I have been dear friends and cohabitants with two ladies for a few years now. We are all straight. They have been BFFs since childhood are are basically inseparable. I love them both dearly, and we are of an age where we want to have families soon. After some discussions, I recently formally proposed to both, and they accepted. We now have questions about the best way forward. 1) How public should we be? 2) Should I legally marry one? 3) We WANT to share one big bed, will it get awkward? 4) Both want to have children and would love to share the experience should both try at the same time? 5) Should we remove love making to separate bedroom? 6) We have discussed not doing so, and making love all 3 together, I am worried I won't be up to the task. We want it to be pure and beautiful not some playboy fantasy Good or Bad idea? 7) Should both or neither take my surname? 8) Should all children take a family name?
Most of the answers to these questions are going to be intensely personal, and not something that an internet writer who doesn’t know you three can prescribe for you. I strongly recommend that you three talk deeply and honestly about these questions. For some people, talking in person is a lot harder, so sending emails back and forth to go through these questions might be a great strategy. All I can do is answer your questions with more questions, things I encourage you to consider, and jumping off points for more conversation.
1.) How public should we be? That is going to depend on your lives and the risks involved. Do you live in a conservative area? Do any of you have professional lives that might be threatened by being public with this? Do any of you anticipate conflict with your families, and how will you navigate and support each other through that? What do you mean by ‘public’ - coming out to friends and family, or giving interviews to local news? If you decide to stay “private,” how will you negotiate that? What kind of ‘cover stories’ are you comfortable with? Who is, and isn’t, safe to tell? How will you manage it if some of you want to be more “out” and some of you want to stay more “private?”
2) Should I legally marry one? What does legal marriage mean to you? Are there financial, legal, insurance, citizenship, or other considerations? Does one of you need health insurance or other protections? Do you live in a state where marrying one person and “living as if married” with another puts you at risk of running afoul of bigamy laws? How would you make the choice about who to legally marry? How would you demonstrate commitment to the other person? Do you want to have a wedding ceremony? How will that interact with the legal marriage? Consider talking to a family law attorney about some of these questions as well.
3) We WANT to share one big bed, will it get awkward? I have literally no idea whether a hypothetical situation between three people I’ve never met will get awkward. You three should talk it out. Who sleeps hot, who sleeps cold? Do any of you have sleep issues? Light sleeper, heavy sleeper? If one person feels like masturbating, how do y’all feel about that in a shared bed? Use of phones in bed? Lights or music in the bedroom? Sleep schedules? Restless sleeper? If you decided not to share a big bed, what would the alternatives be? What are your realistic financial abilities to get a living space and bed that accommodates your needs? Consider some trial nights in hotels with king-sized beds.
4) Both want to have children and would love to share the experience should both try at the same time? Pregnancy is a very fickle thing, and if both women are trying at the same time, one may conceive and the other may not, or one may miscarry and the other may not. Would that cause resentment or conflict? Putting pressure on yourself to conceive at the same time as your best friend and metamour can make things a lot more complicated. But, being pregnant at the same time sounds pretty awesome! Consider whether you think it would be easier to raise two kids of roughly the same age - on the one hand, you can ‘get it all over with at once’ in terms of baby stuff; on the other hand, babies are hard! If they conceive 6 months apart, you could have a newborn and a teether at the same time, which sounds really challenging even with three parents. Think carefully about this, talk to friends of yours who have had babies, or a therapist who specializes in conception and family planning (Planned Parenthood may have some resources for you).
5) Should we remove love making to separate bedroom? Do you think that would help things be more healthy and fulfilling, or does it just feel like something you should do? What associations do you have with “the love making bedroom”? What needs would this meet? Do you have the financial resources to get a place with a bedroom that’s just for sex? Would the people who just had sex in there sleep in that bedroom? What would the other person do? How would all of you feel about that? Do you three have certain sexual preferences or interests that would make a separate room especially useful?
6) We have discussed not doing so, and making love all 3 together, I am worried I won't be up to the task. We want it to be pure and beautiful not some playboy fantasy Good or Bad idea? One of the worst things you can do for your sex life is to come to it with some preconceived prescription about what it should look like. I don’t know what, to you three, “pure and beautiful” sex looks like. But that sounds like an idealized fantasy and it’s too vague to give you any guidance. You should define that for yourselves - what does “pure and beautiful” really mean? What kinds of feelings do you want to have? What kinds of language and sex acts do you prefer? Do you want to avoid? What is it about the “playboy fantasy” that you are worried about?
7) Should both or neither take my surname? Do they want to? Do you want that? What would that symbolize to the three of you? How would the three of you feel about developing a new surname together? How would that interact with your desires to stay private or go public? Do any of you have personal or professional situations that would make a name change an especially good or bad idea?
8) Should all children take a family name? That’s something to consider a bit later, once pregnancies are happening. Some people think it’s important for all kids in a family to have the same name; other people don’t. You should talk to a family lawyer about custody and guardianship with three parents; having a shared name might help with logistical things and demonstrate that you are all one family with equal parenthood. You should also consider talking to a family therapist who specializes in blended or unique families about how to cultivate a strong sense of identity and security for the children.