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James, Joelle, Cheyenne and baby Lilith (RW Media/PA Real Life)

A couple who opened up their relationship to a female colleague have revealed how they are now raising their brood of children as a polyamorous trio.

Full-time mom Cheyenne Barnes, 29, 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.

Initially, he had reservations – until the pair enjoyed a night of passion with her then-coworker Joelle Temporal, 24, in early 2019, becoming an official throuple soon after.

Cheyenne and James (PA Real Life/Collect)

Each member of the polyamorous trio has a child from a previous relationship, none of whom they wish to name, and Cheyenne and James also have two together – Daria, five, and Lilith, one month.

Now, they are raising their “rainbow family" under one roof in Houston, Texas, with the youngsters referring to the women as 'Mommy Cheyenne' or 'Mommy Joelle.'

Adding that they are hoping to add a sixth 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."

As the trio all have different parenting styles – with Cheyenne more of a disciplinarian than her boyfriend and girlfriend – they do disagree from time to time when it comes to decisions about the children.

James and Cheyenne (PA Real Life/Collect)

However, 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."

Cheyenne and James (PA Real Life/Collect)

She continued:

“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 to make sure they understand what they did wrong, so they can think about it in the future."

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.

Joelle, James and Cheyenne (PA Real Life/Collect)

“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.

Joelle, James and Cheyenne (PA Real Life/Collect)

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!'"
“James couldn't believe it. He literally jumped up in joy."

Welcoming baby Daria in February 2015, the couple settled into family life.

Joelle, Cheyenne and James (PA Real Life/Collect)

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 while blissfully happy as a new mom, 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."

“I sat James down and said, 'How would you feel about bringing another woman into the mix?'"

Joelle, James and Cheyenne (PA Real Life/Collect)

She continued:

“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 realized that finding a potential candidate was going to be harder than they had anticipated.

Joelle, James and Cheyenne (PA Real Life/Collect)

“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."

Joelle, James and Cheyenne (PA Real Life/Collect)

She continued:

“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."

Residing 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 mom-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."

James and Joelle (PA Real Life/Collect)

Before long, Joelle and Cheyenne began socializing outside of work, often with their children in tow.

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."

James and Joelle (PA Real Life/Collect)

She continued:

“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."

Cheyenne and Joelle (PA Real Life/Collect)

She continued:

“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.

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 with you. Is that okay?'"

Joelle and Cheyenne (PA Real Life/Collect)

She continued:

“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."

James, Joelle and Cheyenne with Lilith (RW Media/PA Real Life)

She continued:

“It was the first time for all of us, but it all felt so natural. Joelle had never had a female relationship 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.

Cheyenne, Joelle and James with Lilith (RW Media/PA Real 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."
“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."

She continued:

“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.

Daria and Lilith (PA Real Life/Collect)

Despite both coming off protection and have 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."

She continued:

“Mine turned out to be positive, but Joelle's wasn't."

Deciding to focus on one baby, Joelle temporarily 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 the pandemic, James decided Joelle should be the one to be there.

“Joelle was stoked about being at the birth, so when we were told only 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 welcoming a baby, but has no plans to fall pregnant until next year.

By sharing their story, the trio hope to encourage more understanding about polyamorous relationships.

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 normalized and poly people are treated equally without all the negativity."

Daria and Lilith (PA Real Life/Collect)Daria and Lilith (PA Real Life/Collect)

James said:

“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."

Joelle 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.'"

Baby Lilith (RW Media/PA Real Life)

She concluded:

“People have told my daughter from a previous relationship that Cheyenne isn't her Mommy, 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."