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mke

Three person intimate relationship?

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I am currently in an intimate relationship with two other people. The relationship consist of myself, my wife, and my wife's best friend. We are all involved sexually and we all feel that we passionately love each other. It is very early in the relationship and we are already running into difficulties, though they seem to be stemming from other's negative reaction to our situation.

I am just looking for good honest advice and opinions concerning our relationship. I don't know anyone in the same situation to turn to. We really want to make this work. Thanks for any help.

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My first question is are you an Objectivist? I can't really offer much help if you won't get my lingo.

It is imperative to the relationship that all three people involved hold all three as the highest value, this is the only way the relationship can possibly work. If you like one of the women better than the other, or one of them likes one you more or less, then the relationship has already failed so get out. If you are each your highest value the biggest thing after that is communication. No subject can be taboo between you, at all. No secrets can be kept from eachother, and you each must feel you trust the others wholly.

You are choosing to get into an untraditional type of relationship that very well could fail, though that wouldn't make it different than most traditional relationships anyway. You have to be prepared that this is going to take twice as much effort to keep going than it did when it was just your wife and you. If that sounds like too much work then get out of the relationship. When drama happens, you will hear it two times, when one is in trouble, all three are in trouble, if you don't like the way your wife's friend handles herself in troubled times then you should get out because that won't go away by itself.

If you've passed all these questions then let me know and I will give more advice. Please remember that I do not know any context other than what you have given in this first post therefore anytime I say 'get out' or 'break up' it is only a suggestion based on the information I have and ultimately that decision rests in your hands.

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It is imperative to the relationship that all three people involved hold all three as the highest value, this is the only way the relationship can possibly work. If you like one of the women better than the other, or one of them likes one you more or less, then the relationship has already failed so get out. If you are each your highest value the biggest thing after that is communication. No subject can be taboo between you, at all. No secrets can be kept from eachother, and you each must feel you trust the others wholly.

What are you basing all this on?

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If all three of you consider this relationship a positive, I personally don't see anything wrong (self-destructive) with it. As for 'others' who disapprove, it might help if you, your wife, and your third keep in mind that others will be uncomfortable with the situation, and it is none of their business, so keeping it as quiet as possible may be of value; also, I recommend discussing those issues between the three of you as soon as they arise, rather than letting any negative comments fester. The negative opinions of others shouldn't (rationally) affect your relationship in any way. above all the three of you should remain united against others if you really are committed to making your relationship work. People who are friends of yours will probably need time to adjust, but once they get used to the idea they will probably be happy for the three of you. It may also help to keep in mind that others will view your situation as three separate relationships rather than one, and that too could cause misunderstanding.

Other than that, communication and trust are key in any relationship, and I suspect that is doubly true in yours. Both of your partners should feel equally loved, unless there is some other arrangement that is understood by all involved; this goes for you, as well. One thing that may help with this is go out on dates as a threesome and also as pairs, so that the three of you have time together and also have time with each of the two people who are special to you. Alternatively, if you think jealousy amongst yourselves may become a problem, doing everything as a group would probably stem that.

If the relationship becomes truly committed, one way to go about 'marrying' the three of you together could be a legal name change. While you and your wife would remain legally married, having the same last name among the three of you could solidify the relationship further, and be a symbolic commitment in the same way marriage is. It may also reduce the number of questions asked.

Please note that I am not a psychologist or psychiatrist, and have never been in a three-person relationship. All I know comes from my two-person analogue :)

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I highly support and approve of the content of the first response. >_> Could you be more specific about what problems the three of you have so far? Is it just "other people disapprove"? If so, most people disapprove of plenty of things that can make you happy and be very beneficial to your life and that you'll live with just fine (if you are supportive of Objectivism, then you'll know well how much flak you can take for being selfish for example), so don't let that disapproval on its own get you down too much. You don't have to go around in public making it obvious you three are all involved either if you don't feel like dealing with people about this issue all the time. As for less public people like friends and family, people you have to deal with for whatever reason like maybe some family members, you don't owe telling them everything about your life as long as you don't lie and try to say you think something is bad which you don't. For people you want to be around personally like friends though, try to be more open with them and see if you can get them to understand. If they really think you are that bad because of this and can't give you a good reason why and they just can't handle this issue with you, then you may need to reassess your friendship.

Edited by bluecherry

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My first question is are you an Objectivist? I can't really offer much help if you won't get my lingo.

It is imperative to the relationship that all three people involved hold all three as the highest value, this is the only way the relationship can possibly work. If you like one of the women better than the other, or one of them likes one you more or less, then the relationship has already failed so get out. If you are each your highest value the biggest thing after that is communication. No subject can be taboo between you, at all. No secrets can be kept from eachother, and you each must feel you trust the others wholly.

You are choosing to get into an untraditional type of relationship that very well could fail, though that wouldn't make it different than most traditional relationships anyway. You have to be prepared that this is going to take twice as much effort to keep going than it did when it was just your wife and you. If that sounds like too much work then get out of the relationship. When drama happens, you will hear it two times, when one is in trouble, all three are in trouble, if you don't like the way your wife's friend handles herself in troubled times then you should get out because that won't go away by itself.

If you've passed all these questions then let me know and I will give more advice. Please remember that I do not know any context other than what you have given in this first post therefore anytime I say 'get out' or 'break up' it is only a suggestion based on the information I have and ultimately that decision rests in your hands.

Yes, I am an objectivist and exceptionally rational.

Is it possible that because of the combination of what each of us brings to the relationship, that together we are each other's highest value?

We have already tackled the communication issue. We understand that this is only possible with 100% honesty and openness and that is what we have. We all trust each other, I could never be with anyone I didn't trust completely.

We are prepared for the effort, because we really want this. Of course doubts have already surfaced, but we keep coming back to the table to talk them over and we seem to keep ending up in the same bed. :)

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... It is very early in the relationship and we are already running into difficulties,...

LOL :)

This relationship cannot be saved. Even the marriage is permanently tainted now. No amount of rationality can make foolishness not be foolish.

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LOL :)

This relationship cannot be saved. Even the marriage is permanently tainted now. No amount of rationality can make foolishness not be foolish.

Like I said, the difficulties arise from other's negative views. When we are all together without any outside influence, everything is great. Don't waste my time with your irrational comments.

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Sounds like you are just enjoying every man's fantasy. What's going to happen when you're older, have children or can't get it up anymore?

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Children can be managed fine. If anything, this just means there could be more people available to split up tasks and responsibilities between (that is, if they don't already have kids or if they don't plan to never have children at all.) They can decide if they would want to all be recognized as parents or if the non-biological or non-legal (depending on if it is or isn't an adopted kid or kids) guardians should be treated more like maybe an aunt or such or even just like the kid would treat a friend of the family, except that the person may be living with them full time perhaps at some point. And to the other matter, it sounds like the women are romantically involved too. If I'm correct, then if the male here can't keep up later in life, the women can take care of each other in that matter when he's unavailable.

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I personally have doubts that a 3-way relationship can work, in the long run. I don't have any hard data as to whether thats because many people absorb cultural ideas that are very negative regarding 3-way relationships, or if its just difficult to manage / contrary to human nature period.

Is one or the other girl your highest value? Its difficult to honestly say that they are both of completely equal value to you - human beings are, of course, not identical. I would think that almost all, if not all, of these situations, the person in your position actually values one or the other person more highly than their counterpart. This is deceptive to the girl who isn't your highest value, and unfair to the one that is, for reasons that should be obvious.

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MKE, first of all I applaud you for bringing this up, it deserves attention. I am currently in an open relationship myself, and have been for the past five years. My GF and I have not had many other lovers in our lives because we haven't found many people who are good enough. There are many issues that arise out of a polyamorous relationship (just like a monogamous one) and the ways to combat those issues are the same as with any other realtionship. It seems like you already know the value of honesty and that is the biggest thing.

If you have any more questions please send me a personal message as I am no longer participating on this forum, I only posted this to get your attention. If you do not have any questions then let me just say that I wish you the best in your quest for love and if this relationship fails it says nothing about polyamory as such, just as a monogamous relationship failing says nothing about monogamy.

Michael

EDIT: I would just like to add my disgust at the post by GRAMES who, when discovering someone else's trouble, laughed and ridiculed them. That is not productive at all, you should be ashamed of yourself.

Edited by IAmMetaphysical

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Yes, I am an objectivist and exceptionally rational.

Is it possible that because of the combination of what each of us brings to the relationship, that together we are each other's highest value?

We have already tackled the communication issue. We understand that this is only possible with 100% honesty and openness and that is what we have. We all trust each other, I could never be with anyone I didn't trust completely.

We are prepared for the effort, because we really want this. Of course doubts have already surfaced, but we keep coming back to the table to talk them over and we seem to keep ending up in the same bed. :)

So your question is, what if alone one of your partners isn't your highest value, but when the three of you are together you are each eachother's highest values? Sounds a little rationalistic to me, examine why it's not the same when you imagine having a relationship with just one of them.

As far as what other people say, if you don't like it, ignore them :P I'd say walking around in public being affectionate and doing three way makeout sessions at the park will attract negative attention but it's nothing the odd gay couple doesn't experience in some places. Your relationship's integrity is based on the people in it, not the people outside it.

I've got some experience with a three way relationship.

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I'm curious to ask; What would you do, or what would your reaction be if your wife told you she wanted to introduce another man into the threesome

My wife has a strong attraction, emotionally and physically, to her friend. She has told me that she loves her. I am not bisexual and will never have that towards another man, so I don't think you are comparing apples to apples.

This relationship did start out as purely sexual. We tried to keep emotions out of it, but very quickly we all realized that we had feelings for one another.

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Like I said, the difficulties arise from other's negative views. When we are all together without any outside influence, everything is great. Don't waste my time with your irrational comments.

Blaming difficulties your relationship is encountering on others is either irrational in itself, or an admission of deep irrationality (for allowing others to dictate the terms of the relationship) of someone within the relationship, and implicitly of yours. That much is clear, whether Grames is right or wrong. (I have no opinion on the matter)

So, I have no idea whether you can make a three way work or not, but if you are hellbent on trying, you should start with finding someone to blame who is a part of the relationship, for whatever troubles the relationship is having. And please, keep us posted, this is new for me. (not the idea of a three way, but someone who might be an Objectivist in a serious three way relationship)

And Jakethan, I'm also very curious what you are basing your posts on.

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Blaming difficulties your relationship is encountering on others is either irrational in itself, or an admission of deep irrationality (for allowing others to dictate the terms of the relationship) of someone within the relationship, and implicitly of yours. That much is clear, whether Grames is right or wrong. (I have no opinion on the matter)

So, I have no idea whether you can make a three way work or not, but if you are hellbent on trying, you should start with finding someone to blame who is a part of the relationship, for whatever troubles the relationship is having. And please, keep us posted, this is new for me. (not the idea of a three way, but someone who might be an Objectivist in a serious three way relationship)

And Jakethan, I'm also very curious what you are basing your posts on.

Yes, I agree with your assessment of blaming the difficulties on others. Personally, it is not an issue with myself, because I have never concerned myself with what outsiders think. It is an issue with the women, yet they have already started to see that any troubles that arise will do so from within one of us.

Where we basically stand at this point, is that we are laying everything on the table. All of our doubts, fears, feelings, etc., and then trying to objectively analyze them. Not the easiest thing sometimes.

I am an objectivist, but I was not a philosophy major and it is not my career. I am here because I do not have all the answers and never stop learning.

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We are all involved sexually and we all feel that we passionately love each other.
Assume that for some reason you had to make a choice between these two women -- stay with one, lose the other. Which one would you pick? For example, a burning building, both are incapacitated, you might at best save one but not both, so who do you save first? Or suppose at least one (maybe both) offers you an ultimatum -- "Me or her!" Which way do you go?

Your highest value must be you yourself (if not, we have a whole 'nother problem to work on). There has to be a second highest, and a third highest. IMO, your situation is tenable only if everybody knows and accepts their place in this relationship. If you are (consciously or otherwise) exploiting uncertainty, I think you have a problem -- you are denying the logical implication of hierarchical values, that some one thing is most important; then after that, some one thing is most important; and so on. The concept of value is tied to choice, and choice is necessarily disjunctive. You, at least should know that and that fact should affect your reasoning. (Are these women also Objectivists?)

Assuming that you've gotten it sorted out in your mind the fact that Sally is the runner-up, then do you know why Sally is lower on the totem pole, and is everybody really okay with that?

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It almost sounds like the three of you are still sorting out relationship roles, boundaries, etc. It might just do you some good to spend time getting to know each other, and not just in bed. What values do you share that have led you to want to sleep with both of these women, and the women with each other? Shared interests? Shared approaches to life?

Get involved in each other's interests and activities if you want to keep the relationship going. Sex and feelings aren't enough.

Edited by JMeganSnow

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And to the other matter, it sounds like the women are romantically involved too. If I'm correct, then if the male here can't keep up later in life, the women can take care of each other in that matter when he's unavailable.

Or he can use toys, or put on a strapon himself. This isn't a big deal, not that you think so cherry, because you don't, but others might think it could be. Plus, I do not at all think that this relationship is centered atop an erect phallis, and once it becomes forever flacid, the relationship falls...apart too.

[edit to add: Upon further thinking, there is surgery too that can be performed, it might be considered experimental and might be rarely done, but I heard of one guy at the hospital that had a surgeon implant some kind of device in his penis, where he could squeeze on something (probably his balls) and it would inflate somehow his penis. So if the girlies want some of his, not just some toying with artificial ones, this is an option as well perhaps, but I don't know mcuh more than that about it]

Edited by intellectualammo

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I highly support and approve of the content of the first response. >_> Could you be more specific about what problems the three of you have so far? Is it just "other people disapprove"? If so, most people disapprove of plenty of things that can make you happy and be very beneficial to your life and that you'll live with just fine (if you are supportive of Objectivism, then you'll know well how much flak you can take for being selfish for example), so don't let that disapproval on its own get you down too much. You don't have to go around in public making it obvious you three are all involved either if you don't feel like dealing with people about this issue all the time. As for less public people like friends and family, people you have to deal with for whatever reason like maybe some family members, you don't owe telling them everything about your life as long as you don't lie and try to say you think something is bad which you don't. For people you want to be around personally like friends though, try to be more open with them and see if you can get them to understand. If they really think you are that bad because of this and can't give you a good reason why and they just can't handle this issue with you, then you may need to reassess your friendship.

We have had some friends that have reacted very negatively. Not so much from my friends, all I get are high fives! B) My wife's good friend and my girlfriend's (guess I will call her that to eliminate confusion) good friend were not at all supportive initially, but since they have both made an effort to be open towards the situation. They are rightfully concerned and time may be the only thing that will comfort them. I have also very easily detected some jealousy from them as I know neither of them are truly happy in their relationships and they see us as something so non-traditional and they cannot grasp how we could be happier than them.

It's funny because the people that we thought would be most unsupportive have overwhelmingly been the most supportive. Don't get me wrong here, we haven't broken the news to everyone. A few relatives have been told and they immediately said they saw how happy we were together and are supportive

Edited by mke

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I personally have doubts that a 3-way relationship can work, in the long run. I don't have any hard data as to whether thats because many people absorb cultural ideas that are very negative regarding 3-way relationships, or if its just difficult to manage / contrary to human nature period.

Is one or the other girl your highest value? Its difficult to honestly say that they are both of completely equal value to you - human beings are, of course, not identical. I would think that almost all, if not all, of these situations, the person in your position actually values one or the other person more highly than their counterpart. This is deceptive to the girl who isn't your highest value, and unfair to the one that is, for reasons that should be obvious.

It isn't deceptive if it is known. My girlfriend understands that she is coming into a marriage and a relationship with a long history. It is accepted. I already feel that I love her equally, differently because like you said human beings are not identical, but nonetheless equally. Maybe it isn't possible in the long run and I will lean towards one or the other. I guess that I can only deal with that if and when I feel that way. This relationship is not without a great deal of risk.

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Assume that for some reason you had to make a choice between these two women -- stay with one, lose the other. Which one would you pick? For example, a burning building, both are incapacitated, you might at best save one but not both, so who do you save first? Or suppose at least one (maybe both) offers you an ultimatum -- "Me or her!" Which way do you go?

Your highest value must be you yourself (if not, we have a whole 'nother problem to work on). There has to be a second highest, and a third highest. IMO, your situation is tenable only if everybody knows and accepts their place in this relationship. If you are (consciously or otherwise) exploiting uncertainty, I think you have a problem -- you are denying the logical implication of hierarchical values, that some one thing is most important; then after that, some one thing is most important; and so on. The concept of value is tied to choice, and choice is necessarily disjunctive. You, at least should know that and that fact should affect your reasoning. (Are these women also Objectivists?)

Assuming that you've gotten it sorted out in your mind the fact that Sally is the runner-up, then do you know why Sally is lower on the totem pole, and is everybody really okay with that?

I have already been thinking about what you have brought up. I guess my answer is that I feel that I love both of them, but would choose my wife. My girlfriend understands this as she has accepted that if this were to not work out, that she would be left alone. Of course it scares her, but she still wants this. I think it has to do with the fact that she is romantically involved with my wife. Maybe the value she gets from loving me and being able to have that with my wife is enough to accept her place and the risk.

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This relationship did start out as purely sexual. We tried to keep emotions out of it, but very quickly we all realized that we had feelings for one another.

It sounds like a familiar story to me. Everything starts in sex, (and Nature being the clever old con-artist that she is) it becomes intimacy, and then emotions enter. At which stage we're convinced it's 'Love.'

Yeah, sure.

Love happens; it just needs a lot more than sex and emotions.

mke, I can't speak for your situation as I don't know enough, but you don't need anyone here to help you rationalize what you're doing - enjoy it for what it is.

Personally, I don't see what your problem is; the three of you seem to be looking for acceptance and approval - is that it? Does someone else have to tell you what you already know (as an Objectivist) - that you (all of you) are the source and the keepers of your own values ?

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