QuestionMark? #75

July 22, 2016by Mark Rutherford

Dear Mark,

I’m currently involved in this love triangle. I just ended a nine and a half year relationship. I miss him a great deal but I never loved him. Two years ago, we decided to open up our relationship for outside sex and we met another couple. We hooked up with them for a one time sex thing and just hit it off. We began hanging out more and more and continued having great sex between the four of us. But, truthfully, I began to truly connect emotionally to one of the other men. I’ll call him “Will”. Neither one of us talked about it but I know we were both aware of what was going on.   I’m sure I’m in love with “Will”. What makes matters worse is I know his partner doesn’t love him and it’s making me crazy. They have been together five years and, from the way that I see it, they began a relationship of convenience. They were never in love with each other. They don’t even have sex anymore. But “Will” doesn’t want to leave him. I don’t know what to do next. I know I could be the perfect mate for “Will”.


Signed, Torn


Dear Torn,


For some reason, that old Olivia Newton-John song pops into my head…”Torn between two lovers…feeling like a fool”.   I don’t know if it’s that you signed with the name “Torn” or that it seems as if you are making some unwise decisions in your love life. I have many questions after reading your letter.


First off, what happened to your ex-lover of nine years? How did he feel about the breakup? Were you honest with him regarding your feelings for Will? For that matter, is Will clear about your feelings for him? How about Will’s partner? Does he know how you feel about his boyfriend? There seems to be a lot of unspoken innuendo going on here and it doesn’t look good from my perspective. This is not a judgment call. What I see is the possibility of a lot of people getting very hurt because there has been no honest conversation about what is actually happening in this triad/quartet.


Honestly it seems like you are setting yourself up for some heartache. If Will really understands your feelings for him and still doesn’t want to leave his lover he is sending you a clear message. You may not feel they have love between them but that is a subjective opinion. Love takes many diverse forms and everyone experiences love in different ways. What works between them is up for them to decide. Even though you may feel you completely understand their dynamic because you are so close to them, you only see part of the picture because you are not walking in their shoes.


Your dilemma centers around the fact that if you say anything about your feelings to them as a couple you run the risk of them breaking their connection with you. And, as hard as this may be to hear, that is exactly what should happen in this particular case. In my years as a therapist I have encountered a number of threesome couples. I believe they can and do work in many situations. However, a mutual, respectful, honest agreement has to be made by the three people involved. Everyone has to understand and accept the realities of such a connection or it is destined for failure. Your inability to be honest about your feelings and talk with these two men about them makes this a problematic situation. My suggestion would be to swallow hard and talk to them as a couple about your feelings. See what they have to say. You may be surprised at their reaction. However, if Will chooses his lover over you, you must be prepared to walk away and find your happiness somewhere else.


Dear Mark

My partner and I met at a ball game We cruised each other for several

innings. Eventually I had to go to the bathroom and who would end up next to

me in the next stall but the guy I had been ogling earlier. We spent

the rest of the game in the stall and the next 16 years together. We

still love each other and have managed to not kill each other over

the years. Unfortunately we are both tops….over the years my

partner’s libido has tapered off whereas mine has pretty much

remained that of a raging 18-year-old. We don’t have sex anymore. I

spend a lot of time in the gym and I have a nice body but it doesn’t

make a difference. I’ve been having this affair…with my right hand.

So much so, I think its a compulsion. I don’t want to leave my lover, but I

need more. What’s a guy to do? Help!



Hey Rob, Your story is the stuff of porn fantasies. Ball games, locker rooms, top guys. It sounds like you were off to a great start with your partner. It seems to me where you ran into problems is when you began to have issues about your sex life. In specific how to negotiate each of your individual needs.


The myth of romantic love can keep couples together for a long time, sometimes years. However, sooner or later, a power struggle emerges that forces you to deal with some of the underlying issues. In your case, one of the underlying issues centers around the issues of sex and sexual intimacy. This is quite normal and very solvable.


My suggestion would be to have a heart to heart discussion with your partner. If you have been together for sixteen years, there is obviously intent on both of your parts to stay in this relationship. Talk to him about your concerns.   Hear what he has to say from his perspective. While understandable, the “we’re both tops” conundrum falls flat under closer examination. There are many alternatives to anal intercourse that could constitute a happy and healthy sex life. If intercourse really is the issue for you (and/or your partner), talk about ways to incorporate it. Maybe one or both of you could consider the possibility of being a bottom once in a while.   For guys so wrapped up in the control aspect of sex, letting go and being a passive participant can be a transforming as well as hugely enjoyable, experience.


The one thing that won’t work, however, is you continuing to hide your feelings from him. Because that affair you are having with your hand will eventually turn into an affair with another man. It always does. And then you will have emotionally betrayed your lover. This kind of damage can be harder to undo.