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Thursday, 14 November 2013
Strange affair: Meet the husband, wife and lover living under the SAME roof.
“People might think it’s weird but I love both men and couldn’t choose between them,” says mum-of-two
When mum-of-two Maria Butzki left her husband Paul for another man, she didn’t realise how much she’d miss him.
At the same time, she couldn’t imagine living without her new lover Peter Gruman.
when the two men struck up an extraordinary friendship, she came up
with the perfect solution... and moved Peter into the family home in
Barking, East London.
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.
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
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
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 area team.”
It was last year that they all moved in together after three years of Maria 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.
says: “The three of us never share a bed. Although I have a sexual
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.”
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
Maria says: “Paul was out of work for six months and it put a
strain on our relationship. The stress led to less sex and we grew
apart. Although we carried on with life – cooking, cleaning, looking
after the children – 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.
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.”
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
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.”
Paul and the children were devastated. He says: “I was just shocked and heartbroken. I couldn’t believe Maria had left me.”
the next few months Paul and Maria took turns to have the children. “I
felt bad about tearing the family apart,” says Maria. “So after work I’d
go and clean and cook for Paul and the kids and then go home to Peter.”
says: “While I was so upset, I decided to try to put the children
first. It was going to be much better if we could all be mature adults
and be amicable about it. I could see Peter was a decent guy. When the
kids went to stay over I knew he was putting himself out to make sure
they were happy. I’d go to pick them up and we got chatting.”
the next year their relationship became even more amicable. Maria says:
“Rather than cook two separate dinners, it was easier to just do one
and all sit down together. Paul and Peter got on so well they went on a
fishing trip together. We even started going on days out and holidays
“It was strange but I noticed I felt at my happiest when
we were all together. The children adored having both of them around
Then in November 2012 the tenancy on Peter’s rented flat
came to an end. He went to stay with a friend and Maria moved back to
the family home. Maria says: “It was supposed to be a temporary
arrangement but while I missed Peter terribly, it was fantastic to be
back as a family.”
When Peter found another flat, Maria decided it
was time to sit both men down and be honest with them. “I said I loved
them both,” she says. “I said I couldn’t face living without either of
To her delight, both men said they understood.
says: “By now Paul and I had developed a huge respect for each other. We
didn’t see one another as rivals for Maria’s affections. We were
friends who got on well. At the same time I’d come to care so much for
the children. It seemed natural to live together.”
Paul says: “Maria was and still is my soulmate.”
The “family” are now in the process of buying a larger house to accommodate them all.
Maria admits many friends and family find the arrangement difficult to understand.
“Some people are shocked, mostly because they get the wrong
idea and think it’s some sort of threesome,” she says. “Most people seem
to think I should just remain with Paul, but those who see all of us
together think differently.” She adds: “There are huge benefits to
living together. For example, as Paul and I leave for work early, Peter
is often able to take the children to school.
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
Ironically, Maria is now the one who sometimes gets
jealous. “I’m left on my own when the pair of them go on a long fishing
trip,” she says.
She’s unsure what the sleeping arrangements will
be in their new house. “But we would never have any sort of rota where I
sleep with Peter one night and Paul the next. I do know I’m very lucky
to have two wonderful men in my life.”