hi annabel, thanks for your thoughts. your comments on some other posts have jumped out at me as insightful and incisive, so i'm especially glad to hear from you. (looking forward to other feedback as well though!)
just want to make something (hopefully) obvious even more so--i'm definitely only sharing my own thoughts and feelings here, can't (and try not to) speak for my husband. he has also signed up here and i hope at some point he will introduce himself as well, so i especially don't want to villainize him. (not that i thought you were.)
that said, yes, i think in many ways he's acted like an egotistical, narcissistic asshole with a sense of entitlement. he didn't disclose, i discovered. so that's another point against him. and he's still having difficulties being open and honest with me about certain things--like impromptu late-night drinks and flirtatious emails with someone he met at a work-related dinner lately, which again i discovered rather than was told about.
he leaves his email open on our shared computer so every so often i open up and there's his inbox. i try not to snoop but sometimes it's really obvious when he's emailing about personal stuff with a woman i don't know. it's a kind of passive disclosure, i guess. but not cool.
so on the one hand he really liked what he read in the ethical slut about all sorts of emotional, sexual relationships. he likes the idea of openness and sharing sex and possibly emotional connection with many people. his libido is what's driving him at the moment, it seems, but he likes the idea of us having a special shared girlfriend too.
he's much less comfortable about my dating other people on my own (even more so if it were a guy) but he's aware that he'd have to work on that (and in fact has been trying to fantasize about it to practice) to be fair.
he has recognized and appreciated all the work i've done in the past 6 months. he was incredibly appreciative of my openness to his re-kindled relationship with the long-ago girlfriend (and ironically she and he have had a little falling out and she and i and her husband are still talking a fair amount--long distance), and also that i tried to be supportive of ("allowed" though i HATE that word) his meeting with his former lover. but now that neither of those relationships are sexual for him he's really antsy to move on... my asking for a pause seems to worry him that things will be delayed indefinitely (or maybe that i'll think about things too much and decide it's not what i want at all?). my take is that we've been together for ten years and plan to stay together indefinitely (that could be decades still) and his take is that he's getting older and his window of opportunity is closing on having his sexual adventures. mid-life crisis anyone?
in many ways i love the idea of polyamory, though i do worry that it's just too (potentially) messy for my life right now. though i'm pretty happy being mono right now, i don't subscribe to it as the only "natural" or ethical relationship type. i also like the idea that i could share emotional/sexual connections with someone other than my husband (though i get lots of emotional support from friends and family already) and that i could open up my own sexuality to sleeping with women.
there's a large part of me that thinks maybe i should just acknowledge and try to come to terms with his desires and not try to limit them for my own sake. but then, as you say, i feel like i need to feel safe right now and him making the moves on lots of ladies on the road does not feel very safe to me, even with all his reassurances. and i feel like he and i have so many improvements to make on our relationship as a couple, i don't think we're on solid enough ground right now to bring someone else in, even casually. and we struggle already with balancing work-home life and prioritizing time together, i'm also skeptical of his ability to be involved with other people and not take things for granted at home (even more).
i'm reading and listening to a lot of conscientious-spiritualist and buddhist things lately--i really love these ideas of being fully present and non-attachment--both for myself personally, for my parenting, and for being a good partner. it seems sympatico with poly ideas about non-possessiveness over partners as well.