Ménage à trois four

Four young gay men navigate the slippery path of polyamorous love

In a quiet and ordinary apartment complex on the south side of Charlotte live three not-so-ordinary young gay men. Jim Messaros, 20, Thomas Freyre, 21, and Chris Morgan, 22, are the best of all friends –and they are lovers.

Just like a “traditional,” monogamous couple, they laugh and love, fight and argue and then love some more. Their relationship together is everything you’d expect of a romantic and committed relationship: love and mutual respect, friendship and trust, life and work. But three’s company makes for exciting times and Jim, Thomas and Chris are certainly on the fringe of the mainstream. Somehow and some way, their committed, multi-partner relationship works. Getting the outside world to understand, that’s a different story.

“People don’t understand,” says Jim. “They don’t really get inside of what a polyamorous relationship really is all about. They just think about preconceived notions. For the gay community it is kind of rough. We shouldn’t be preconceiving anybody because we get it ourselves, being gay alone. This is almost just like a monogamous relationship, except it is just between more than one person. I can say that I love Thomas and I love Chris.”

The boys say their most strident criticism comes from peers who say they “want to have their cake and eat it, too.” Not true, they say. Their relationship is nothing like the hedonistic orgy critics would like to portray.

Digging into their life together and scraping away the layers of stigma and misunderstanding, any rational person might find their world of love and friendship as normal as any other, even if it does present its own unique set of challenges and circumstances.

Young love
Jim and Thomas both grew up in southwest Florida. They met in seventh grade, having both a Spanish class and a lunch period together.

“We were instant friends,” says Thomas. They both liked “Charmed,” a popular TV series at the time, and immediately hit it off.

Landing together at the same high school, the boys came out to each other and their friends in their junior year. They began dating soon thereafter. Life, as it seems, destined the couple to remain together.

“My parents got a divorce midway through our senior year,” Thomas recounts. “My mom moved to Chicago and my dad is a flight attendant and he travelled a lot. I couldn’t stay with him.”

For six months, Thomas lived with Jim and his parents. They attended homecoming and prom together, and despite being out to friends, the two had never come out to their parents. When Jim’s mother and father discovered them making out in his bedroom, they asked Thomas to leave. After his 2006 high school graduation, Thomas decided to make the more than 700-mile move to Gastonia, where his older sister had been living and where his mother had since relocated after living in Illinois.

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“I chose a boy,” Jim says of his decision to follow Thomas from his childhood home. “It was a pretty tough decision. I could stay in Florida with my family or move somewhere I didn’t know. I was very confused and shell-shocked. It was really hard.”

But he loved Thomas, Jim says. The move just made sense.

Uncommon road
Two years after moving to North Carolina, Thomas and Jim found themselves in the midst of a relationship crisis. Unlike Jim — who had a chance to meet other gay boys and explore his sexuality before coming out and getting involved in a long-term relationship — Thomas had never experienced sex or love with anyone else.

“We had been together in high school and straight out of high school,” Thomas says. “I had only been with Jim. I wasn’t quite sure if I wanted to just be with Jim the rest of my life and never experience anyone else or see what else was out there.”

Jim says he understood why Thomas had to have some time to explore himself. “Thomas never had what I had.”
So, as winter turned to spring in 2008, Thomas took the time to branch out. Meanwhile, Jim found comfort in a new friend. Through Facebook, he began talking to Chris, living at home in Albemarle at the time. The two talked online and over the phone for a month and eventually met up, saw a movie and found they enjoyed each other’s company. Soon thereafter, Jim and Chris were seeing each other.

It wasn’t long until an unplanned series of interpersonal conflicts, romantic altercations and sexual trysts culminated in a late-night, after-party fling between Thomas, Jim and Chris. As the months rolled by, Chris found himself torn between the separated Jim and Thomas, and, in return, they found that they both had feelings for Chris.

By the end of July, Chris was spending so much time with Thomas and Jim the three were basically sharing a bedroom at Thomas’ house. But the drama resulting from not knowing who was dating whom, along with the divisions it caused between high school sweethearts Jim and Thomas, was too much to bear.

Jim, Thomas and Chris have been in a polyamorous relationship for a year now.

Jim, Thomas and Chris have been in a polyamorous relationship for a year now.

Their next leap into the uncharted waters of multi-partner love was like a revelation.

“A few months went by and we were all three doing everything together and we were like, damn, maybe this could work out,” Chris recounts, as though there had literally been a light bulb flipped on over each of their heads. “We all three had feelings for each other.”

Building a relationship
Managing any sort of romantic, long-term relationship can be difficult. The constant and daily push-and-pull of life and love — working, sleeping, eating, cleaning…all the seemingly mundane tasks of everyday life — take on a new meaning when two are involved. Couples across the country spend exorbitant amounts of money each year on family, marriage and sex counseling. Bringing three separate lives, personalities, wants and needs into accord might be uncommon, but the issues really aren’t all that different than those faced by couples.

“Just like when you have a regular relationship with two people, you have drama,” Chris notes. “If you have three people, it is triple the drama.”

Although there are three involved, instead of two, Thomas says they have to navigate the same issues all other couples and committed partners have. The three’s dominant and outgoing personalities lend family life an extra dose of disagreement.

“We’re all three strong personalities. We all try being the ‘HBIC,’ which stands for the ‘head bitch in charge,’” Jim humors.

After their decision to go all in, Jim, Thomas and Chris very quickly set down one simple ground rule.
“There was no going outside of the relationship,” Chris says. “To where this is the most untraditional relationship you can ever imagine, I’m still traditional. Don’t cheat on me.”

Trust and respect, the throuple’s other ground rules, are designed to keep the relationship equitable and fair for all involved. They say jealousy and issues of fairness were among the hardest emotional — and sometimes logistical — obstacles to overcome when they began their relationship. Feeling like you were becoming the “third wheel” wasn’t a sentiment any of them relished then or now.

“Sometimes just two of us like to do something that the third one doesn’t like to do,” Jim says. Situations involving favorite TV shows, movies, hobbies or other activities two might have in common, leaves the third partner alone and feeling left out.

Finding a time for Jim, Thomas and Chris to spend together as a family is a large part of the battle. Recently unemployed, Jim doesn’t work. While he’s at home, Thomas works a first shift job and Chris works second.

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The wonky work schedules create frustration, Chris says. By the time he comes home, Jim and Thomas have already had their together time and are settled watching a movie or already involved in some other activity.

The relationship is definitely an odd-numbered juggling act, and Jim had just the solution.

Poly dating
Thomas wasn’t too keen on the idea when Jim broached the topic of bringing a fourth partner into the relationship.

“They were more open to adding a fourth person than I was,” Thomas says. “I didn’t want it to be like a brothel.”

Jeremy Eudy, 22, from Midland, has known Chris for years, seeing him out and about around town. Jim met him recently and told him about his two boyfriends and asked if he was interested in dating them.

“Well, part of me was like, ‘Okay, this hot,’” Jeremy laughs. “But the second part of me really liked the trust thing. This is a closed relationship and they are all honest with each other. That’s the main thing that kills me — I’ve been screwed over a lot in other relationships. The last guy I dated for two years was sleeping around behind my back and I didn’t even know it.”

The three guys say they have a sense, so far, that they can trust Jeremy, too.

Thomas still has his reservations, but he’s working through them.

“I was very against it at the start,” he says. “We are still going through it though. We’re almost like dating, you could say.”

His initial rejection of the idea turned around when he met Jeremy. “It all depended on the person,” he says. “If it had been someone else maybe it would have been different. But Jeremy has a good personality. He is line with us, with what we have in common. He more meshed with me.”

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Jim, Thomas and Chris hope Jeremy can solve some of those third wheel issues.

“It is all about simple, everyday things,” Chris says. “Going to bed, now there is two and two. Going to a restaurant and sitting in the booth, now there is two and two. Going to an amusement park for two-seater rides, now there is two and two.”

Family
The guys’ relationship is still growing. Jeremy’s addition will serve a challenge, but it isn’t anything they can’t overcome. All four say there are certain qualities to the relationship they love.

Chris and Thomas say they enjoy the variety. “What you can’t share with one person, you can with another. Everyone has different qualities and personalities,” Thomas says. “It isn’t always one or the other. It is collectively sharing with each other.”

Jeremy says the relationship just works. “They have this going on and they have so many qualities. I think it just fits together like a puzzle.”

He admires the group’s commitment and honesty with each other. “That’s one of the main things I value anywhere,” he says. “I hate being lied to.”

Jim’s parents have grown since the day they told Thomas to leave. Having his “second family” in Charlotte is important to him. “Everything is good. The sex is good, the friendship is good, but they are more than just my lovers. They are my family.”

Family is really all that counts.

All photos Copyright © Jimmy Cobb.

Audio: Interview clips

[audio:Menageafour_interview.mp3]
Audio is approximately 19 minutes in length.

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Posted by Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.

35 Replies to “Ménage à trois four”

  1. In other local news-Charlotte’s MCC building is up for sale. The mystery, however, is where they will be relocating to. Details @ 11:00!!!

  2. Good for you, boys! I hope you continue to make thoughtful, mature, experimental decisions. The queer community needs more attempts like this.

  3. Thanks KLB. We are doing our best!

  4. I know three of the four and still I feel this is some twisted shit.

  5. WHAT THE HELL IS THIS? When did Q-Notes decide to publish this?!?

    Let look at real gay publications shall we?

    WASHINGTON DC
    Washington Blade – LGBT News
    Metro Weekly – Originally Content with a sexier side

    ATLANTA
    Southern Voice (SOVO) – LGBT News
    David Atlanta – Original Content with Sex

    SO NOW TELL ME – WHICH DIRECTION IS Q-NOTES GOING – YOU CAN’T BE BOTH. It’s sad that Q-Notes has lost its way so quickly in a year – its time to wrap it up if news isn’t working for you… because The Sex Issue… well… its gonna help wrap you up regardless.

  6. To Jason and other readers,

    Thank you for your comments. We love hearing your feedback. When feedback is public, however, we want it to be accurate.

    Southern Voice has published Sex Issues similar to ours before. Both MetroWeekly and David Atlanta have sex content, just as original as ours. The featured story in this issue is original to Q-Notes; no other publication has covered this story thus far. On Monday, June 1, we will publish more Sex Issue Online Only features, which are also original to Q-Notes.

    Q-Notes is a publication that provides news, entertainment, events, resources and more. We also want to be a publication that offers bold and edgy content, that makes our readers think but also entertains them.

    Thanks,

    Matt Comer
    editor

  7. Our community really wonders why so many people regard us as promiscuous? This is why! I’ve never been so disgusted.

  8. I too was very disappointed with this issue. I have found this cover story very immoral and offensive. To put things like this in a positive light is very wrong considering the negative implications and the fact that few share this positive view.

    Our goal should be to increase a positive awareness of GLBT people rather than play to the things the straight community has against us. This only gives them more proof of GLBT promiscuity and choice. And most GLBT people are NOT promiscuous, but the careless choices of a few can easily ruin it for the masses.

    I think Q-Notes does a wonderful job in its fair presentation of news, entertainment, and so on, but this is one step too far. You can be entertaining without compromising values.

    Please Q-Notes, tone it down in the future.

  9. I say “live and let live”. I welcome the wonderful diversity of our “gay” community and I hope these young men find happiness in whatever they are trying to accomplish. I do not give a damn what the straight community thinks when it is they who have such things as cult organizations where men have many wives and children are produced from these marriages like cattle to the slaughter. As far as the promiscuity issue, well I think we can all agree that percentages of straight men in their “monogamous” relationships with their wives and cheating, far exceed the imagination. Let us take morality out of the issue for what is morality but a view point derived from preconceived and abstract thoughts of what “others” want us to be. These young men are just trying to make a living, get along and survive in this complicated world so who are “we” to judge them if this in fact makes them happy and they find solace in each others company. I say “go for it boys”… Live long and prosper.

  10. nice piece, however I bet if the four boys were 4 old men this piece would have never seen the print of day, however since it four blondish twinks, let post it, let other see just how promiscuous we really are.. Since Q-note is mostly staff with guy under 27 what does one expect. Once again showing to the world that only young gay guys are in while older gay male are out.. Talk about wanting equality when equality doesn’t even exist in the gay community

  11. by the way the 4 old men part would mean any male over 35,,,

  12. I hope the editor of Q-Notes will address the concerns of “sickntired”. The publisher is 50, the accountant is 69, the design layout tech is in here late 50s. hmmmm…I wonder what sickntires is talking about then?

  13. well JC if you must know, do you think that if these story was about 4 men in their 30’s or 40’s it would never printed also

    i said mostly are under 30 not all so please put on your reading glassess.. however if you need to blast me for this email
    sickntired08 gmail com

  14. Gay Lee Forward June 1, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    The LGBT community is not monolithic and it is not — nor should it be — Q-Notes’ job to make it seem like it is. We all have our own value systems, political leanings and social standards. The staff’s responsibility is to present the full spectrum of who we are. In my opinion, they do a good job of it. I have seen many stories over the years depicting and celebrating long-term couples. This current cover story does not undo or undermine that history. It only furthers the discussion.

    As to the above assertion that Q-Notes is populated/dominated by staffers under the age of 27, I can tell you from my own experience that it’s not true. The majority of the staff is over 40.

  15. fine i may a damn mistake however it still doesn’t change the other part of my comment… also let add that they just show the four guys completely clothes,, no they need to be shirtless to please the “you know whats”

  16. Yes I am going to blast you for this public posting you ignorant self appointed, thinks he knows it all, pompous ass. I am willing to bet, in fact I can guarantee that if such a story revolved around men in their 30s,40s or any age for that matter, that our friends at Q-Notes would indeed publish such a story. Do you know of one?…I bet not. Do you know of an interesting story involving older individuals? Well rather than complain about the content of the publication, why not be proactive and suggest some ideas for interesting, thought provoking stories??? I think considering the economy and the cost to publish newspapers these days and the hardship of positive cash flow, and I am sure Q-Notes is not excluded from this, well…then rather than trash these hardworking individuals that endeavor to produce thought provoking, engaging and interesting stories for YOU and others…let us try and stop for a minute and look at all the good this publication does and has done…OK????

  17. fine JC lets put that to the test, I challenge Q-notes to do just that.. by the way I didn’t trash them, nor did i bring the economy. you know damn well that story of older gay men don’t move papers,,, especially in the LGBT community,, its about about look and youth… you damn will know it.. once you get over 35 you just don’t count unless (you fill in the blanks)

  18. To JC regarding the straight community, I agree with the point you’ve made about how some straight men in “monogamous” relationships cheat on their wives/girlfriends, etc. And the same holds true for some straight women. And most people or society in general would probably consider this sort of behavior immoral. And that’s all find and dandy, but straight people already have their rights. Straight people, no matter how promiscuously they behave, already have all the rights they could ever want. This sort of thing in the spotlight is worse for gay people, because we’re trying to obtain the same rights.

    I believe that if we in the GLBT want to obtain the same rights, it won’t be accomplished by putting articles like this on the front page and highlighting them as something positive. I applaud Q-Notes for taking something few people recognize and understand and bringing it into perspective so people can formulate their own opinions. But when it appears on the front page with a bias towards being positive, it can cause setbacks for what GLBT activists are trying to do.

    The GLBT community needs to move to educate straight people on what homosexuality is. I believe that most straight people don’t recognize it for what it really is. Instead, they believe in the stereotypes, and articles like this reinforce those stereotypes.

    Once again, I applaud Q-Notes for their focus on diversity, but there’s a time, place, and a way of doing things.

  19. I find this public spat through a message board so amusing. You should both simply agree to disagree and be thankful you are able to publicly give your opinion.

    **just a quick side note- i actually have seen these guys out in various clubs. While I will not pass judgment on anyone, this “relationship” seems more like a ploy to get attention. It seems as if they’ve just settled for something of a group relationship to satisfy a need for multiple sexual partners as well as someone to share different interests with. It saddens me to see such young guys give up on finding one person to share everything with and rather settle for three. Though i may not agree with this or understand it for that matter– i wish all of them luck and sincerely hope all of them are happy in their choices.

  20. The Voice of Reason June 7, 2009 at 3:13 am

    I’ve never picked up a copy of qnotes ever until now and I think I may never do it again because after reading this article and it made me ill so much that I had to burn it so no one would ever see it. Because it makes it seem justified to have multiple sex partners and relationships like it’s “ok”, this is the kind of crap that makes me not want to date because a lot of the younger generation of people seem to have this idea that’s it’s ok to sleep around and not worry about the consequences.

  21. Well, I have to agree with “voice” partly. Only that the issue being bad has nothing to do with the fact it makes these relationships look ok…. but I have to say this issue is bad because it’s not the news worthy stuff that readers and paying advertisers have came to expect after 20 years.

  22. Can someone answer me this? It’s obvious this is about as low as Q can get before completely crashing and burning, BUT, why have they resulted in this? Is it (ONE) the economy, (TWO) to keep up with competition, (THREE) lack of internal staff, or (FOUR) do they really just not care anymore?

  23. Every relationship is different, it is not anyones place to condone or condem. That is the decision of those young men. As for Q-Notes Staff sickntired do you know any of them? I happen to know there is only one person under 30.

  24. I am really amused by the negative responses by so many individuals. The same words you’re using against these four are used by straights who condemn any gay relationship. I guess bigots come in all flavors.

    I have to conclude that many of those who are protesting are hiding skeletons in their own closets while others are simply jealous of these guys.

    Will this relationship last? Statistically, probably not. Of course, over 90 percent of mine haven’t lasted. If they are enjoying it today, then great. They aren’t hurting anyone. If it ends tomorrow, so be it. Carpe diem!

    Will Q-Notes survive this? Yes. It will probably be one of their most popular issues ever. Will Q-Notes eventually fail? Given the track record of both mainstream and gay print publications, they’ll either adapt or fail. Print is dying a slow death. Hopefully, Jim can adapt and keep it going.

    xoxoxoxo

  25. Thanks David : )

  26. I know two of the four. Glad it all works for you!

  27. I find this article very intriguing! Go Qnotes! And go boys!

    I have read all the comments and believe that first the boys deserve some credit for allowing their relationship to be exploited.

    Second our community has so much diversity why not talk and discuss it? Does not mean what others chose to do has to become your way of life. I mean I am a one on one kind of guy but that does not mean I was always that way. It is not a law to be involved in a four some. Besides if you think back a few decades multi racial couples would have been unheard of….

  28. i’d just like to say that i am glad that matt and the rest of the the Q-Notes staff decided to publish this article. i find it very important that everyone realize first off and foremost that this article is not out to bring attention to the “gay” community. its to show off a sub genre if you will of the gay community. we have the choice in this country to make decisions. one of those being to be faithful and loving to one person or to multiples. polyamorous dating is not something new to the world. it simply just hasnt been in the spot light. i am great friends of jim, chris, and thomas. they are all great guys with wonderful hearts. i’ve lived with them and seen the way they all do their part in there symbiotic lifestyle. like cliff said i applaud the boys for their courage and bravery. to the boys i’d just like say i’m proud of you, let the people talk their shit. just realize most of them couldn’t deal with half the troubles and strife that you all deal with.

  29. I think that this is possibly one of the most tragic things I’ve seen within our community yet. Sure, the initial portion of this relationship seems fine and dandy… but wait until about a year down the line. Wait until they start getting jealous of one another screwing other guys. Or until someone becomes manipulative and controlling and ruins things within the structure of this primitive vestibule you can call polyamory. Every polyamorous relationship I’ve observed within my social circle, who widely accepts the practice, has failed. Either because someone assumes the “alpha” position, or because one of the submissives leaves and decides they’ve had enough torture. This is a misrepresentation of the community, and I feel as if when things like this keep happening, there isn’t an ice cubes chance in hell of gay people ever getting married. Why? Because polygamy isn’t legal in regular marriages, so why on earth would it ever be legal for gays?

  30. i love and miss you jeremy. im glad you found what you deserved. i hope everything goes great for the 4 of you!!!

  31. Hmm wow so much Hate and Self-Loathing from the self-appointed moralists! Nice to see the Gay community can be as rigid and moralistic as the Straight world.

    So when do we get Concerned Homos’for America or The Pink Majority ready to ostracize and shun any who do not fit in their narrow Picket Fence world?

    Gay Moralists DISGUST ME!

  32. i think these guys are awesome for courageous being who they are!

    poly and lgbtq politics can totally mesh together! not everyone wants “mainstream” marriage equality!

  33. i personally don’t think that an obvious publicity stunt should get this much attention.

    also….while i understand its everyone’s right to do whatever they choose…. i just keep thinkin;

    hey guys…. thanks for the on going stereotypes. gay community doesn’t have enough already.

  34. half these dudes are on adam4adam and a plethra of other gay dating sites lookin. so yea polyamourism doesn’t exist maybe hedonism amongst roomates

  35. I liked this article very much, I watched true life the other night and they showed this story. Makes me sad jeremy got broken up with by all of them. I like the idea of all of them being together. It gives me hope that i will be ok with y sexuality and i might not fing only one “The One” but maybe two or three. They give me inspiration.

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