A Couple Turns to Polyamory to Fix Their Broken Marriage (It Didn’t Work)

How were the early times of the marriage?

Both say the beginning of the relationship was fun, even “magical.” They lived together in an apartment in Sunnyvale. “She broke me out of my shell and expanded my world,” Mx. Sherman said.

Ms. Hernandez enjoyed the stability of a committed relationship. “I had friends with benefits or sexual partners but never a real relationship,” she said.

First signs of trouble?

A few years in, Ms. Hernandez began to find their sexual connection lacking. For Mx. Sherman, this was expected in a long-term relationship. Ms. Hernandez began attending a 12-step program for an eating disorder and admits that in the beginning the intimacy problems were mainly hers.

Did they try to work on things?

In 2011, after attending marriage counseling together, the relationship improved. “Therapy was very helpful,” Mx. Sherman said. Then, in 2013, after their first child was born, their love for each other was rekindled. “Mars was a wonderful dad, I fell in love again when I saw them parent,” Ms. Hernandez said.

“We had a full-on family life that I loved,” Mx. Sherman said.

In 2017, they began to foster a 15-year-old, now 20, who they adopted in 2020 and is transgender; their biological child, now 10, identifies as ‌nonbinary. Both say they were unified on how to navigate the challenges of raising gender nonconforming children and sought out resources together, but their relationship issues persisted.

Who asked for the split?

In 2018, Ms. Hernandez floated the idea of having an open marriage and dating other people. “Our sexuality had become stale, and I wasn’t happy with our intimacy,” she said. “I wanted to try new things.”