I am a phone-phobe. A serious “if-I-never-had-to-talk-on-the-phone-again-I’d-be-happy” kinda girl. If you’ve gotten me to actually call you at any point, or better yet, to answer my phone when you call, you’re definitely in my “special” group. lol
Most of my communication comes from email, IM & texting, both in my work life and personal life. Ad is the only one that I really talk to consistently, daily, on the phone, and that’s probably only because he doesn’t email or IM, and you can only say so much via text. W and I email throughout the day. I’d prefer a more immediate communication tool such as texting or IM for the little/immediate stuff, but he has thus far resisted those, so I make do, and occasionally (gasp) actually call him. J and I are off and on IM and text pretty much all day (we’re both pretty intense communicators.)
That said, sometimes there is no other way than the phone, than voice-to-voice. Thank goodness J realized that yesterday. We’d been having a rather tense discussion, exacerbated by misreadings on tone and intention via IM, and right in the middle that (smart girl) picked up the phone and just called. And yes, I picked up. And in about 5 minutes we had resolved things.
That’s something I had forgotten about though, the intensity of communication, the need for true, unfettered, honest communication in multiple relationships. Okay, I hadn’t forgotten it, I practice it daily, but when adding a new person to the mix, there is always that time of adjustment, of getting used to each other and each other’s quirks, foibles and ways of communicating. We (she and I) have run into this issue before, in the very beginning, and recognized that tho we both communicate a lot, we communicate differently. And the fact that my other two partners are men, who definitely communicate differently, but whose communication styles I have adapted to, well, it’s a learning curve for me (and surely her as well.)
An interesting aspect of this is that I have never been in this exact relationship configuration before, what amounts to a triad between her, me and Ad. I have always been the “third” in other relationships, and sought that dynamic out specifically because I liked being a secondary. Point of fact, I have never actively sought out a third for Ad’s and my relationship, because A has never been keen on dating others (in fact it was me that instigated both this relationship and the one other that he has had with another.) He just doesn’t -or hasn’t- had the energy or drive to maintain more than one relationship.
But maybe that is why it seems to be working between us three: I am the hinge, and as such (communication-wise) I maintain the relationship(s) on both sides, giving them both what they need, whether that is J’s need for lots of communication/attention or both their need for time without me in which to grow their own relationship. I nurture both their relationship and ours, each of the “ours” that there is–his and mine, theirs, mine and hers, all of ours. And isn’t that how it should be? But the fact is that being the hinge is also a lot of work – which is probably why I liked being a (distant) secondary in previous triads I have been involved in. On the other hand, in thinking about it, I realize that between the three of us in all of my three-relationships, I was often the communicator/facilitator, primarily because, I assume, I just had more experience in those type of relationships, and was often looked to for…for lack of a better word…leadership. “How do we do this? What have you done in the past?” That kind of thing. Additionally, I realize that while, yes, maybe this is more work than being a play partner/secondary, the flip side of that is that there is also so much more benefit, so much more to be gained. The effort is worth the pay-off. And–the joyful surprise is that I have found this is not a burden that I have to shoulder alone: J and I are in it together, and she is as invested in it as I am. This has been a wonderful & unexpected development.
The one thing I do have to be careful of, though, is in knowing when to un-entangle myself, when to stop being the go-between. Since J and I communicate so much, most of the three (and even extending to W) communication flows between she and I. But there are times when they (either she and Ad or she and W) need to communicate directly with each other.
For instance, I facilitated J coming down here to spend the weekend with Ad. I’ll be with W all weekend. Ad is…not so good at planning things out. He’s more of a “let’s see what we feel like doing” in the moment, whereas J is a little more of a “I need a plan” girl. If it was her and I planning this weekend…well, we’d have a mixture of “major” plans for the bulk of the weekend and spaces of time just to “see what we feel like doing.” While having a set plan is not as vital to me, I am a planner too, and so we usually work well in that together. But we’re not planning together, since this weekend is time for each of us to be with our respective Others, so J has to deal with Ad. And he doesn’t feel the need to plan much. This is something I have adapted to (and thus usually plan every single fucking thing we do <rolling eyes>) but J is unaccustomed to, and so…her plans for this weekend were (are?) pretty much up in the air. Which was making her unhappy. My natural instinct was to step in and talk to Ad, get him to make plans (plans that I would have suggested to him knowing what my girl wanted to do this weekend) but I had to restrain myself from doing so. So that’s my challenge–or one of them, to know when to stop mediating.
All in all, though, I think we are handling all the adjustments well–I’m even willing to talk on the phone. ;-)