice.
Polyamory is often confused with polygamy. The latter is the opportunity to have several sexual partners at the same time, but at the same time not build a serious relationship with them. Polyamory, on the other hand, implies a full-fledged relationship, which can even be platonic.
Although polyamorous have the ability to have multiple partners, they may be in regular monogamous relationships for a while. Like Katya and Zhenya (the names of the characters have been changed), who have been together for four years, and spent most of the time together.
“ We had other partners ,” says Katya, “ but this relationship did not last long. There were some conflicts or we got tired of living together. So Zhenya and I made a decision - for now we will be together. At the same time, we remain polyamorous: if one of us likes another person, there will be no problems ".
Partnership in polyamory is different: both in a couple can have “their own” partners or common ones. The main thing is that all processes and actions in the relationship are discussed, spoken out, and the participants in these relations, ideally, come to a consensus. But in reality, alas, problems still arise: people do not always manage to openly talk about their feelings.
Zhenya says: “ Once Katya and I really liked one girl. She liked us too, she said it herself. We wanted to start a relationship as a threesome. But, the closer and more often we talked, the more clearly I understood that I was not entirely comfortable with her. Perhaps I wasn’t ready for a common affiliate program at that time, or it’s just not my person - this also happens. But I never managed to tell this girl everything directly. As a result, after some time, we just moved away from each other, and the relationship with her came to naught ".
Polyamory does not negate traditional marriage. The participants in a polyamorous relationship can be a husband and wife. True, other people entering into such relationships will have to come to terms with their “less legal” role: for now, polyandry and polygamy are not allowed in our country.
Who is polyamory suitable for? Relationships exist in order to be happy in them. If you are happy in such a relationship, then why not?
Katya and Zhenya admit that they did not come to polyamory right away. Prior to this, each of them had traditional monogamous relationships, including long ones. But in polyamorous, both feel much more comfortable.
“ I like that the jealousy that used to torment me has disappeared ,” says Katya. – I feel more free and no longer perceive other people as my property. This is actually very cool and, I think, this is the highest degree of love - to recognize the freedom of other people and not try to “appropriate” them to yourself ".
Problems in polyamorous relationships
The same as in traditional monogamous relationships: minor and major domestic quarrels, misunderstandings, jealousy (yes, it also happens), lack of emotional resources for several people at once.
Relationships with more than two partners are serious and sometimes hard work: you need to listen and support several people at once, find time for everyone and try not to deprive anyone of your attention. And this is much more difficult than it might seem at first glance.
Polyamory is not a panacea for the problems of monogamous relationships. If you can’t establish communication with one partner, it is unlikely that everything will be fixed by having several partners. This is also worth remembering before entering into a polyamorous relationship.
Polyamory may seem like an ideal relationship model, because it is confused with the same polygamy or they do not realize all the responsibility. Several partners are not only several times more fun, cool communication and sex, but also the willingness to pay much more of your attention. The desire to receive as much as possible and give as little as possible is not only not about polyamory, it is not about healthy relationships at all.