One of the newest kinds of relationships out there is the triad or throuple. Three people who have decided to be in a relationship together just like a couple, only there are three people.
Most of us in a two person relationship are baffled by them, but probably intrigued. I know I am. I remember seeing books on 3 people “couples” when I was young and really only perceiving it in a sexual way, thinking how hot it is, and how much fun they must have in bed all the time. With the more visability of polyamory relationships in the media, and my own learning about what that all means I wanted to talk to a throuple, and see what its all about, ask the silly questions and allow the guys in the relationship to tell me what its really like, how they make it work and bust some myths. Well I
found a great throuple, three ordinary bearish dudes, who live together and share their lives, they agreed to be interviewed, and were open honest and fun. So sit back and read what they had to say in response to my silly questions.
First of all meet the guys, in the main picture left to right its – Shawn, Justin and Dylan.
David Goodman: Hi guys, where do you all come from?
Shawn: I come from a conservative family and grew up all over the south including Texas, Oklahoma and Mississippi.
Dylan: I’ve lived in North Texas all my life. I come from a very liberal family that has always been very accepting and supportive of me being gay.
Justin: Born in Oklahoma City, but moved to Texas in between 1st and 2nd grade for my father’s job.
DG: Where do you all live now? and do you live together?
Shawn: We all live in a suburb of Dallas.
Dylan: We do! Along with two dogs, a cat, and a fish, hah hah.
DG: How did you meet?
Shawn: I (Shawn) had just moved across town to the suburbs and met Justin and Dylan (who were already in a relationship) on an app with the purpose of making local friends. We talked online for several weeks and then finally met for dinner one night. Things haven’t been the same since.
Dylan: Justin and I originally met online, and we met Shawn through an app. Shawn had just moved nearby recently, and we hadn’t really been on the app that long. Kismet!
Justin: Dylan and I didn’t really have any friends in the gay community, so we got on an app together. Started finding some guys to hang out with. Then we found Shawn! We met him for dinner, and knew he was different from everyone else we’d hung out with. Things kinda took off from there.
DG: How do you decide to be a three person couple? Can you explain a little about the negotiation of that?
Shawn: Honestly, none of us were looking for more than a friendship but as we continued to connect, the feelings definitely deepened. I (Shawn) was not against poly or open relationships but had not considered it as a viable option for me. In fact, I had attended a Three’s Not Company themed-party for the end of a different throuple weeks before we started talking. As far as the coupling part of it, we all admitted crushes and deeper romantic feelings towards another and talked hypothetically on what ifs. Then we started making the what ifs happen.
Dylan: Honestly, it just kind of happened. Like I said, Justin and I started chatting with Shawn on an app, and eventually we met for dinner. Really had nothing intended other than friendship, but there was an immediate connection. We started hanging out almost every day, and eventually I admitted to Justin that I was crushing on Shawn (of course it turned out to be more than a crush). Justin admitted the same to me in response, which was equally relieving and confusing. We still had to deal with actually telling Shawn how we felt, since we suspected but weren’t certain if he felt the same. Spoiler alert: He did. We decided to just let things grow naturally, and here we are! Justin and I decided immediately we didn’t want this to be an us and him sort of thing. We wanted everyone to be equals in the relationship, and so did he.
Justin: Dylan and I both really liked hanging out with Shawn. We played games, watched movies, went to breakfast, lunch, and dinner, texted a lot, and basically started spending all of our time with him. Dylan and I discussed how much we both liked him and how much he added to our lives… we decided we wanted to spend our lives with him if he’d have us. There was lots of communication, negotiation, discussions, and compromise.
DG: How do you make sure no one is left out, and that trust is there?
Shawn: The key to making sure no one is left out is communication. We make sure to schedule intentional time between each of the couples within the throuple and intentional time for all three of us together. It’s not easy as we have differing work schedules and availability so we constantly check in to see how everyone is feeling and how we can work to increase feelings of security if there are gaps.
Dylan: Tons of communication! We try and plan group dates as well as individual time with one another in order to cultivate all of the relationships.
Justin: Being with one person is hard enough sometimes, but it takes a lot more work to be with 2. Sometimes, there are hurt feelings and times that someone feels left out. To balance that, we again try to communicate our needs, negotiate, discuss, and plan how to best handle similar situations in the future. One thing that has helped is sharing a calendar app and another one for things like grocery shopping lists.
DG: What happens around anniversaries?
Shawn: We all co-created August 21st (the day we first met in person) as our throuple anniversary. We honor it annually and even more frequently (e.g., semi-annual).
Dylan: Justin and I decided not to celebrate our anniversary as a couple anymore (it’s the dog’s birthday anyway, plenty of reason to celebrate as it is!). We only celebrate the anniversary of the three of us getting together.
Justin: Typically we like to plan trips. We’re all employed professionals, so we often just buy ourselves what we want or need. So, taking a trip is a great way to make memories instead of having to remember what each person bought the other.
DG: Do you all have different roles or gravitate to certain things, such as one of you is the cook, one of you is the one to make sure the bills are paid, or is it all just jumbled up etc?
Shawn: We do gravitate towards certain activities (e.g,. Justin baking or Dylan finding social activities) but do share many of the roles together. It helps to challenge us to become more comfortable things we might not be otherwise. With respect to finances, we have a common fund to go towards mortgage, utilities, etc. but then each of us maintains our own individual finances with separate accounts. I don’t know that separate accounts is a requirement for successful poly relationships but it works for us.
Dylan: I would say we all share the chores pretty evenly. We all try to cook, clean, do laundry, pick up groceries, etc. Bills are split pretty evenly as well.
Justin: We kinda blend roles. We each have natural abilities and talents. We all contribute to bills and expenses, we all do our share of laundry and cleaning. I’m the one with the most interest in plants/landscaping, so I tend to be the one who buys flowers etc, but they will both help plant them and weed. I also tend to do more of the grocery shopping and cooking, but they have both definitely stepped up their game helping with that.
DG: Do you all share the same bed?
Shawn: We do share the same King size bed. It gets hot in the summer but we make it work.
Dylan: We do! We rotate who sleeps in the middle in case anyone gets claustrophobic. It gets a bit crowded sometimes, none of us are tiny guys!
Justin: Yes, we all share a king-sized bed. Dylan and I mostly rotate who sleeps in the middle. But, Shawn will take the middle for naps and cuddle time.
DG: When it comes to sex do you always play together, or can one of you say “Hey you two have fun I am gonna do something else”, have headache…etc?
Shawn: Actually, we end up all playing together. We may have moments where someone is not in the mood and the other two may masturbate. We work hard to be aware of each other’s needs and even if we aren’t fully rearing to go, we find willingness is key and with kissing and touching desire often kicks in. But we are also comfortable in saying no and negotiating what that looks like.
Dylan: We try our best to keep everyone as involved as possible, but of course with varying drives, schedules, etc., that’s not always feasible. We do our best to make sure everyone’s needs are met.
Justin: We always play together. There are times one person may not be totally up for it or able to finish, but when that happens they are still there participating and cheering the other two on.
DG: Are you open? Or committed within the relationship?
Shawn: We identify as committed or exclusive within the relationship.
Dylan: We are in a committed, closed relationship. I believe the term is “poly-fidelity”.
Justin: Poly-fidelity; we are committed to each other and don’t play around with other guys.
DG: You posted on social media about a wedding you attended all together? Does that mean yo are very open to friends and family about your lives?
Shawn: Many of our friends and family are aware of our relationship. Most have been very open and accepting, even if they have lots of questions or say they don’t quite get it.
Dylan: Family, friends, and coworkers know. I’m typically very open about our relationship, life is too short to hide. I haven’t ever really gotten a negative reaction, usually just honest questions. My parents definitely struggled with it at first, but they have made a lot of effort to be understanding and have come around.
Justin: The parts of my family I’m still in contact with are aware and very supportive. My friends and co-workers all know; most of them have asked the same questions we’re answering here. After explaining things, they have been very supportive. Often, they’ll say “wow that’s great! But I have too much trouble with just my one (boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife), I can’t imagine dealing with two!”
DG: How has it been received, are people as full of silly questions as we are? Or do they just nod and keep quiet?
Shawn: There are lots of questions! I think the most common is do you all sleep in the same bed? We actually welcome the questions. We know this is not your everyday relationship and being poly has many misconceptions and a great deal of stigma about it. We look it as an opportunity to share with others that it can work and that partners can be happy in this type of relationship. There are other representations of poly out there and we are adding one more viewpoint to the culture.
Dylan: Almost everyone definitely takes a beat when I tell them / they figure it out. There’s not been a single person who doesn’t at least have a couple of questions. It’s totally understandable, this isn’t exactly the standard. People are curious.
Justin: Lol, I should have read all the questions before starting to answer! See above
DG: What do you think makes what you have special? Does it have something that really sets It apart from two person couples?
Shawn: This hasn’t been all puddles and sunshine. We have definitely encountered the rough stuff. I think our ability to communicate through the hard times and our ability to be generous with one another has definitely helped.
Dylan: I can’t put my finger on any one thing, just that we all got extremely lucky that we all wanted the same thing at the same time.
Justin: There are definitely positives and negatives. Having two people to rely on when things are tough, or good, is amazing! When two of us are having a disagreement, the third can be in an awkward situation; it can be tough to not take sides and try to act as a mediator.
DG: Does it have weakness’? what are they and how do you overcome that?
Shawn: Each of us has our moments where we fail to exhibit our best selves. We are far from perfect. What helps us tackle those moments is our ability to take accountability and learn from those moments.
Dylan: Well, I wouldn’t call them weaknesses, but there are certainly extra hurdles to deal with. Emotions like jealousy of course come up, it’s unavoidable. The more we communicate openly, the more likely we are to prevent those feelings.
Justin: I don’t feel that there are any more weakness in a 3-way relationship than a couple. Honesty, trust, and communication are crucial to making any relationship work.
DG: What do you feel the future holds?
Shawn: We have a healthy balance in living in the present and making plans for the future. We joke about Dylan (the youngest of the bunch) taking care of us when we are old so I’m feeling pretty solid it’s not going anywhere.
Dylan: I’m sure more adventures!
Justin: We are all committed to the 3-way relationship and making it work. I think as time goes on, the love and relationship will continue to flourish and grow.
DG; Is there anything you want to tell the readers that we haven’t asked?
Shawn: I would just reiterate that it’s important to communicate and openly talk about expectations. When you are dealing with three (or more) people, making sure everyone is on the same page about expectations or how we can work within those expectations.
Dylan: If y’all want to keep up with us, follow us on Instagram and Tumblr! 3ouple on both.