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Throuple Relationship Rules (17 Ways to Make It Work)

Last updated on October 27, 2022 by Kelsey Willows

Through societal construct, monogamy has been widely accepted as the ‘norm’. Monogamy can be defined as “the practice or state of having a sexual relationship with only one partner.” Relationships outside of this expectation are commonly misunderstood, so let’s learn to understand about ethical non-monogamy, shall we?

All relationships are beautiful and should be celebrated! Love has no limits and being open to the idea of a three-person relationship may open a new door to happiness. 

The relationship structure can be no different from a monogamous relationship. As long as you are honest, open, and understanding with your partners, you will learn and grow together.

When there are three people in a relationship, it’s important to take the time to learn and express your boundaries. Most importantly, you should learn to love yourself and work on your relationship with yourself; working on your insecurities in order to successfully put time and effort into two other partners.

Throuple, Triad, 3-Way Relationship? Throuple Relationship Explained

What is a Polyamorous Relationship [in short]?

Polyamory can be defined as “the practice of engaging in multiple romantic (and typically sexual) relationships, with the consent of all the people involved.”Consent being highly significant here. 

The terms polyamory and throuple often get confused as the same thing. However, being in a throuple or a triad is simply a form of polyamory. Many people confuse non-monogamous relationships as open relationships or where a person has more than one partner without the other partner’s consent.

Deborah Anapol, author of Polyamory in the 21st Century: Love and Intimacy with Multiple Partners, states that “Polyamory is less about how many people you’re having sex with, feeling love for, or both, than it is about allowing love (not lust) to lead us into whatever form is appropriate.”

What is a Throuple?

To put it simply, a throuple is a romantic relationship between three people. Each person will have a clear understanding of this engagement, and will spend time as a three, or as individual couples within. There are many ways to make this work, but generally it’s down to those involved! Not one relationship is the same, so why should a throuple be any different? 

All the partners should set some ground rules and clear boundaries based on their individual needs and expectations in order to make their relationship work.

Deborah further explains, “a triad may be open or closed, but if it’s a polyamorous triad, it’s more ongoing than a one-night ménage à trois. It can be strictly heterosexual, or homosexual, or it can be the choice of two same-gender bisexuals and an opposite-gender heterosexual.”

Closed Triad VS Open Triad Relationships

A closed triad relationship is where the expectation has been set that all the partners will not date or partake in sexual intimacy with other people; basically, no outside partners. 

An open triad relationship on the other hand, is where each partner in the throuple have agreed to date or have sex outside of the relationship; this is significantly consensual.

Throuple Relationship Rules: 17 Ways to Make It Work

It’s important to recognise that each person and relationship will differ and there is no set rule for making things work. However, there are several tips that can help when entering a successful throuple.

1. Be confident in the relationship you have with yourself

A throuple relationship consists of five different relationships. A relationship with each individual, and a relationship with yourself. It is hard enough to put energy into a two-person relationship, instead, you are putting your time and energy into two people.

This will simply be impossible without learning how to love yourself. Stand by your own rules and boundaries and try to eradicate any underlying issues with confidence and insecurities

2. Be willing to put the time into each individual relationship

be willing to put the time into each individual relationship

Realistically, you won’t always spend time as a three. Finding time to work, having a social life, and most importantly finding time for yourself, it will be difficult to maintain a successful relationship without setting some sort of a plan or routine when it comes to spending quality time together. 

You’ll find that the best way to work with three partners is to arrange time as a three, but also arrange a set date night with yourself and one other partner one night a week, and again with your second partner another night in the week. 

3. Set clear expectations and boundaries 

When entering any relationship, it’s important to set clear expectations and boundaries but even more so in a relationship with 3 people. Each individual partner will have different views, you may even disagree at times, so it’s important to do whatever you can to make sure you’re on the same page.

Boundaries could be set surrounding sex, living space, closed or open triads, understanding each other, etc. Expectations are all about what you intend to get out of the relationship and where you see your future together.

4. Have good communication

Communication skills are key. It’s so important to communicate your feelings with your partners. A problem that can often arise in throuple relationships is jealousy. This is completely normal and will usually come down to how much time you’re spending together. 

So, if you communicate properly, it will help to eradicate those issues before they become more serious.

5. Be clear about consent

According to Sheff, “consent is what differentiates cheating.” When entering a throuple relationship you will need to have a clear discussion surrounding consent

In most cases, an existing couple will extend their relationship to a third partner. This can feel confusing for the first time as is with any situation where you open your relationship to someone else. 

If you have a detailed conversation about consent, you will fully understand each partner’s boundaries and expectations for the relationship. 

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6. Consider whether you will have an open triad relationship

Some polyamorous relationships decide to be in an open relationship, meaning that you can still date outside of your throuple relationship. With consent, you will have a clear understanding of the rules and boundaries set in place for this agreement. 

Usually, this is when you are open to having sex outside of your relationship without developing feelings or an emotional attachment. There are many polyamorous relationship types, you simply need to choose what works best for you and your partners. 

Some throuples may be open, but only one partner seeks sex outside of their relationship with the other two. It’s entirely down to preference, understanding yours and your partners’ needs and making the consensual decision as a three on how your relationship will work best. 

7. Create a throuple sleeping arrangement

create a throuple sleeping arrangement

If you live together, you will have clear sleeping arrangements. You may each have your own room, you may share a large bed together, or it might vary between two bedrooms (especially if you have a primary partner); whatever works for your current relationship.

8. Or… create a housing arrangement 

Depending on the stage you’re in within your relationship, you may not live together. If you are married and within a primary relationship, you will most likely live together. 

You may have recently opened your relationship to a third person but aren’t yet at the stage of living together as a three.

Think about what will work best for the development of your intimate relationships with one another. Private time is needed in any relationship, so each of you can try to leave the house or spend time alone to give your two other partners some space together and vice versa.

9. Be open about your sexual needs

When in a throuple relationship, you won’t always be turned on at the same time; this would be completely unrealistic. In any romantic relationship it's hard to feel in sync at the best of times, so be vocal about your physical needs and desires. 

If this is something that is not satisfying you, consider having an open relationship or simply discuss it with your partners; this isn’t a rule, simply an option to explore.

Also, give yourself the privacy to masturbate. Don’t neglect your relationship with your own body. 

10. Spend quality time together 

If you are in a closed throuple, spend time individually as well as in a triad. When there are three parties to consider, date nights can become difficult. Two partners may want to go out and have a drink whereas the third partner may be into something more chilled.

Thrive off your similarities and share experiences relating to your differences, but make sure you take the time to develop each individual relationship.

Cassie, Matt, and Dallas are a great example of balancing their quality time together. They are in a throuple relationship, and filmed in a documentary for Brut America on YouTube to help give an insight into the dynamics of their closed relationship.

They go off a date schedule to ensure that they each spend a balanced amount of time together. Cassie leaves to enjoy some free time to herself, whilst Dallas and Matt decide on their date activity. They each express what they want to get out of their spending time together and give themselves time to reconnect and feel fulfilled with one another.

11. Accept that it won’t always be bliss

Every relationship has its ups and downs, and there are many pros that come with being in a successful throuple. But even successful throuples will have their bad days. Some people find it hard to share their time with one person, so it can be demanding to put this energy into two people.

If you are successful when communicating, then you will hopefully overcome any negative feelings within the relationship, but that’s not to say that it’s going to be amazing all the time. 

You will most likely feel jealous andmisunderstood at times. All adult relationships experience this, it’s just something that can feel heightened with more than one person that requires your attention.

12. Work through your insecurities 

We all know what it feels like when jealousy gets the better of us. This is heightened in a throuple, especially at the beginning of the relationship. 

Jealousy usually stems from insecurities within. So, the best way to combat is to take the time to work on yourself before committing to two others. You’re allowed to have bad days, we all do! But lean on your partners, communicate your feelings and work through them together. 

13. Try to remain neutral in arguments

Every single relationship experiences arguments, but this can end up being messier in a three-way relationship simply because there are more people involved. If it's not your fight, try to remain neutral.

14. Be honest about your relationship to friends and family

be honest about your relationship to friends and family

Non-monogamy is more common than you would realize, however, it can still be misunderstood, and this can cause throuples to shy away from being public about their relationship. You may find that being open and honest about your relationship will help you when understanding your feelings. 

There is no right or wrong way to come out as polyamorous to your friends or family, so just do whatever feels right for you. But be confident in your decision to listen to your heart. Informing others is also a great way to normalize polyamory and help to erase misconceptions surrounding a throuple relationship. 

15. Compromise is key 

Compromise is key in any healthy, successful relationship, but when there is a third person to consider, it’s crucial to know how to be selfless at the right times

That’s not to say that you should disregard your needs and wants, it means that you should find a healthy balance for your throuple relationship in order to make it work. 

16. Remember a three-person relationship should be equal

Sometimes, we have favorites… And sometimes, it’s hard to hide that. However, in throuple relationships it’s very important that everyone is equal. 

Naturally, you will go through phases of preferences, and this is completely normal. But make sure that you treat both partners equally, the way that you would want to be treated yourself. 

You shouldn’t ever compare partners and individual relationships as they will never be the same. This will only encourage negativity. Remain open, mindful, and fair within your relationship. 

17. Be respectful

Throuple relationships rules will change depending on the relationship. One thing that will always remain the same is to be respectful to both partners. Romantic relationships can be difficult, and we can begin to take our partners for granted. 

However, in a romantic relationship between three, not only do you need to be respectful to each partner, but you need to be respectful of your partners’ relationship with each other as well. 

Examples and Advice from Successful Three-Way Relationships

Relationship and life coach Roy Graff explains that “Open Relating is about creating and maintaining conscious, connected and autonomous, expansive relationships, regardless of their dynamic and how many people are involved. Doing so requires first an honest unflinching look at our own vulnerabilities, fears, needs, wants and desires.”

He explains that he “briefly (and rather ignorantly) experimented with an open marriage and long distance non-monogamy, which unsurprisingly, considering my lack of experience and knowledge, didn’t work out.” If you want to gain a more thorough understanding about polyamory, have a read through his online blog.

I also highly recommend watching Brut Americas YouTube documentary; “Here’s What This Throuple Wants You to Know About Polyamory”. Cassie, Matt, and Dallas are all married to each other, even though their throuple wedding was not legal, it was a spiritual ceremony that was important to each of them. 

Cassie explains “the driving force of our polyamory is sharing love with as many people as our heart wants to and keeping our hearts super open.”

FAQs

How is throuple dating arranged?

It depends entirely on each relationship. Usually this is something that happens naturally when a pre-existing couple extends their relationship to a third partner. It might be purely sexual to begin with, or it might be purely emotional.

Naturally, it’s usually one partner that suggests opening their relationship to a third partner. A conversation would then be had with all three partners to discuss the logistics surrounding making their relationship work together. Boundaries would be set in place early on to avoid any misunderstandings down the line. 

How to have a three-way relationship?

The best way to have a successful three-way relationship is to take the time to understand one another, communicate, and spend quality time together. Just like any relationship, you have to work hard to make things work between you. A throuple is no different, it simply requires a little more understanding and communication. 

Is a throuple relationship an open relationship?

A throuple relationship can be an open relationship, but this isn’t a rule. Some throuples don’t date outside of each other, but others do. It depends on the people within the relationship and their sexual needs (usually).

How common is a throuple relationship?

Throuple relationships have become much more common, as polyamory is something that people are slowly beginning to understand. According to Brook.Org, “Research shows that about five percent of relationships are openly non-monogamous, or polyamorous.”

Is throuple marriage legal?

Unfortunately, no. However, the world is constantly progressing and that’s not to say that it will become legal in the future. Legally, an individual cannot marry more than one person, but watch America Bruts YouTube documentary to see how Dallas, Cassie and Matt have a spiritual ceremony that marries them in every way other than legally binding. 

In Conclusion

No relationship is the same, especially those that are non-monogamous. Take the time to understand yourself, before learning how to love multiple partners.

Whether you’re looking to enter a throuple relationship, or simply curious about the dynamic between having three partners within a relationship, understand that the most important person is you. 

From there, as long as you are open, honest, and communicate successfully, you will be able to find what works for you and your relationship. Be respectful, be equal, and be happy. It’s an incredible thing to be able to open up your heart to several people, let your partners guide you as you hope to guide them.

Feel free to comment if you have any advice, stories, or additions to make to this article, and share with any friends who wish to learn more about polyamory and throuples. Help me in my journey to empower women, and to normalize all sex and relationship topics.

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Kelsey Willows
As a woman in our world, I’ve dreamed of becoming a writer to essentially help women! I think it’s important to normalize topics that are considered taboo, especially within relationships and sex! I have always been a shoulder to cry on, whether that’s to a close friend or even to a woman scorned in the bathroom of a nightclub! I give balanced advice, and encourage those to look at a situation from several points of view. I recently graduated from Salford University in England where I wrote my final dissertation on gender representations in adaptations of pride and prejudice for film and TV, and alongside this have been writing a novel. Again, normalizing the want for pleasure as a woman, and the need of a healthy relationship.

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