2 Ways Throuples Navigate Love-Life Challenges

5 min read
Jessica Felicio / Unsplash

Source: Jessica Felicio / Unsplash

Falling in love with two people simultaneously is a genuine and profound experience for many. It’s not merely about divided affection but an expansive capability to care, connect, and commit to more than one person.

The decision to form a throuple—a romantic relationship between three people—can arise from various motivations, ranging from a shared bond or common goals to mutual attraction or simply the evolution of a friendship into something more.

Despite society becoming increasingly open-minded, non-traditional relationships like throuples still face challenges. It’s crucial to recognize that these relationships demand just as much dedication and work, if not more.

Setting ground rules is paramount. Without clear guidelines and continuous dialogue, misunderstandings can spiral into larger conflicts.

Here are two conversations that can help throuples smooth out the kinks in a potentially unstable dynamic.

1. “Are We Ready to Do This?”

When considering a throuple relationship, discussing and understanding each partner’s background, experiences, and motivations is essential. Recognizing and embracing diversity early on can set the stage for open communication and mutual respect.

A 2019 study published in The Journal of Sex Research contrasted polyamorous relationships with monogamous ones regarding demographics and life choices. It found that polyamorous individuals, including those who favor being in a throuple, often identified with minority sexual orientations. Moreover, they demonstrated tendencies towards civil unions and experienced higher divorce rates. And their annual incomes more often fell below $40,000 than those in monogamous relationships.

These findings are more than just numbers: They hint at experiences, challenges, and perspectives individuals in throuples might bring into the relationship. While the age range was similar between both groups, life experiences and choices diverged significantly.

Such insights can serve as valuable talking points for potential throuples. Acknowledging and discussing these differences from the outset, throuples can lay a solid foundation for their relationship, tolerant of diversity and emotional and experiential complexity.

Here are some ideas to ponder before considering taking the three-person relationship plunge:

  • Self-awareness. How well do you know your boundaries, needs, and triggers? Are you open to understanding and adapting to the needs and boundaries of two other individuals?
  • Past relationship dynamics. Given the higher rates of divorce and civil unions among polyamorous individuals, it’s worth discussing past relationships. What did you learn from them, and how can those lessons inform the dynamics of the throuple?
  • Financial compatibility. How do you envision sharing financial responsibilities? Will the financial contribution be even or based on individual contribution?
  • Cultural and societal concerns. Given the non-traditional nature of throuples, are you prepared to face potential societal biases or prejudices? How will you handle questions or critiques from family, friends, and strangers?

Having these conversations upfront can provide clarity and help set the relationship on a firm foundation. Each question is designed to unravel complexities, address potential challenges, and ensure everyone in the throuple feels seen, heard, and valued.

2. Regular Check-Ins

Since three individuals are involved, each with unique emotions, needs, and expectations, ensuring a balance where everyone feels valued can be a delicate act. All three individuals will evolve as the relationship progresses, and their needs might shift.

Regular check-ins provide a platform to address feelings or concerns that might arise, ensuring they don’t fester or escalate into bigger issues. Topics for regular check-ins might include:

  • Emotional well-being. Are the emotional needs or concerns of each partner being addressed?
  • Time management. How are all three partners ensuring they get quality time individually and collectively? Are any adjustments needed?
  • Boundaries. Are the established boundaries still working? Do they need revisiting or adjusting based on the relationship’s progression?
  • Future planning. Throuples need to consider their future: living arrangements, financial plans, or even family planning if that’s on the table.

These conversations can help throuples identify issues that may not be obvious in everyday life. For instance, a 2021 study published in Frontiers in Psychology found that 21 to 33 percent of individuals who had previously engaged in polyamory grappled with personal possessiveness and challenges in managing the associated emotions.

Polyamory Essential Reads

While prior research suggests that jealousy is a more common problem in monogamous relationships, not polyamorous ones, the unique structure of a throuple might naturally present more varied situations that can trigger jealousy than a monogamous relationship. However, it’s essential to understand that jealousy isn’t exclusive to one type of relationship.

The key to such relationships lies in recognizing potential jealousy triggers, maintaining open communication, and setting clear boundaries, which can be made possible by frequent check-ins.


When making a throuple work, the foundation lies in trust, understanding, and respect. While open conversations about your expectations and goals are important in any relationship, conversations about the whats, whys, and hows become especially important in non-traditional arrangements.

Although every throuple is unique, each will evolve. Recognizing that change is constant and being willing to navigate it together is crucial.

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