Three way relationship
Hi Can anyone help here. I have been seeing a man for the past 5 months. We seem to have been getting on well. The problem is that he has a very close female friend. They text/phone daily, see each other regularly. He has retired early and she does not need to work. She gets very upset about her present relationship and they end up talking for over an hour quite often. I have said it bothers me and he said that he would not stop supporting her emotionally but that if I was worried I could look at the texts on his phone. I would feel really uncomfortable doing this and said so. He also said that he deletes her texts as soon as he has received them.
They have included me in this relationship by discussing her relationship and showing the texts between her and her current boyfriend. I felt really strange about this because I don't want to read someone else private texts as it felt intrusive to her present relationship. He also showed her a text he was sending to me (a very loving text) apparently to get her views.
He has also told me that she talks about her sexual relationship with her present boyfriend to him. This makes me feel uncomfortable.
Last night I ended my relationship with him because I felt so uncomfortable. He has asked me to give it a week and see if I still feel the same. I worry that I am just being jealous and should be more cool about his friendship with her. I guess I could understand it more if it was just that they have shared interests but it doesn't seem to be that. It seems to be more her needing his emotional support and him being very pleased to give it.
He has other women friends and this does not bother me.
It is 5 years since I last dated and I guess I'm feeling very new to all this and not really knowing what is acceptable.
All advice gratefully received.
Have some questions...
Is this the only reason you want to end it?
Do you trust him? Do you trust her?
Is this a real concern, or an insecurity?
Neither "seems" to be hiding anything. But your gut is obviously feeling something is off. Have you tried talking to her when he's not around? If you want to give this guy a chance, I think your best bet is to talk directly with her. If you two can become friends on your own, and you believe you can trust them both? May be worth a shot. But I've been learning to listen to gut more. It's almost always right. Not always, but a lot of the time. Very hard to know for sure in this situation without going straight to the "source" of the discomfort, and decide if it's something you can make peace with, or is a deal breaker.
I wish I had better help, but hope that helps at least some?
That is really helpful thanks.
I'm not sure if I trust him, I guess I don't or I wouldnt be writing this thread. I don't really know her enough to know if I trust her. I've only met her twice, so I haven't had the opportunity to get to know her.
I guess I want to end the relationship because things just dont seem to stack up right. He's very loving to me but actions do speak louder than words I find.
I have some insecurities with this one. I just feel perhaps better to cut my losses now rather than get into something that isn't right.
I havent been sleeping well because of all this, and I wonder if anything that stresses me so much is really worth it.
Gonna be honest about what I'm thinking.... If his words and actions aren't matching up, you're right to be leery. And probably right to cut your losses. That behavior is no accident, and usually a symptom of a much larger issue. An issue that rarely ever gets resolved, even if they do recognize it. It's not easy giving up on people you care about, but you have to do what's good for you. You deserve someone that doesn't make you question loyalties or intentions. Best of luck!! <3
It's never going to be easy if your BF constantly supports someone else emotionally however close they are. Realistically, if this guy had you to the fore, his time would be spent developing your relationship together rather than showing his friend a text meant for you for her approval. It's all very well for him to be open and honest about it all, but the point is that his friend basically needs to sort her issues herself. It's selfish of both of them to cut you out of the picture while they discuss the shortcomings of her relationship.
Ask yourself how anyone could possibly be in a relationship with this guy where he can't contribute properly because of his ongoing commitment and loyalty to someone else.
Mamabear is correct, your gut is talking to you and you need to listen to it.
Mamabear is indeed spot-on and Manalone went and nutshelled it beautifully!
The word all three of you are looking for, for what he's doing, is - MOONLIGHTING! (**aka Triangulating). Because, not yet recovered (or possibly **unrecoverable (see below)), he's scared of ending up fired and completely job-less (again), when, ironically enough, his very negative-prophesy-fulfilling behaviour *guarantees* he'll end up fired (again), and (again) left over-reliant on her neediness and ego boostings ("My hero/accomplice!..keep it coming!"
. Hence, that's exactly what you're right now considering!
Gross Misdemeanour (by the standards of the firmly moral and down-to-earth). The only person he should be playing THAT degree of hero to, Pippa, IS YOU! Exclusively being a gf's/wife's emotional rock (even under-fire or when emotionally 'flooded'
is THE ultimate test of whether a woman's bf/husband has what it takes to make it to 'until death'.
Pippa, definitely fire his a*se and (considering he thinks he's such a big, clever boy) let him/give him the floor (and acid test) to decide whether or not he's into you enough to APPEAL for his job back (- 'See how YOU feel' and 'See my eradicated evidence' my a*se!). Otherwise, he can KEEP his part-time other job and, good luck to him in trying to comfortably live off its salary (pff, unlikely, or else he wouldn't have needed to add YOU to the equation, would he).
Well, 'main' or otherwise, you ain't nobody's supplement (say it with me!).
'There is no greater threat to the **narcissistâs (or narcissistic) ego than being rendered insignificant and meaningless.' If you want to REALLY teach him a lesson he'll never forget (either for your own benefit or the next woman's, not to mention his, future-wise (if not an actual Narc)), just fail to call by the week's end. (Silence + Not Knowing is a killer, doncha know.
'Triangulating', if that's what he's doing, can be a common, main characteristic of Narcissism.... in which case you might not *want* him back, in which case, unemotional Zero Contact-Amen is the only effective way to ensure he doesn't turn around and try to chase and beg you back (*without*, note, having to promise to change/compromise) to point of stalking. Right now (especially once you hit the 3-5 month mark) he could be in the process of setting you up by installing a distinctly unequal power dynamic whereby he always takes-takes-takes while you give-give-give (in order to finally get) until you're completely "hoovered" up.
PPS: For future reference, those who are actually deadly serious about their relationship and its everlasting-ness capability tend to have the nouse to CEASE - for purposes of show of respect as well as a wish to maintain all-important reassurance (thus their own positional safety) - having any friends of the opposite sex unless said friends are the (perfectly contented) wives and girlfriends of their longest-running male friends, never seen alone in a one-to-one. I heavily suspect, therefore, that what these two have most in common is that they're both PLAYERS, complicit and cooperative (tacitly or otherwise) in their endeavour to always have their partner on the back foot.
To obtain control, attention or adulation, narcissists will often inform their partner about how a third-party such as; a mutual friend or co-worker, etcâ¦, who has been flirtatious with them. This third-party person is brought into the relationship to kill two birds with one stone! First, it stirs up feelings of jealousy and insecurity in their partner and subtlety warns the partner that theyâre replaceable. Instinctively the partner tries harder to please the narcissist as to not be replaced. Second, it creates a illusion of desirability and encourages rivalry, both of which, fill the narcissist with narcissistic supply- adulation and control. So not only does the narcissist get his/her dose of supply, he/she also increases the amount of control he/she has over their partner.
Emotionally healthy people do not invoke feelings of jealousy and insecurity in their partners or into their relationships, as they know these are big relationship no-noâs.
2. RECRUITING REINFORCEMENTS
One of the ways narcissists use triangulation to manipulate their partners into siding with their point of view or acquiesce to their wants and needs is by using third-party reinforcements to substantiate and their opinions. This is form of recruiting allies when taken to the extreme is a form of bullying. The narcissist tries to manipulate anyone who may hold a different opinion or belief by using the help of a usually innocent third party, who of course, has only heard the narcissistâs rendition of the truth.
The third-party is usually oblivious to the narcissistâs ploy and believes theyâre only trying to help the narcissist. Usually, the their party is a relative or one of the members of the narcissistâs supporters that the narcissist uses as a tool to help settle differences and coerce their partner or anyone else into accepting their view point through the use of persuasion, embarrassment, majority rules or guilt.
In emotionally healthy relationships, couples do not recruit third parties or use messengers to settle their differences. They have face-to-face discussions. They donât strong arm the other by using a third person to help influence their partner and do their bidding for them. They respect each other and their relationship and if they cannot come to an agreement, they will seek a qualified, unbiased third-party, such as a therapist , minister or counselor.
This method of triangulation involves pitting two people against each other. The narcissist does this by smearing the character of one or both of the people behind their backs. This enables the narcissist to preserve their false image and ensure theyâre viewed positively among the triangle. In many instances, the narcissist will portray themselves as the victim, especially if they feel their partner is growing tired or aware of their manipulation, hypocrisy and abuse. The narcissist will react by planning their partnerâs discard by starting a full-fledged smear campaign behind their back. So by the time they discard their partner, the narcissist already has a circle of blind supporters.
The narcissist will usually seek supporters that he/she knows will always agree with them no matter what. This is how they set up their partner to look like the abuser in the relationship long before the relationship is over. For this to work, the narcissist must keep the supporter(s) and partner from sharing information, so the narcissist will usually share mean comments each has said about the other.
The narcissist uses this triangulation tactic to control the information shared between the parties providing the narcissist with the power of being the main contact and disseminator of information. Since everyone is communicating through the narcissist and not with each other, the narcissist can further their agenda by relaying their spin on the information between the parties.
Emotionally healthy people tend to shy away from the drama that splitting creates. Most people hate to be put in the middle of peopleâs arguments. The narcissist thrives on it. Also, emotionally healthy individuals donât enjoy hurting others by sharing mean-spirited comments that others have said about them. Again the narcissist takes much pleasure in it. For example, the narcissist will mention to his/her partner that a family member made a very cruel comment about them and then pretend to be supportive of their partnerâs anger and appear to defend them. Not only does the narcissist get to delight in the hurt expression on their partnerâs face but the they get to swoop in like the hero and pretend to defend their partner. This creates a lot of drama and chaos and is a good fix of supply for the eternally bored, drama-driven narcissist.
4. THE PRE-DISCARD & DUMP
This is the final triangulation tactic used by the narcissist when he/she has decided to end the relationship. Instead of talking to their partner about this, they will confide in people who again they know will agree with them and believe their rendition of the truth. Sometimes they will confide in people who hardly even know their partner, if at all. The narcissist will make sure to let their partner know that they have been confiding in other people, and every single one of them agrees with the narcissist. Most likely, one of the narcissistâs confidants will assume the role of the replacement partner.
After the break-up, the narcissist will openly brag about how happy they are with their new partner. And if their ex-partner acts jealous or tries to beg them back, the narcissist will enjoy the new bonus love-triangle of their own creation.
It goes without saying, that emotionally healthy people donât talk about something as important as ending a relationship with others without discussing it with their partnerâs first. It also goes without saying that emotionally healthy people donât shamelessly flaunt their new partners right away, since it would cause them to feel embarrassed about entering a new relationship so quickly.
Ironically, In Judo, a triangle choke, is a four-figure chokehold which strangles the opponent by encircling the opponentâs neck and one arm with the legs in a configuration, similar to the shape of a triangle. The technique constricts the blood flow from the carotid artery to the brain and can cause the fighter to pass out or even die if left in the hold long enough. In order for the fighter to release himself from the triangle choke, he needs to tap out, or the referee will jump in to stop the fight. If you see any of these warning signs or behaviors in your relationship, strongly consider tapping out. You may lose the match, but miraculously, when toxic people leave your life, so does anxiety, depression and hopelessness.
Hi again and thank you all for your helpful input. I had the best nights sleep last night that I have had in ages.
From wondering if I am being possessive (perhaps I am because I didn't like sharing my man emotionally) I am now realising that anything I feel uncomfortable with in a relationship is a big no-no. Your messages brought it home to me that his friend supplies the need of feeding his ego. There is no way I could be happy for long with someone who first of all has this need and then puts it over our own relationship.
I feel much better today, because emotionally I have left this strange triangle. I am chewing it over a bit at the moment but I also know that after a little time has elapsed I will have forgotten most of it, except, I hope, the learning points I want to carry into the future.
The information on narcissism was particularly interesting. I hadn't thought of this before. I will read some more about this just out of interest, so perhaps, next time I will spot this type of behaviour more readily.
Thank you all once again for taking me from having a really strong gut instinct that something was not right to a greater understanding of what is definitely wrong.
Good for you, Pippa!! The fact that you slept soundly, without the confusion and doubt, makes it clear you've made the right decision. I'm hoping that you're a lot like me in that the decision is the hardest part. Once the decision has been made, it's just a matter of taking whatever steps are necessary to move forward, taking what you've learned with you. Be true to yourself, listen to your gut, and whatever happens will be right for you. Best of luck! <3
"The fact that you slept soundly, without the confusion and doubt, makes it clear you've made the right decision."
And - you're welcome, Pippa.