Ask RaeRay #6: Strange But Also Good

RaeRay provides advice to a couple who is opening up their relationship.

RaeRay,

My wife and I have been happily married for a few years after dating for a few more. We're relatively young, and aside from some puppy love stuff in high school, neither of us have had any other serious relationships.

Recently my wife discovered that she had some bi-curious tendencies. I reacted like I imagine most straight males would - I thought it was fucking hot! With my encouragement my wife started to experiment a bit - mostly by making out with some of our close mutual female friends at drunken parties. One of these experiments ended up going a bit further and resulted in an awkward situation.

I was torn - on one hand the thought of my wife with another woman was a huge turn on - on the other hand I felt very jealous and inadequate. We ended up having a couple of long, very heartfelt talks about it. It ended up being one of the best things that we have ever done for our relationship - both emotionally and sexually. What's more - we came to the conclusion that we wanted to try a FFM threesome.

We really had no idea what we were getting ourselves into! Neither of us had ever even heard of the term 'unicorn' before. We lucked out: in a relatively short time we found a partner to join us. (Lets call her "Liz".) I won't go into details, but we did it, and it was an incredible experience!

Here is where things start getting a little weird. When my wife and I first decided to have a threesome we were really only looking for sexytimes. However, in finding a partner we were surprised to also find a new friend! Liz turned out to be exactly the kind of person we tend to hang out with. We started inviting her to hang out every chance we get - regardless if it was just my wife and I or a group of our friends. We just really enjoyed spending time with her - even when no sexytimes were involved. We're pretty confident that the feeling is mutual for Liz.

It is a very strange feeling. It is like my wife and I, as a couple, are dating this girl. I tease my wife for having a 'girl crush' and it's so cute! It seems bizarre when I think about it like that but it feels good.

This kind of hit me all at once today and I thought, 'Whoa... is this what being poly is like?' It got me very curious about poly relationships and I've been doing a lot of looking inward and wondering if this is something I would be comfortable with. I really don't have any intentions in the near future of trying to act upon these thoughts - I'm totally comfy right now with our FWB arrangement and wouldn't be too disappointed if it went no further. I'm just kind of wondering, 'what if?'

I have a few questions:

1) Have others had a similar experience? That is, a threesome experience that led to something a bit more? I'd be interested to hear about how it went.

2) Ultimately my wife and I are happily married, and I feel like that would always be a bit of a barrier to forming a healthy three-way relationship where everyone has an equal say. I can't help but think the third might feel a bit put out in such a situation. If you have experience in that kind of situation I'd appreciate hearing about it.

3) I tend to have some jealousy issues. I'm not proud of it, but I can be somewhat possessive of my wife. This seems to be a bit at odds with a poly lifestyle - even a closed polyfidelity relationship. If you or your partner(s) have strong jealousy issues how have you learned to cope?

Thanks!
Accidentally Poly And Liking It?

 

Dearest APALI:

“Whoa... is this what being poly is like?”

Maybe. Polyamory looks and feels different for every poly couple/group/person. If you choose to call it polyamory, then it is! (As long as you're ethical about it, and everyone is consenting and all that.) For extensive and nuanced examples of how polyamory looks and feels, you might want to read Tristan Taormino's Opening Up (specifically, the chapters on polyamory and jealousy).

Yes, many folks who go into sex-focused non-monogamy end up experiencing feelings of companionship/romance/deep friendship with their new sexual partners, which sounds like it has been an exciting and pleasant process for you and your wife. Congrats! As this three-person dynamic develops it'll be important to keep in mind is that there's four separate relationships in play: the one you and you wife share; the relationship between your wife and Liz; the relationship between you and Liz; and the one between the 3 of you as a group. Each of them will require unique and specific attention.

It is totally great that you are already thinking about the equality and hierarchy of your relationships! It shows that you are considerate towards the folks who you might begin a relationship with. Sounds like you want to be very thoughtful and respectful to their potential feelings and wants. Kudos sir! Don't worry overmuch about "fairness" in your dynamic. Apply your concerns and energy to making sure you know what your third wants/needs out of her with relationship(s) you/your wife. Also make sure that you, your wife, and your third are all at least copacetic, if not excited, about the level of activity, and investment in the relationship(s). (Liz may not want something as serious or committed as the relationship you and your wife have). 

Regular check-ins with how the relationship(s) is/are going (like the one you mention) will help with this. Don't enter into a three-way relationship with a person who isn't forthcoming about their wants and wellbeing. Having to guess at what she wants will make it tougher to offer her whatever would contribute to her satisfaction in the relationship. And making sure your partners are satisfied is actually more practical than trying to make things equal.

You can work through your feelings of jealousy and possessiveness. It will require work, but your wellbeing & the wellbeing of the relationship(s) you are in will benefit from that work. One of the acknowledged mantras of polyamory is communication; a lot of what that means is communication with yourself. There are many ways to do this (talking with a poly-friendly therapist might be helpful), and only you will know what fits you best. A good place to start is to identify what triggers your jealousy and possessiveness, and think about how those triggers relate to your insecurities about the relationship or about yourself. 

If the possessiveness is something you and your wife find hot and that contributes to the dynamic you share, then see if you can find ways to channel those feelings into a consensual and safe (sexy) spaces. If you would like to be less possessive, then you might need to check some of the cultural assumptions you have about what relationships and marriage mean and entitle you to. This is hard, often emotionally-charged work, but work that's definitely worth doing! It will help you to approach your wife and the relationship(s) you share with her in ways that respect her agency and choices.

I hope your marriage and new relationship continue to be awesome!

 

Yours,
RaeRay

Questions about your polyamorous relationship? Write RaeRay here: RaeRay@ModernPoly.com

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About the Author

RaeRay - Writer - Active Contributor

RaeRay is a polyamorous writer and educator, who believes that words and boundless enthusiasm might just save the world. Well-versed in saying what they mean, RaeRay is the kind of older sibling & devoted friend who will show up on your doorstep, post-breakup, with a bottle of bad wine and cheap poetry. They live in Seattle, WA with their partner of over a year, near countless friends and lovers, eating delicious food and riding bicycles as much as possible.