A polyamorous quad who share eight children together insist their unconventional relationship is just as loving as any other.
Elizabeth Lowe, 30, from Columbus, Ohio, was married to her husband James, 38, for five years before they decided to invite Ashley Lowe, 24, and Audrie Lowe, 25, into their marriage.
The four of them share a king-sized bed and their eight children call all three women mom. While some may find their marriage unusual, the polyamorous foursome have never felt happier.
Family: James Lowe is pictured with his three partners Ashley (back, left), Elizabeth (back, right), and Audrie (front) and their eight children
Duo: Elizabeth and James (pictured) tied the knot in 2009 and were married for five years before they decided to invite other people into their relationship
Expanding the family: James and Elizabeth welcomed Audrie (pictured), 22, into their family back in March 2014, after Elizabeth met her in her college cafeteria
Another addition: James then fell in love with Ashley (pictured), 22, his ‘workout buddy’ who he met at the gym, and she became the fourth member of the polyamorous family
‘My two wives, husband and I are happier than ever,’ Elizabeth said. ‘We don’t care what society thinks, because we know we all love each other dearly.’
The couple met in their psychology class at Columbus State College in June 2008, and they quickly fell in love.
‘I loved James’ gorgeous green eyes and charming smile,’ Elizabeth recounted. ‘The following year we got married, I was so happy. Then in April 2010, we had our first child, Joanna, now eight.’
Over the next five years, James and Elizabeth, who are now based in San Antonio, Texas, had five more children together.
But despite their happy family, Elizabeth was yearning for more in the relationship.
Being intimate with three other people felt completely natural
In January 2014, she made a shocking confession to James, telling him she wanted to bring a woman into their relationship.
‘I finally felt safe enough to tell James,’ Elizabeth said. ‘And over the next month, we discussed bringing a third person into our marriage.
‘James wasn’t sure at first but, after two months, he grew to love the idea too. Suddenly I was very excited!’
In March 2014, Elizabeth met Audrie, from San Antonio, at her college cafeteria.
Elizabeth, a bank worker, said: ‘She was so lovely and pretty. ‘She told me she was bisexual — I had an instant attraction to her.
‘I really wanted James to meet her, I thought she would be perfect for our relationship. So the next day, I introduced her to James at the cafeteria.
‘The three of us started hanging out at the park with our kids. The children loved Audrie.
‘At the time Audrie had nowhere to sleep, so I invited her to stay on our sofa until she got back on her feet.
‘Eventually I realized that I was in love with Audrie and, six months later, we confessed our feelings for each other.
‘Audrie and I became intimate with each other, James knew about it and was happy for me to do it.
Partners: James calls all of his three partners his wives. Pictured from left to right are Audrie, James, Ashley, and Elizabeth
Marriage: Audrie (left) and Ashley (right) married each other legally. Elizabeth (center) and James gave Ashley and Audrie’s silver wedding rings when they both came into the family
Father: James (with Ashley, back left, Audrie, back right, and Elizabeth, front) has 10 biological children in total, including two with an ex-wife, who he no longer has custody of (seen muzzed)
Happy: Elizabeth (pictured third from left with Audrie, left, Ashley, second from left, and James, right) said she is ‘lucky’ to have found three soulmates
Family ties: The polyamorous foursome insists that their children ‘love having three mommies’
‘Audrie and I started discussing the option of polyamory, but she told me she only saw James as a friend. James, however, started having feelings for her.
‘I didn’t want to pressure Audrie but in time she came round to the idea.’
Six months later in September 2014, Audrie and James, who are both artists, fell in love while on a road trip alone in Texas.
‘I didn’t go so they could bond together,’ Elizabeth said. ‘I was so happy because we could finally be a proper family together.
‘From then on, Audrie slept in our bed and we became polyamorous. We discussed our relationship with the kids, telling [them] that mommy has a new girlfriend.
‘They all loved Audrie and were so excited. They even called her mom too.’
But the polyamorous trio only lasted for a month, until the throuple met Ashley, from San Antonio, Texas.
‘Ashley and James became gym buddies, working out together every day,’ Elizabeth said.
‘Within six months, James confessed he had feelings for Ashley. Both Audrie and I were on board, she was an amazing woman and we welcomed her into the family with open arms. Our children loved her too.
‘It wasn’t until we went on a family camping trip in 2014 [that] Ashley told us she wanted to join our relationship.
‘She told us she felt like she belonged in our family and it just felt natural. We told her we loved her too.
‘That day, we bought a king-size bed so that we had plenty of space at night. And that night, we slept together for the first time. Being intimate with three other people felt completely natural.
Branching out: James and Elizabeth had spent years as a twosome, however in 2014, Elizabeth felt ready to admit to her husband that she wanted to bring a woman into their relationship
Memorable: It wasn’t long after revealing to James that she wanted to start a relationship with a woman that Elizabeth (pictured with James that year) met Audrie in her college cafeteria
Back in the day: Elizabeth and James (pictured in 2010) have known each other for years, which helped her to feel more comfortable about opening up to him about her needs
Special bond: When James met Ashley (right), the fourth person to join their relationship, Elizabeth (left) says she welcomed her with open arms
Trouble: Despite their happiness, the couple has had to face some tough times, particularly when it comes to fighting for custody of their children
‘I was so in love with the three of them, and I was so happy.’
Elizabeth, Audrie, Ashley, and James soon labelled themselves as in a polyfidelity relationship — this means all members are considered equal partners and there’s a mutual agreement to not allow any sexual activity to people outside of the group.
‘The four of us make love together, and we all love each other equally,’ Elizabeth said.
‘We all have a rotation in bed, which ensures everyone has a turn to sleep next to each other.
‘Our sexual activity is relaxed in that we can be with anyone we choose at any time, within the quad. Of course, we do our best to please everyone.
‘I know some poly people have sex schedules but we don’t do that. The difference between us and a polygamous relationship is that polygamous people all concentrate on the man.’
The foursome enjoy date nights together at restaurants and the movie theater, but also split up depending on who feels like going out.
‘We all hold hands and kiss when we go out, you can tell how in love with are,’ Elizabeth said.
‘We do get funny looks sometimes, but we just laugh it off. We are used to it.
‘Strangers are always shocked when I tell them, they always immediately ask about how our sex life works, which can be annoying as it is private.
‘I always try my best to explain polyamory to them.
‘A lot of people at our church have said that we are bad for the church and they don’t agree with our lifestyle. It was deeply upsetting, we tried our best to explain to them we were a normal family just like them.’
Opening up: When Elizabeth met Audrie (pictured) she said that she was only interested in being a friend to James, and did not want a romantic relationship with him
Change: James began developing feelings for Audrie, and after the pair went on a roadtrip together in September 2014, they fell in love
Delighted: Elizabeth said of James and Audrie (pictured) falling in love, ‘I was so happy because we could finally be a proper family together’
It is illegal to marry more than one person in the United States, so the quad worked out their own arrangement.
Audrie and Ashley married each other legally. Elizabeth and James gave Ashley and Audrie’s silver wedding rings when they both came into the family, to show them their love and commitment for one another. James calls the three of them his wives.
In March 2014, Audrie and Elizabeth both became pregnant. The following year, Ashley was expecting too.
James has 10 biological children in total. He had six of them with Elizabeth, one with Audrie, one with Ashley, and two with his ex-wife.
James, Elizabeth, Audrie, and Ashley thus have eight children between them.
Their kids, Joanna, eight, Julia, seven, Jenna, six, Jane, four, Juniper, three, Jennifer, two, Johnathon, two, and Jaia, one all call Elizabeth, Audrie and Ashley mom.
‘It was a beautiful experience for me and Audrie to be pregnant together and we were able to help each other,’ Elizabeth said.
‘Our kids love having three mommies, they understand the difference between their biological mother and the other ladies. But they also know that we all love them as our own.
We have the right, just as you do, to live our lives free of discrimination and to be with the people we love
‘The advantage to having three mommies is them getting more attention, more structure, and more love.
‘People who judge poly families need to realize that we are people just like them. We have the same love for our family.
‘We also have the right, just as you do, to live our lives free of discrimination and to be with the people we love.
‘One day this taboo will be gone, I can’t wait for it. I believe that everyone has a soulmate and I’m lucky enough to have found three.’
Elizabeth’s relationship with James, Audrie, and Ashley has infuriated her parents. Her mother disapproves of the relation so much she has become estranged from her daughter, according to Elizabeth.
‘I called my mom in December 2014 and told her about Audrie and Ashley and she was furious,’ Elizabeth said.
‘She then traveled from Ohio to San Antonio to try to split us up, it was then that I told her I loved them and they couldn’t do anything to break us.
‘She told me that the devil follows me wherever I go.
‘I come from a very conservative family so she and my dad disowned me straight away.
‘They told us that we didn’t deserve our kids and we weren’t setting the right example. It broke my heart. We no longer speak to them any more.’
Completing the family: Not long after Audrie began a polyamorous relationship with James and Elizabeth, James began working out regularly with Ashley
Common interests: Within six months of meeting Ashley, James confessed to his two partners that he had feelings for her, and was interested in asking her to join the relationship
‘Amazing’: Elizabeth says that she and Audrie welcomed Ashley into their family with ‘open arms’ and that their children also loved having her around
Balance: Elizabeth (not pictured) says that she, James, Audrie, and Ashley label themselves as being in a polyfidelity relationship, meaning they are all treated equally
Elizabeth and James have also had to fight to keep custody of their children.
In 2013, Elizabeth’s parents traveled from Ohio to visit the family, hoping to convince Elizabeth to leave Texas to go back to Ohio with them and bring her children, as they told Out In SA in 2015.
They offered to purchase a home for James and Elizabeth, who by then had already committed to be in a relationship with Ashley and Audrie, and said they could provide childcare.
The meeting turned sour.
‘They told us if we continued in our relationship then the offer was off,’ Elizabeth told the publication. ‘My mother accused me of being controlled by the devil.’
I come from a very conservative family so she and my dad disowned me straight away
Elizabeth’s parents then sued the couple, according to James. Elizabeth said her parents were convinced James was manipulating his partners, and that they made false claims about them.
‘[Elizabeth’s parents] said that there was broken glass everywhere, and feces and urine everywhere,’ James said. ‘They said that I abused the children. They accused me of being some sort of manipulative mastermind and that I had everyone around me under some kind of mental control. They made it all about me.’
The four children Elizabeth had at the time were removed from the pair’s home and placed with their grandparents temporarily. Child Protective Services conducted an investigation into the family, who also met with a psychologist appointed by the court.
‘CPS ruled everything out and the court-appointed psychologist had given note that she found no evidence of abuse and neglect,’ James added.
The pair thought their legal battle would end there, but a jury eventually ruled against them and granted Elizabeth’s parents custody. The parents moved back to Ohio with the kids.
Ashley and Audrie’s relationships with their parents suffered as well.
James’ ex-wife, meanwhile, filed a case back in Ohio asking for custody of her two biological children who were living with their father. The two children were also removed from James and Elizabeth’s home.
Although the legal battle was beginning to take a toll on the family’s finances, they remained determined to appeal both decisions and keep fighting.