What’s it like raising kids in a throuple? In this episode we dive into the dynamic of a polyamorous relationship with Ian, Alan, and Jeremy, the throuple who made the news after they managed to change the way California law defines family, listing all three of them as fathers on their daughter’s birth certificate.
In recent years we are seeing more and more throuples in the gay community, and on our podcast Dr. Ian Jenkins, author of the book Three Dads and a Baby, explained to us how it came about for him.
“In collage I took a bunch of anthropology classes,” Jenkins explains, “and I was thinking to myself, it’s pretty unusual that someone is EVERYTHING to somebody else, and there may be different aspects of your personality that somebody else nurtures or feels, needs and stuff, so, that was something that I brought to my dating with Alan and he had needed to do some thinking about it and make sure that was okay, we went ahead and started to date a couple of people, we kissed a number of frogs before we met Jeremy, with Jeremy it was totally different, we had a great connection right away.”
Ian had been with Alan for 19 years, and they’ve been with Jeremy, for ten. And they have two biological children — Piper, who is 5, and Parker, who is 3.
“If you asked me about being in a throuple, before [my experience] I’d say that’s too complicated and crazy,” Alan says on Daddy Squared, “why would anyone want that it’s hard enough to be with one person.”
“And after I’d say, oh, now that I’m approaching 45 I realize it’s so pragmatic in a lot of ways. I’m not trying to sell somebody on that and say you should definitely do this, it works for us, it worked out it evolved this way organically, and if we are talking to friends that are of our age, they have kids, they have been in a relationship for a long time, almost universally the reaction is oh I see the appeal.”
On our interview with the three we heard about what it’s like raising kids as a throuple, why it was important to them to make it legal, and we also hear about some of the stereotypes and the misconceptions they face, including ‘coming out’ to their parents about the throuple.
“Being in a throuple is coming out again, for sure,” Alan admits. “I’ve been with Ian for a long time and [my parents] knew Ian. My mom was more like, ‘okay, it’s different, I understand,’ she was supportive, and my dad was like, ‘I just struggle to see how is that conforms with fidelity in all these kind of traditional values.’ But he quickly came around. But we were also in a position, kind of later in life, where I’m not financially dependent on my parents, I’ve got my own life going on, I gotta live my life. I’ve been with Ian for a long time and I felt strongly that our life is better with Jeremy, this needs to work, I wanted to work and this is important to me. ”
“I make a point,” Jeremy adds, “if I meet new people, like if we have a new worker, pretty early on I’d say, like, ‘hey just so you know I have two partners, so if we’re talking about our home lives I don’t want you to sit there and say hey what’s going on.’ I [come out] constantly at all times.”
Our Guests: Ian, Alan and Jeremy
Dr. Ian Jenkins is the author of “Three Dads and a Baby: Adventures in Modern Parenting“, a debut memoir about his experiences trying to have a baby as part of a polyamorous gay “Throuple.” The three men wanted to have a child, but the road to having a baby took them through embryo adoption, IVF and surrogacy, dealing with lawyers and doctors, enormous medical bills, questions about polyamorous parenting, and legal battles to get all 3 dads listed on the birth certificate (they were the first to do so).
Ian is joined by his partners Alan, a clinical psychologist, and Jeremy, a zookeeper at the San Diego Zoo.
Men Having Babies Corner
Men Having Babies is a nonprofit organization that helps gay men who are interested in becoming fathers through surrogacy navigate the sea of information and overcome the financial barrier. In this episode, Alan from Men Having Babies talks about the meaning of Ethical Surrogacy: MHB has developed a framework for ethical surrogacy principles, protocols and best practices for intended parents
- DR. IAN JENKINS: ‘Three Dads and a Baby’ Tells the Story of the First Polyamorous Family to Secure Three Parents Listed on a Birth Certificate (San Diego LGBTQ News, 2020)
- Polyamorous gay throuple who made history by becoming first family to list THREE dads on a birth certificate say their unique journey into parenthood is ‘like winning the lottery’ (Daily Mail, 2021)
- Daddy Squared on Instagram – meet the dads on our Committee of Imperfect Parenting: Rick, Frankie, Chad, Adrain, Jorge