Eli and Mikey were married and had a child together before they met Alida. But the chance encounter turned their worlds upside down as the husband and wife both fell in love with their new friend. This is the triad's unique love story.
Meet the Couple
"We weren't actually looking for a poly relationship, but we just knew that as a group, we wanted to be together," Mikey reflected. But this story began long before the couple pictured below became a throuple.
Eli and Mikey Titus met in their early 20s while they both lived in Oregon. Eli worked as a technician, and Mikey was a health services coordinator. It didn't take long for the pair to hit it off and become official. But their love story ended up being different from anything either of the partners expected.
Mikey and Eli were both relatively young when they met. And while there was a lot of passion in their romance, there was also a lot of tension. As the duo put it, meeting in their early 20s meant their relationship was sometimes filled with chaos and fighting.
"Being in a relationship since we were basically kids meant that we'd done things we weren't proud of," Mikey explained. "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."
Starting a Family
But despite tumultuous moments, the couple persisted in their relationship. Eli and Mikey tied the knot a few years after meeting. It wasn't long before the newlyweds wanted to expand their family: the lovebirds welcomed a baby boy named Linkoln. But things took a turn.
Mikey and Eli were head-over-heels in love with their son. But things between the two of them weren't so great. Some time into their marriage, the couple experienced a slump in their relationship. They couldn't point their finger at exactly what was wrong, but something wasn't right.
This Is Alida
Mikey and Eli were committed to each other and wanted to make it work, but they also wanted happiness. Little did they know that, not too far away, someone who would ultimately bring them much joy was also struggling in a relationship of her own. That's where Alida's part in this love story began.
Alida worked as an insurance rep. When she wasn't in the office, she was busy at home taking care of her two kids, Maddox and Lennox. Alida raised them with her husband, but one thing led to another, and the couple ultimately called it quits. The young mom went through a difficult divorce.
A Chance Encounter
In the summer of 2018, Alida found the perfect getaway: the newly-divorced mom wanted a place to reconnect to herself and found that in Oregon's Friend Fest. The festival was a five-day camping event with music, crafting, and plenty of new faces to meet. Two of those happened to be Mikey and Eli, who by then were married for ten years.
"We were at a camping event," Alida recalled of the first time she met the couple. "Her [Mikey] and Eli walked up and introduced themselves." The three of them hit it off right away. And it didn't take long for things to move beyond the friend zone...
Eli Wasn't Used to It
Mikey and Eli had never been in a polyamorous relationship before, yet they knew very soon after meeting Alida that there was more there than just friendly chemistry. "It was just an instant connection, and we wanted to be around each other," Alida shared.
But getting used to the idea of liking someone aside from Mikey was a bit harder for Eli. "It was more of a slow burn with Eli," Alida explained. "He was around, but he was more reserved and watched how things were going. It took time for us to get to know each other."
Not a Threesome
Mikey and Alida had an easier time adjusting to the idea of a polyamorous relationship, despite neither having been in one before. And once Eli got more comfortable with the idea and got to know Alida better, there was no doubt about the trio's relationship status: they were all three together.
But these partners rejected being called a threesome or a throuple. "We don't call ourselves a threesome. We're not a throuple," said Alida. Mikey added, "Threesome sounds like it's all about sex, and a throuple to us sounds almost like a joke. Like, 'Oh, look at that couple.' Triad just sounds strong."
"The More Love, the Better"
Being in a three-way relationship was a foreign idea for the lovebirds, but Eli, Mikey, and Alida just knew that's what fate had planned for them when they met at the camping festival. And once they all three became comfortable with the idea, they dove deeper into polyamory and what it meant to them.
"Polyamory means 'many loves,' so we believe that the more love, the better," Mikey explained. "Within your family, you don't just love your mom or your dad, so why should we restrict ourselves to one love in our romantic relationships if there's a connection there with someone?"
Were They Jealous?
But just as with any relationship, things weren't always all rainbow and butterflies. If communicating between just two people was at times difficult, then adding a third to the equation didn't necessarily make things simpler. Plus, the triad had to deal with jealousy issues.
"My jealousy, in the beginning, came from the longevity of their relationship and trying to figure out, 'Well, where do I fit into this?'" Alida confessed. "And realizing that it wasn't a 'Where do I fit into this,' but now 'What are we creating as the three of us?'"
Jealousy Became a Non-Issue
With time, Alida got past her jealousy over Mikey and Eli's history. She accepted that there had been a time where her partners were each other's only lovers, but now they were working on something together. "We don't have a lot of jealousy in the relationship," Alida shared.
"We recognize 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," Mikey added. "We check in with each other on a regular basis. It's a constant learning experience."
Becoming Better Partners
When Eli and Mikey started dating Alida, they weren't in an amazing place in their relationship. Opening up their marriage to a third partner felt like a chance to grow and do better. "When we met Alida, something felt different. We felt this need to be better," Mikey explained.
"We've been able to work through some things and create a stronger connection between us all," she continued. "Alida has brought a different perspective and understanding." But as the three of them fell in love, some family members didn't wholly approve.
Alida's Mom Wasn't Happy
When Alida told her mom, Mary, that she was a part of a triad, her mother was hesitant to approve. "When she used the term polyamorous, I was confused and pretty afraid of what that meant for her and her kids," Mary said. The grandma-of-two worried about how her grandkids would adjust.
"When I told my mom, she wasn't not open to it; she just didn't understand. We had just come out of a divorce; she was just concerned," Alida said of the situation. But Mary described things a little differently, stating that she was "fearful" of the situation.
She Was Afraid
"I sort of got an inkling of her proclivity for having multiple partners before her divorce. I was really taken aback by it," Alida's mom admitted of her initial thoughts on her daughter's transitioning from traditional monogamy to a polyamorous relationship.
Mary continued, "I became really fearful and afraid for my grandkids. I kind of thought she was unhinged, truthfully. I was just like, 'Oh no, the divorce really like did her in.'" But the mother-daughter pair had a close relationship, and neither was ready to give up on understanding each other.
"As she continued on in her relationship with Eli and Mikey, I tried a lot harder to understand what was going on," Mary shared. And part of understanding meant actually meeting Alida's new partners. Mikey and Eli were nervous as they prepared to meet Mary.
"When I met Alida's mom for the first time, I felt like a 14-year-old boy meeting his girlfriend's parents for the first time," Mikey confessed. Eli echoed, "There's always a little bit of anxiety when you meet someone's parents for the first time." How did the encounter go?
A Stamp of Approval
Fortunately, the triad's first time hanging out with Alida's mom went well. Eli and Mikey both got along with Mary, and the worried mom got more comfortable with the idea of polyamory. "I am very happy for her being happy, and I want her to thrive," Mary said.
"It seems to me like she really understands what she's doing," she added. And Mary wasn't the only one who found the situation strange, at least at first. Eli and Mikey had their own family and loved ones to tell the news to, and all three lovebirds had kids who needed to know.
Telling Their Kids
The triad knew that explaining their relationship to people might be complicated. "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,'" Mikey said of when they do tell people. Luckily, their kids get it.
"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," the lovebug trio explained. "We encourage our kids to be themselves no matter what others think."
Moving In Together
With all three children aware that their parents were in a three-way relationship, the six of them started spending time together. Maddox, Lennox, and Linkoln got along well with each other and with each of the adults. They slowly became a merged family.
Once Mikey, Eli, and Alida saw that their children were bonded and comfortably spending time as a unit, the triad took things to the next level. The partners moved in together in November of 2018, about four months after meeting at the camping festival.
The "Bad" Part for the Kids
But being the child or step-child of a polyamorous trio had its pros and its cons. For one, it meant lots of adults around to catch a kid being misbehaving. "Linkoln has had a friend ask if it was a good or bad thing to have three parents," Mikey recalled.
His answer? "He said it's only bad if he's in trouble," Mikey shared. For this poly family, the benefits of being three caretakers under one roof outweighed the detriments. But how did the children's grandparents on Eli and Mikey's side feel about the new arrangement?
What the Rest of the Fam Thought
Getting their children's approval wasn't too tricky. Mikey, Eli, and Alida's kids adapted to the change and enjoyed spending time with their new family members. But with the lack of initial approval from Alida's mom, the triad was likely nervous to tell the rest of the family.
Luckily, everyone eventually came around. "Our families are amazingly supportive. We don't think our moms 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."
Others Didn't Approve
It took some loved ones a bit of time to accept the partners' new relationship dynamic. At the same time, some friends who initially seemed supportive turned out not to be. But Eli, Mikey, and Alida had their families' support, and that mattered most.
But strangers weren't so forgiving. When the triad went out together, they noticed people staring at them. "We get a lot of looks, a lot of weird faces or confusion. I just wish that we could be seen and people wouldn't take a second glance or it to be awkward or weird," Alida said. And that wasn't the worst of it...
"We're Destroying Our Kids"
As the triad embarked on their polyamorous journey, they quickly noticed how others stared at them strangely. But that didn't lead the trio to hide. Instead, Eli, Mikey, and Alida started sharing their love story on social media, hoping to destigmatize poly relationships. But that meant being exposed to the wrath of online hate.
"On Instagram, we get a lot of, 'Lucky him,' or 'How do I get involved?' or 'How do I convince my wife to do this?'" shared Mikey. "The worst comments are that we're destroying our kids, that we're teaching our kids horrible values and morals." And that wasn't all that online trolls had in store.
People Call Them Gold Diggers
The hardest part about showing their love online was reading that some thought the triad was "destroying" their kids. But there were other kinds of comments that also hurt the triad: people labeled Mikey and Alida gold-diggers. "Sometimes, it feels that looks could kill," Mikey said.
The trio hears strangers whispering on the street that the two women must be with Eli for money. "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," Mikey explained.
The idea that their polyamorous relationship depended mainly on Eli was something the trio encountered often. With time, Mikey and Alida grew tired of people viewing their male partner as the center of the triad. The two women loved each other just as much as Eli and took to Instagram to clear the air.
"The polyamorous community needs to stop devaluing and invalidating love between bi women in FFM triads. It's biphobic to go, 'Wow, what a lucky guy!'" read a message the triad reposted. "It ignores the fact that the man is not the only one who is loved by two people. Stop centering men in triads."
No Shame Here
The polyamorous triad understood loud and clear that there were plenty of people who disapproved of their relationship. They sometimes struggled with the haters, who said cruel things about their children and called this love story "a phase," but for the most part, the partners were unbothered.
"We are not ashamed of our relationship. We hold hands; we give kisses, we cuddle," Mikey said. The triad was unafraid to show affection as they lived their day-to-day lives in Oregon. But what strangers on the street didn't know were all the advantages happening behind closed doors.
"A Lot" of Advantages
"There are a lot of advantages of being in a polyamorous relationship," Alida admitted. And while some people might assume she referred to fun in the bedroom, the advantages of the triad's poly lifestyle actually had benefits way beyond bedroom activities.
"We're able to get a lot done in a very short amount of time," Mikey explained. With three hands on deck, three incomes to pay rent, and more people to share clothes with, living life as a triad proved more productive. "And on the cold nights, you know, three people, you're warm," Eli added. But could they make things last?
The Test of Time
Eli, Mikey, and Alida were all each other's first polyamorous partners. None of them had ever been in an open relationship, let alone part of a triad. So some loved ones and plenty of online followers couldn't help but wonder: would they stand the test of time?
For now, it seems that they have. The triad celebrated three years together in July of 2021. And they have an adorable tradition for their anniversary celebrations: camping. "We met camping in 2018, so for our anniversary, we spend time together in the woods somewhere," the trio explained. Eli, Mikey, and Alida felt so sure about their love that they took things to the next level.
They Wanted to Get Married
Some people might've doubted the triad's love, but Eli, Mikey, and Alida realized pretty quickly that this was the real deal. Sure, it was their first poly relationship. But Eli and Mikey had been struggling in their marriage until Alida came along. Now, things felt complete.
So Alida didn't hesitate when Eli and Mikey asked for her hand in marriage. "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." Alida shared. Until then, there was something she could do instead...
Changing Her Last Name
Unfortunately for the triad, they couldn't make their deep love for one another legal just yet. Eli and Mikey had already been married for over a decade, and they wanted Alida to become a part of the family officially. But since that wasn't possible, they came up with another plan.
The triad shared the news on Instagram: "Even tho we do plan on having a ceremony to celebrate our love...at some point... and since we aren't able to legally get married... For Christmas [Alida] went and got her last name legally changed. She is now officially a Titus!" they wrote.
"We're Just Like Everyone Else"
The poly partners couldn't get married yet and got plenty of bewildered looks from strangers while out and about, but they still felt "just like everyone else," as Alida put it. "We all want to grow old together - raise our kids, buy a home, travel, retire, and drive Eli crazy until the end," she explained.
"Our relationship requires a lot of communication, dedication, self-reflection, and compromise," Alida continued. "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."
Happily Ever After
This love story is certainly a unique one. From a traditional, monogamous couple who struggled in their marriage to a polyamorous and thriving triad, it's safe to say that Alida, Mikey, and Eli have been through a lifetime of experiences together. And they're just getting started.
As of this article's writing, the triad is going strong and has no plans of stopping. "The idea of loving multiple people throughout your lifetime isn't new," Alida said. "It's been happening for generations over generations, and so I think this is just redefining that." You can follow their adventures on the Gram @teamtriadtribe.