Three’s a throuple – being in a three-way relationship 'is not all about sex', says woman in polyamorous triad

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Melanie, pictured with Charity (left) and Cliff, says she found a genuine connection with the pair. (PHOTO: FACEBOOK / CHARITYJOY319)
Melanie, pictured with Charity (left) and Cliff, says she found a genuine connection with the pair. (PHOTO: FACEBOOK / CHARITYJOY319)

“Be with someone who brings out the best in you” is an old, but reliable relationship adage for singletons, but for Melanie Moseley of Portland, Oregon, there’s more than one someone helping her live her best life. 

Melanie (56) is one third of a “throuple” and in a relationship with polyamorous couple, Cliff Rees (69) and Charity Joy (45). 

While polyamory isn’t new, some feel the concept is a little scandalous and a lot complicated – after all, being in a relationship with one person is often quite enough commitment for most. 

“When you’re in a three-way relationship, you’re actually dealing with four different relationships,” Melanie shared in an interview. “You have three couples and then the triad relationship. All of those need to be nurtured and taken care of.”

After two failed marriages, and describing herself as a “serial cheater”, she went on a journey of self-discovery.

“Monogamy was really hard for me,” she revealed during an episode of the Loving without Boundaries podcast. Melanie identifies as solo-polyamory, or “someone that has multiple intimate relationships with people but has an independent or single lifestyle”.

She met the polyamorous couple individually – Cliff at a salsa dance class and his girlfriend, Charity, at a theatre performance. 

Melanie explored the world of possible relationshi
Melanie explored the world of possible relationship structures after being married twice. Men, women, dyads, triads, and more. (PHOTO: Getty Images/Gallo Images)

She crossed paths with the couple not long after, when they were out on a date. "I recognised them both immediately. They said they been seeing each other for a month. I joined them and we all gelled so easily. Out of the blue, they invited me on a date. I was so excited."

Like three pieces of puzzle, there was an instant connection. They hung out together, fell in love and started a serious relationship in 2019. 
“I don’t try and problem-solve with them or even get into the nitty-gritty unless they want to share it,” Melanie says of her partners. “It’s not the easiest thing, but we’re all good about recognising the strain on the third person and acknowledging that strain and conflict.”

The trio live together, but as Melanie still wanted her freedom, they have labelled their three-way relationship “an open polyamorous triad”.

The partners, who have “more than 50 years combined experience in ethical non-monogamy”, all have clear expectations when it comes to what they want – romantic date nights as a trio, schedules when it comes to intimate time spent together and safe sex if they hook up with anyone outside their throuple.

Melanie says she’s come to know herself better by “coming out” as polyamorous. And for anyone who might be toying with the idea of joining the world of consensual non-monogamy, Melanie has some tips.

“This really isn’t all about sex, it’s about communication and self-reflection. You’re going to run into landmines you had no idea were there, and things are going to change over time. All of that is OK. Keep communicating and moving forward.”


We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Show Comments ()