Ciara Kelly: Like Una Healy’s alleged ‘throuple’, it’s easy to fall into a relationship you didn’t intend

Gossip columns were aflame with excitement when Una Healy of The Saturdays along with ex-boxer David Haye and model Sian Osborne ‘went public as a throuple’ (a romantic relationship involving three people — for those of you who can’t keep up with the ever expanding lexicon of modernity). However, they were practically convulsing when Healy decided to publicly discuss what actually went on between the three of them on the My Therapist Ghosted Me podcast.

In effect, she said it wasn’t a throuple. She’d had no relationship with Sian — it seems Haye was just openly dating both women at the same time and had managed it so effectively that the three of them spent some time together, fairly amiably. Una explained how she had become close to Haye over a period of time and had really liked him before she realised he was involved with someone else too and, by that stage, he’d made it seem quite reasonable, so she went with it, despite some reservations.

There were moments — like on a flight when he sat in between the two women with a hand on one knee of each — where she wondered what the hell she was doing and, after a second trip away with both of them, she realised she just couldn’t do it. It wasn’t for her.

What jumped out for me in her story was a throwaway remark she made about friends asking her why — after they had broken up — she’d posted a photo of herself and Haye (he had asked her to post it) and she replied, “I actually don’t even know why I did!” It struck me as a completely unfiltered, honest answer that, even if you’ve never been anywhere near a throuple, I suspect a lot of people can relate to.

Because, in life, many of us end up in situations, especially in relationships, where if you asked us how we got there or why we did something, we might struggle to explain it — even to ourselves. It’s what I like to think of as a boiled frog scenario. Put a frog in boiling water, he jumps straight out. Put him in cold water and heat it gradually to boiling and the poor frog boils to death.​

So, you start out with one set of needs or intentions in life or love but over time — maybe because you fall for someone or maybe because you don’t feel strong enough in yourself at the time to draw firm boundaries — you make small compromises. But you do it incrementally until, eventually, you find you’ve arrived at a place quite far from where you actually want to be. And, if you’re lucky, it’s like a revelation that you’re being boiled and need to get out.

What I really liked about how Healy told the story was the fact that there was no spin, no blame (full disclosure: I’ve met her a few times so know her slightly and think she’s a lovely person). She described how she started out in what she thought was a normal online dating situation on Raya, the celebrity dating app, but ended up on holidays as the girlfriend of a man who already had a girlfriend, despite that never being something she was interested in.

The truth is we are all prone to making incremental compromises, especially if we care about someone or if we are feeling vulnerable or perhaps lonely in our lives — or maybe if we have been hurt in the past and just want to avoid pain now. But they’re rarely a great idea. If you recognise yourself in this, maybe it’s time to recognise you’re in hot water and make the jump.


A Second Opinion

I don’t care what your view is on Israeli politics, you don’t dress up to resemble a Nazi in order to criticise them. Which is what Roger Waters, formerly of Pink Floyd, did at a recent concert in Berlin, appearing on stage wearing a long black coat with a red armband and carrying an imitation firearm.

Berlin police spokesman Martin Halweg commented: “The clothing resembles the clothing of an SS officer.” Waters, a supporter of the BDS movement and critic of Israeli policies on Palestine, maintained the “depiction of an unhinged fascist demagogue has been a feature of my shows since Pink Floyd’s The Wall in 1980”, adding that the criticisms were in “bad faith”.

It always amazes me how so many ‘not anti-Semitic’ people are furiously exercised by Israel’s human-rights abuses but never seem to mention the litany of other states around the world that torture, murder, intimidate and deny humans rights within their borders on an ongoing basis.

If you’re going to criticise, an even-handed approach might give you a bit more credibility. Dressing like a Nazi reveals a lot more than a concern for Palestinians.

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