I'm on hiatus while working on a manuscript for a new book. In the meantime, please enjoy these classic Savage Love letters pulled from previous columns. I will be back October 1st, when the book is finished. —Dan
I'm a bisexual woman, age 20, and I am threesome-ing it with my best friend and her boyfriend during a stay abroad. I knew the girl (mostly straight) beforehand. She thinks it's hot when I participate—i.e., when it's three of us in bed—but she gets jealous when her boyfriend and I do anything without her. I don't get jealous when she is alone with her boyfriend, and he doesn't get jealous when she and I do things alone.
She doesn't want to be possessive, but she's got alarms going off. Which is odd because in two months I'll be gone and they'll both be staying in Europe. It feels like she's suddenly setting a lot of limits. We have a blast when we're all together, but we have no real ground rules. I want this to work!
Bi Girl Interrupted
My response after the jump...
Gee, BGI, I'm shocked things aren't going well—I mean, you have "no real ground rules," and as everyone knows, neglecting to establish ground rules is the secret to threesome-ing success.
Wait, did I say the secret to threesome-ing success? I'm sorry, BGI, I meant failure. To ensure the failure of a threesome—whether you're threesome-ing your way through an evening or a summer abroad—it's crucial that you refrain from establishing ground rules. Don't talk about your expectations, just make assumptions; don't make sure everyone's on the same page, just stomp around the minefield of love and lust until the whole fucking thing blows up in your faces.
I trust you're detecting sarcasm, BGI.
Here's what I suspect the problem is: You're operating under the assumption that you're an equal partner in this threesome, BGI, and that this is a sort of quasi-poly arrangement you're enjoying with your best friend and her boyfriend. Share and share alike, right? But your best friend views you as a side attraction. She sees you as something—pardon me, someone—that she and the boyfriend brought into their relationship, not someone who they've brought into the relationship itself.
In other words: They're the couple—they were a couple before you came along, and they're planning to be a couple after you're gone. If you're unclear on that concept, BGI, it's because the three of you failed to establish clear ground rules and expectations and now you're confused, she's jealous, and he's either taking advantage or feeling caught in the middle.
Luckily it's not too late for the three of you to sit down and establish some ground rules. It may be that your friend, while comfortable with the idea of you and her messing around without the boyfriend, isn't comfortable with the idea of you and the boyfriend messing around without her. You may regard that limitation as unfair and irrational; the boyfriend may regard it as unfair and irrational; I may regard it as unfair and irrational. But if you want this to work, BGI, then you'll make allowances for your best friend's comfort levels and security and honor her limitations.
And if you don't wanna honor 'em, you're free to go.