In love with boyfriend, but his primary might not be ok with poly anymore
Six months ago, I met my boyfriend (if I can still call him that) in one of our graduate courses. Magnetic attraction from the first moment of meeting, & within weeks were best friends, glued to each other's sides in a way that felt like kismet. I learned quickly that he had a long term girlfriend whom was very much his lifemate, so I tried to think of him only as a friend, even though the chemistry between us was unbearable at times. Regardless, our friendship was profound & healing for us both. I also met his girlfriend many times, including spending friendly time alone with her whilst getting coffee together.
We parted ways for a month when he & his girlfriend were gone to Europe. When they returned, the chemistry between us had grown even more to the point where it was clearly becoming more than a friendship. This is when he revealed to me his relationship had been open for the past few years and they considered themselves poly. He and I decided to begin dating with the stipulation of taking things very slowly, to make sure his primary was comfortable with every step. Their previous experiences with other people were mostly sexual and not long term or emotionally intimate- this was the first time a true poly situation could manifest.
This was over three months ago. We have seen each other nearly every day and our relationship has grown even deeper & closer than before- it is incredible to be so close to a person. Our attraction is likewise the strongest I have ever felt with someone. Yet his girlfriend will not even let us kiss yet. She is still working on being comfortable with it, and when he asks her how she is feeling and whether she's ready for us to take the next step, she becomes upset & feels he is pressuring her. This goes on week after week. Nothing changes. She does not even like to hear him say that we are dating, preferring to think of it as a close friendship. He is feeling frustrated because we have fallen so much in love but cannot express it physically, and there is no indication we will be able to do so anytime soon.
Recently, he had some difficult discussions with her in which she admitted she wasn't fully comfortable with poly- although she wants to be- & just wanted to make him happy by saying she was ok with it. She has apparently been doing this for years unbeknownst to him, telling him what she thinks he wants to hear, instead of being honest. She has been afraid of telling him about her poly fears or even thinking too much about it, worrying the conclusion she'd reach could be that she wants lifelong monogamy, which would devastate him.
They are continuing to discuss this & she says she wants to work through her fears, and become truly comfortable with poly. She knows his relationship with me is very important to him, and wants him to be able to do what makes him happy. He does not want to lose what we have & is optimistic she will eventually be ok with us progressing physically, though it may take time for that to happen.
I am beginning to feel frustrated however that they are only now working through these issues, and my relationship with him is essentially on hold until they figure it out. He became frantic & depressed when I brought up the possibility of us parting ways while they figure it out. That would agonize me as well if we had to do it, but frankly it is also painful sitting here waiting in limbo, not knowing what is going to happen, and having my love life rest on what other people decide while I have no say in it. I wish I had known early on that this was going to happen and his girlfriend had so many uncertainties about poly. I would have avoided letting my heart get so involved.
In some ways I feel bad that I have brought so many difficulties into their relationship. I am very fond of his primary girlfriend and consider her a friend in her own right, and I want nothing to do with hurting her. I do not want to replace her nor am I looking to be his primary. I think this is what she fears will happen however, despite both me and him telling her this is an impossibility.
I am not sure what to do now. I am deeply in love and cherish my relationship with him, and if there is still a chance for this to work out, I will hold onto it. This is my first experience with poly as well. I do not know if this type of problem is common- where one partner becomes uncertain of their comfort with poly whilst their partner is elbows deep in another relationship.
Does anyone have ideas on how I should proceed? Should I keep waiting for his primary to become comfortable with our relationship and poly in general, even if it takes a long time? Is there anything I can do to help make her more comfortable with it myself? As a secondary, what sort of rights do I have in this situation- I feel left in the dust at the moment- he is fighting hard to keep what we have, but the decision is out of my hands, which is a feeling I am not fond of.
Thank you in advance for any advice & thoughts.