Their friends and family don’t understand their unusual set-up, but Victoria, Amanda and Ian say they’ve found the secret to a perfect relationship…
By Helen O’Brien Google
When Victoria Hepperle’s twin sister Amanda broke up with her boyfriend two years ago, Victoria and her fiance Ian Diaz pledged to do anything they could to mend her broken heart.
The gesture would guide them into a highly controversial three-way relationship which would shock their families and friends.
Growing up the twins, now 26, were inseparable.
“We shared everything,” Victoria recalls. “We swapped clothes and went everywhere together. We were on the same cheerleading and swimming teams and went to karate lessons together.”
“There wasn’t a secret between us,” adds Amanda. “Family is the most important thing in my life, and the bond we had was extremely strong. We’re like two halves of the same person.”
At grammar school they met Ian, who was taking classes in the year above.
Amanda says: “He wasn’t in our friendship group but he seemed nice. He was the shy, emo kid in school.”
The sisters began to develop distinct personalities in their teens. When she was 15, Amanda began her first long-term relationship.
“We started to live different lives,” Amanda says. “It’s fairly typical — when boys come along, you start to think for yourself a bit more.”
After bumping into Ian in the street in 2007 and feeling an instant attraction, Victoria decided to take the initiative.
“Victoria started visiting the shop where I was working, giving me flirty looks,” Ian remembers. “Then one day she pulled out a piece a paper, scribbled down her number and gave it to me..
“Her personality was very bubbly and loving. She was really laid back and she had a wicked sense of humour. We could joke about things other people would be uptight about.”
Then, in 2011, Amanda split up with her boyfriend, with whom she shared a house. The effect was devastating.
Victoria says: “She wasn’t herself at all – she was desperately upset, constantly. I couldn’t bear to see her like she was. She was completely heartbroken.
“I pulled her in close and wanted to protect her. When Ian and I went out, or when we had an evening at home together, I wanted her there with us.”
Months passed and Ian and Amanda’s relationship slowly evolved from friendship to something more complicated.
He says: “I’d come home and Amanda would be walking around in her underwear. I’d always been mildly flirty with Amanda, calling her ‘sweetheart’ and joking around.
“I took them twins out to dinner together – and I began treating her like my girlfriend too.
“It’s hard to wrap your head around, but it happened gradually and organically.”
Amanda said: “Victoria and I had different tastes in men. When she and Ian started going out, I called him “gorilla man” because of his hairy stomach. But we grew closer and closer.”
And incredibly, watching her twin find happiness with Ian, Victoria decided to open the door of her relationship – and encouraged Amanda her to form her own relationship with him.
Victoria says: “I didn’t think twice whether I was doing the right thing. It was as if one part of Ian is with me, and another completely separate part is with Amanda. We were developing an equal, but separate relationship.
“It was so important to me for Amanda to be happy, and this made her happy.”
Ian says: “My biggest concern was whether my relationship with Vicky would survive. I didn’t want Vicky to be jealous.
“I went back to Vicky and asked her whether it wasn’t a bit weird, but she reassured me that she was fine with it. Our relationship is strong, and although we’ve never been in a polyamorous relationship before, it’s always been quite relaxed. Things took off and we didn’t look back.
“We were hanging out all the time, so kicking it up a notch didn’t add anything other than a more physical dynamic.”
For the past year the threesome have led a strictly organised lovelife, with the twins arranging a schedule for dates and even sex. The three never share a bed.
“It’s quite regimented,” Victoria explains. “If I want a night to myself with Ian, then I talk about that with Amanda.
“A typical date involving the three of us would take place at bar, but when I want to have time to myself with Ian we’re more likely to go out to a restaurant.”
Amanda says: “Vicky works quite late sometimes, and often stays overnight for her job, so me and Ian often have time alone together.
“It’s always on my terms though. It depends whether I’m in the mood or not. Me and Ian don’t go out on too many dates together, I prefer getting together with my girlfriends and gossiping.”
The twins have faced surprised reactions from their friends and family, with some of Amanda’s friends suggesting their unusual arrangement isn’t healthy.
Amanda says: “They love Ian, but they don’t think he’s good for me. They’ve seen me go through difficult relationships before, so they’re quite protective of me, and they don’t understand what’s going on.
“I’m grateful to have such good friends, but at heart I’m quite a private person, and I don’t really mind what people think of us.
“It’s a shame that people are too preoccupied with defining everything, afraid of seeing things for what they are. Our relationship is refreshing, and it’s built on honesty.”
Ian says: “With Amanda, I’m more flingy and flirty. She makes me chase her around. Whereas Vicky has been with me for years – we’re solid, very loving and nurturing.”
“Sometimes I get jealous when thinking of my twin sister with Ian,” Victoria admits. “We’ve had more than our fair share of arguments, but we get through it by talking.”
There was an awkward moment when they revealed their relationship to their parents, but the older generation is now content to let things develop on their own.
Ian said: “We don’t spend a lot of time talking about it with our parents now. I’ve talked about it with my mum, but as long as I’m happy, she doesn’t seem that concerned.”
Victoria said: “Our parents are quite traditional so it took some explaining. They don’t want to see us hurt. We’ve told them that we aren’t doing anything wrong, and we have everything under control.”
Ian and Victoria had talked of marriage before Amanda joined them in their relationship a year ago and plan to go ahead with the wedding, despite now having Amanda to think about too.
Ian says: “My parents had already been married several years by the time they were my age. We’ve talked about moving away together to a new city and starting a life there.”
Victoria says: “When I get married, Amanda will be my bridesmaid. It would feel wrong if she wasn’t.”
Amanda says: “I want to concentrate on me for a few years, but having children with Ian isn’t out of the question.
“Our relationship is great, but it’s still very much ‘one day at a time’.
“I worry that sometimes people think I am a sad person, that my sister and my boyfriend came to save me, but I’m very happy. Deep down, I’m very content with the way things are.”
Amanda and Victoria chose to sell their story to the press to answer back to their critics. If you have a story about an unusual relationship, we could help you to be in a newspaper or magazine too. We’ve got a guide to contacting the press, and when you’re ready we’d love to chat to you about the next step. Fill in the contact form on the right to speak to a media consultant.