Wow, when I found this forum I almost started crying.
I don't know if my story belongs under the "new to polyamory" category, but if no one minds, I'll put it here. But I warn you, it's going to be very, very long.
I'm a 20 year old college student. I'm currently in my first serious relationship, a two-and-a-half year relationship with a man a decade my senior. We are very serious and have every intention of getting married when we are financially stable enough to do so.
I've always known I was capable of loving multiple people at once, but I have only identified as polyamorous for the past year or two. I never really got into a relationship with the guy who made me realize it, but because of him I ended up mentioning it to my boyfriend, who gave me permission to cuddle with anyone I wanted. He's also given me permission to have sex with girls. (I have a tendency towards bisexuality. I've only ever had one romantic crush on a girl- most of my girl-crushes are something along the lines of "omg that chick is hot....")
Now here is my problem. I know that polyamorists (is that the right word?) are very much against cheating. So am I. But, unfortunately, that's related to my story so please bear with me.
One of my very best friends is a guy, who I just so happen to have been in love with for several years. He happens to be dating my roommate, who also happens to be one of my best friends. Did I mention that I introduced them? I've known for a few years that he had a crush on me, but last month he admitted that he is legitimately in love with me. Oh yeah. This is REALLY complicated.
Now I've spoken to my boyfriend about my feelings. He was, of course, hurt and confused at first, but he wants me to be happy and now seems legitimately (or at least convincingly) willing to let me be with another person if it makes me happy. I have explained to him that he is the most important person in my life and he is the one that I want to marry. And I really don't think he's lying about giving his assent.
But Other Guy's girlfriend/ my roommate is not ok with this. It's very frustrating because she went on a 20 minute rant about how my boyfriend should accommodate for my feelings if it will make me happy, but when it's her boyfriend she can't do the same. Well, I can't say I blame her. It's always easier to give advice than to take your own. But she went through a period where she kept insisting that I needed to stop loving her boyfriend and that I was disrespecting her relationship just by having these feelings, which I personally think is utter nonsense. My feelings for this guy have been torturing me for a very long time. If I could get rid of them that easily, just to make someone happy, it would have been a long time ago, to make me happy. I think acting on those feelings would certainly be disrespecting her relationship, but I really can't help how I feel.
Anyway, I wouldn't ever hurt her like that, by sleeping with her boyfriend, but... he kind of has has a very, very long history of cheating. When I first told him about polyamory he was totally shocked. And when I told him that polyamorists are as against cheating as "regular" folks he was very confused. But he now thinks that he's poly. Every girl he has ever been with, he has been in love with. He's never cheated out of spite or just for sex or for any reason other than he loved both the person he was with and someone else at the same time. I guess you could say he has terrible self-control. I wouldn't argue.
Anyway, I'm here for myself and my own confusion, of course, but in large part I'm here for him. He keeps telling me that he's afraid he will never be able to be monogamous. He loves my roommate. He wants to spend the rest of his life with her. But it's causing him a lot of pain to deny part of who he is. He doesn't know how to deal with that pain, and he is afraid that he is going to "ruin this relationship. Just like all the others." I don't know how common this is, but I'm hoping someone out there will have some advice for him.