The Sweet Domestic Life of the House Hunters Throuple -

The Sweet Domestic Life of the House Hunters Throuple

 The Sweet Domestic Life of the House Hunters Throuple

This story is part of GQ’s Modern Lovers issue. 

When strangers learn that Lori, Brian, and Geli are in a relationship, the assumption is that their house is a 24/7 sex-fest. “Not the case,” deadpans 28-year-old Geli. Men, in particular, go out of their way to tell Brian that he’s one lucky guy. “Oh, he’s not,” Lori, 42, says with a laugh. “We’re a pain in the ass.”

The three of them are speaking to me from their Colorado Springs home, which I’ve already seen every square foot of, on account of my chronic House Hunters habit. In July of 2019, they moved here from San Antonio and became the first throuple to appear on the mega-popular HGTV series about the high-stakes, emotionally fraught sport of buying real estate. (For anyone else who caught their episode and is wondering: They have not built the third vanity in their en suite bathroom yet.) The December evening we speak, they’re squeezed together on their living room couch, talking over one another affectionately. Lori and Geli periodically run out of the Zoom frame to refill their wineglasses. Their kids, 12 and 14, bound through the background, while the dog, a scruffy white mutt, snoozes peacefully nearby. In short, they resemble millions of other families who have spent nearly every waking moment of the past year together because of the pandemic.

“I don’t know how single parents do it. Props to them.”

If anything, in a time of extreme and unprecedented isolation, having an extra partner around puts the family at an advantage. “We divide the duties three ways,” Brian, 47, starts, before Lori cuts him off: “I don’t know how single parents do it. Props to them.” Geli continues, “Having another person to cook or take the kids to soccer. Go to the grocery store, because I hate that shit. Laundry. Things like that.”

Three began with two more than 20 years ago, when Lori and Brian first met in Gainesville, Florida. Brian knew from the start that Lori was bisexual, so they started going to Fantasy Fest, a raunchy 10-day street fair that’s popular with the swinger set, in Key West every fall. This allowed them not only to explore together but to get those uncomfortable conversations about desire and boundaries and rules out of the way by the time they got married. Six years ago, the pair were out at a gay bar in San Antonio when they met Geli. Or more accurately, Geli was out with a drunk friend who really wanted to get with Lori. The friend struck out, and Geli left to go drive her home, but not before surreptitiously exchanging numbers with Brian. In a tale as old as time, Lori and Brian texted Geli their address in the wee hours of the morning and she showed up at their door. “They could have been serial killers,” Geli says. “Now here we are, six years later.”

It was, of course, not nearly that simple or straightforward. First there was the matter of telling their children. Lori and Brian began by inviting Geli to various excursions, gradually introducing the kids to the idea of her joining their family unit. “We really let the kids lead,” Geli says. “They would ask those questions, so then we would ask them questions in return. It just sort of progressed in that way.” Lori holds up a customized pillow that features a photo of the three of them at their commitment ceremony in Aruba in 2019. “This is what our daughter made us for our one-year anniversary,” she tells me proudly. “And she handwrote a two-page letter about how awesome her family is and how she loves having three parents.”

Courtesy of Angelica Labuguen

Next up were their parents. Brian’s family was easy. “They were like, ‘Yeah, whatever. Great,’ ” he says. Lori, though, was raised in a strict Catholic home, and it took her folks a bit more time to get used to it. Her dad, especially. But after Lori and Brian proposed to Geli, he gave them a call. “My dad is a man of few words: ‘I heard congratulations are in order. If you guys are happy, I’m happy. I love you,’ ” Lori recalls. As for Geli, who grew up in a Filipino Catholic military family, things were even harder. “We grew up not talking about things. And if you don’t talk about it, then it doesn’t exist,” she explains. She eventually slipped a note into a book about polyamory that she gave to her mom, although her dad proved more intimidating. “I went to my parents’ house, and I was just crying because…hello, I’m Asian! I don’t want to disappoint my parents,” she says. But her dad soon agreed to walk her down the aisle and even told their extended family in the Philippines about her relationship setup.

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