1) He did a lie of omission by keeping his affair secret. Ergo, cheating on you and L. This is dishonest and not ethical. In my universe?
That is a dealbreaker. I cannot build an honest, ethical polyship on a foundation of lies.
2) He expects you not have have long term relationships with other people outside your "V" even while he has long term things. This is not fair or reasonable.
Those are 2 separate problems.
I'm unsure about my feelings, about why this is so hard for me.
You have been lied to and cheated on. I don't see anything confusing about how you feel right now. You feel yucky because your trust in your BF took a ding. Of course thinking clear right now will feel hard. You are in shock / emotionally flooded. It is not unreasonable to be feeling all UGGGGH right now.
We love and respect each other so much
Does not compute. Cheating is not respectful. Coming to find what you thought WAS actually ISN'T hurts. I'm sorry.
And it was such a long and slow process that took sooo much working out of feelings (and in my opinion the perfect combination of personalities) to get where we are..... I guess that I don't trust that other 'long term people' won't mess up what we have together.
Are you saying that it is too much of a drag to create a new, honest polyship so you are going to stay with the cheater and put up with it? I fail to see how the lying cheater is a "respectful, perfect personality." Right now he's in the doghouse and you are trying to figure out what to do about it/him.
Note it isn't the other people who suck here -- it is the cheating BF. If he wanted to date the Other, he could have brought them around to meet and be open and clear and aboveboard. Poly does not say "No." It says "Go slow, be kind with my heart."
So really it is HIM messing up what you have together. Maybe he lied to the Other too. Who knows!?
E says that he that he really enjoys 'flirting'/'build up' aspect of romantic things but that he often doesn't know how to stop things once they begin (and is sensitive about not wanting to be exploiting/using anyone)... But now I don't feel that I can trust what he says. I feel anxious all the time, I'm having nightmares, I become paranoid when he doesn't answer my calls. I basically just feel like shit.
I see. How sensitive/not exploiting you
and your trust is he being then? How come he can do polite to others but not his GF?
This is just nonsense talk to make himself feel like "not such a bad guy/not my fault really
Be more respectful to just boldly say "Yes. I did a bad and hurt you. I own it. Will you allow me to make apology and ammends? I ask for your forgiveness if you are willing to grant it."
Yep. You will feel bad for a time. It is what it is. Rain is rain. Sun is sun. Emotion is emotion. You cannot help how you feel when you feel it. You do not choose to feel whatever it is. Let that part blow on through.
You can only choose how you BEHAVE in response to the feeling/situation. React or act with intention. THIS part you must think out carefully. With your own best health interests in mind.
This was reaction
in the heat of the moment:
he had a complete meltdown and I was put into 'comforting' mode: ie making sure he knows that I still love him, that I am not going to leave him, that I don't think he's an asshole, etc.
That does not count. You were in shock/emotionally flooded. You said things you may not mean when in shock/emotionally flooded. I am amazed he had a fit when you called him out. It's like the cookie thief who gets busted who is not at all sorry he was stealing cookies from the jar. Just sorry he got busted. Sheesh.
Now you have to reconcile with yourself and decide if this is repairable or you are through. Sorting yourself won't feel fun. But do sort yourself.
You basically took a major ding, and I'm not hearing he made a clear apology. I'm not hearing you have chosen between
1) Do not forgive and break up because he's been a liar/cheater.
2) Forgive, but break up because he's been a liar/cheater.
3) Forgive, but stay together with new hard limit for what will immediately happen if he crosses the line again. PLUS ammends he must make.
You sound like you are trying to sort among those 3 options and get your head clear.
He's not made apology and is not making ammends yet. He is making excuses great
though. On how he doesn't "know how to stop" himself. Maybe making amends is going to self-control / honesty/ relationships class of some kind? You have to decide what effort is enough/will do if you take him back.
when I try to talk to anyone about this I only get the "you can't ask him not to be in a long-term relationship with someone else because then you wouldn't be in an open relationship/you're being hypocritical because you have L /he didn't do anything wrong so you can't be mad (I'm not 'mad' just in pain)/this 'is what an open relationship is so you basically got what was coming to you".... which is why I'm here.
I know not everyone is able to understand poly/open relationships. But ethics are ethics.
Your "V" is not CLOSED or polyfidelitious. But it has agreements for how outside dating will take place. There is the expectation that outside relationships will be announced openly and honestly.
He broke with that agreement. He did a lie of omission while cheating on his polypeeps with some hidden affair person. Who is married to boot, and who knows if the poor husband is also in the dark being lied to/cheated on.
You could be in a polyship of 20 people -- he STILL behaved unethically according to the contract of that polyship. If the agreement is to STATE openly when you are having an outside relationship and he failed to do so.
Whether or not YOU are cut out for poly is a separate question than the question of "My BF cheated on me and broke with our relationship agreement by having an affair. Do I forgive him and continue or dump him?"
And that is only something YOU can answer.