When Maria Butzki(Pictured above), a mother of two, left her husband Paul for another man, she didn’t realize how much she’d miss him.
At the same time, she couldn’t imagine living without her new lover Peter Gruman.
So when the two men struck up an extraordinary friendship, she came up with her perfect solution and moved Peter into their family home in Barking, East London.
Maria says: “The three of us never share a bed. Although I have a s*xual relationship with each man, that side is kept very private. If Paul is out, then Peter and I might make love, and vice-versa. But both men turn a blind eye and we never discuss it with one another.”
Now Maria, 33, Paul, 37, their two children, Laura, 16, and Amy, 12, and Peter, 36, live as one big happy family.
“People might think it’s weird but I love both men and couldn’t choose between them,” says Maria, a housing liaison officer. “When I left Paul there was a huge hole in my life. But the thought of never seeing Peter again was heartbreaking. So living with both men is the only way.”
Incredibly, the men agree. Paul, a railway assessor, says: “Peter is a great guy. When Maria first had the affair with him I was just heartbroken. But as I got to know him, I realised we have so much in common. We both adore fishing, and he’s like a surrogate dad to the kids.”
Peter, a construction site manager, adds: “We all get on so well. It doesn’t feel as if I’m sharing Maria. There’s no jealousy …it feels as if we are a team.”
It was last year that they all moved in together after three years of Maria’s to-ing and fro-ing between her husband and lover.
Peter sleeps on the sofa while Paul has a room upstairs. Maria shares a bedroom with her eldest daughter.
Maria was 15 when she and Paul met at school. After dating for two years, she unexpectedly became pregnant.
Paul proposed seven months into her term and a month later they married. Four years after the birth of Laura, Maria had their second daughter Amy. But in 2006 their marriage hit a rocky patch.
Maria says: “Paul was out of work for six months and it put a strain on our relationship.
The stress led to less s*x and we grew apart. Although we carried on with life – cooking, cleaning, looking after the child ren – we’d lost our intimacy. The relationship was more brother and sister than a couple.”
Around the same time a new manager, Peter, started at Maria’s workplace.
“Someone introduced me to Peter and when we smiled at one another, I could feel the chemistry straight away,” she says. “Until that moment, I’d been happily married for 13 years to my childhood sweetheart and had never thought about being with another man.”
Peter, who was also married at the time, recalls the same instant attraction. “It was like a bolt from the blue… love at first sight,” he says.
Soon the pair were meeting secretly. “We’d meet at the local pub for lunch,” says Maria. “One day he put a hand on my leg and my whole body began trembling with desire. I knew it was wrong but soon we were sleeping together.”
Their affair carried on for a year before Paul stumbled on messages between them on Maria’s phone. She managed to convince him they were just friends. But a few months later her lover left his wife and moved from Luton, Beds, to be closer to Maria in Barking.
“I grew even closer to Peter,” says Maria. “Paul had to go away on business for a few weeks and so Peter took the children shopping, spoiling them rotten with gifts.”
But on Valentine’s Day in 2010, Maria says she could no longer cope with the secrecy. “I began to feel more and more that my future lay with Peter,” she says. “So I confessed my affair to Paul, and moved out to stay with Peter.”
Now they all live together as husbands and wife, and here is what Maria said: “Ultimately the children benefit from three adults able to help with school work or give them lifts. Financially too, it makes sense as the bills are split three ways.”