What happens when you cross a shameless, pleasure-advocating therapist, a soft-spoken tantra teacher, and a spunky, sex-positive actress? In this case, you get the CCM Triad, a fond epithet for Charity Joy, Cliff Rees, and Mel Moseley.
The question the three of them most often hear in regards to their relationship is, ‘How does this work?’ To which Mel says, “That’s a vague question, because what do you mean by ‘work’? Do you mean how does it work when we have sex? How does it work as we’re running a household? How does it work with our individual relationships? It works for us for a few reasons.”
Before joining together as a triad, each of the three members of CCM had their own individual journeys to polyamory, and each bring open communication and understanding to the table now that they’ve settled into this style of relationship.
For Cliff, non-monogamy has been a part of his life since 1994. He was in an open marriage for 20 years, exploring all the different possibilities of polyamory including having girlfriends, boyfriends, swinging, etc. with his ex-wife, trying to find what worked for them. “I’ve been studying and teaching tantra for about 21 years, and I taught meditation for 20 years before that, so personal development is really, really important to me,” Cliff says. “Tantra means weaving – a lot of people think it means sex technique. The point is integration of personality, so you’re not a different person when you’re with partner A, or as a parent, or at work. So many people split their personality in so many different ways because they have different masks, and none of the masks are really them. Coming down to a core of relating is something I’ve been very familiar with for a long period of time.”
Cliff and Charity first met when she and a previous partner began coming to various events that Cliff was hosting. “We got to know each other, and then after our then-current relationships had petered out, we got together a little over two years ago,” Cliff says. “The relationship has been very open. My tagline in the SPP meetup group is, “I love living life fully and freely.” What is it that I have to share, and how can I share it?”
Cliff and Charity’s first connection was a purely sexual experience. “I was married to someone who I call poly-compliant,” Charity says. “My husband at the time was not happy that I was connecting with Cliff, and Cliff’s partner at the time was not happy he was connecting with me. We had a really lovely one-time experience, and then didn’t have any kind of connection for about six months.” Later on, when Charity was going through her divorce and Cliff’s relationship had ended, they re-connected. “It was pretty intense right away, but I was really cautious,” Charity remembers, “I didn’t want to get too caught up in New Relationship Energy.”
Two then became three in March of 2018, and they’ve been living together as a triad for about a year.
“I knew Mel from being in a show together, but we hadn’t really been close,” Charity says. “When Cliff and I connected with her at a karaoke night, the three of us bonded quickly. We started seeing each other two or three times a week right away. In my mind, it just made sense when Mel sold her house, for her to move in with us.” It was actually Charity’s idea for Mel to move in – Cliff was the more hesitant one, worrying things might get competitive.
“I told Cliff I didn’t think that would happen as long as the two of us also have dyadic time, as long as we’re tending our relationship and don’t get into thinking we don’t need to intentionally make time because we live together,’” Charity says. “The three of us had a conversation, talked about the logistics, openly shared fears and what was needed for it to work, and we made it happen.”
“And we just continue as we run into things,” Mel adds. “We recognize that this relationship is not just one relationship – it’s four relationships. Charity and Cliff have theirs, Cliff and I have ours, Charity and I have ours, and the three of us have the triad, and they are all separate and different. So we have to give time and attention to all of them, so they can continue to grow. We’re very open. We talk about issues, and we sometimes disagree, but we do talk openly and honestly about our feelings. ”