New, lost, looking for some guidance.
I just found this forum and have been browsing a little bit -- I hope this is the right place to post. I could really use some help. Sorry in advance if this gets long.
My partner and I have been together for coming up on a year, living together since January. It is very serious; we have discussed marriage and kids, and he feels ready for both. He has had a long history with poly relationships. I have been more of a dabbler.
He made it clear up front that being poly was non-negotiable for him. Even though my experiences had been limited, I thought that was what I wanted too. The experiences I'd had were all very positive, and the ideology made perfect sense to me, and just felt right.
Early in our relationship, we went on a few dates with people together, nothing too serious, and had a great time. I thought everything was going very well.
But then as our relationship started to transition into more of a settled, routine thing, my partner decided he was ready to start looking for a secondary. I was reluctant and did not really feel ready, but I also knew that it was important to him and he would feel like something was missing from his life without it. I also thought it would be important to find out for sure that I was capable of being completely open and non-monogamous.
It was a disaster. My partner and the girl he was seeing were both very understanding and patient with me and both complied with any request I made immediately (e.g., I want to meet her, I want to develop a relationship with her on my own, I want you to take a break). But I think I can say it was one of the lowest points of my life. I was in constant pain, completely irrational, eaten alive with jealousy and sadness, and all for no f-ing reason. Nothing was taken away from our relationship or damaged by it, yet I was completely devastated. I just felt shattered.
So they ended it. I am feeling like a normal human being again. But my confidence/belief in a poly relationship -- and therefore this relationship -- is completely gone. And I am more jealous, controlling, and insecure than I have ever been in my life. I don't recognize this side of myself and I hate it. I am so disappointed in myself for not being able to live up to these ideals, and for being so completely unreasonable.
My partner seems to think that we can find a system that works for both of us, and we just need to tweak the rules. But right now, I feel so burned by the whole thing, I hate the idea of even trying and want nothing to do with dating other people.
So I don't really have a specific question -- I guess I am just looking for some perspective. Right now I feel so hopeless and confused. I don't want to end this relationship, but I also don't know if I will ever be able to give my partner the level of openness he clearly needs. And I want so badly to be able to do that, and not be driven by being weak and batsh-t crazy. Any advice or shared experiences would be so deeply appreciated.