From Couple To Throuple: Polyamory And Authenticity With Ashmal and Rehman

You read that right, “From Couple to Throuple.” Peacock’s new show presents us with four couples that have decided they want to add a third and make their couple a “throuple” and follows them over the course of several weeks full of Bachelor-style dates, experiments, and drama. Ashmal and Rehman, Chicago locals and the couple at the center of much of the drama this season, sat down with us for a quick chat about their time on the show, polyamory, authenticity, and mental health.

There are very few illustrations of polyamory in the media at the moment. Maybe an off-hand line from Parks and Recreation or “Sister Wives” on TLC. What knowledge did you have surrounding polyamory going into this experience?

Ashmal: “Honestly, for me, I knew about it, but I didn’t even have the terminology. You only hear the word polygamy, but then hearing the word polyamory and defining that was new. I think the biggest thing was that I knew so little about how many ways there are to do polyamory. I think the experience has a big educational aspect to it; there’s no right way to do this. I learned terms like triad and comet partner; we could go all through the terms. So going into it, I didn’t know that much, which kind of I think was perfect because we were just there to learn. Since we didn’t have that many preconceived notions, it didn’t feel like we were comparing ourselves to what it should be; that was a nice thing. Not having those preconceived notions allowed us to freely explore it.”

Did it occur to you that you are sort of breaking ground when it comes to representing polyamory on TV?

Rehman: “I think going into it as far as representation, Ashmal and I both, we have very diverse backgrounds ourselves. He’s bisexual; I was gay, but I’m a little bit more questioning my sexuality now. Also, our ethnic backgrounds, religious backgrounds… there are so many different parts of us. I think we’re so confident in ourselves and who we are that we went into it just saying we’re just going to be ourselves. We just have to fully be comfortable with ourselves and not necessarily worry about how we’re representing our different identities or even the poly community. Especially when it comes to polyamory, like Ashmal said, we were brand new to it. We knew we could possibly make a lot of mistakes and we were okay with that. We wanted to take the risk to really learn a little bit more about this lifestyle and see where it can go.”

Ashmal: “In terms of representing people who want to maybe explore polyamory, I think the cool part about it is that we kind of were doing that before going on the show, we just didn’t know the terminology. I think the cool thing is that it’s also representation for people who maybe are in a similar boat, but they just didn’t know there’s a term for it. There’s a whole community for it. I hope that people watch it and they learn and they’re like, ‘Oh, there’s others like us!’ I feel like a lot of people don’t realize that that’s what they’re kind of doing until they’re seeing the show, and then they feel it’s something they can pursue.”

The show is pretty upfront about showing the throuples having sex. What kind of sexual health resources existed for you on-set, given that people were swapping sexual partners every week?

Ashmal: “I’m glad you bring that up, because that was actually something very important to us. A few months before filming we did a full health STI panel and then days before we did another one. So we kind of were going in there knowing there’s already that base level of knowledge of everyone’s been through the same process. And yeah, they did have the condoms, but you might’ve noticed I also said they have no lube, which I was like, “Come on!” Then they did get it immediately, so that was nice. They listened.”

Rehman: “We also did a sexual health training to go over the basics and make sure we understood what the risks were and what the different STIs look like and all that. So that was definitely helpful. They took it very seriously. I felt comfortable to just kind of engage and be the way that we are normally outside of the show.”

Ashmal: “Consent was also really huge and you could always feel comfortable to say no to anything. They [production] even had told us, in the middle of something, if you just don’t feel comfortable, all you have to do is just stand on the side of your bed and someone will step in. I think just that level of comfort I’ve not had in regular sexual situations. So that was nice.”

As these relationship-focused reality shows have increasingly high-stakes, what mental health resources existed for you? How did you prioritize that during your time on the show?

Ashmal: “We had the on-camera therapist, but then they also have another therapist check-in with us during our non-filming days. Because it’s a psychologist who specializes in television, I would joke, ‘I have Kyle Richard’s therapist!’ But I think it was nice that we had check-ins whenever we needed. The big thing that they kind of told us about, but we didn’t experience until after coming back, was that you go from being there, where everything is secret secret, you’re doing your experience and you come back and it’s just a lull period. I’m just back at home sending emails at work and it’s just like this emptiness. I’m glad we had each other, and the welfare team would check in on us weekly and then monthly to see how we were.”

As the show has been airing, how have you dealt with the world being able to see into your relationship?

Ashmal: “For me personally, going on the show at all was a big deal. Before this, I was out on my Instagram, to my friends and most of my family. But you know there’s people that would still think we were just roommates or we were friends – and you let them because it’s easier. I got on there and I had to remind myself that there’s no way I can minimize my sexuality. There’s no way you can straight-wash yourself. Just fully go into it. I think I had a moment where I was like, ‘I don’t think I’ve ever come out this big.’ I think the gayest way to come out is on television. So then we just started having fun and then we had each other and the rest of the cast also. I was like, ‘Everything’s going to be okay.’ It’s been really positive.”

Rehman: “I just had to remember the confidence that I have in myself and who I am as a person and just own it and not let anybody take that away from me. Then also realizing who are the important people in my life, and knowing that their opinions and their feelings about us doing this experience matter more than anyone else. Everybody else is going to have an opinion either way. At the end of the day, Ashmal and I showed up to this experiment and it was very real. Watching the episodes, especially seeing myself, it was a very real process for me. It was a rollercoaster, but that’s what life is, and I want to experience life to the fullest. I just kept telling myself: ‘We went through this. It was tough. It’s not for the faint of heart, but I did it and I’m proud that I did it.’ It was a year ago. So I think we could both confidently say that we’re very different people from when we filmed this. It is definitely fun to watch ourselves back to kind of see how much we’ve grown even in just that year.”

Ashmal: “There was some family who were going to see me be queer on main, I was like, ‘I think the important thing is they’re going to see that I’m still me, I’m still being me, and I’m still the same guy.’ I think we’re really proud of just being ourselves throughout it.”

The “Where Are They Now” segment revealed that the three of you are now single. Looking back on it, would you do it again? Would you recommend that someone else do it?

Rehman: “I think for me, I am definitely happy that we did this experience. I think we both just learned so much about ourselves. For me in particular, watching myself back, there are so many things that I learned about myself that maybe I can improve on or maybe I can work on to become a stronger and better version of myself. So I would never want to take that back. And at the end of the day, we showed up, we were real, we were our authentic selves, and that is part of life. What happens in the end is part of life. It was just another thing that happened in our lives and we dealt with it and we’re dealing with it. My main thing is just really looking at the positives that came out of this and starting these conversations around polyamory. I think it was scary. It was a risk for us, but hopefully something good will come from this.”

Ashmal: “I’m so glad we did it too, because one thing that we really focused on is we did this experience that is always going to connect us; we can’t share that with anyone else. That’s so cool. We were even joking, if we start dating someone, that person is going to be so jealous and insecure of the fact that they can’t do this, they can’t have this experience to look back on. I think we’ve really focused on the humor of the situation and the cool experiences and the people we’ve met. Just being here in LA and staying with our friends from the show, it’s so fun. We have a whole new community now, and I think that’s the good thing to focus on.”

What advice would you give to someone who has a friend or family member in a polyamorous relationship?

Ashmal: “I think just most importantly, don’t feel weird about asking questions and being honest. I think even when we were exploring it, we knew it was a new experience and we were still figuring it out. So it’s normal for other people to have questions. Like if you want to invite that friend to hangout, but maybe not all of their partners, think about it like a monogamous relationship. How they would feel? They would feel like, ‘Oh, you don’t like my partners.’ So it’s just nice to extend the courtesy. But as always, if you have questions, ask! Having these conversations is what is most important.”

What advice would you give to someone who is interested in being in a polyamorous relationship?

Rehman: “I think just try it out and do your research first, but just understand that no relationship is the same. So you can read everything, you can talk to people and get their experiences, but at the end of the day, you’re an individual relationship, so you just have to figure out what works best for you, what works best for you and your partner or partners, and then go from there. I feel like sometimes people try and fit into this mold of what they think it’s supposed to be, even with polyamorous relationships, and you just have to realize that they’re all different. Even from the show, all of our relationships as far as the different couples and throuples go, they’re all so different. The coolest thing about it was to see that, oh, they’re doing polyamory in a slightly different way that we are, but that’s okay because they figured out what works for them and we figured out what works for us. But just take risks like any normal, any monogamous relationship, this would just be another risk that you’re taking and trying to figure out if it works.”

Ashmal: “The research part is so important. Just really do your research because just the terminology can really affect the dynamics. We learned the term ‘primary partner’ and then ‘additional partners’, and it just sets the expectations of what polyamory is going to be for you and your partners. If you go into it without even the knowledge of how to express what you want, I think it makes it harder because you feel lost, your partner feels lost, your other partner feels lost. So that baseline education I think is very important.”

Ashmal: “I will give a warning that what they don’t tell you about polyamorous communication is that the texting is crazy, texting one person and then you’re texting the other person and you have your group message. So if you’re responding to the group message but not a partner, you have to send your other two messages. Oh, it is a minefield.”

Any final thoughts to share?

Rehman: “I think, again, just continuing to normalize polyamory and have conversations around this. I feel like especially sometimes in the LGBTQ+ community, even talking about open relationships, you have some people that have very strong opinions either way. At the end of the day, this is just another way to go about having relationships. And it’s okay because like we said, we’re both normal people. He’s an attorney. I work for a bank. We live pretty just normal, boring lives, but we went on a TV show and experienced this and took a huge risk and are entering into a lifestyle that maybe isn’t the majority. Like I said, it’s just another way to do things, and it shouldn’t be something that’s taboo. It shouldn’t be something that is looked down upon. And I hope the more this becomes normalized and more integrated into society, people will feel more comfortable being themselves. People are interested in it, but I feel like there’s still some stigma around it. So hopefully this will help break some of that up.”

Ashmal: “And I’ve been getting a lot of people who have been reaching out, and there’s just one term when people are saying, ‘We’re so proud of you for being so unapologetically yourself.’ I think my thing with that term is where the true liberation and the true ease really comes from. I don’t take pride in being told like, ‘Oh, you’re so unapologetically yourself.’ I have nothing to apologize for, I’m just being myself. No one has anything to apologize just for being themselves. I think just celebrate people instead of being like, ‘Oh, well, normally that’s so weird what you’re doing, but congratulations for doing it.’ “

What is next for the two of you separately or together?

Ashmal: “We actually do have something in the works coming soon, just how we navigate this next chapter, being besties and going about life. So stay tuned for that. That’s all I can say right now.”

Couple to Throuple season one is streaming now on Peacock.

Click the buttons below to learn more about Howard Brown Health’s sexual and mental health resources.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
This site is not optimized for Internet Explorer. Please consider viewing the site in a modern browser such as Edge, Chrome or Firefox.