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'I'm in love with two men. Simple as that. I love them both and they both love me...'
By Rachel Mainwaring, Wales on Sunday
April 22, 2007

FULL-TIME mum Shanea runs a busy household with four daughters, five ferrets, two snakes, two cats and a bulldog.

And when she finally slips between the sheets after a busy day, she loves nothing better than snuggling up - with her husband AND her boyfriend.

The 35-year-old model shares her bed each night with hubby of 14 years John, an electrician, and 30-year-old photographer Noel, her boyfriend of four years.

But while many people would sneer at the unconventional lifestyle of the Barry threesome, Shanea claims it works for them and the kids.

Shanea explains: "I love John. I love Noel. Noel loves me. John loves me. I'm in love with two men. Simple as that. I love them both and they both love me. They, on the other hand, like each other - in a kind of sibling way.

"We didn't set out to have this sort of family but it works for us and we're very happy."

Shanea and John met in a nightclub when Shanea was 20 and she admits they were quite different; she is outgoing while he is relatively shy.

But after a whirlwind romance, John proposed, they tied the knot in 1994 and had three daughters Jade, Derryn and Tasmyn.

But Shanea says she felt quite stifled and found the pressures of bringing up a young family and a busy household took the spark out of their relationship.

It was then that she broached the idea of an 'open' marriage with John and he agreed, but only up to a point.

She said: "We were allowed to have relationships with other people, but the rules were that there was to be no sex and intimate kissing. These were the special things that John and I would share."

With her first few boyfriends, Shanea faithfully adhered to the rules, but then she met Noel, who was working as a teacher, and she slowly realised her restraint was failing.

She said: "I knew what was happening, I knew I was falling in love with him and one thing led to another. But I also knew I had to be honest with John. I loved him too and didn't want to deceive him."

Noel was also falling for Shanea.

He said: "When I first met Shanea I was wary of her at first. She was married and I didn't want to be the one to break up a family. But at the same time, I knew I had very strong feeling for her."

Shanea plucked up the courage to tell John all about Noel and left it to him to decide what to do next. He too had been seeing other women, although nothing serious had developed with any of them.

But John had already guessed something was going on and knew Shanea was serious about Noel when she admitted she had fallen love.

But, rather than threatening to knock his front teeth out, John agreed to meet Noel - and the two went for a drink.

"I wanted to banjo him - spark him out - but when I actually met Noel it was weird. The second I opened the front door we shook hands and I asked how he was.

"We went to the pub, talked about work and general stuff but steered away from talking about Shanea. In a way, the meeting wasn't about her, it was about him and me.

"We had a few drinks and I actually liked him and could see that he made Shanea happy. And anyone who makes Shanea happy can't be all bad in my book."

So, with John's blessing, Shanea continued seeing Noel.

But then she discovered she was pregnant.

The model, who lost her hair when she was eight and now has a collection of 50 wigs, said: "I knew it couldn't be John's because he'd had a vasectomy and I just panicked, thinking, 'What am I going to do now?'"

But the trio sat down and came up with a solution - the baby would be brought by both men. John would be the dad and Noel would be the daddy.

"Mercy was born two years ago. She's an amazing little girl and I really do think that's down to the fact that she's got a solid, stable home with two daddies to look after her."

Noel was still commuting to visit Shanea and Mercy from his home in Suffolk, but as the visits became more frequent, it was a natural step to move in.

Shanea said: "We sat down and talked about all the implications of Noel moving in. The kids were our main priority. They are always our number one concern and that hasn't changed at all.

"John and Noel got on well and we decided he should move in and live with us as one of the family. We explained to the girls that Noel was having a sleepover, like their friends sometimes did. Now they are used to him being around and have grown to love him. I think they see him as a step-dad, uncle-type figure."

Although Shanea sleeps in the same super-kingsize bed as her men, she insists nothing sexual goes on between the three of them.

She said: "We tried it once when we were drunk but never again. Now I have to plan my time separately with them. Sometimes, John will take all four girls to see his parents, giving Noel and I time alone, and Noel will do the same.

"John and I always celebrate our wedding anniversary while Noel babysits, and John will look after the kids when Noel and I go out to celebrate the day we got together. It means I get spoilt rotten I suppose, but it's important for me because I love them both."

However, Shanea is realistic enough to know that her lifestyle choice and living in a polyamorous relationship is not everyone's cup of tea.

But she admits she is hurt when her daughters come home in tears after being teased at school or when neighbours look the other way because they disapprove.

She said: "We're not bad people. The focus of our life is our family, the girls, and we are a very open-minded family.

"If the girls ever have any problems or questions, we encourage them to talk about their feelings and try to sort them out together.

"We try to explain to them that every family is different and they are lucky to have three supporting, loving parents.

"We may look a bit different on the outside but in our home it's all about washing, tidying, ironing, shopping, just like everyone else.

"In fact, sometimes I think it's like having six kids, especially when John and Noel bicker like children over who put the laptop away, who is doing the shopping, that kind of thing.

"I know it's natural for people to judge us but I'm not ashamed of who I am or how we live. We are a happy, stable home with happy, stable kids.

"All that's different is that I share my bed with two men who I love very much."