So we just had a VERY long conversation that covered boundaries, as well as some unresolved issues in our marriage and where we want to go from here.
Her issues with boundaries arise from a few areas. First, she was brought up in an atmosphere in which her boundaries were not respected at all- she basically wasn't allowed to have any. She has never really understood why boundaries are important to others. As a result, her protection of her own boundaries and her respect for others' is low. I didn't know it, but it seems that she has had problems with cheating all her life.
Also, she still harbors a lot of resentment for the way that I have handled boundaries with her in the past. When I was a practicing alcoholic, I had pretty much no respect for her boundaries. I am tons better these days, but I step over her boundaries sometimes- and sometimes I don't even realize it. So, boundary issues exist on both sides.
We have concluded that we are both still very much in love, and that we will do what we can to work this out. We both have work to do on respecting each others' boundaries. We also need to start working out what our life will look like from here. If it turns out that she needs to be poly and I need to be mono, so be it- but we're not giving up unless we reach that point.
All excellent points.
Let me be more specific: I am comfortable with poly as regards my wife's emotional connections. I am not comfortable with the physical manifestations of her loves- that whole jealousy thing, again. Seriously, I don't know how to close this cognitive gap, but I do want to.
In the past, I chose poly so that she could get her needs met. More recently, I chose poly because I have a desire to give her the freedom to love as she wills.
My conclusion, especially after the conversation we just had, is that our marriage is pretty definitely not strong enough to support poly right now. I was already getting ready to start seeing a psychologist (in part to try to help me work through my mental blocks with jealousy, as well as other reasons). I am pretty well convinced to add marriage counseling in as well.
RE: babysteps. Yeah, good idea. I already tried diving in headfirst, and found that it did suck. I suspect that I will be aiming for a course of action that is more sustainable for me next time, if there is a next time.