A couple who opened up their relationship to a female colleague are now raising their brood of children as a polyamorous trio.
Full-time mother Cheyenne Barnes, 29, from Houston, Texas, had only been with her boyfriend James Chorman, 34, for just over a year when she suggested they add a third person to the equation in 2014.
Initially, he had reservations – but in early 2019, the pair enjoyed a night of passion with her then co-worker Joelle Temporal, 24, and became an official throuple soon after.
Each member of the polyamorous trio has a child from a previous relationship, and Cheyenne and James also have two together – Daria, five, and 12-month-old Lilith.
Now, they are raising their ‘rainbow family’ under one roof with the youngsters referring to the women as ‘Mommy Cheyenne’ or ‘Mommy Joelle.
Polyamorous mother Cheyenne Barnes (middle) , 29, from Houston,Texas, is raising a combined brood of five after opening her relationship with James Chorman (left) , 34, up to female co-worker Joelle Temporal, 24 (right)
They are raising their ‘rainbow family’ under one roof with the youngsters referring to the women as ‘Mommy Cheyenne’ (left) or ‘Mommy Joelle’ (right)
And they are hoping to add a sixth child to their brood, as machinist James and insurance agent Joelle are also trying to have a baby together.
Cheyenne said: ‘People say we’re messing up our kids, but the kids don’t care.
‘All they see is three people who love each other – and love them.
‘My eldest daughter told me her friends think it’s cool she has three parents because, “She can get even more presents” – but she doesn’t look at it that way. She says she has more people to love her.’
James admitted he had reservations about becoming a throuple– until the pair enjoyed a night of passion with her then co-worker Joelle
They are hoping to add a sixth child to their brood, as machinist James and insurance agent Joelle are also trying to have a baby together. Pictured, the throuple with Cheyenne and James’s 12-month-old daughter
As the trio all have different parenting styles – with Cheyenne being more of a disciplinarian than her boyfriend and girlfriend – they do disagree from time to time when it comes to decisions about the children, although they work through any clashes using open communication and, occasionally, a vote.
Cheyenne continued: ‘Since I’m the one who watches them most of the time as James and Joelle work, I make a lot of the decisions.
‘We have different parenting techniques, but overall, we usually agree on what we should do and we do sometimes have a vote, too.
‘We decided I should be the one who mainly deals with discipline, so it remains consistent. Don’t get me wrong, I play with them too, but when they are acting up James and Joelle call me in to deal with them.
‘They get to be the fun ones while I’m the bad guy! I’m pretty fair across the board with each child, regardless of whether or not they are biologically mine.
‘I always make sure to have a talk with the kids so they understand what they did wrong and can think about it in the future.’
The throuple are blissfully happy as a blended family of eight, and Joelle still has her heart set on having a baby, but has no plans to fall pregnant until next year
The trio admitted they all have different parenting styles and occasionally disagree– with Cheyenne being more of a disciplinarian than her boyfriend and girlfriend
Growing up together, Cheyenne and James moved in the same social circles and had several mutual friends.
But they did not become romantically involved until March 2014, when he sent her a message on Facebook out of the blue, asking how she was.
After chatting online, they decided to reconnect over a bite to eat at their local diner.
‘He was exactly how I remembered him. I saw how caring and funny he was and that really appealed to me the second time around,’ she added.
Making up for lost time, James and Cheyenne began seeing each other every other day, moving in together after just eight weeks.
Then, in June– three months after their first date – she discovered she was pregnant.
She explained: ‘It was never my intention to stay forever, then I found out I was expecting and was like, “You’re stuck with me now”.
Growing up together, Cheyenne and James moved in the same social circles and had several mutual friends, but didn’t get together until March 2014
James and Cheyenne began seeing each other every other day, moving in together after just eight weeks
‘James couldn’t believe it. He literally jumped for joy.’
Welcoming baby Daria in February 2015, the couple settled into family life.
Cheyenne added: ‘We might not have planned it, but it was exactly what we wanted.
‘Everything went so smoothly. James and I both have a child from our previous relationships and they were so happy to have a little sister.’
But whilst blissfully happy as a new mother, six months after Daria was born, Cheyenne, who is bisexual, began to feel discontented with her love life.
So, she suggested to James that they try polyamory – an intimate relationship with more than one person.
‘I’ve been bisexual my entire life,’ Cheyenne said. ‘In fact, I knew I liked women before men. I’d never been in a poly relationship before, though.
Whilst blissfully happy as a new mother, six months after Daria was born, Cheyenne, who is bisexual, began to feel discontented with her love life and wanted to explore her sexuality
Cheyenne threw herself into her then job at an insurance company, where she met mother-of-one Joelle in October 2018 and quickly introduced her to James
‘I sat James down and said, “How would you feel about bringing another woman into the mix?”.
‘He was pretty apprehensive and started saying one woman was enough for him and that he didn’t want to complicate things.’
But, after giving it some thought, six months later, James agreed to start looking for another woman to join their relationship.
Setting up profiles on several dating apps, the couple soon realised that finding a potential candidate was going to be harder than they had anticipated.
‘We started going on dates, but none of them lived up to our expectations,’ Cheyenne explained.
‘We were looking for a relationship where all three partners were equally invested in one another, but every date we went on, the girl was always more interested in either James or me – never both of us.
‘The final nail in the coffin was after we’d spent five or six dates with one particular girl.
Each member of the polyamorous trio has a child from a previous relationship, and Cheyenne and James also have two together – Daria, five, and 12-month-old Lilith (pictured)
Cheyenne says the children have had no qualms adjusting to their new way of family life
‘She ended up trying to take James to bed, without me and he just said, “This isn’t working”.
‘I’d been so excited to bring a woman to bed. It had been a goal of mine for so long. I wanted to have fun, but in the end, there was just disappointment.
‘We decided maybe we didn’t want to do this after all.’
Resigning herself to the idea that she and James would remain monogamous, Cheyenne threw herself into her then job at an insurance company, where she met mother-of-one Joelle in October 2018.
‘At the start, I wasn’t interested in her like that at all,’ she recalled. ‘I’d actually sometimes go home to James and complain about her.
‘But within a matter of weeks we started talking and bonding over work gossip and our love of 90s rap music.’
Before long, Joelle and Cheyenne began socialising outside work, often with their children in tow.
James admits that being in a throuple can be tough as it’s difficult to juggle love between two people
Then, in January 2019, a playdate led to an actual date. Cheyenne said: ‘Joelle and I were working on a Saturday when she suggested we let the kids hang out back at her house.
‘We ended up having a really good time, but James kept calling and asking where I was – he was hungry, and we had dinner plans.
‘In the end he just said, “Why don’t you ask her to come out with us?”. I was convinced she wouldn’t want to, but she did, and it all started from there.
‘She lived about an hour away and so ended up staying over, but it wasn’t sexual that night.
‘To me, it still felt like it would just be a friendship, but James was quite keen to see if Joelle would be interested in taking things to the next level.
‘I was the one that had picked the girls before, but this was the first time James seemed excited.’
Later that month, Cheyenne and James took Joelle with them to a friend’s party, where they took the opportunity to make their feelings clear.
The trio admitted they all have different parenting styles and can occasionally disagree– with Cheyenne being more of a disciplinarian than her boyfriend and girlfriend
She continued: ‘At first, I wasn’t getting the vibe that Joelle was interested in being in a poly relationship, but I invited her to a party to see what happened.
‘Another girl started flirting with me, so I turned to Joelle and said, “This chick is trying to get with me, but I’ve told her I’m her with you. Is that okay?”.
‘She nodded, so I asked if I could kiss her, and she said yes.
‘James was talking to someone else at the time and I told him about it later on. He giggled about it and smiled knowingly at me.
‘The party got dull, so we headed back to my house. We went to the bedroom as a trio, and it was surprisingly natural.
‘It was the first time for all of us, but it all felt so natural. Joelle had never had a relationship with a woman but, like me, she knew she liked girls like that.’
From there, Joelle began splitting her time between her own home and James and Cheyenne’s, moving in just a month after they had become an official throuple.
Although Cheyenne admits it took a while to feel secure in the relationship, the children had no qualms adjusting to their new way of family life.
She said: ‘For a few months, I had my guard up. I guess it felt too good to be true after waiting for so long.
‘I thought it wasn’t going to last, or Joelle wouldn’t want to look after so many kids, but we’re still going strong.
Joelle told that while the throuple still faces negative reactions, she insists the relationship is worth it
‘The children weren’t fussed. We’d always had friends crashing at ours, so it wasn’t that unusual at the start – they thought nothing of it.
‘They’d shout “Mommy”, and we’d ask, “Which, Cheyenne or Joelle?”.
‘Before we knew, it all the kids were calling us Mommy Joelle, Mommy Cheyenne and Daddy James.’
In July, six months into their relationship, the trio decided to have two more children – one carried by Joelle, and one by Cheyenne.
Despite both women no longer using contraception and having regular sex with James, things did not go according to plan.
‘We were both doing regular pregnancy tests from the moment we started trying to conceive,’ Cheyenne explained.
‘In September, both Joelle and I were convinced we were pregnant as we’d missed our periods.
‘Mine turned out to be positive, but Joelle’s wasn’t.’
Deciding to focus on one baby, Joelle temporally stopped trying to fall pregnant.
Then, on June 21, Cheyenne gave birth to 7lb baby Lilith, but with only one birthing partner allowed to be present during the delivery because of Covid-19, James decided Joelle should be the one to be there.
‘Joelle was stoked about being at the birth, so when we were told only one person could be there with me, James decided it should be her, to cement her place in our family,’ Cheyenne added.
Now, they are blissfully happy as a blended family of eight, and Joelle still has her heart set on having a baby, but has no plans to fall pregnant until next year.
In July, six months into their relationship, the trio decided to try and have two more children – one carried by Joelle, and one by Cheyenne
Keen to encourage more understanding about polyamory, Cheyenne said: ‘Some people try and sabotage our relationship by saying it won’t work out or it’s not normal.
‘We’ve been together a year and we’re going strong. We have no intention of this not working out.
‘I just hope that by sharing our story it becomes more normalised and poly people are treated equally without all the negativity.’
James admits that being in a throuple can be tough, confessing: ‘I figured that Cheyenne was so into the idea of polyamory when she suggested it that there was no harm in seeing how it would work out.
‘It’s been difficult at times, but you work through it because you love two people.’
And while Joelle still faces negative reactions, she insists the relationship is worth it.
She added: ‘I have support from friends and family, but some people in my life won’t acknowledge the relationship at all and will refer to Cheyenne and James as “my friends”.’
‘People have told my daughter from a previous relationship that Cheyenne isn’t her mother, and that hurts.
‘But no matter how challenging it gets, I feel like we’re in a good place in our relationship and that’s worth fighting for.’