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A married couple and their girlfriend have opened up about life in a 'throuple', arguing that while it's all a 'delicate balance', having a third person in a relationship is only ever beneficial and that people are 'envious' of their arrangement.
Civil engineer Michael Taylor and his yoga instructor wife Lauren, both 30, started dating in 2011 after meeting at college and eventually marrying in 2016.
After enjoying a monogomous relationship for seven years, the couple from Florida, USA, went on to realise they had more love to give when they met 30-year-old health coach Jessica Woodstock at a gig in 2018.
Jessica, who has been polyamorous for some time, approached the couple and they got talking - and the three have been together ever since.
The trio - who share their life together on Instagram under the handle @wearethr33_ - view their relationship as three people in love equally, who also each have individual relationships as couples.
Michael explained: "Jess has been polyamorous most of her adult life. Lauren and I were monogamous for seven years but were in search for an enhancement to the relationship. We each had more love to give than just to each other.
"There are several points in the relationship that led to 'falling in love'. You experience all the amazing things with each other, and then one day it just hits you. It's not so much the events, as it is the consistency and intensity.
"Our delta is a 33 percent shared love between the three of us. We all have equal responsibilities to care for ourselves and each other. Although our triad is predominantly the three of us, there are three additional relationships that need recognition: Michael and Lauren, Michael and Jess, Lauren and Jess."
"Three equal parts with equal responsibilities. We have a running joke for when we leave the house - if one of us forgets something, it's almost guaranteed that one of the others will remember to grab it.
"Each of us shines separately as individuals and come together for the same purpose. We push each other to better ourselves and to pursue our passion. We celebrate every win in our house."
Michael said it was initially 'very difficult' to share the news about their new set-up with his and Lauren's families.
He said: "Jess's family had known and supported her lifestyle for quite some time prior to us.
"We were extremely careful and patient in explaining it to Lauren's family because of the adversity - coming out as bisexual and welcoming another woman into the marriage."
However, everyone 'warmed up very quickly', and now all three families are 'welcoming, accepting and loving' towards each of the spouses, and they even celebrate family gatherings and holidays together.
Michael, Lauren and Jessica plan to get married one day, but as the union between three people isn't legal in the USA, they're looking to travel to Thailand or Indonesia to get married.
They also have plans to extend their family through having kids of their own or adopting.
The triad recognise that feelings of insecurity, anger and sadness are all natural in any relationship, but have found that practicing yoga and meditation helps them, and enables them to remain level-headed enough to talk through difficulties.
Lauren said: "The best way to take care of others is to take care of yourself. Start with this. Yoga, meditation, and your own health create space for loving yourself first.
"Knowing your worth will allow you to be free of insecurity, doubt, and jealousy. Then, empower each other through the good and the bad. When new problems arise, face them head on right away.
"Talk through the challenges, big or small, and find a resolution together. Being on the same page is crucial - especially when making big commitments. It's important to communicate each individual's wants and needs, all day, every day, so that no emotions are suppressed.
"We live by inspiring, rather than influencing others. We serve to spread love everywhere we go. Any relationship, monogamous or otherwise has its challenges. Being human, we are bound to feel insecurity, anger, sadness, etc. at some point.
"Although these emotions stem from both internal and external factors, we work together to consciously remove them from our space. If you constantly show happiness and light, you're more likely to attract those with aligned paths. If it means adding another person to the mix, embrace that."
Public reaction to their unique relationship often puts a smile on the trio's faces; while some people are baffled by their set-up, others are downright jealous.
Jessica said: "We usually have to repeat ourselves a few times to 'spell it out' for them, if you will.
"People are generally confused but intrigued to know more about the relationship. Most reactions are quite comical, and the questions start to pour in. Men, especially, are excited and envious.
"Here are a few initial questions we receive from those who have never encountered something like this in person: 'Who sleeps in the middle?', 'Who controls the thermostat?', 'How did you all meet?', 'Who wears the pants?', 'Do you plan on getting married or having kids?', and 'Do you go on separate date nights?'
"The key to this is to always be yourself, don't hold back your wants and needs, and prevent resentment. It's also important to create foundational relationships like the three separate ones we share.
"A triad is a delicate balance."
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