To give a short update: As always, last night didn't go how I expected. But we did talk. Or at least we had what I am calling The Talk part 1. I got how I've been feeling out on the table and got his explanation for it. He has been holding himself back - on purpose - out of fear that if he allows himself to fully "dive in" to what we are growing that he'll end up hurting himself, his wife, me, my husband, because he feels it would be setting himself up for disappointment since we can't follow the relationship model dictated by monogamy -- logistically speaking there is no feasible way we could move in together, for example, let alone follow a cohabitation to marriage sort of path with how our lives are right now.
I argued that I don't see why being unable to live a relationship the stereotypical culturally acceptable way means you can't allow yourself to invest into it fully or dive in completely or whatever phrase you want to use. Just because we can't spend every waking moment together due to our other committements doesn't really change that for me. Would I like to spend more time together? Absolutely! And when it is possible we can do so. But with working opposite schedules, even if we didn't have the spouses/kids to consider, there's only so much time we could carve out.
On Sunday will be The Talk part 2. He has asked me to make a list (sounding very similar to your suggestion, Ciel) of what I would ideally want from this relationship. I have also told him that I will give serious thought to the idea of simply continuing as we are, with this level of casual non-investment, and can I be okay with taking it for what it is, which is primarily a friendship that occasionally includes benefits. I have asked him to consider allowing himself to dive in fully despite his bad past experience. Yes, there is the possibility everything would blow up and we'd all get hurt. But we have that possibility now. Keeping things more casual doesn't mean there can't be an awful blow up and break up.
So I have a lot of thinking and deciding to do these next three days before we get together to talk. I am declining to have our Saturday night date and sleep over, because that generally results in little sleep, and I want to be fully awake and sharp on Sunday for the discussion.
From the responses I've gotten on this thread I suspect some of you may feel I'm being naive and silly to even continue this dialogue and see if there is a way to make it work, but I do love him, and if we can mend things and move forward, that would be my ideal. I am also very aware that I can bring as many lists and requests to the table as I want, explain myself til I'm blue in the face, and I could be met with "nope, not happening", which is why I will also be taking time to consider if I could be okay with the more casual status and stop trying to turn it into something its not.
This is almost more of a blog than anything else so I think I'll copy it over there and do the rest of the journaling there. But again I wanted to say, thank you to those who have responded. The e-kick in the pants really did help me to speak up last night. To be honest, I had wondered if I just had an over inflated idea of what to expect as a secondary, and your responses showed me that was not correct. So thank you.
"This, too, is sacred."
I am my own primary.
Me: F, 30's, bi.
Sadist: my fwb. M, 30's.
Pandora: Sadist's gf. F, 30's.