While I’ve been polyamorous and dating multiple people for the better part of a decade, as of a few months ago, I found myself in a new romantic situation. My partner Q went on some dates the first year we were together, but xe didn’t date anyone regularly until now — and their new partner is my best friend (and platonic life partner, and housemate, and editor), Jack.
I’ve known Jack for nine years. During our first week of college in our all-freshmen dorm, I was grabbed by a small group of people going from door to door, inviting people to come get lunch with us. Jack, too, was brought into the group and joined for the trip to the dining hall. My first impression was nice, but nothing spectacular.
“I think we’ll get along, but I don’t see myself becoming close with him,” I thought at the time.
I was so wrong.
By the time Jack and I graduated college, we were best friends. We lived together for two years following college, and talked nearly every day while he was out of state for graduate school for the two years after that.
While Jack was out of state, I dated people on and off through OKCupid. I met Q there in the summer of 2014, and we hit it off quickly. From the start, I talked a fair amount about Jack because despite the distance, we were very close friends. Just a few months into our relationship, I encouraged Q to exchange contact information with Jack because I suspected they’d get along quite well. They started exchanging silly snapchats and never stopped.
The two of them met briefly at a party I had in the winter and started texting more after that. When Jack moved in with me again in summer 2015, we quickly sunk into a routine of the three of us hanging out. Both Jack and Q supported me after my two surgeries and helped me make the transition back into working full-time.
From when Jack moved back in with me, I could tell that he had strong chemistry with Q. They laughed at each others’ jokes and bonded over their shared fandoms. The same emotional steadiness that appealed to me in Jack as a best friend also manifested in Q, and they appreciated finding someone else who approached the world similarly. When the three of us spent time together, it rarely felt like Jack was the third wheel even though Q and I were dating.
This winter, Q told me that xe was developing romantic feelings for Jack. I was a little bit nervous, but I told Q that I loved both of them and wanted them to be happy. About a month later, Q finally talked with Jack about it and they both discovered they felt the same way. Then with little fanfare (just a cute picture on Facebook and a few coy statuses), they began dating.
Things changed, but not as drastically as others might think. I’ve been in polyamorous relationships before, but this is the first time I’ve dated someone who is also dating a close friend of mine.
Some people strongly prefer that they don’t know their lovers’ other partners. That emotional distance can help in some cases, but for me, I’ve always found it stressful. Perhaps counterintuitively, the fact that Q is dating my best friend actually lessens most of the challenges I have with jealousy. Jack and I already have a strong bond of trust, and we’re comfortable being frank in our communication. I don’t worry about Jack “stealing” Q away from me, and I know if I have an issue with Jack and I competing for Q’s time, I’m just as comfortable talking to Jack about it as Q.
The three of us are all very close, so we spend time together as a trio more often than not. Occasionally, Q and I will have a night to ourselves, or a weekend if Jack’s out of town. Jack and Q have the same, and sometimes go out together to craft fairs or to walk around the Arboretum while I play with my current video game obsession (it’s Stardew Valley this week!).
At least twice a week, the three of us spend the evening together. Q and I both like to cook but have different strengths, and Jack’s happy to help or do the dishes. After dinner, we watch Netflix, color in our adult coloring books, listen to music, play video games, or go on a walk. Often we end up cooking a second time in one night since our love for each other is closely followed by our love for brownies.
The logistics are remarkably simple. We don’t have any relationship “rules,” instead dealing with problems on a case-by-case basis. Q sleeps with Jack some nights and me other nights. They both stay up late together, and I get to cuddle Q in the morning since Jack leaves earliest for work. Everyone’s allowed to date other people, though none of us are currently doing so.
I won’t share too much about our sex lives since, unlike me, Q and Jack don’t write extensively about their personal lives on the internet. That said, despite some myths about polyamorous relationships, the three of us never have sex together and probably never will. We do however get some great threeway cuddling.
We have had a few tough spots in these first few months. Just a couple of weeks ago, I got into an argument with both of them because I was texting Q too much while xe was out with Jack. Fortunately, our dedication to talking things through has really paid off. While we were all a bit upset at first, we got to the root of the problem (I didn’t realize how distracting my texts were and was often waiting to find out what the three of us were doing later, while Q felt obliged to reply immediately and saw it as an intrusion on xyr time with Jack). I agreed to refrain from texting Q and Jack when they’re out on dates together, and they agreed to be better about communicating plans. We’re learning how to better support and respect each other, and making reasonable accomodations to make everyone happy.
I never thought that I’d be in a threeway romantic relationship. I’ve been in such relationships a few times before, and while there were no disasters, none of them were relationship configurations that worked for me. I either felt like an accessory in someone else’s relationship, or the pressure for everyone to have “equal” romantic and sexual feelings for each other was too much for me. I know some people make triads work, but it just never clicked for me.
With Jack and Q, it’s felt natural; none of us sought out a threeway relationship, but it’s how it has worked out. I think in our case, it helps that we each have strong, independent relationships. Q and I have been dating for a year and a half, and we’re very romantically and sexually compatible. Jack and I have been close friends with a nonsexual relationship for many years. Many of the interests that I don’t share with either of them — crafting, the outdoors, and staying up late — they share with each other.
My best friend and my partner dating has been a delightfully anticlimactic event. I’m closer with Q than ever and it’s been easy for me to add “metamour” (partner’s partner) to the list of roles Jack fills in my life.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized it’s more important to fit the people you care about into your life in the most comfortable, sustainable arrangement rather than finding people to fit pre-determined roles. While up until recently I never would have thought that I’d end up dating the same person as my best friend, it’s worked out remarkably well.
Our relationship may not stay the same forever — but let’s be honest, few relationships do. That said, things are looking bright, and I know all three of us are committed to making sure it’s a healthy, supportive, and enjoyable relationship.
Image credit: Rachel Titiriga/CC