Thank you so much for your reply. I will try to answer each of your questions in turn.
I guess that really depends on what exactly you struggle with in her other relationships. Is it the fact that she's having other relationships, or is it that you don't think the guys she's dating are right for her? If it's simply that she's dating other men, then you may want to have a long hard think about whether a polyship is the right thing for you.
I see my longterm future with her, with other men in the picture. I don't have a secret wish that it will be just myself, her and her husband. I accept that part of her and don't have an issue with it. I think the thing that causes me to doubt whether poly is 'right' for me is the fact that I do struggle with things, that it doesn't come easily to me. Even when I am feeling fully secure, there are just certain things that make me uncomfortable. Yet, I do not actively want monogamy.
Thinking back to her earlier relationships, it was more to do with insecurity in our relationship. I always felt that, being heterosexual before she met me, she would ultimately prefer a man. She is also Dominant, as am I, and I always thought that if she found a submissive male, she would find him a better fit. Now, though, she seems fully committed and sure of what she wants - and as a result, I do not fear her leaving me.
The guy she dated before this one.... in the Spring... was the first one I felt really happy with. I felt that he respected me - as well as her. I found it hard the first time she slept with him, because it was the first time she had fully slept with anyone outside of our relationship. But, once that happened, I felt very relaxed about him. I thought it would be the start of a good relationship between myself and poly and felt positive about the future.
Agh.... Her current guy is very complex for me. I do not feel respected by him. I also did not feel that she put our relationship across to him effectively. He referred to me as her 'friend' the first time I met him.... and this unsettled me.... as I am truly more like a wife to her. This, coupled with little things, like the fact he would text her late at night when her and I were ready to go to bed together, or spending time together, and the fact that he never asked about me, unsettled me also. My initial online meeting with him was not good and he did not make me feel comfortable. The push-and-pull nature of their connection over the past year has left me unable to settle on him; because until now, she's never settled on him herself. Early on, she raved about him, perhaps too much, and it instilled an unnecessary fear in me. I think that those feelings have kind of lingered and I just don't get a comfortable feeling about him. At one point, he and one particular woman I had a rather large crush on became our 'undateables'.... the people that we knew would cause the largest problem, if ever we were to date them. I have been told many times that he is out of the picture... but then he comes back.... so, I truly feel that I just haven't had the time to settle on him. Perhaps I'm hanging onto some resentment.... that she knew how hard this particular guy would be for me... but still dated him... yet, isn't giving me the extra time I need, despite me trying to work through my own issues so that she can be happy. I think that's probably the crux of it.
You can't control her every move, but you can explain why you have the feelings you do and suggest ways in which she can help you feel more secure in your relationship with her, within reason. What do you feel like you need in order to feel good about the relationship she's having right now?
I think that's a really good point. Often, I don't even necessarily want her to change her behaviour; but simply to understand mine, so that she doesn't get stressed out. She spent so much time over the summer verbally reassuring me about this guy and it genuinely helped. There are certain things that she has done, actions, that have not helped. Things like sexting with him copiously when we were going through a month of sexual drought, due to work and illness and other things, instead of investing the time in our sexual relationship first. Dating him a couple of weeks after I got home was hard for me; especially two very long dates within six days of each other, when we generally see secondary partners once or twice a month. Little things got to me... like, with this particular partner, I asked her not to reveal any sexual details... to have sex with him when she's ready, but not to tell me about it... because I wanted her to be free, without me having to become upset about this particular guy. Before their first date, she started asking me if she should take condoms and I wanted to bang my head against a wall... after the dates, she complained about her biceps hurting (i.e. from spanking him)... little things like that. I think it comes down to feeling disrespected... feeling that I have really gone out on a limb to 'get ok' with this guy.... and that perhaps she could have done more. But... she is human... she can only do so much.
You said she shuts you down when you try to suggest ways she can help you feel better about the relationship? Can you say what those suggestions are? It's tough to know what's reasonable and what's not because everyone is different, but it might help knowing what you are asking of her.
I actively try not to actually ask many things of her... and recently was the first time I have ever specifically asked for something. I asked if she would consider giving dating a break for the first two weeks of me being back in England, to help me adjust to the change. I asked her not because I wanted to stop her dating; but the opposite.... I wanted to ensure that I would be at an emotionally comfortable position, so that I would feel happy and supportive about her new lovers. Last time I went home, she started dating very heavily and very suddenly and I felt that it was too soon - so I tried to learn from that, this time around.
She agreed to it, but when I got home, she started canvassing for new dates immediately, chatting to guys online, and talking to her now-lover more often. After about a week, she expressed that she could not meet my expectation and felt too restricted. So I dropped it.
The only other thing I have specifically asked of her is to do a trial run of keeping sexual information to herself for a while, until I am more able to cope. Previously, we have told each other quite a lot - but I just didn't think I could handle it with this particular guy and wanted to do whatever I could to make her relationship with him an enjoyable one. She has kept more information to herself than usual, but still tells me more than I want to know.
The reason this whole conversation came about is because she introduced me, online, to another guy she's been getting close to over the past month. When I joined them, she was flirting with him and it made me feel tense. Again, made me feel disrespected. We were talking on the phone, whilst typing to him, and when I entered the box, she told me that he was sending her private messages, continuing the flirtation they were having before I joined. This again made me feel disrespected. She could her the tension in my voice and basically pounced on me when we said goodbye to him. I didn't have a huge problem - I just wanted to be left alone to let the moment pass; but she wouldn't let it go. So, now, it seems, she thinks I have a huge problem with everyone she dates.
One thing that has struck me is the amount of times she has told me that she struggles less than I do. It got me thinking that poly isn't all about not feeling jealous. It's also about empathy, consideration and balance. What if she struggles less because I deal with it better? When I have introduced new secondaries to her online, I am very careful not to flirt with them in front of her, the first time she meets them, because I want her to be comfortable and don't think it's necessary in that moment. My secondaries have taken an interest in her, asked her questions and treated her like an important person. She's also never experienced me being in love with another person or heavily involved with them. For me, it's been online-only, or friends with benefits in person. I also do not date as many people as she does, so there is a little less change to adapt to. Whether any of these things make a difference, I am not sure!