How To Navigate A (Friendship) Threesome
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Relationships

How To Navigate A (Friendship) Threesome

Do triads ever really last? We're here to tell you the truth.

For over two decades, I have been a part of a satisfying, loving and intimate threesome with two women. To clarify: I'm talking about a nonromantic, purely platonic, friendship threesome.

Threesome friendships can get a bad rap. After all, two is company and three is a crowd. Noah put the animals on his ark in twos, not threes — and not just for procreation purposes but probably to avoid hurt feelings. Two people fit comfortably in the front seat of a car and can chat with ease. If there is a third person, she has to sit in the back seat like a child and hears only half the conversation.

You get the idea. Being a “third wheel” sounds like you are unnecessary to the relationship. And our threesome works beautifully.

Admittedly, being part of a threesome takes a bit of maturity and confidence, something I didn’t have as a teenager or even in my 20s.

I met E when we were both 9 years old and in the same religious school class. I met D my freshman year of high school. E & D were both my besties, but separately. We all went to the same school, so they knew each other but didn’t hang out together.

When they decided to attend the same college, I suggested that they room together. I adored them both and thought they would get along great together. Well, that blew up in my face! They DID get along great and became bosom buddies. I went from feeling like the connector between them to feeling like an outsider. They shared jokes, stories, friends — all of which didn’t include me. E was with D when she met the man she would eventually marry. Even after college, a part of me felt I had lost my best friends.

My feelings are not uncommon in a threesome friendship, especially when you are a young adult. Rachel Simmons, the best-selling author of many books, including Odd Girl Out, addressed an 18-year-old about threesome friendships on her website and says, “It’s funny — girls love to celebrate bestie status, but when there’s three people involved, we get weirdly quiet. No one wants to cop to one person getting more love than another.”

Here’s the thing: I’ll never cop to loving one of them more than the other, because I don’t. I love E and D equally. And with some growing up, I was able to realize that they feel the same way about me.

But just because we love each other equally does not mean that our connections are totally equal. Like most threesome friendships, ours is not an equilateral triangle. We are not equidistant from each other at all times.

In the same blog post, Simmons goes on to say that in a threesome friendship, “You will feel left out. It will be hard.” I agree you will feel left out. And when I was younger, it was really hard.

Then I learned that real friendship — with all the ups, downs and emotions in between — cannot be quantified or measured. When you fixate on measuring or comparing the relationships, that is when you get your feelings hurt.

With a history three decades long, we simply cannot share everything equally. There are memories and stories and secrets that the three of us share. And there are some that include just two of us in different combinations. That’s OK. What’s important is that we never deliberately exclude someone with malice or try to make one of the three feel less an equal part of our group.

D and E live a few towns away from each other and get together — just the two of them or with their college crew. But instead of feeling upset about it, I’m happy for them. I don’t worry about their friendship and whether it’s closer than ours. Instead I focus on my connections to both E and D. I want to be a good friend to them individually as well as in our threesome.

Simmons admits about herself, “I wanted to be the kind of girl who could be chill about feeling like the third wheel. I couldn’t …”

I am lucky that my threesome friendship works, because it brings so much joy to my life. Neither E nor D is a “better” friend to me; they are both the absolute “best” in different ways. I am lucky to have them in my life. And when we get together, we make sure we take turns being the one who sits facing the empty chair, because that’s what friendship is all about.

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