By Kate Harrold
STRANGERS can’t believe this man has TWO partners and are convinced they must be after his money.
Health services coordinator, Mikey Titus (37), and equipment maintenance technician, Eli Titus (36), from Beaverton, Oregon, USA, have been married for 17 years. After going through a rocky patch in their relationship, the duo knew that something needed to change.
After several years of living a healthy lifestyle and rekindling their relationship, Mikey and Eli met insurance rep, Alida Gibson (31), also from Beaverton, through mutual friends in July 2018. The trio were attending a private camping festival. Alida had also been through a rough time – having just been through a divorce – and the group instantly bonded.
They shared a love of the outdoors, crafting, and music, and Mikey and Eli soon realised that Alida would be a perfect fit to join their relationship. The duo were aware of polyamory but never thought it would be something they’d explore themselves. However, when they met Alida, the extension of their relationship felt like the natural thing to do. Recognising no hierarchy, the trio are a closed triad.
The trio have three children, Linkoln (12), Maddox (7), and Lennox (5), all born during Mikey and Eli’s original marriage. Whilst the triad have openly spoken to the children about what makes polyamory different, other people aren’t so understanding.
“Sometimes, it feels that looks could kill,” Mikey said.
“We hear people say, ‘he must have money,’ or ‘Eli is the man,’ all the time. It makes it seem as if our relationship is dependent on him which of course, it’s not.
“We live in the pacific northwest so ‘weird’ is a regular occurrence here but even still, people say, ‘I couldn’t do that,’ or ‘it’s just a phase.’
“Being in a polyamorous relationship is pretty literal to us. Polyamory means ‘many loves’ so we believe that the more love, the better.
“Within your family, you don’t just love your mum or your dad, so why should we restrict ourselves to one love in our romantic relationships if there’s a connection there with someone?
“The children are aware that our family is special. As the eldest, Linkoln was aware of ‘normal’ relationships but we talked with him openly and honestly. We encourage our kids to be themselves no matter what others think.
“Linkoln has had a friend ask if it was a good or bad thing to have three parents. He said it’s only bad if he’s in trouble.
“We recognise that there are four relationships within our triad – those with each and also as a whole. We do everything we can to avoid couples’ privilege.
“We check in with each other on a regular basis. It’s a constant learning experience. Sometimes, certain people have less time together due to work schedules and the kids.
“If someone can’t make it to something though, we always take pictures and fill them in as we really do prefer being together as one.
“We’re constantly improving our communication – learning how to be engaged and present with each partner in the hard times as well as the good.”
The triad feel that being together has made each of them a better person – particularly when it comes to being in a relationship.
“Me and Eli had been married for fifteen years before we met Alida. Being in a relationship since we were basically kids meant that we’d done things we weren’t proud of,” Mikey said.
“We’d do dumb things young kids do when they’re trying to figure out how to be adults – argue, break up, and spending money we didn’t have.
“When we met Alida, something felt different. We felt this need to be better. We’ve been able to work through some things and create a stronger connection between us all.
“Alida has brought a different perspective and understanding.
“We weren’t actually looking for a poly relationship but we just knew that as a group, we wanted to be together.”
It’s not simply strangers that are dubious about the triad’s relationship. Mikey, Eli, and Alida’s own families find the arrangement confusing, but the throuple aren’t put off by the constraints of what is considered to be ‘normal’ in society.
“Our families are amazingly supportive. We don’t think our mums truly understand but as long as we’re happy, they are,” Alida said.
“We host family get-togethers and continue working on the bonds between our families.
“We’re just like everyone else. We all want to grow old together – raise our kids, buy a home, travel, retire, and drive Eli crazy until the end.
“We would love to get married but at this time, that’s not legal in Oregon. We’re hoping that by raising awareness, we might be able to change the rights and be legally married by the state one day.
“Our relationship requires a lot of communication, dedication, self-reflection, and compromise. It isn’t always easy, but it is always worth it.
“We are a team and we believe that each of us are equally important. One day, we’d like being in a polyamorous triad to be more widely accepted.”