A woman came out as bisexual to her husband of nine years but remains happily married to the father of her two children whilst also dating a woman.
Melanie Morton, 31, revealed she was struggling with her sexuality and broached the idea of an open marriage last year with her husband A.J., 35, who she wed in January 2013.
A.J. was supportive of his wife’s desire to explore her sexuality – and encouraged her to go on dates with other women, even helping her to sign up for dating app Hinge.
Melanie met Jackie Olson, 26, a sales and marketing assistant, in June 2021 through the app and the pair hit it off with Jackie becoming Melanie’s girlfriend – before meeting A.J. and their two children, aged eight and six.
Get the news you want straight to your inbox. Sign up for a Mirror newsletter here
SWFTtrio – Hannah Simpson)
SWFTtrio – Hannah Simpson)
While online entrepreneur A.J. is also free to date outside of their marriage, Melanie believes he is more ‘wired for monogamy’ – but the trio have successfully embarked on an open relationship, although A.J. and Jackie are ‘just friends’ who ‘don’t mind sharing’.
Melanie says her kids love Jackie but so far she has only been introduced as a family friend – though Melanie plans on telling them the truth this summer.
Melanie, an online entrepreneur from San Diego, California, US, said: “I was struggling with my sexuality, but I knew I loved A.J. – I just didn’t know what to do.
“I wanted to explore opening up our marriage and A.J. was so supportive. I’m so happy we did because I met Jackie and she’s amazing.
“A.J. can see how happy Jackie makes me – and that makes him happy. He could date other people too, but he seems happy with things the way they are.
“Thankfully, it works for us and we’ve both grown so much as people and individuals because of it.”
Melanie explained how she made the first move by messaging Jackie.
She said: “I took the plunge and said ‘hello’. We had a real spark – we’ve talked every day since. On our first date, we went for a walk on the beach, drank tea and watched a movie together.
“For me, being with a woman was a crazy feeling and I felt like I could finally be me. Something that I had been missing was found and I felt like a hole had been filled.”
Jackie said: “I thought Melanie was really cool, very pretty and we instantly connected.
SWFTtrio – Hannah Simpson)
“She told me right away she was married and in an open relationship and as the last girl I saw was polyamorous, it wasn’t new to me, so I was open to the idea.
“To begin with, I didn’t know if it was something I wanted – it was scary for all of us, but as time passed, I realised I was so happy and there was so much love in the relationship.”
Jackie admitted she was initially worried about meeting Melanie’s husband for the first time.
She said: “We met after Melanie and I had been dating for a month-and-a-half and I was terrified. I knew how important A.J. was to Melanie so I wanted him to like me.”
But despite her fears, Jackie and A.J. formed a strong friendship, and they enjoy spending time together as a three and separately from Melanie.
A.J. said: “We’re often asked if we’re romantically involved but we’re not.
“Jackie and I have a great relationship as well as a massive amount of mutual respect and we have a friendship which exists separately from our relationships with Melanie.
“We even go out once a month to spend some time getting to know each other.”
The dad-of-two said that jealousy plays no part in the relationships despite what many friends, family and social media followers think.
He said: “Melanie does a really good job of spending time with both of us. There’s no jealousy at all.
“We’ve got a good foundation which is even stronger than before – this has been very expansive for our relationships.”
Melanie says communication is the key to their successful open marriage – in order to make sure everyone’s needs are being met.
She said: “This is a new dynamic for everyone. It’s hard to balance everyone’s needs but we’re comfortable and we communicate.
“I have a completely separate relationship – there’s A.J. and I and then there’s Jackie and I – then the three of us have a very different relationship.”
Currently, Jackie spends around three nights a week and most weekends at the couple’s house in San Diego, US.
Melanie said: “The three of us hang out a lot – we’re not at the point of having a separate schedule so the three of us like watching scary movies, we go to the beach together, go for dinners and enjoy different activities like axe-throwing and escape rooms.”
Jackie has also been getting to know Melanie and A.J.’s sons, but so far, she has only been introduced to the couple’s children as a friend of Melanie’s.
However, Melanie and A.J. plan on telling them the truth at the end of their school year this summer.
Melanie said: “The kids and Jackie are getting closer and they’re really comfortable around each other.
“So A.J. and I discussed it and decided we’d have a really casual conversation with the kids this summer without making it a big deal.”
“I also would never want them thinking I’m hiding anything from them. We want to talk to them about different kinds of relationships, making sure they know families can look different.”
In the last several months, Melanie has started sharing her experience on her TikTok account and she has amassed more than 50,000 followers.
While many are supportive and inquisitive about the trio’s set-up, the mum-of-two has also received some criticism from onlookers
She said: “Some people on social media have accused me of being ‘greedy’ and wanting more attention.
“But that’s just not true – both relationships serve different purposes and it’s not being selfish, there’s more family, love, connection, and community – that’s what we’re creating.
“It’s also not anyone else’s relationship. Some people say ‘I don’t get it’, but it’s really not anyone’s to ‘get.’ It works for us, so it doesn’t really matter what anyone else thinks.”
Melanie revealed her family and friends have been sceptical of the arrangement and prefer not to hear details about it
Melanie said she only came out to her mother after she mistakenly found a photo of Jackie and her kissing on Melanie’s phone.
She said: “I hadn’t planned on it happening that way, but it was nice to not have to hide or pretend anymore.
“It was a shock to my mum and the rest of my family because we then had to tell them about our open marriage, and they were a bit taken aback and confused.
“A.J.’s family were worried and just concerned about all the unknowns. But they’re all just processing it and getting used to it.”
On the same day, Jackie decided to come out to her parents and while her mother already knew, her dad was surprised by the news.
She said: “I’d been meaning to come out for a while – around a couple of years.
“It felt like a really long time coming and it was difficult to do but I’m glad I did it. It’s definitely going to take some time for my dad to get used to the idea, but I know he’ll be OK.”
Despite attracting some criticism from some social media users, Melanie has continued to share her story to bring the concept of an open relationship into the mainstream.
She said: “I came out as a 30-year-old poly and bi married woman with two kids. Something wasn’t fulfilled in me but when I met a woman, that sexuality clicked for me.
“I just want people to wake up and ask themselves if they’re happy and if their relationship is not exactly what they want or not fulfilling some different needs and desires, then I want people to know that it’s OK to do something a little bit different, even if it means people won’t understand.
“It’s not weird, it’s totally normal.”