The Evolution of a Polycule, 2018 Wrap-up

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Earlier this year, I wrote a piece here on Medium that was curated in Relationships called “The Evolution of a Polycule.” I thought it might be interested to write an end of the year version, updating on the last few months. Next year I might make it a monthly thing, tracking how my relationships ebb and flow; traveling, long distance, countries where polyamory isn’t really a thing… it might be an interesting year to see how it all goes down. Regardless of how I follow through on this idea next year, let’s take a look at the last three months of this year. Before we start, let’s review:

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October was calm and “normal.” I really enjoyed the peacefulness of just being in the flow with my relationships and people. I spent close to three weeks in Bali, so there wasn’t a lot of time for new people or drama.

This summer Benjamin and Mia decided to separate, and I hadn’t seen him since the end of July while he had been dealing with it all. By October things were finally starting to get back to normal a bit, his work situation improved, and he was in a better place with the separation. So, it was really great to have him come visit me.

Believe me when I tell you, dating a person who is going through a divorce is no easy task. The weekend brought us into a new intimacy and learning to support one another on a new emotional level. We found ourselves spending a lot of time snuggling on the couch. It was definitely not a weekend for developing or growing our sexual relationship, but that’s how life goes sometimes. Relationships ebb and flow and you have to figure out their value to you and how to make them work if they have enough value. This one does.

Things with Roland were rolling along splendidly. Sometimes we just giggled and stared at each other and that’s all we needed from our relationship energy. I really enjoyed that about him. There were some things in our relationship that didn’t fit. Our sex drives are very different and that caused some confusion and emotions. But I also enjoyed spending time with him and learning how to relate to this really cool human in a different way from my usual sex focused methods. (Learning is not always easy though, is it?)

I took William off the chart because now that he is “just” a friend and our connection is solid and established, he doesn’t need a special place on the chart. just in my heart. (Everyone say it, Awwww!)

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November brought with it continued development in my relationship with Roland. I was still struggling with my needs vs. wants with both time and sex, but always enjoyed his company when we were together. He came over one night just before Thanksgiving and installed light fixtures in my living room and bedroom. That was incredibly sweet, and I really appreciated that gesture.

In November I enjoyed another one of my favorite happy polyamory moments. THANKSGIVING! I had 13 people over for dinner in my little 500 sq. ft flat, but somehow it didn’t seem crowded at all. I made turkey, sweet potatoes, and mashed potatoes in the crock pots, and stuffing in the oven. People brought anything else they wanted, plus wine etc. It was so nice. I always love being surrounded by friends and loved ones and this was extra special because almost everyone from my polycule was here.

Benjamin came for the weekend and he helped me set up, did a bunch of food prep to help with dinner, and while the party was going, he was an awesome co-host. He made sure people had coffee after dinner and when someone knocked over a plant, he cleaned up. He was very sweet and very much appreciated. Roland also came with his boyfriend Max. I hadn’t spent much time with Max before, so it was nice to have a chance to chat with him. This was also the first time Benjamin and Roland had met each other and I was excited for them to have a chance to get to know one another a little better. Last but not least, William and Allison came too. William and I have a very loving and sweet romantic relationship despite no longer being partners, that’s how we left it when we broke up. So, it was wonderful to see him too.

At one point I was standing by the breakfast bar with Roland, Benjamin, and William all standing around me, laughing and teasing me. I can’t remember about what exactly, but since they are all German and I am very American sometimes, I am sure it was something about the grocery store or other things I find odd here. It was a very sweet moment to just soak up the fun and love with these incredible men I care so much about. Another time, Benjamin and William were at the stove cooking and Allison and I (Allison and Benjamin also have a little bit of a flirt on the side going on sometimes) were sitting back watching and enjoying these men we both care about doing the work for a bit. The banter and love and moments of true affection throughout the night were very special.

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Oh, December was interesting. I am leaving Berlin in a few weeks and November/December was the timeframe in which everything was solidifying and coming together. There was a lot of emotion and stress for me surrounding this.

Also, Roland broke up with me. We hadn’t really seen or talked or texted each other since my party, so I knew things weren’t right, but I couldn’t get him to engage with me in any way to have a discussion. Then one day about half way through the month, he sent me a text message saying he knew he had been avoiding me, but he just didn’t know how to tell me this wasn’t working for him, but perhaps we could be friends. (Insert head scratching and heat breaking here.) That was rough. It still is. I hate these kinds of break-up. Especially because I know we could have had a very nice discussion, and potentially stayed friends. I would have liked that very much. But this ghosting and then a text message? We are too old for this and I really had thought that no matter what we could talk to each other about anything. Guess I was wrong. The manner in which the break-up happened hurt more than the break-up, I think, and ruined our chances to stay friends.

That has left a bit of a sad hole in my heart. I knew things weren’t always great, we are so different and want different things I think, but I did so enjoy being with him when we got the chance. He made me laugh and I loved that we had so many moments of pure joy. Staring into each other’s eyes, walking down the street holding hands or arm in arm talking and kissing. I will cherish the memories, even as I am sad that it ended the way it did.

On a better note, Benjamin was able to come visit again, this time to celebrate Christmas the weekend before the actual holiday. It’s always so nice to be with him. We met some friends for drinks, went to a Christmas market, and he took me to a very local little corner bar and had weird beers. That was fun. It was the first time I had been to a Christmas market with a German and that was more interesting because I learned things I hadn’t known before.

Sadly, (I mentioned above that Benjamin is going through a separation with his wife,) this was his first holiday without her and their young daughter. (They went to his ex-family’s home for the holiday.) He was a bit emotional and fragile throughout the weekend. So, while we enjoyed each other’s company, we always do, there were some very emotional moments on both sides while we worked together to navigate these waters. Also, now that I am leaving, that adds a layer of even more complexity to our relationship. We are already long distance, but we have not yet spoken, about how my moving across the world will impact our relationship or how we want to move forward.

I spent Christmas alone. It was actually quite nice. I had a lovely tree and I was able to read and write and just relax for a few days. But it was a little lonely. I laugh when people think that if you have more than one boyfriend/relationship that you will always have someone for holidays or birthdays or big events. I think I have spent most of my holidays alone since I started this polyamory journey, so it’s clearly not true. It really depends on the kind of relationships you have and also their physical proximity. But for me, there is a lot of alone time, which I tend to enjoy so it works out in the end.

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Also- as you can see in the diagrams, Stefan is a near constant companion. I don’t have a lot to write about him here because our relationship is easy, low maintenance, and steady. I simply adore him. I block out every Thursday so we can spend our evening together, and it’s always a good time. He did go with me one morning to pick out the Christmas tree and bring it to my flat since he has a van. That was something a bit out of our normal routine and fun to do together. He is still talking about how beautiful the tree turned out.


So, there we have the “” I do think next year this may become a monthly post, a re-cap of the polyamorous life.

How do your relationships ebb and flow?

Are you polyamorous?

What does your polycule look like?


Written by

World traveler, memoir writer, lover of all things relationship- especially non-traditional! Follow me on Twitter: @ELByrne1

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