Dan Butler, 29, a radio journalist, and his husband, Hugh O’Connor, 31, a theatre production designer, are also in a relationship with Charles Davis, 28, another theatre production designer.
Heh. Sorry, mustn’t laugh. I denounce myself. And in case you’re wondering, yes, the above is from the Guardian’s ‘Lifestyle’ section, where polyamory – or glorified slutting by emotional inadequates – is still the latest thing and breathlessly endorsed. It starts off quite romantically:
[Dan and Hugh] met as students at a party… And then the night was over, and Dan was one of the last people there. He said: ‘Goodbye, Hugh.’ And I thought: ‘Oh my God. I have no idea what this guy’s name is. I really like him.’”
They moved in with each other after about two months, and held an unofficial wedding in 2014, before same-sex marriage in Australia was legal. They legalised their marriage in 2018… “I remember feeling the happiest I’d ever felt with Dan,” says Hugh.
So far, so rosy. Readers should note, however, that, despite all this professed happiness, Dan and Hugh’s marriage was an “open” one “from the start,” which is to say, not really a marriage at all. The misuse of terms, in attempts to repackage dissatisfaction, inadequacy and commonplace grubbiness, may crop up again.
“And then when we met Charlie. It was like this extension of a really positive energy.”
Charles also had a boyfriend, but that, too, was an open relationship,
Why, it’s almost as if there were a pattern, a trajectory.
I remember one morning, the three of us had just gone to the beach and Hugh had a meeting, so Dan and I drove Hugh back to the studio. And then Dan drove me back to my suburb and dropped me off. I think he leaned in and kissed me. We were parked outside my apartment block and I looked across the street and saw my boyfriend.
Those golden romantic moments, to treasure forever.
And so, inevitably,
They all got together in late 2017.
And bliss ensued.
How did Hugh and Dan navigate bringing someone else into their marriage? “I guess like we’ve navigated every other part of our relationship,” says Hugh. “By being honest about what we’re feeling and talking to each other. And not having any expectation of how we were meant to behave and feel. Allowing each other to feel different emotions, whether it’s jealousy, resentment, anger…”
Ah yes. Allowing your other halves – sorry, other thirds – to feel “jealousy, resentment, anger” – where allowing means causing repeatedly, with what are described as “quite intense situations.” Say, by excluding one of the people in your three-way vanguard romance. We learn that Dan, for instance, is “confronting” his feelings of jealousy and is “working on eliminating them.” Clearly, then, the ideal basis for any lifelong love. An inspiration to us all. And thanks, no doubt, to that “really positive energy.”
For readers intrigued by the domestic particulars,
Hugh and Dan live together, and Charles lives five minutes away. “Hugh and I exist in our marriage, and that’s one thing. And we also have our relationship with Charles,” says Dan. “We both try to keep that healthy by seeing each other individually, and then the three of us spend a fair bit of time hanging out as well. Like any relationship, it’s still changing.”
I suspect more changes lie ahead, sir. And you have to wonder how these 30-year-olds, who are still behaving like 20-year-olds, will cope with being 40 or 50.
We’re fortunate in that we all we run in very liberal circles, and all our families are very progressive.
I’ll just leave that there, I think.