BEN: My husband and I would like to make the official announcement that we have asked Noah Willoughby to become a part of our family and our lives. And to our joy…
NOAH: …I have happily accepted.
BEN: I am sure some of you have pieced it together, but there were many complications that had to be worked through before we could say anything official.
NOAH: The most important thing was that I made a brief trip to Washington over the 4th of July to talk with my family about all of this. I wanted them to hear it from me and not find out through Facebook or gossip.
BEN: Noah and I first met online through Twitter around four years ago. We instantly became friends and to our surprise, the friendship quickly grew and grew until we realized we were developing feelings for each other. This was weird to me. For years I thought it was kind of silly that people could fall in love online without ever meeting. And here I was, becoming the person I had thought was silly. But there was no denying how I…
NOAH: …how we felt.
BEN: So we immediately told our spouses.
R was happy for me. He knew these feelings were no threat to us—me and R. He knew—because of the vows we took on November 5th, 2005—that I wasn’t going anywhere. He also knew that there were many things in life that I really wanted and needed that he was just not able to give me. He is a loner, as I have said, who needs a lot of alone time. I am very social and it hurt that I had to do so many things alone: movies, exhibits, parties, church, etc. And while I had friends to do these things with, I longed to share them with someone I loved. And R gave his blessing for me to go with my feelings for Noah. It made him happy that Noah was able to give me something that he couldn’t.
NOAH: Ed and I had met when I was 19, and I was just beginning to discover myself. I thought I knew what I wanted, but I was a naïve kid. When I met Ben, I was doing a lot of soul-searching and trying to find out who I was. Ed and I still very much loved each other and cared for each other, but we were drifting apart. It wasn’t the same happy relationship we had started out with. We tried very hard to make it work. But, there were things Ed just couldn’t provide for me, things that I wanted and needed, and I realized they were things Ben could. My feelings for Ben grew stronger.
BEN: We knew that the time had come for us to meet face to face. I have seen it with my friends too often. Falling for someone online, and then moving lock stock and barrel across country, only to find out that 24 hours to a week after, they couldn’t stand each other in the Real World. Noah and I needed to find out if this was real love or just an online fantasy. So last year, we met at a writer’s workshop. And the second he stepped out of his rental car, I was nearly knocked backward off me feet. By weekend’s end, I knew without any shadow of a doubt that I was truly in love with Noah.
NOAH: I kept thinking that if the feelings were just a crush and would fade away, I’d still have Ben as a true friend and we would continue to help each other out with writing and research and keep in touch and chat and share feelings. I never expected that just seeing Ben there after stepping out of the car would be one of the most powerful experiences I’d ever had. And as we spent time together in person, talking, learning about each other and sharing the experience of the workshop, I knew this wasn’t just a fleeting crush.
BEN: It is very important to say that through it all Noah and I stayed honest and obeyed the rules set forth by our spouses. And during that weekend we did no more that touch hands under a table. We were chaste.
NOAH: Ben and I knew that this couldn’t be just a once a year meeting at the workshop. We needed more than just talking on the phone and texting. We needed to visit each other again. We were trying to work out a situation where I could visit Kansas City a few times a year.
BEN: Now here is the really life-is-more-surprising-than-fiction part. R saw that Noah was not a flash in the pan and, in one form or another, was going to be around for years to come. So he figured he’d better get to know this young man. He asked if I minded that the two of them get to know each other. I immediately said I would love that. I’d wanted that for a couple of years. He contacted Noah and the two began to chat and … wow! They began to develop feelings for each other! “You didn’t tell me he was so wonderful!”
NOAH: With the relationship between me and Ed already fading, he realized that he couldn’t provide the things I needed in my life. Despite all of our efforts to keep our partnership going, Ed couldn’t handle it any longer and decided it would be best for us to end it.
BEN: This meant we clearly had to finally spend a week together to discover, in the Real World, how we felt about being around each other.
NOAH: Living in Hawaii is very expensive, especially for just one person, and living back on the mainland seemed to be the best solution.
BEN: In something out of a romance novel, our week together in April was amazing. Beyond amazing. Within 24 hours it was as if the three of us had been together for years. Interacting, doing things together, cooking meals together, communicating. No jealousies. It was like some choregraphed dance!
The horrible part then was Noah having go to back to Hawaii. R and I were ready for him to stay forever, and he wanted to. But he had all these things he needed to do first to officially end one part of his life so that we could start the next part of all of our lives.
NOAH: It was one of the hardest decisions to make, but I think, in the end, it will be best for everyone.
BEN & NOAH: Above all we did everything right. We never cheated or broke rules. The three of us happened not because of any wrongdoings. We simply fell in love.
BEN: We have already said far more than we really wanted to. This is our private lives. However, writers are in the lime light. And we have family and friends. People were going to find out. And many had already been guessing. Just as Noah didn’t want his family to find out through online gossip and such, we didn’t want people to find out about our new Triad the same way. We thought we should say something.
NOAH: I will be flying to Kansas City this Friday to live with Ben and R. I wish Ed the best and hope we will find a way to maintain a very good friendship. Even though the relationship between us didn’t work out like we wished and worked hard for, we still love each other and wish to try and remain on friendly terms.
BEN: So now, except for a post or two, we are “going into seclusion.” We will be going to my beloved Midwest Men’s Festival and pretty much be incommunicado for two weeks. That definition being, “not able, wanting, or allowed to communicate with other people.” It’s the best thing. We three need to be together and away from the Real World and electronics and Facebook and all that goes with it.
BEN & NOAH: We hope that we have the world’s support in the life we have decided to pursue. There is too little love in this scary dark world today and we have been granted BIG love and are grabbing hold and running with it.
Peace and Love to You all!
The Three Bears
PS: I want to make it clear that the reason R isn’t one of the voices here is introverted/private nature. He gave full approval of this post but did not want to add his comments. ❤