Life Advice


Health & Spirit

Open marriage creates unstable triangle

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: My husband "Thomas" and I, both 67-year-old retirees, have been together for 39 years and married for four (we're in a same-sex marriage).

About three years ago, Thomas met "Ray," who is 13 years younger and in a fulfilling and demanding career with irregular hours.

After a couple of years of one-on-one dates, through mutual agreement a year ago, the three of us now spend a couple evenings together each week. We have all come to have a deep love for each other.

Ray doesn't open up often about his friends, family and early life. Most chatting outside of our times together are conducted by text. Sometimes texts can get misunderstood, and that is a recurring issue for us.

When a day or more passes without a text from Ray, Thomas becomes more apprehensive that Ray is pulling out of the relationship. By the third day, Thomas is beside himself, and his fears begin to undermine my equilibrium.

This has happened several times, and each ends undramatically when Ray texts that he's been overwhelmed with work and that he does indeed love us.


Could you advise me on ways to help Thomas cope with Ray's occasional silences with more equanimity?

-- Sometimes A Teenager

Dear Teenager: I infer that you two are in an "open marriage," and now a polyamorous relationship with "Ray." One hazard of allowing a third person into your marriage is that you have created a triangle, and relationship triangles are notoriously unstable.

People are seldom exactly the same when it comes to managing anxiety. (For instance, parents frequently face an anxiety imbalance regarding their children, where one parent will freak out over a child's actions, and the other will remain relatively calm.)


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