Several points to throw at you:
a) There's nothing ridiculous about being new to this. And don't think that because others on here are older than you, or have more experience in poly than you, that our answers have to be your answers.
b) Although I don't now live in the UK, I did so for 8 years and still have contacts there. I'm more UK-orientated than US-oriented.
c) Re. poly in the UK, there's an interesting opinion expressed in an article from 8 years ago
on The Guardian's web-site:
Today America has more than 100 poly email lists and support groups. [...] There is a poly magazine, handbooks, endless conferences, retreats and workshops.
By contrast, the UK has only one poly mail list, UK-poly (currently with about 110 subscribers), and one online news group. Two magazines faltered after just one issue each. It is impossible to tell whether Britain has a paucity of polys, or whether they just prefer to keep a low profile. According to Anapol, Britain is "about 15 years behind America in terms of its acceptance". But Grant, who runs the UK-poly list, has a different explanation. He believes the numbers could be much higher, arguing that British people are if anything more tolerant than in America which is perhaps why British polys are less in need of support groups. "We have a tradition of people minding their own business here. People might disapprove, but they won't try to mess up your life.
In America, they might call social services," says Grant.
d) But theory isn't what you're after, is it?
e) Let me say that I feel that it's very harsh of your boyfriend to spring this on you and then declare "that if I chose to explore this I would without doubt be his primary, he loves me more than anyone before. He has also made it clear that if I cannot be in an poly relationship of some structure that we have no future." Just HOW much time between his announcement and the ultimatum? Doesn't seem very caring, very loving, to me! Is that "without doubt" bit a direct quote? If so, it really
smacks of emotional manipulation to me.
f) You've been together for 2 years. Just how long has he "known" that he's poly? I suspect that possibly
he's just found someone else that he fancies, can't wait to get into her knickers (maybe SHE's the one who's genuinely poly and has explained her ground rules to him: no going behind your back!) and is pushing this poly ultimatum on you so that
i) if you go along with it, he can get his end away with 2 birds concurrently (and maybe even at the same time).
ii) if you don't go along with it, he can justify dumping you, by claiming that you weren't "mature enough" to handle the challenge of polyamory.
g) Please do notice the "possibly
" in that last entry. Perhaps you're upset and have overdramatised or exaggerated his "ultimatum"? I don't want to judge him without hearing his side, and I would be less harsh towards him if I knew that he had started talking about polyamory with you a year ago, had now and then brought the subject up since then, and only recently let you know that his life choices are involved here, and that now - hard as it would be for him to lose you - if he had to decide between feeling free to give his love where it's welcome and restricting it to you against his principles, he's going to go for the former. In fact, I'd feel pretty sympathetically towards him.
h) I once had to make this choice myself, and with an up-til-then polyamorous relationship of 6 years' standing. My girlfriend wanted us to become monagamous. I told her that her choices were her own to make, but that I refused to restrict her freedom to love*, and refused to let her restrict mine. A few months after that, she broke it off with me.
i) Please bear in mind that polyamory isn't just about more sex - or more sex partners. Couples who go out for more sex are called swingers. The "amor" in polyamory means love. Some
swingers who would happily share their partners SEXUALLY with a whole room of people would become insanely jealous if they found out that there was any love involved in one of those couplings.
j) You've had people on this thread advising you to drop your boyfriend, that poly isn't for everybody. Another has advised
Originally Posted by IrisAwakened
if the relationship is basically over, why not give it a shot anyway? What do you have to lose, really? Either it is over now, or later, or it works out. At least if you try it, you will know it for sure and have learned something in the process.
Whose advice to take? I rather like the 4th entry:
Originally Posted by MichelleZed
Fish, I think your fears are legitimate and common fears. I guess my only suggestion is to keep reading posts and articles about polyamory, talking ideas over with your boyfriend (tell him that he has to give you a month or two to think about this--he just sprung it on you all sudden-like!) and then you might be able to see if those fears are something you can try, with his support, to overcome.
but I wouldn't necessarily limit myself to a month or two. If your boyfriend isn't willing to be patient, supportive, and understanding of YOUR needs, well... sorry, Love, but he ain't worth a fuck. (Pardon my French.)
k) Poly possibly ISN'T for everybody. I personally think that it'd do most people good to let go of that jealousy, possessiveness, and insecurity that are the real hindrance to being generous re: your love's loving others. But everybody's got to make that decision themselves, not under pressure, not in answer to an ultimatum. Perhaps polyamory isn't right for you now, but will be a liberating experience for you in 3 years.
Originally Posted by Fish
I am afraid that I would fall in love with his/my/our secondary and that I would be hurt having people move in and out of my life. I am also afraid that I am considering being in a poly relationship because I am scared of letting him go. I feel the only way to know if this is for me is by experience but if I bail later that would hurt him and me more and potentially leave us less likely to continue friendship.
Additionally, I do not understand how one could accept a secondary position (i guess unless they are a primary elsewhere) and I am afraid someone may come into our relationship as a secondary and push to change the structure. This may be naive of me but it is a great fear.
I agree with Michelle that these are valid fears. have you tried to talk them through with your bf?
As for the second part (about people being content to be secondaries), run a search (click on the blue bar above) on "secondary" and "unicorn". To start you off, here are two (started by the same person): here
... and - my favourite thread on this whole site - here
Whatever you decide, take care. Cherish yourself. LOVE yourself.
(Hey, and if you remain interested in commune living, stay in touch! Send me a pm.
* And I used to be (long before that) as jealous as the next person. One CAN work on jealousy...