3 Questions to Ask Before Entering a Throuple

3 Questions to Ask Before Entering a Throuple

Written by Benjamin Goldman 

Contrary to what most people would have you believe, there’s no official rule stating that you’re only allowed to be in a relationship with one single person at a time. No, we’re not talking about infidelity—throuples have become a popular relationship dynamic. But it’s not all threesomes, DP’s, and making an extra cup of coffee in the morning. Being in a throuple requires an honest awareness of your needs, sharp communication skills, and creative approaches to partnership.

Curious about being in a throuple? There’s no official guide for a three-way relationship. But being in a dynamic that breaks conventions about partnership will require you to practice unconventional thinking, let go of shame, and be honest about what you need and can give to your partners.

What is a Throuple?

Well, it’s right there in the name—a throuple is an intimate relationship between three people; Like a couple, but with one more person added in. 

It might be easier to describe what a throuple is by stating what a throuple is not. A throuple isn’t a one-time threesome; it’s not a threesome followed by some pillow talk, or a solution for someone into two different people at once. It’s also not a solution for infidelity, the gateway for unrestricted and unstructured polyamory, or the guaranteed way to fix a relationship that’s started feeling stale. 

At its core, a throuple challenges conventional notions of love and partnership, embracing the idea that romantic fulfillment can be found in multiple connections at the same time. Many of us are taught that a loving relationships blossom out of “soulmate matches,” a single person who can fulfill you completely. But in reality, it may be a relationship structured around multiple partners that leaves you happiest.

The idea of getting into a throuple may sound appealing or even super sexy—there’s one more sexual partner in the mix, after all. But, as in all relationships, there are a few factors to think about before you dive in. Consider your relationship ideals, your relationship to jealousy, and what kind of social stigma you could come up against. Here are a few questions to answer before entering into a throuple.

1. What role will monogamy play?

Throuples can be monogamous or not, so ask yourself about your relationship with intimacy and belonging in your relationship. What role does sex play in your life? What matters most to you in a relationship? Is it partnership, or just great sex? Would monogamy bring you peace of mind? Would non-monogamy? There’s not a surefire way to determine if a throuple is right for you. But understanding what’s important to you will help guide you towards the right relationship dynamic. 

2. How do you deal with jealousy?

The most common question throuples get is, “Don’t you get jealous?!” Jealousy is a factor in all relationships, but things get trickier when there’s an extra person involved. Conversations around jealousy often revolve around your risk tolerance, unmet needs, and what kind of validation you need. Be honest with yourself and your partners about what you need, and what leaves you feeling bad. It’s hard to ask for what you want and to share what makes you feel vulnerable, but confronting those things is the only way to satisfy them.

3. How will you handle the haters?

Throuples, like other non-monogamous dynamics, have their share of haters. If you’re considering entering into a throuple, think about how you might handle the weird comments your friends make, or, say, the weirdness you might feel bringing your two boyfriends home for holidays. Are you prepared to have those conversations? What communities or support systems do you have to get you through those uncomfortable moments? Will you feel pressure to keep it a secret? How have you dealt with stress around your identity and relationships before? Being prepared for these awkward and uncomfortable situations can help you make sure you respond to them in the way that leaves you feeling best about yourself.

These are just the first of what will surely be a series of conversations with your partners—just like in a traditional relationship, there’s a lot to figure out. How are you dividing expenses? Who’s taking the dog for it’s early morning walk? And, of course, the question that gets asked every single night regardless of time, place, or circumstance: What do you want for dinner?


Benjamin is a NYC-based therapist, specializing in relationships and intimacy, masculinity, family dysfunction, and other focuses. You can learn more about Benjamin here
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