I wanted to say I can really identify with what you've said. I've recently determined that I have dysthymia, as well. The conflict between a desire to be with my wife forever and the foreboding sense that I could not live with the expectations of lifetime monogamy weighed on me for a long time, and would get worse during periods which I can now recognize as depressive episodes.
Whether the conflict or the depression was the cause or the effect doesn't seem to be a useful question to me. I know depression distorts cognitions, but I feel like learned helplessness is a perfectly reasonable thought pattern to have in response to the questioning of one's relationship within the confines of monogamy.
Anyway, about six years ago a couple that had been our friends for years started a triad with another woman. The realization that ethical non-monogamy was something that was even possible and that there were varying subcultures dedicated to making it a reality really struck a chord with me, and I basically told my girlfriend that I would have to explore it someday. She was sort of on board but I could tell we'd eventually work it out and so all of my wavering was over and we got married. Over time, that triad I mentioned disintegrated, and I think that may have influenced us both to be apprehensive because it's pretty easy to see a reflection the mortality of your own relationship in those of your peers.
Fast forward to a year ago, when I had the worst of my depressive episodes. This whole confluence of events involving the death of my father, my ten year high school reunion, moving to a new city, taking my first job out of grad school, buying a house that required renovating, having difficulty with fatherhood, and deciding I didn't want more children resulted in a real shit storm where my mind was just totally rejecting my life, and the issue of polyamory took center stage in my thoughts. I nearly committed suicide because I wouldn't consider divorce, I would never cheat on my wife, and she was more against the idea than ever. At one point this daemon inside me told me that I didn't love her so that I might push us into divorce and save myself.
Anyway, after medication, months of therapy and relationship counseling, I was able to lift myself out of that mess. We eventually got back to a place where an open relationship seemed more on the horizon. Finally some guy started hitting on her at a party, and voilą, we're not monogamous. Today, I feel so blessed, it's just absurd.
My point is this: don't think you have to figure this all out now and resolve it by forcing your relationship open when it is not ready. God, six years was a long time for me, but I loved my partner so completely I probably would have killed myself before I let her go. If she loves you too, and this is really important to you, she will come around eventually.
You've been together for three years and you're in your mid-twenties. If you stay together for another three years and find you have to break up because there is no way forward, you'll still be in your mid-twenties. Those three years are not worth the possibility of losing her for the rest of your life.
In The New Love Without Limits Deborah Anapol describes two paths to polyamory. The first is being single and building poly relationships from the start. The second is to open up a long term relationship. And she defines a long term relationship as a minimum of ten years. I think she's right there. My wife and I have been together for eleven.
Talk about it with her as something you want to do eventually. Explain that, despite your knowledge about yourself, she is the most important thing in the world and that you will do everything you can to do what she needs you to do before you open your relationship. Gradually build up her trust that it can work, and see what happens. Eventually, you might just have to decide you want different types of relationships and go your separate ways. But don't let that happen for a loooong time.
Last edited by tachycardia; 03-13-2012 at 02:18 PM.