How Do I Get Over My Partner’s Three-Way?

How can I get comfortable with something that unnerves me?

man buttoning the sleeve of his shirt

Q: My fiancé is an honest man and shared with me a lot about his past. One of the things he told me from the beginning was that he had a threesome with a married couple who were his very good friends. It happened and ended over ten years before he met me and only happened a few times. I was okay with the information as it was in the past and I respect his honesty. But since I started planning the wedding a few months ago, I felt uncomfortable inviting this couple to our wedding, and I told my fiancé that. But he is adamant that he wants them there, as they’re some of his oldest friends.

So I told my fiancé that maybe I could meet them before the wedding and give myself a chance to familiarize with them. But the day came, and I was quite emotional and upset but tried hiding it from everyone (the couple didn’t know that I know about their activities), but the moment we drove off, I burst into tears.

I’m not a jealous/possessive type and I trust my fiancé. I also know that it’s in the past and there was no hint of sexual tension between them, but I just feel lost and have a jealous pain. And with the knowledge that they shared some intimate moments together, I feel like I don’t want to say my vows in front of them.


A: Dear Anonymous,

Be honest with yourself. You say you’re fine with it because it happened in the past. You say there’s no sexual tension between them now. So what is it that’s bothering you, honestly?

It’s easy to pin your feelings to the couple themselves, to focus on how you feel around them. But, I really don’t think it’s got anything to do with these folks. Having them around just forces you to face that you’re uncomfortable. Instead, I think you’re a little shaken that he’s had a three-way experience at all, with anyone, ever.

Forget about this couple, set down the guest list for a minute, and try to figure out why a past experience would bother you now. We’ve all had various experiences of different levels and kinds before marrying. What is it about this one that sets you uneasy? Are you afraid it’s something he’ll want to do again, and that you won’t be game for? Are you afraid it means you alone may not be enough? Does it demonstrate some inconsistencies between the way he sees sex and the way you do?

You see what I’m going to say here, right? Think about what’s bothering you, and then when you pinpoint it, talk about it. Make sure you’re aligned in how you see sex (presently, within your relationship) and how past experiences do or don’t inform that. If three-ways are off limits to you, find out if he’s on the same page. And discuss what it means for you as a couple if you’re not on the same page. Setting sexual expectations is normal and important.

These chats could confirm that this is just something that happened in the past, that it’s not something he plans to do again, and that you’re totally aligned in how you see sex working within your relationship right now. Or, they could reveal some disagreements that you may want to work out with a counselor.

If it turns out that you are on the same page, but it doesn’t ease that uncomfortable, jealous feeling, well. I mean that’s sometimes just part of being in a relationship and having a short lifetime of experience before having met one another. Jealousy isn’t fun, but it’s normal and human, and probably something you can process best with a therapist. I’ll be honest, I sometimes think about the life my husband had before me and wonder what it means about the way he sees me. But when I get my head on straight, I realize that what’s happening right now is what’s really important. So, what’s happening right now for you two?


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