In a triad, how do you deal with conflict between two partners? | I'm Poly and So Can You
In a triad, what is your advice for dealing with conflict and fighting between two partners? (Context: non-hierarchical MFF triad, MF are a live-in, engaged couple who have been rocky recently, F lives out of state.)
This week I'm on location in Las Vegas shooting a XXX labor of love with queer polyamorous adult industry sweethearts - and my dear, dear friends - Nikki Darling and Sebastian Keys! Three poly pundits for the price of one!
Nikki: I feel totally qualified to answer this! I've been in a very similar relationship for the past two and a half years - my male partner has been married to another woman for a long time. I hate answering a question with another question, but I'm really curious to know what the interactions between the two women have been thus far. Have they met in person? Do the three of them hangout together with any regularity? Does the guy encourage them to spend time together without him? I know that for me, the more exposure and familiarity I have with my partner's wife, the more comfortable we get with one another, and the more respect we have for one another. It's this competitive "fear of the unknown" that causes our insecurities to manifest. So we'll go shopping together, send each other silly cat memes, etc, all without the interaction of our shared partner. Being allowed and encouraged to build a rapport goes a long way in building trust and eliminating fear responses between two women. You also get to glimpse why your partner is into them - their awesome character and personality traits that you also appreciate in your partner. So yeah, I'd go about arranging a dinner or other structured social hangout between the three of you - invite the woman who lives out of state over and encourage your two partners to build their own unique relationship with one another...I mean, if you haven't already!
Andre: I absolutely agree with everything you said about increased exposure to - and the subsequent humanizing of - metamours (the partners of my partner). This is especially crucial with female-identified metamours, as women are socialized to see each other as competition first and foremost, and bonding between women can be notoriously rife with feelings of hesitation, intimidation, and defensiveness. With the three person group hangout scenario, I would recommend that the out of state woman be encouraged to bring another date or partner to this hangout if she so chooses, that way there's a little less tension at the dinner table between just the three of them - they don't feel like the two women are just sitting there vying for the one man's attention. Also, the guy should be extremely transparent about not having any sexual expectations of either woman when they're all together, either individually or as a threesome. Heshould additionally be extra sensitive to how he speaks about Woman #1 to Woman #2, and vice versa. If the only information Woman #1 ever hears about Woman #2 is negative information - if the male partner is constantly complaining about one partner to another, for example - well then, that's unfortunately the lens through which they're going to view each other. Finally, even though this guy went out of his way to define the polycule as "non-hierarchical" - and even if everyone involved genuinely wants and believes that to be true - the fact of the matter is that he lives with one of those women. By default, cohabitation denotes greater connection and commitment to the partner you're cohabiting with. If you truly want to practice non-hierarchical poly, consider separating all three households and continuing on with the relationships!
Sebastian: Yeah, I'm going to sit this one out - you guys said everything I would want to say!
Andre: It's okay - you just stay there looking pretty. You're really good at that job.
Everyone: Continues shoveling brunch food into their mouths, since they're all out to eat and are answering poly advice questions in between bites of pancake and omelet.