Three’s company: Q&A with a polyamorous NYC throuple
Photograph by Rayon Richards
Their Facebook photos depict the usual things sweethearts do—selfies on the beach, dinners with parents—with a difference: There are three guys in the pics instead of two. Matthew Tweardy and Daniel Torres, both 35, have been together since college; seven months ago, they welcomed Travis Morin, 30, into their lives as an equal partner in an exclusive triadic relationship. After we profiled them in print for last week’s sex-themed issue, we heard from many people who wanted to learn more about this polyamorous trio. So here is a longer version of our interview with the happy throuple.
Obvious opening question: How did you guys end up in this particular arrangement?
Travis: Daniel and I met working, and then I met Matthew maybe about a month after that. It wasn’t something at all that I was seeking out. But it’s definitely—like, by far—the healthiest relationship I’ve ever been a part of, which I feel like people really need to hear. Because some peoples’ perception of this automatically go to right and wrong.
Matthew: And also maybe the potential inequity for [Travis].
In that the two of you who are not Travis are legally married?
Matthew: Yes, and even in terms of the dynamic. People assume that the third may be disposable or doesn’t get as much say.
Daniel: From the very beginning, we said equality is first and foremost. We are three equal partners, as opposed to it being two and one.
Speaking only for yourselves, what would you say is the best part of being in a polyamorous relationship of this kind?
Daniel: There’s just something really amazing about three people in the room—there is such a family dynamic when there are three people. The other thing is the love. The amount of love and support that you can get from two people who really care about your well-being and have your back all the time—not that we’re in a world where we’re being constantly victimized by any means, but having two people that really love and support you is an amazing thing.
Travis: I joke, but it’s really true, that I feel like I won the lottery. It’s double the amount of love.
So many big literary and Hollywood narratives are about being torn between two people and having to decide between them. Maybe, for some people, this might be a nice way to avert that.
Matthew: Absolutely. The way I explained to it to my parents, and to friends that just can’t seem to get it—I just challenge our way of thinking as a society. Romantic love is the only thing that people have a hard time getting their head around having more of, which they understand in every other way. When you have a second child, no one is like, “But you love the first one so much!” If you have a great connection with two friends then you wouldn’t say, “Oh my god I have two best friends, what do I do?” It’s not this big existential dilemma if you open up and you’re just like, this is more. And more, especially of love, is a good thing.
Were you nervous about putting this out there for your families and social media?
Daniel: Matthew and I made a pact a long time ago that we would never make any decisions based on fear and would just live our lives with absolute pride. We have never let other peoples’ thoughts inhibit our own pursuit of happiness.
Matthew: When you own your reality and you have no shame, people kind of take your lead. When we meet people, I just say, “These are my partners.” And I’m sure we walk away and they say, “Huh, what do you think of that?” But because we have no discomfort, we invite people to be comfortable.
Travis: You can relate it to coming out of the closet. If you stay in the closet, then it must be something you’re ashamed of or don’t want to draw any attention to—which I feel like would do a disservice to this relationship. When we have nothing but an open communication all the time, why can’t we be open about it in public?
Daniel: And we’re very lucky to have families that fully support us. All of our families know and have been lovely with each other.
Since becoming a triad, have you found that there is a community of other people in similar relationships? Do you have any ties to that community?
Daniel: We’ve had a lot of people come out to us and say, “I am actually living this life but not really out-and-proud about it.” It’s amazing to me how many people are living this lifestyle but aren’t talking about it. Most poly people that we meet are straight, and the groups are predominantly straight groups. While we’re very happy that they exist, I think that some of them are—and rightfully so—a meet-up place for people who are looking to be in polyamorous relationships. But we are a monogamous triad, so that’s not something that we want.
Matthew: Occasionally Daniel will get curious and Google it, but we’re so busy. I can’t imagine finding a group that I would want to go to a hotel convention with [laughs].
What would you say is the most frustrating misconception about being in a triad?
Matthew: I’m very sensitive to the fact that people might think Travis is our plaything or a flavor of the month. And another thing I’m sensitive to is that a lot of people feel that we fought so hard for gay marriage, and now we’re trying to redefine it in a whole other way. I get it, and it’s not black and white. But people rarely want to actually have that conversation, which I’m willing to entertain. They just kind of want to say their little two cents.
Daniel: For me, one thing is peoples’ comfort level with asking about our sex lives. You would never meet a married couple and immediately be like, “Oh, what’s the sex like?” But as soon as they find out you’re in a triad relationship, they feel that it’s okay. The first question out of everyone's mouth is, “Do you sleep in the same bed?” We do. But like in any other relationship, that is something personal and private between us. It’s not the defining characteristic of this relationship.
In fairness, people do ask that about gay people all the time. I mean, no one is as old-fashioned as “Who’s the girl and who’s the boy?” anymore, but people effectively find versions of that to ask.
Daniel: That’s true. But it’s mostly people that aren’t living that lifestyle that are curious about it. When we were just a couple, a lot of straight people would be like, “So how does that work?” And now it’s gays and straights asking about the personal matters of the relationship.
Matthew: I always joke that if you’re really endeavoring to build a long term relationship with a third partner, it’s really just one more person to be too tired to have sex with [laughs].
Travis: I know this will be in the sex issue, but for me it is not a sex issue in the least. When I met Daniel and Matthew I wasn’t thinking about the bedroom. I was just thinking: I want to get to know these guys.