I was looking at the meme- Food for Thought Friday and this week’s prompt was something I felt I could contribute to. The prompt this week is: Sexual relationships come in all flavors; casual or committed, mono or poly, and all shades and variations in between. Relationships also evolve and change over time. A casual relationship can become a committed one, a vanilla one can become a D/s one, a mono one can become a poly one, and a non-mono can sometime become exclusive. So, this week we want to lift the lid on the evolution of your relationships.
Polyamorous relationships and the changing shades of a polycule are topics I love to think about and write about. I actually haven’t been polyamorous all that long, mostly just since I moved to Berlin in June 2017. However, I started the journey to polyamory in August 2016, when I met my partner Stefan, who introduced me to the concept. When I met him, he was dating five other women, though only 2 besides me were local. He invited me to be number six. I was intrigued by his lifestyle and completely attracted to his magnetism, AND I was only going to be in Berlin about 3.5 more weeks, so “why not?”
When he first described his relationship style he said, “I don’t do one-night stands, but I also don’t do monogamous relationships.” This set off a flurry of questions in my head! I grew up in a very evangelical household where the only “allowed” relationship was a heterosexual monogamous one leading to a life time of marriage, no option of divorce. Period. End of story. But by the time I met him, I was 44, divorced, traveling the world, and had had all manner of experiences, including non-monogamous relationships. However, these were more like “playing the field” relationships than ethical consensual non-monogamous ones.
Stefan told me in that first discussion that all of his partners knew about each other, just like he was telling me about the others at that moment. I was curious how he fit them all in. “How do you decide who to see, what if two people want to see you in the same night?” His response, more than any other one thing, peaked my curiosity and got my brain spinning.
“Well, I think about the women requesting the date. If I am really tired from work that day and I know one of them I would have to work hard that night to satisfy sexually, and the other I could chill on the couch with and rest, I will ask the “chill” one to come that night and find a different night for the other one.”
Wait? What? You can have the kind of relationship you need in any given moment? You can pick and choose the kind of sex you need, or caring you need? You can have it all? This sounded so great to me! Having been in a marriage where I had been required to be ALL things to my husband, but where my husband was totally incapable of being ALL things for me, this seemed like a great solution. The absolute openness about it also made me feel comfortable too.
I remember one morning after a date, Stefan dropped me off at a coffee shop. He got out of the car, opened the door, kissed me goodbye, patted my ass and headed off to work. We were in his neighborhood. For all I knew one of his other girlfriends could have driven by at that moment, but there was no sense of sneaking around, no sense of being hidden from sight. He was treating me with the same openness and respect I would expect from any date I had before I met this polyamorous hedonist. I don’t like being a secret. I don’t like having to hide my relationships. And he wasn’t asking me to. Nor was he going to do that either.
All of these new sensations and ideas I took with me when I left Berlin that first time. Stefan and I stayed in touch over the next nine months while I travelled to Asia, Africa, South America, the USA and back to Berlin. I dated both quire a few men, both casually and a little more seriously during that time, and Stefan remained a constant figure in the background. Texting and keeping in touch, talking about our adventures and relationships. One of his long-distance partners even had his baby, and he sent me photos of his sweet little girl, allowing me to celebrate her birth with him.
As the time drew closer to my return to Berlin, we began to talk about seeing each other again. I was excited to reconnect. By then, I was very sure that when I returned to Berlin I wanted to settle down and meet a tribe full of people to be with. I also wanted what I was calling at the time, a “Harem” of my own. I still didn’t know the word Polyamory, but that is what I wanted. More than one relationship, everyone aware of everyone else, not being tied down to one single person. Berlin is a great place to start this kind of life adventure. It is open and sexy and there are actually lots of polyam people here. (I met Stefan on Tinder and most of my other relationships on OK Cupid.)
Over time, Stefan and I have renewed and strengthened our relationship. I write a lot about him, both of our absolutely amazing sex life and our strong, non-traditional relationship style. He is one of my favorite people in the world, even now, 2.5 years later. I learned the word Polyamory and set out to learn all about what it meant and how did the ideas I had fit into this paradigm. (They fit well!) I read a million books and listened to a million podcasts and talked to a million people about these thoughts. (I am an “out loud processor.” I have to talk to figure things out!)
Today, I am happily in two loving relationships, with Stefan and Benjamin, and I have the freedom to pursue any additional relationships I want, either casual sexual or more serious. I tend to prefer to have my few steady loves and then enjoy what I call “random Tinder dates” as my appetites and moods dictate. This is perfectly OK within the relationships I have cultivated. The whole thing just feels good and right.
I have had up to five partners/steady lovers at one time and even then, had a few casual flings, but it seems that 2-3 steady partners is about the ideal place to be. It seems to work best for managing time, effort, and emotional energy.
As my time here in Berlin has been coming to an end, I have pursued fewer extra relationships and intentionally focused on my steady loves, wanting to soak up all the love and memories with them I can before I leave. I even spent some time this month with an ex, William, who is no longer on the chart, but for whom I still have strong loving feelings. We both still care deeply for one another, but our style of managing relationships just didn’t work for each other. We broke up in a very loving way and have remained close. This is my current polycule.
It will be interesting to see how my polycule evolves as I leave Berlin and head to new places in the world. I fully expect Stefan to keep his exact same place on this chart as always, he is my rock. But I am not sure about Benjamin, to be honest. We are already long-distance so maybe it won’t be a huge change, but he has a lot in his life now too. I also wonder if people in the rest of the world are ready for me and my constellation of love. I guess we’ll find out and I will keep reporting back on the evolution on a monthly basis.
Other posts I have written about the evolution of my polycule:
The Evolution of a Polycule on Medium.
The Food for Thought Friday prompt has a lot of great inspired stories/posts! Check it out by clicking on the badge!