When three don’t make a triangle

Hurray, I’ve purged all religion out of my system, so now things can go back to normal and I can write about love and sex again. And let me start with the title of this post, because when I came to think about it, the term ‘love triangle’ is the single most ridiculous misrepresentation possible! A triangle has three corners connected to each other, which implies an equal relationship throughout, which is so not true of love triangles! They should call them love Vs. Yes, I know that isn’t nearly as snappy, but love Vs suck anyway.

And so we come to the subject of polyamory. When I just checked the dictionary definition, polyamory doesn’t actually set a numerical limit, but I would hazard that a relationship of three is the most common occurrence. I use the word ‘common’ with caution here, because polyamorous relationships are actually fucking rare.

Now, I hope that my general readership knows the difference, but for the avoidance of doubt, true polyamory is neither polygamy (the practice where a man has more than one wife) nor polyandry (the practice where a woman has more than one husband). To me, polygamy has a nasty side-taste of female submissiveness to it, mainly because it tends to be practiced by heavily patriarchal religions. Polyandry I don’t have a clue about, since I hazard it’s even more rare than polyamory.

True polyamory is where three (or more) people are in a fully equal relationship, where every partner loves the other two equally, or at least where every partner is fully aware and fully supportive of the position they have in the relationship. The relationship can be two men and a woman, two women and a man, or probably even three men or three women, if they’re so inclined. The key is the mutual consent – this is not a couple where one person cheats, or drags in a third without consulting their partner first. Which is probably why such relationships are rare.

As an aside, this will be another one of my rambling, totally incoherent posts, I’m afraid. I have a subject, but I’m not actually entirely sure what point I’m trying to make, so I’m just jotting down my various thoughts as they occur to me.

I’d say that another reason why polyamory is so rare is because it’s fucking hard to make it work. It’s not enough to just love each other, I’d imagine it’s even more important not to be jealous of each other. Jealousy is a nasty thing anyway – as far as I’m concerned, jealousy has no place in a healthy relationship. It’s a sign of insecurity and a lack of trust in your partner, and that’s hard enough to deal with in a relationship between two people, never mind three.

Of course, probably the biggest stumbling block is the social taboo. There’s this ingrained perception in society that love can only exist between two people, and I can’t imagine how hard that makes things for people in polyamorous relationships. It’s probably easier to come out as gay to your parents than trying to tell them that you have both a girlfriend and a boyfriend, and that both of them are totally fine with that, and that actually, they love each other too.

Which is another reason for the rarity, I suppose. You’re lucky enough if you find one person who loves you for who you are, and who is willing to accept all your flaws. To find another might be akin to winning the lottery, and for them to then also love each other is as likely as you being struck by lightning and winning the lottery on the same day.

But it happens. There are people who make it work, and I say good for them. And I wish to god that there were more books which considered that as an option instead of those godawful love triangles. Maybe there are – maybe I just read the wrong books, but the only book I’ve ever read with a proper polyamorous relationship is Beyond Jealousy by Kit Rocha. If anyone can recommend others, I’d love to hear about them.

Strangely enough, the whole reason why I came up with this subject is because three of my characters have managed to work themselves into a polyamorous relationship (and what do you call them? A couple is two, so maybe they’re a triple?) without any prior intent from me.

Those of you who have read all three of my books will know that I am talking about Kai and Sita, the protagonists of my second book, The Conspiracy. In my third book, The Coup, you find out that they have attained a lover in Thiro, a minor character from The Conspiracy. This is hardly a spoiler – it is mentioned as an aside and is pretty irrelevant to the main plot of The Coup. For a while I hesitated about mentioning it at all, but in the end I did it because it’s a fact.

And it truly is something I never deliberately set out to do. I am a heterosexual female in a monogamous relationship, so I write heterosexual, monogamous romance. I have no objection to anything in the LGBTQ spectrum, but I’ll leave the writing of it to people who have experience with it.

But you know, I like writing sex. And I have characters who occasionally wake me up at 3am going ‘hey, we’ve got this brilliant sex scenario we want to try out’, and then I can’t get rid of them until I write it down. So when Thiro woke me up in the middle of the night to ask ‘what would Kai and Sita do if I suggested a game of strip poker?’, what was I to do?

I threw in Miri for good measure, since she’s always up for anything. And everything kind of went from there. I had fifty years to play with, after all. And when I say it went from there, I mean that by the time I’ve finished writing down their entire story, I’ll have enough material for another book. Call it Theft and Sorcery Part 2.5. It is taking the shape of a collection of erotic short stories, but ultimately it’s the story of Kai and Sita and Thiro.

And if you ask what kind of triple they are, I’d say that they’re probably a slightly uneven triangle. Kai and Sita are married, and they will always be the dominant couple. But they both love Thiro, and Thiro loves them both, and he is both aware of and content with his position in the relationship. (Sheesh, that’s a lot of boths… Slightly awkward sentence that, sorry!)

I have no idea when I’ll be publishing that book, but publish it I will. I just hope that there is at least one person reading this who is excited about the prospect.



4 thoughts on “When three don’t make a triangle

  1. Pauline M. Ross

    Nice post. It frustrates the hell out of me that so much fantasy assumes the simple one-man-one-woman relationship. The whole love triangle trope is founded on that – the woman (and it’s usually the woman) has to choose between two lovers. One or the other. Well, why not both?

    My first book was written because I wondered what a society would be like if marriage included more than just one couple. And my main characters (one woman, one man, who happened to be part of a multiple marriage originally) ended up in a threesome with another bloke (who started out as my principle antagonist – don’t you just hate it when the villain turns nice-guy?). I never attached a name to that until someone at Goodreads shelved the books as ‘happy-poly’. It isn’t classic polyamory, since the two blokes don’t screw each other, but they definitely love each other (in a manly, brotherly sort of way), and I suspect that in time that will become less brotherly. I have another book where the main female character ends up in a relationship with a bloke who also has a male lover. Andrea K Host is another author who writes unusual relationships (including multiple marriages) without making a big song-and-dance about it.

    On another note, thank you so much for the bible project. I enjoyed every minute of it. I still harbour the hope that you’ll publish it – preferably in paperback so I can keep a pile of them by the front door to hand out to annoying religious types. šŸ™‚

    1. Erica Dakin Post author

      Heh, I was actually disappointed when your four-person marriage didn’t have all four of them shagging each other. :p But then you made up for it by making a pretty hot threesome. Kai and Thiro definitely love each other, and there’s nothing brotherly about it. šŸ˜‰ I actually forgot to mention that to me, sexuality doesn’t even enter into a proper triple. Neither Kai nor Thiro are bisexual, they just love each other. And oh, I’ll have to check out Andrea K Host, your reviews certainly piqued my interest.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the Bible project. For all that it was frustrating, I did have fun doing it. I still think it’s too disjointed and unharmonious to publish, but so is the Bible itself, come to think of it, so who knows? Maybe if I ever have too much time on my hands!


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