Open relationships, non-monogamous relationships, polyamorous relationships, along with asexual relationships are only a few of the many options that are available when it comes to one’s dating life.
And for those who don’t feel they fit in any of those relationships, luckily there’s a new rising relationship in town: throuples, one where three’s not a crowd.
While the specific term “throuple” may be new to mainstream, this type of relationship is far from anything new. Although its public awareness has increased, as just within the past year, shows like the Netflix series The Politician. And the well-received episode of Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith and Adrienne Banfield-Norris’ Facebook video series Red Table Talk have centered around the rise of this topic.
However, this was unfamiliar and unheard-of news when it came to Patrick St. Pierre, Samela and Abby becoming an official triangle. As the marriage turned throuple, St. Pierre and Samela had no idea that throuples existed.
“It was all in our own little world until we started [our] Instagram,” St. Pierre spoke of his discovery of throuples. “After using a few hashtags and the first post blew up, we discovered a whole world of throuples out there. We thought we were crazy and alone, turns out not to be true at all!”
“There are a lot of different people with a lot of different looks which made us feel safer in our decision to live together and try this lifestyle out. We actually have made a bunch of poly[amorous] friends through DMs and bounce ideas off of each other regularly. There is a true community for us who put love first,” he added.
A throuple is a balanced and consensual relationship between three partners. As noted by Women’s Health magazine, this type of relationship is not “an opportunity to be in a relationship and have sex with people who are not their partner.” It is also not merely a threesome or sex between three people.
Typically, this three-way relationship involves a married couple or a long-term pair who choose to add in a third person — usually, “a man and woman who then bring in another woman,” according to Ann Rosen Spector, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in Philadelphia. But in some cases, three people just fall for each other at the same time and can consist of three women, three men or a mixture of genders.
And although throuples may have sex together, as Huffington Post writer Rachel Moss said it best, “their relationship doesn’t only exist beneath the sheets.”
Throuples is a form of polyamory, which is the practice or desire of being in an intimate relationship between more than one person at the same time. And according to Refinery29, polyamorous relationships may be more common than you may think. With a 2014 study finding that four to five percent of Americans are in polyamorous relationships and a 2017 study finding that over 20 percent of Americans have engaged in some form of ethical non-monogamous relationship (which includes polyamory).
Nevertheless, the triad is focused on being in love and establishing their union. Just as throuple, Alex and Shalaun Porter and Shantell Brown, which began as a joke between the Porters, but later became a reality.
“We’ve been with each other for three years as a throuple. We offer each other everything a monogamous relationship offers times two!” Alex said. “We offer each other love, support (financial and emotional) protection, inspiration and of course, assistance around the house.”
“We didn’t even know at the beginning of this relationship what it was called. They just knew they loved me, and I loved them; that later developed to them loving each other. Now the love we have for each other inspires us,” he added.
But just like other types of relationships, throuples, too, face obstacles throughout their time together, including the Porters and Brown.
“It’s hard to get three very strong personalities on the same page. We do our best to always try and come to a common ground where we are all on the same page and path,” Shalaun said.
Brown also noted the difficulties involved with being in a throuple, which included feeling overcrowded, overwhelmed by the energy at times, and feeling ganged up on during arguments.
But despite the issues involved with being in a three-way relationship, many throuples have maintained that it’s worth it because they share three times the feeling of love.
“There’s always someone [available] when you need them, whether it’s physical[ly], emotional[ly], financially, etc. You have lifetime love and support,” Brown said.
Still, the question that remains on everyone’s mind is whether this kind of relationship can work and last.
Angelique Moore, a life and relationship coach, who has been mentoring women for 20 years around the world, believes that it can be as healthy and balanced as any other type of relationship as long as each partner is upfront about their needs and wants.
“Being with multiple people takes a considerable amount of emotional intelligence, regulation and open honest communication — [similar] to a monogamous relationship,” Moore explained. “In my coaching, I teach the three C’s of a happy, healthy relationship. Communication, commitment
In terms of a long-term throuple relationship, Moore also noted that the legalization of the union doesn’t exist. Therefore, in the case of death, the unmarried partner in the throuple is not entitled to any marital possessions without the existence of a will. This is problematic because it can lead to a messy situation for the parties involved. For now, while throuples life-time unions are not legalized, most are taking their relationship a day at a time and are figuring out what works best for them.
“Time will tell, but we are all in,” St. Pierre said of his relationship.
“Every day that passes it seems more and more real, we feel more secure with one another,” he added. “This thing is not for the faint of heart or those looking for some cheap thrills. It’s not all about sex, although that is great and has become a healthy balance for all of us exploring each other. [It’s] truly about the partnership and tribe that we are building.”
As throuples continue to be on the rise, many people in non-monogamous relationships to asexual relationships have considered hopping on board. Including, 23-year-old Deven Ferguson-Perez, who is currently in a non-monogamist relationship.
“I have a partner, and we are in a relationship, so we share ourselves romantically, intimately, sexually, emotionally, etc. However, we also seek connections and relationships with people outside of our relationship either individually or together,” he said. “We’re both open to dating other people and have also talked about dating someone together but haven’t connected with people beyond causal relationships.”
“The concept of being with two other women and all of us being together is something [I’ve] thought about,” he added. “I can’t think of anything more amazing than being a part of two women loving and being in love with each other and them both being in love with me and me them.”
With the rise of new types of relationships, no one knows what the future holds for throuples, but many are predicting the relationship to become more common sooner than you may think.