Polyamory is on the rise, and there’s one more group planning to make things official — Brazilian soccer legend Ronaldinho and his “fiancées,” Priscilla Coelho and Beatriz Souza.
The three, who have been living “harmoniously” in the soccer star’s Rio de Janeiro mansion since December, plan to tie the knot this summer in one ceremony, according to Brazil’s O Dia newspaper. Ronaldinho reportedly started dating Coelho a few years before he began seeing Souza in 2016.
The women reportedly receive an “allowance” from Ronaldinho of about $2,000, and he always gives them the exact same presents, including matching perfumes. Ronaldinho has never publicly confirmed his relationships with his fianceés, but he travels with them to almost every event he attends, O Dia says.
For the record, polygamy is illegal in Brazil. However, there is a precedent: Three people entered into a civil union in 2012 in Brazil that was approved, per the Week. (The rationale was that the three people don’t have any privileges of marriage — they just share an address and bank account.)
Polygamy is also illegal in the United States, Mae Kuykendall, a professor of law at Michigan State University, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “No American state validates marriages entered into by more than two people,” she says. Utah tried to criminalize polygamous arrangements, but a federal court ruled the law unconstitutional because it applied to voluntary living arrangements, she points out. “Nonetheless, states in the past have had criminal statutes directed at officially authorized marriages between two people of the same sex,” she says.
Using multiple marriage licenses by anyone to enter into a legal marriage with more than one person can be treated as criminal in the U.S., Kuykendall says. “Bigamy statutes are, on the face, applicable, though bigamy has traditionally been seen as a problem of fraud, not consensual arrangements,” she says. In a nutshell, no state in the U.S. will give any person more than one marriage license, so marriage to more than one person at a time is not legal anywhere in the U.S.
However, polygamy is legal in some countries, including India, the Philippines, and Nigeria.
Of course, there are potential emotional hurdles to consider as well. Given that polyamorous relationships aren’t the norm, people are usually left to their own personal experiences to figure out how to navigate pitfalls and challenges in their relationships, as well as to try to build a successful relationship, Manhattan-based licensed clinical psychologist Joseph Cilona tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
“There are typically few models to turn to for inspiration and possible answers, and few resources, including professional resources, that can provide sound information, guidance, advice, and strategies,” he says. “This unfortunate fact may be considered one of the most significant challenges for those in polyamorous marriages.”
There are also three people’s needs to consider in this kind of relationship, which can be challenging, Stephen Snyder, MD, author of the book Love Worth Making, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “That ordinarily requires a lot of time and energy, and very few people have that kind of time and energy,” he says.
That doesn’t mean polyamory doesn’t create valid relationships. “Ultimately, polyamory is as legitimate a relationship structure as any other, but it’s a different mindset than what is traditional in most cultures,” licensed clinical psychologist Ramani Durvasula, author of Should I Stay or Should I Go?, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. People in polyamorous relationships may struggle with emotions such as jealousy and insecurity, but Durvasula says it’s difficult to figure out how much of that comes from true biological need or from society.
Ultimately, some trios can make it work, Durvasula says, adding, “I’m a big believer in ‘If it works for them, then no judgment whatsoever.’”
Ronaldinho and his two fiancées reportedly plan to get married in August.