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I’m married to a man named Brice and have been for 5 years, together for 11. We have a 2.5 year old child together and we were planning on having more. He’s British and I’m American. I’ve always identified as bisexual and non-monogamous but my husband never entertained the idea until recently.

About 2 years ago, my best friend — let’s call him Brad — (also married with 1 kid and 1 on the way at that time) told me he loved me and I responded I felt the same. We all — his wife Ashley and he, my husband and I — started many months of ongoing conversations about what this all would look like. My husband and I got a therapist and it quickly became clear that we wanted to stay together but that I also wanted to explore the relationship with Brad. Ashley and I were also very close before and she and I were in constant communication at this point too.

Shortly after that all started, Brad and Ashley moved back home to the United States while I stayed in England with my husband until my PhD was finished. I visited a few times and one of those time, Ashley and my relationship got sexual (with everyone’s consent). Brad, Ashley, and I are now in a triad dynamic (with 3 kids) while my husband and I are also still committed. My husband also started experimenting with dating outside of our relationship which has gone well if not perfect for him.

Once my PhD was finished, I couldn’t find a job in London and, being in between jobs, we all felt it would be a good time for my to come and live with the triad to really see how this could all work on a longer term basis. I have been here for 3 months with a few visits from my husband while he finished a contract in the UK (he plans to move over with us as soon as he can).

My main dilemma is that I am incredibly lonely in the house. There are many times that I feel in ‘Limbo’, neither actually within the primary relationship of Brad and Ashley (even though it is never talked about as primary versus secondary or even ‘them and me’) but it exists that way in practice. I’ve moved into their house, they have kids together, I am here alone with my kid, I share a room with my kid and their oldest joins them in bed every night so I never sleep in the bed with them, I’m always on my own.

My kid is a morning kid so we’re up and awake at 6 and the rest of the house doesn’t wake until 8, I’m never the one called or texted when plans change, etc. It’s all of these little things that make me feel incredibly left out and lonely. Further, I have no friends or family here outside of this house (a big deal for me and something I’m working on as I left a huge community of really close people in London and live away from my tight family) and they’re home-bodies.

I really just miss the partnership and relationship that I have with my husband- the little things like talking about groceries or weekend plans. And I know that Brad and Ashley would be receptive to these discussions about changing their life but it’s exactly that problem- I am coming in asking to change the life they created for themselves, and I’m the only one who is constantly asked to problem solve and come up with solutions that work for me. It doesn’t always feel that they’re going out of their way to think through things from my perspective.

I guess I just need help knowing I’m not alone, that there is a way to fix this without feeling like I’m the third wheel constantly, and that there are things I can ask that may actually change the situation long term. I follow some triads on social media and I guess it’s hard to know if other triads deal with loneliness as social media is famous for being rose tinted.

Honestly, there isn’t a way to fix this without telling them explicitly what the problem is and hoping that they are willing to fix it. While I totally understand that it can and will be frustrating if they don’t want to give that any energy, it doesn’t really sound like you’ve even really addressed this with them fully.

They are behaving the way they’ve always behaved because, in all honesty, there is no script for them in how to behave in a “triad” way. I don’t think this is a sign that they don’t value you, they just may not be really aware of how unhappy you are. You said that the problem is that you are coming in and asking them to change the life they created for themselves as if the problem is you. It sounds like you don’t have the confidence to ask for what you want.

Some people are great at anticipating other people’s needs or reading non-verbal communication. Not everyone is. This sounds pretty blunt to say but… people can’t read your mind. It’s not necessarily a sign of selfishness that they haven’t gone out of their way to think about things from your perspective. If you’ve never verbalised that there is a problem, they may think you’re absolutely fine. You’re going to have to be willing to at least initiate the conversation that there is a problem if you want them to fix it. You can’t say they’re asking you to problem solve if they don’t even know if there is a problem.

When they agreed to form a relationship with you or when they understood that they were stepping out of the realms of typical monogamy, they agreed from that point to change the life that they created themselves. They have already agreed to behave differently, but because non-monogamy is not the norm, they may not really know how to behave differently. They may not know how little or much you want to be involved in their life.

This can be an incredibly difficult and tricky situation, but it’s impossible to fix. It has to begin with you asking for what you want and giving them a chance to respond to that. You also need to, as you recognised, build your own local networks and meet people on your own and reach out to your husband for more support so you don’t feel so lonely. I think though if you think really hard about what you want to be involved with and what they can do to help you feel less lonely, they’re likely going to respond positively.

They just need to know it because they may not be experienced enough to anticipate it.

I hope this helps and good luck!

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