One of the most amazing things about consensual nonmonogamy is we can create relationships any way we like. One of the most popular relationship structures in CNM is a triad. While not always, these triads are often formed when a couple wants to “open up” their relationship and explore with another partner. This kind of triad relationship can be a beautiful and meaningful experience for all involved when it’s done in a conscious, organic and mindful way that respects the autonomy of all involved.
If you’re a couple considering exploring a triad relationship, here are 4 things I invite you to consider in order to help you create a loving connection that respects everyone’s needs and boundaries while avoiding many of the pitfalls that can happen in this kind of dynamic…
💥 Understand that there are 7 distinct and autonomous relationships in a triad:
– You and your existing partner
– Your existing partner and your new partner
– You and your new partner
– All 3 of you together
– the relationship each of you has with yourselves x 3
Make sure you’re honoring each of these relationships fully. Be mindful and respectful of each of them being separate and autonomous, with their own unique structure and agreements.
💥 Make sure your intentions don’t include you and your partner being a “unit” who are looking to “add a third”. Work on being open to exploring this in an organic way that allows for relationships to develop in their own time and own way. Even if that means one of you isn’t involved in some way or at all.
💥 Be mindful of the impact your existing relationship has on another partner. In my work with clients, and from my 15 years in CNM, the newer partner in a triad can feel intimidated, left out, overruled or discarded and can be the victim of veto power and power dynamics that ultimately create ruptures in all of the relationships. While this is rarely done maliciously, it can happen with couples who don’t have awareness of their biases and the harm they can cause.
💥 Lastly, COMMUNICATE! A lot! You can never do too much checking in. If in doubt, talk it out.