Wow- it’s been a while since I’ve done a polycule update. Probably because it’s not that interesting with the whole world in lockdown and before that, I’ve been in a new live-in situation with my partner DJDM, so we haven’t really been out on new dates or meeting new people. Also, I was kind of waiting because I knew of some changes ahead. Now they have happened so I can report on them.
So, in case you are new to the “Polycule Updates“ let me give you a little background.
A polycule is a connected network of people in non-monogamous relationships.
You can see and read links to past updates at the end of this post. When I was in the thick of learning about and growing my polyamorous relationships, I thought it would be interesting to share how my relationships developed and changed. I hoped it would give people some insight into how polyamory can be practiced. My experiences are just that, MY experiences, but I’ve enjoyed keeping track and people have asked me a lot of great questions and learned some new things over the course of doing this, so I am going to keep at it.
You might notice right away, one change in the current polycule configuration is Benjamin. We decided about two weeks ago, (around the time of our 2-year anniversary) to de-escalate our relationship to a friendship. Let’s face it, long-distance relationships are hard, to begin with, and we have been long distance from the start. First from Berlin to Hamburg (a two-hour train ride away) and then from Hamburg to wherever I am in the world since I left Berlin in February 2019- mostly here in Colombia, South America.
Even when I saw him back in November- (I spent a week at his place visiting after I stayed in Berlin for a few weeks) it was awkward. We have a lovely friendship, but the romance part was difficult for us to recapture, in that week we only had sex once. While I was there we confirmed our commitment to keeping it going, and we did for another 6 months, but in the end, it just wasn’t working.
Between time zone differences (he is 6-7 hours ahead of me), life, other relationships… he just wasn’t able to connect with me as often as I felt I needed to consider him a romantic partner. Everyone has different limits and we finally reached mine. It would be weeks in between hearing from him and when I did it was one or two words, or he was distracted when we tried to chat, or worse, he would want to talk sexy when he had hardly even said hello to me in ages. It just wasn’t working. Coronavirus, job stress, and divorce issues on his end wasn’t helping either.
In the end, there are no “hard feelings.” He and I are friends. We will remain friendly. When I get back to Berlin (someday when travel is a thing again) I’ll take a quick trip up to Hamburg and hang-out. But we decided to let go of the expectations of a romantic relationship. It was actually quite an easy conversation and I think he was relieved that I finally brought it up.
I am a big believer in letting a relationship find its level and not forcing it to be something it just isn’t. I am not saying there isn’t often pain or sadness associated with doing that, but for me, it’s better to be in a relationship that works for everyone, than have a relationship that just isn’t working anymore. So there… Benjamin is no longer a romantic partner.
Stefan. If you have been reading my updates for any amount of time (polycule or my monthly updates on www.lustitude.com) you will know his name. Good lord, do I like this man! I so enjoy his company when we are together and somehow he just charms me and keeps our relationship interesting enough that even though most of our 3.75-year relationship has been from a distance- I cannot imagine my life without him in it.
He lives in Germany and the last time I saw him was for one night in November 2019. (I left Berlin in Feb 2019, so we haven’t seen each other regularly since before that.) For a while after I left, we didn’t even talk every week, we just connected every couple of weeks, but that always has worked for us. There is zero pressure to have phone/skype dates. We don’t have regular phone calls etc.
After I saw him in November, I don’t know, something changed. His daily life is basically monogamous now and neither of us has any idea what is going to happen if/when I can get back to Germany. Yet, we stay in closer touch now than in any of our other iterations of a long-distance relationship. He even sent me a naked selfie last month which I think is a first! It was awesome! (He was in the bathtub and him being in the bathtub and me sitting on the side talking to him is one of my favorite memories of our relationship, so it was especially great in a couple of ways!)
Recently he had hernia surgery and was in the hospital alone. (He is hardly ever alone, he lives with his other girlfriend and has a 3 yr old, and now lockdown… you see?) He totally took advantage of that time to spend almost two hours voice messaging back and forth with me and he even sent me another selfie! (Not a naked one, but he hardly ever sends ANY kinds of pics so it was happy times all around!)
He and I have never had a “traditional relationship” so why should our long-distance relationship be any different? People have asked me, “Why bother?” But why not? He brings me joy and I am sure I add to his life, or we wouldn’t still have this relationship. It is what it is and it works for us. I guess this really IS an example of allowing a relationship to find its level. This level works for us both and neither one of us seems inclined to change that right now. When I am ready and able to go back to Germany we may have to confront a different reality, but for now, things are still smooth sailing and in August it will be 4 years from when we met!
DJDM. This is probably the biggest change to the polycule. Since I discovered Polyamory, I have always been happily “solo.” I lived alone, traveled, did my thing, hung out with my partners, and went home to my own space. In January, all of that changed when I moved back to Medellin, Colombia, and moved in with DJDM- my Colombian cutie. (And let me tell you, he is a hottie!!!)
Now I am happily enmeshed in my life with this really great man. We laugh so much, we listen to a lot of music (he is a musician- he needs music like he needs the air) we hang out a lot (even before lockdown he was studying English full-time and I work from home so we were spending a lot of time together.)
We fight too. Oh, do we get on each other’s nerves! I think it’s been a bit weird (and quite lovely) for a couple to have as much concentrated time together as we have had. I moved here and within the month I was preparing to have surgery on my wrist. After my surgery, I had a full-arm brace and I couldn’t even put on my own panties or brush my own hair. For a month he had to help me with all those things! And just when we finally were free of the brace and I could be more independent again? We went into COVID-19 lockdown. We haven’t really had a “normal” for our relationship.
That’s good and bad. It’s lovely that I can take a work break at 10 am while he is sitting on the bed studying, and he can curl up around me and snuggle for a few minutes. It’s lovely that he can make me breakfast and coffee almost every morning. It’s lovely that we can take sex, wine, and weed breaks in the late afternoons and stay naked into the night!
It sucks that so much time together and not having any independence can make us a bit nuts. Remember I am usually a very solo independent person. He usually went to school or work full-time and I had the house to myself, or like most of us, our lives were lived as much outside the apartment as in. Now we’re just in! (Here in Colombia the lockdown rules are MUCH stricter than my US/Canada/UK/Germany friends and family. We can’t legally leave our houses except on the 1-2 days a week designated by our ID # and then only to the grocery, pharmacy, and bank.)
We are learning to navigate those tough moments. We try to remember on top of living together for the first time in really different circumstances, we are also from different cultures and have different primary languages. We’re also especially grateful for a second bedroom that allows him to retreat and each of us has our own space when we need it. I am learning to not take everything so personal and to have confidence that just because we’re annoyed with each other doesn’t mean our relationship is going to end. (Adulting is hard people, so hard!)
We are also very much looking forward to finally getting our own apartment. This one is an Airbnb rental and it’s furnished with other people’s stuff. It has been perfect for us, enough room, some art space, a great balcony with a view… but we want OUR stuff, our place. We spend a lot of time right now dreaming of that, sharing pics of ideas we have. We’re totally geeking out about a “studio” for art, music, and office space right now, and the other night sitting on the balcony with our wine, we were dreaming of a cool balcony space overlooking an even better view. We found a place we love, we just hope it will be available when all this shakes out and life can start moving again. (Our lockdown will last at least 66 days… the date for it to end – unless we have more extensions- is May 25th.)
In my next update hopefully, we’ll be in the new place and I’ll have a Visa that allows me to stay in the country for an extended period of time so we can stay together for longer.
So there we go. Polycule April 2020. I have some other thoughts about how my polyamory is changing and other deep topics, but I’m finding it very difficult to write these days. Most of my creative outlet time is spent at the art desk and right now I am ok with that.
How is your polycule changing and evolving? Let us know! I love to see and hear how other people practice polyamory and what their relationships look like!