Different strokes for different folks...
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.
So 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.
“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 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. She 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.”
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 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.
“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.”