TriadsÖ. The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

              I have been actively involved in the Alberta BDSM community since about late 1989. In that time I have seen and been involved in a variety of relationships. I have also experienced both the benefits and drawbacks of these relationships. I am in no way saying that this makes me an expert on this topic, but I do believe that it does give me some insight to how these relationships work. 

            Triads are a very basic form of polyamory. It is not exclusive to any particular lifestyle, but forms of it occur in a range of lifestyle choices. It is finding to be a popular choice in the BDSM lifestyle as people in the lifestyle begin to explore their sexuality in context to their lifestyle. A good example of a basic triad is the married couple, with one partner exploring outside the marriage, with the acceptance of the other partner. In the BDSM lifestyle this is very common, as one or the other partner may not want to engage in BDSM activities, but is willing to allow their partner to explore that aspect of their sexuality. 

            Triads however are not for everyone and as with any thing, they need to be discussed with your partner. In my opinion one has to be very confident of their mental state before embarking on any type of relationship. I am a great proponent of love does not equal sex. Sex is a bodily function, while love is a state of mind. I believe that I can love my partner deeply, both emotionally and physically and still be able to practice aspects of a polyamorous lifestyle.  Not everyone is capable of this, as we have been brought up to believe love is forever is forever and you stay with the one you brought. Not all of us are wired that way, and I congratulate those of you who have succeeded in forming a long lasting relationship. You cannot however convince me that havenít thought about something different, at least once. We are after all only human, both perfect and flawed at the same time. Itís very healthy to have these thoughts, you are in some ways no different I am. The only difference, I have embraced my desires and have become a different person for them. 

            The first step in forming a good triad is to ensure that all partners are compatible. For you married couples out there, donít assume that because your choice is a huge turn on for you, that your partner will feel the same way. Sometimes you need to compromise. You and your partner need to consider the pros and cons of a potential partner. Start with things like, what do you want in a partner? Obviously males and females will bring different things to a relationship. You also need to be honest about your desires and needs. What you may find important may not be that important to your partner. This requires good communication skills. Saying you ďwant to fuck aroundĒ just doesnít quite cut it. Be prepared to explain why you want to do this and be prepared for your partnersí reaction. It may not be what you expect. This brings us to another important key to a triad relationship. Honesty. If I had to rank these in order, honesty would be at the top of my list. I cannot trust anyone who is not honest with me and have little respect for those who are not honest with themselves. 

            Now there are a lot of things to consider when trying to find a partner for your triad, and I cannot discount attraction as being very important. I can list a lot of things that I would find important but you need to establish these things for your self. Only you know what is important. One thing I will say is, use your intuition. It can give you an insight to a person and can be very valuable in avoiding problems. Also do not be afraid to talk to people who may be acquainted with your partner. They can be very helpful in giving you information that can help in you decision. People bring a lot of things with them to a relationship, good and bad, we are after all only human. 

            Now no relationship, monogamous or otherwise, comes with any guarantees of longevity. Knowing the pitfalls of a relationship and in specific triads, can help you make your relationship more fulfilling for you and your partners. None of what I am discussing here is new by any stretch of the imagination. They are all true regardless of the type of relationship you are involved in. If honesty, communication and open-mindedness are necessary for forming a good triad, their opposites form the reasons why a triad will fail. If any member of the triad cannot be honest with the others involved, you have lost a big building block in your relationship. NO HONESTY= NO TRUST!  Admittedly communicating can be difficult for anyone and I know that expressing your wants and needs can leave you feeling vulnerable, but I also know that if you donít speak up, feelings of inadequacy can destroy you and your relationship. It can make the relationship seem very one sided and make you feel excluded from the process. As intuitive as people can be they cannot read minds. Just remember this, embarrassment fades faster than anger. So, so what if you think what you want is embarrassing, guess what, I bet the others involved are feeling the same way. Ironic isnít it?

            All things considered triads are a very good and safe way to explore your relationship and your sexuality, but how do you know if you are ready or if a triad is right for you. Well in honesty there is no real physical way of knowing this and when it comes to what you think and feel, well only you can know that. Talking about what you are feeling and making suggestions that may help you in your relationship is a very good way to start. Donít get discouraged if you are met with negativity and donít get angry either. Be patient. If however it seems that there is no common ground for discussion, try another tact. Ask your partner what they would like or how they feel. Youíll soon discover the common ground and you may be surprised at what you have learned. Something to especially remember is never, never let your frustrations turn into anger with your partner. You can never take back things said in anger. 

            As with anything else in life things can go wrong in a triad relationship. There isnít very much you can do to stop an inevitable breakup of your triad. It can be a very easy breakup or it can be very hard on all involved. Either way it is not a very comfortable situation to be in, I know I have been there. The best way to deal with this eventuality is to be honest. Talk about your feelings and what you think may be the problem with the relationship, keeping the focus on the relationship not the people involved. I know this seems difficult, as generally it is clashes in personalities that can be the downfall of a triad.  If things are kept in their proper perspective, things can be worked out.  

            One of the things that can never be predicted is how a person is going to react and sometimes things you may have said in privacy find their way in to your community. There is a very good way of dealing with this, especially since you are bound to be asked your side of the story. The best way is to be honest with out maligning the person you believe to be the root of the problem. You need not add more fuel to an already out of control fire and generally you will find that things have a way of turning around on the individual fanning the flames. I know I used a lot of clichťs, but in this case they are true. By dealing with the inquiries honestly and not laying blame on any one individual is a very good way to stay respected among your peers. 


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