More than ever before, it seems that many gay men are forming triad relationships. In many ways, it remains taboo, and it bucks the “norm” of a system that dictates two committed people can only define a loving relationship. I have had friends in the past who attempted the 3-way partnership. In most cases, it began with two partners claiming to have equally “fallen in love,” which a third person. In other instances, it was one of the partners who introduced the third into their relationship.
For some, a triad may seem exciting. Still, personally, I have my hands full enough already with one man, and I don’t think we’d ever find the bandwidth to give full attention to a third partner. Then, there are the stories I’ve heard about how sometimes an uneven bond can form between the “third” and only one of the original partners, leaving the other to feel left out. In my friends’ triad relationships, this caused a terrible riff and ultimately led to the break up of all three of them.
On the flip side, I’m sure there are many healthy and thriving triad relationships out there, each with their unique nuances and dynamics. But for the long-term, can triad relationships work? Are they built to last, and can all three parties really be equally fulfilled, not just sexually (that’s the easy part), but emotionally?
These are some of the questions beautifully examined in the new Dekkoo series “The Third,” – a provocative, new gay show that follows Jason (Sean McBride), a twenty-nine-year-old gay man who stumbles into a “triad” relationship with Carl and David (Corey Page and Ryland Shelton). The established gay Palm Springs couple is on the outs after five years of marriage, and they decide to welcome a third to spice up the relationship.
Sparked by their first night of hot sexual action, the three men quickly evolve into a passionate affair. However, with an additional person in the mix comes a whole new set of complications, including skepticism, jealousy, and uncovered secrets.
“The Third” is beautifully filmed and superbly acted. I have to give a special nod to the show’s sexy creator and director, Matthew Lynn. With a keen eye for storytelling and cinematography, Lynn delivers a sexy and stylish original series that isn’t afraid to cross boundaries. I in no way wish to bash other independent productions, but very often, they can look low budget. That is not the case at all with “The Third.”
From the moment the opening sequence begins, the show’s high-quality production value and aesthetics evoke intrigue. The journey feels feel authentic, yet it’s skillfully cinematic –especially the aerial shots of the landscapes. It’s as if an entirely separate love affair is happening through the camera lens, between Lynn and the beauty of Palm Springs.
Perhaps in many ways, the series’ authenticity stems from Lynn’s openness regarding his personal experience as part of a triad relationship. That very formidable time in his life became the catalyst that would later inspire the series, as Mathew shares:
“My primary goal with this show is to bring these surrogate families to light. For me, this has been a complete labor of love, as they say: art imitates life, which imitates art. When I was twenty-three, I came out to my family, and they said, “Leave and never come back.” Soon after, a gay couple took me in and became my surrogate family; eventually, we entered into a triad relationship that initially inspired the show. These people taught me how to be a gay man and live in this new world I had discovered. My experiences in this relationship provided the initial inspiration for “The Third.”
“The Third” does more than tell a story of three men trying to make a relationship work. It also drives home the point that relationships are defined by the people in them, not those on the outside judging them.
As Lynn so eloquently puts it, “Many people are now in “non-traditional” relationships, and this show is about bringing light to them and their unique stories. All of us are looking for somewhere to belong.”
Amen to that brother, amen.
Instinct contributor Randy Slovacek recently spoke with Lynn on his podcast, The Randy Report. You can check out their conversation below.
The entire first season of “The Third” is now available for streaming on Dekkoo.