Mono very hesitantly thinking about poly
I've known this girl for 10 years. I'll spare you the extremely long story and skip straight to the bulletpoints. We've known each other for 10 years. We are each others' best friend. We've briefly dated twice. Both times I ended it. We've always been in love with each other for basically the entire 10 years, despite not realizing it at various times.
About 5 years ago she went poly and I supported her. We were just friends at the time. She currently has two partners and we're on opposite sides of the country. We'd had an unexpected virtual sexual encounter and it drew the attention of her partners to say that they're not ok with her having that with me when I'm not a partner
This led to me and her having talks about why we're not partners. I realized that I'd made a lot of progress in getting over a lot of my issues that had been standing between us in the past and that I want to be with her, I see us getting married, I even want her to have my children. When I told her this she basically told me that she wanted the same things.
As if the distance weren't a big enough obstacle, I also, apparently, never had a proper understanding of the poly lifestyle. When she'd told me she wanted the same I had assumed this meant that she was going to break up with her partners and go back to being monogamous and that we would be together and then she could move out here with me. I didn't fully realize, or perhaps I was in denial, that poly was a serious lifestyle choice, not a phase that you shrug off when the time is right.
I still want us to be partners. I still want a lifetime with her with a family and everything. But she's made it very clear that poly comes with the package. I'm very very monogamous, but she's important enough for me to try.
I understand that her having other partners does not mean I'm a lesser priority. I understand that the idea is that it's impossible for a single person to truly fulfill all of somebody's needs, and that having multiple partners just allows someone you love to be more completely fulfilled and that this is a good thing. I believe I understand polyamory very well. I've had dozens of talks with her about it. But I'm still having seriously emotional difficulties:
-No matter how many times I tell myself to the contrary I can't stop feeling like "the 3rd boyfriend".
-I hate this feeling that from her busy schedule with her other two boyfriends that she has to find time to fit me in now too.
-I hate the idea that if not for them I could be spending 3x as much time with her.
-I feel emasculated being 1 of 3. It feels as if she's just capturing partners and I'm just the latest one to have fallen for her.
-I feel, that by consenting to be in a relationship like this, that I'm validating an internal sense of inferiority. I feel like I'm admitting to myself that I'm not good enough to justify being someone's only partner and so I have to settle for being a cog in a machine instead.
-The little time I do have with her is poisoned by my jealousies. I can't just enjoy our time, I'm compelled to continually talk about these issues even though all I'm doing is going in circles. When I can manage to not talk about these problems ad infinitum, all I've really done is restrict that negativity to my mind. In my head I still feel exactly the same. I'm consumed with jealousy. I don't know how to deal with it. This may sound strange but I've never been jealous before. Not really. I've experienced jealousy, yes. But always in passing, never this sustained constant overbearing jealousy. I have no coping mechanism for this and I don't know how to create one.
Sorry for the long post but I just feel like this is just so much to deal with, such a big change, and I feel like it's destroying me. I needed to get it all out. Can anybody help me?