Wired for Love
“Outsiders” means anything beyond the two of us.
Can we agree on how to include people who are not in this relationship, outsiders?
Think about the relationship with you and your mom. Your father gets home from work, and he is the third. You and mom are the relationship until dad gets home. The instant he is home, there are three of us. Will you scooch over and incorporate the third person?
A third can be a child, in-laws, friends, teammates, coworkers,
Couples who handle thirds poorly, typically do so before they even enter into the relationship.
How well does this couple incorporate their primary partner?
Do they marginalize their primary partner? Do you take your sister’s side over your partner’s side? Do you call your father for help when your partner just offered the same help?
Are you more together with your family of origin than your partner?
Are you more wedded to your alcohol than to your spouse?
Is it you and the children against your partner?
Are you the “go to” for the other person?
Are you dedicated to your partner’s safety and security? Physical and emotional
Do you have a true “couple bubble”?
If you broke it, how did you learn to break the couple bubble? Was that from your parents? Did they model it or are they currently trying to get in between you two?
“Time spent with my books, work, a hobby, or an addiction, feels safer and more relaxing than time with a partner, if I am not feeling secure.” Does that statement resonate with you?
In your primary relationship, do you feel left out, lonely, insecure, or threatened?
Do you feel like your children dethrone you at a moment’s notice? “The kids come first,” leads to more divorces than people realize. You can still help your kids meet their needs and be a couple first. They are not mutually exclusive. Putting your partner first does not mean your kids are neglected. It means you recognize the power of the “couple bubble” to be better partners, parents, protectors and providers.
Having a third is not a problem.
The problem is when one partner gets marginalized or takes on the role of third wheel. They become sidelined or put on the bench.
Am I (as part of the couple) demoted or downgraded as a result of the third? Then I will hate that person or thing, is common.
“It kills me that you’d rather have your dad here than me.”
“It is painful that you do anything for the kids and it feels like you ignore me.”
At this point could you imagine if this couple reassured one another instead of escalated the aggression.
“How do we successfully include your father in our relationship? I let my father in and chased you out.”
Is it you and me versus the world?
When you were at a party or a family get together do you use the seating to split yourselves up? Do you do the same at the dinner table?
Do you ask what the other person needs from you and meet their needs?
Do you congratulate each other for a job well done when it is over?
Are you truly together as a couple and the person’s go to?
Are we a team?
Do we have one another’s back?
Are we unified?
Are the children calling the shots, pitting the parents against each other, making both mom and dad into third wheels?
At no time does either partner make the other a third wheel, demote, or devalue the other person’s position of authority, or forget to provide soothing and support. The children pick up on this and feel warmly included.