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The Pros and Cons of Two Husbands, as Learned From Brother Husbands

Sarah Aswell is a freelance humor writer who lives in Missoula, Montana, with her husband and two kids. Her words have appeared in places like The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, The Hairpin, and more.

The advantages and disadvantages of acquiring brother husbands

We’ve spent seven seasons getting to know the Brown family on Sister Wives and learning all of the ups and downs of living in a family with one husband and four wives. Now, TLC has finally given us a look into the lives of a family living the opposite script: a woman, her five children and her two husbands. I just finished watching the one-time special, Brother Husbands, and I think I have a better idea of the pros and cons of polyamory on a day-to-day basis.

More: Why It Is Significant That the Sister Wives Were at the Women's March

Pro: Oh, the extra child care and housekeeping!

Amanda has two husbands, Chad and Jeremy. She and Chad have two sons together (they’ve been married for seven years) and she and Jeremy have triplets together (they’ve been together for two years). Amanda is a paralegal working for the government, while Chad and Jeremy both stay at home looking after the kids and caring for the house. I must say that I was intrigued by the idea of having multiple men cooking and cleaning for me in between endlessly bottle-feeding triplets and roughhousing with the older boys. At one point, Amanda returns from her tough workday to sit in front of a lovely dinner and a glass of wine. Yes, please.

Con: Oh, lots more children!

On the downside, as on Sister Wives, polyamory seems to have led to having a lot of children running around. While all of their children are adorable, and while children are just wonderful, it looks like a lot of work (and a lot of diapers) even for three parents to handle.

Pro: More mothers-in-law

During one segment, Jeremy’s mom comes to meet the triplets and spread grandma love. She’s head over heels for the new babies and absolutely adorable as she meets each one of the three new baby girls. She also puts aside all of her prejudices and really tries to understand her child’s lifestyle and accept her kid’s brother husband. More people can equal more love!

Con: More mother-in-law drama

Of course, having more family members also means dealing with more family drama. Several family members have bowed out of the trio’s life, and Jeremy’s mom can’t help but mention her wish for the family to get paternity tests for the triplets and also can’t hide that she’s a bit uncomfortable with the nontraditional turn her son’s life has taken. I can’t help but wonder if Thanksgiving isn’t going to be even more complicated than before.

More: Brother Husbands Is the New Sister Wives, Except Way, Way Better

Pro: The kids have tons of support

It was heartwarming to see the two dads joining forces to care for all five kids, with only a little territorial scuffle every now and then. And it’s a good thing because it was a little stressful even watching them care for three tiny infants plus two rowdy boys.

Con: The kids stand out a bit at school

One segment focused on a parent-teacher meeting in which the family came out as polyamorous to their oldest child’s teacher. While the teacher was welcoming, she was a little worried about how the other children in the class would react. However, there was no evidence of bullying or teasing, at least at that age.

Pro: Fights have a built-in mediator

At one point in the special, Amanda expertly mediates a fight about child care that is taking place between Chad and Jeremy. The conflict is resolved peacefully, rationally and in record time, making me wonder how helpful it would be to have a third person in my relationship, if only to act as referee.

Con: There are more people to squabble with

Although trios sometimes have the added bonus of a neutral third party to settle disputes, they also have, I am guessing, more disputes just because of the added number of people. There’s also the extra issue of teaming up during fights — at a couple of points, it felt like Chad was outnumbered by Amanda and her first husband.

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Pro: More celebrations

It seems like the family has tons to celebrate, from birthdays to anniversaries. Not only that, but you have extra people to pitch in. For the trio’s two-year anniversary, for example, one husband cooked a dinner while the other one decorated the backyard for maximum effect.

Con: High-stakes paternity tests

Unlike sister wives, brother husbands don’t automatically know which kids belong to which dad, which, as we found out, can be a source of stress and conflict. One of the biggest worries on everyone’s mind during the special was the biological paternity of the triplets and whether the trio would be better off knowing or not knowing who was technically the father.

Other pros: 

  • More people to remember anniversaries
  • More sex, I’m guessing?
  • More people to get up with the babies at night
  • I am still thinking about coming home to that gourmet-looking dinner and glass of wine

Other cons: 

  • It’s hard to find bathrooms with triple sinks
  • Lingerie shopping can get awkward
  • You have to write out a monthly sleeping schedule
  • Getting everyone to fit into a selfie is harder

Are you ready to start looking for a second life partner? Tell us why or why not in the comments.

Before you go, check out our slideshow below.

The advantages and disadvantages of acquiring brother husbands
Image: TLC
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