I've read through your thread and I'm really glad that you spoke to your boyfriend about it a bit! I'm also glad that you seem to be veering away from any ideas about an emotional affair - that's different to general chit chat or advice-seeking/ranting with friends. An emotional affair is an emotional affair - it's still dishonest and it's not 'poly'. Step awaaaaay from the emotional affair
It is ok for your boyfriend to be sad. He will be scared and nervous. He'll have his own feelings to work through. Just like you needed to sit on your feelings until you'd processed them, he'll need to do the same.
This article is really useful for dealing with jealousy and insecurity. Pages 5 and 6 have some very useful pointers for if and when you actually start being actively poly:
Something that has also helped me is Sternberg's Love Theory:
This *really* helped me to understand how my GF and I felt for each other and how new people weren't going to immediately be at that level.
Often, you just have to keep talking until something works. Patience is absolutely key. Be nurturing, make him feel safe. Make him feel that it is completely ok to feel how he feels - and it's completely ok to talk to you about it. Also, ask him what he needs from you. Have regular check-ins. My GF and her husband go out for a coffee, for about an hour or two, every two weeks, to literally say "could I have done anything differently recently? how are we getting on?" They've found that really useful. My GF and I don't do this, because we are both women: thus, always jabbering away to each other. Find what works for both of you, in terms of communicating this stuff
Now it kind of comes to crunch time. You've aired your thoughts. He was open. What now?
Could you arrange a time - say, two weeks from now - to discuss this further? Discussing further doesn't mean "you must give me the go ahead in two weeks" , but it gives you both time to ponder your needs.
During that conversation, you could lay out some guidelines. If GalaGirl
(jumps up and waves arms around) is reading this, she outlines SMART agreements - she will do a much better job of this that I can!!
One thing that I've always struggled with in poly (especially earlier poly) is feeling like an audience member, watching all the chaos. My GF would just launch herself into situations quickly, she wouldn't pace herself. This caused me some anxiety and I swear that we could have done a better job of it. If you're willing to set timelines to keep re-evaluating, this might help to avoid that.
The good thing is that you are starting to know what you want now. You have to follow your gut and decide how important certain things are for you. When you do talk and you form some kind of new, trial agreement, make sure that neither of you leave that agreement without being equally happy. Does that make sense? If you talk in a couple of weeks and he says he needs three months to get his head around the idea, only agree to it if you cant. Do not embark upon any kind of affair during that time. Don't push the limits of the agreement. If you agree that you could start seeing this guy, set some guidelines on how that will realistically work (how often, etc?). If you set realistic guidelines and stick to them, this should show your boyfriend that you value him enough to stick to your agreements - therefore, that he is a priority in your life.