Photo by slave boy julia (sjstudio1.com)
While every relationship structure I’ve had has grown organically, I can comfortably say that my poly looks like a triad. I generally feel pretty fulfilled in the male department with one partner. I find I have difficulty splitting my focus effectively and prioritizing too many relationships, so adding another female is about my maximum in attention.
A triad structure can have many of the aspects of polyamorous relationships. More than two people are emotionally involved. Sometimes two of the trio will be legally married, sometimes pair bonded in another way. Depending on how individuals agree to form their unit, all parties could potentially be romantic with one another. The single partner in the relationship may want the opportunity to establish a primary partner of their own or may be content solely being an equal partner in the triad.
There will always be a variety of viewpoints on the best way to structure a polyamorous relationship. Everyone has to find what works for them, and these views are excellent resources for ways to start identifying issues, which will need to be addressed.
The more you read and understand the relationship choices others have made, the less you have to rely on personal trial and error to address some of these issues up front, and the more you can start to identify what will work for your particular situation.
There can often be a bit of a stigma surrounding couples seeking thirds- that it is the man driving the bus with nothing but a desire for additional sexual partners. Many assume he is keeping his cake and eating it too. I dislike having to reassure people that I am just as interested in another partner, and that we have no intention of hiding her away during holidays like a dirty secret.
I personally feel there is something special about the relationship between two women. I love having a woman who is closer than a best friend, who I can tell all my dirty secrets to with no judgment, who will shop with me, bake cookies with me, and will generally be part of my life.
That’s how I envision my poly. Weekly house meetings, chore assignments, holiday planning, baking for group gifts, sharing family recipes and traditions, watching Scrooged and the Grinch at Christmas. In short, just a big, loving group of people who have chosen to intertwine their lives.
Please keep in mind that hierarchical polyamory can often be hurtful to additional partners. The real question seems to be: How can we structure things to avoid some of those pitfalls?
For those who want a triad: Outside of partners needing to agree on the person they include in their relationship, I believe the individuals need to avoid segmenting pieces of their lives. Other than simply not repeating pet names, I think it’s more beneficial to avoid limiting relationship possibilities.
Depending on the person, that arrangement might not work. Some people want more or less space, or have specific needs which need to be filled in order to feel loved. What works for us, may not work for you. I am merely sharing my opinions and experiences.
It is important to remember that every group of individuals should negotiate their relationship structures to meet their needs. The more people you invite to a party, the more planning you should probably do.
How will time be balanced between partners to avoid having anyone feel secondary however they may be identified by a partner?
How will you present to friends and family, and how will holidays be handled?
In my opinion, no matter how long two of the triad may have been together, it is important that the third be treated as an equal partner during the negotiation process. All parties should make expectations clear during the negotiating process and continue to communicate for the entire duration of the relationship.
As BDSM practitioners, we add additional complexities to our relationships. A poly triad can have a one Dom(me), two submissive structure, but that isn’t a necessity. It could just as easily contain a Dominant, a submissive, and a switch. Although I am not entirely sure how this would work, there could also be a Dominant, Co-Dominant, and submissive. The possibilities are endless as long as everything is consented to by all people involved.
I have both been the addition to an existing couple as well as the female portion of a couple adding another female. Each have held challenges. As part of the couple, we encouraged our third to seek additional relationships as she desired, and she presented as our roommate. It truly was a blended family, and a very happy one for many years. Still, even when you do a good job of communicating expectations up front (we didn’t), you can still have communication issues later.
It can be the things you don’t think of. We talked about relationships, and forgot to worry about sharing chores. Sex was discussed, but not division of bills (this topic was important since we all lived together).
There are definitely times I agree with Sheldon. Drawing up agreements, whether you consider them to be contracts or just laying down expectations, can be the glue that binds relationships together no matter how they are structured.
I know advising communication is probably the most often repeated mantra in the Kink Community, but only because it really is essential. You can’t trust someone who doesn’t share their feelings productively. When this occurs, eventually the relationship will fail.
About the Author
Christmas bunny has been exploring kink since she was legal to do so. Her serious writing started in college, where she accidently got some of her papers published in educational journals. She has recently expanded her writing to include her kink journey. She began writing in the physical realm, but shed some of her inhibitions and began sharing those entries with others. She now keeps an active blog of her personal growth and her relationship with her Master / Daddy Dominant and writes helpful educational posts on a variety of subjects.