I commend you for knowing what you want in your romances in general and sticking with that. This is A Good Thing. I am sad for your grieving the end of THIS romance, but let it be the end. In this situation it seems best to NOT be romance partners. Just be friends.
You greive, and she will experience her own stages of grief.
She's struggling to understand why this is ending (because you have different wants, and your want is alien to her) but she's also being less than stellar in her hurtness.
She just kept talking about how I was the love of her life (we have been dating for 3 months) and that what I was doing was foolish and sad. That I didn't understand what mattered in life, apparently.
She is putting you down because she could be in her "anger" stage.
Step away from the emotions and what do you have? 3 months dating. Come to find it's not a runner. That's alright. That's what dating is FOR.
Her calling you the love of her life after only 3 mos? A bit premature.
Her unable to handle disappointment in dating? Well, she has to learn to come to terms. That's part of "dating risk." That some of them are not gonna be runners! The only way to not risk that is to not date. If she wants to date people, that comes with the territory.
Putting down your wants, your values as "less than" because they are different from her wants, her values? She's could develop a better sense of dating and handling her own emotions when disappointed. But philosophical maturity
is not one of the freebies -- it is developed over time. Could be generous and let it slide and not let that get you all cranked up. People grow at their own rates.
For myself... I wouldn't even be "going steady" (forgive old fashioned term) at 3 mos much less declaring someone "the love of my life." Beginning to love, maybe. A major love of my life? No. Certainly not THE love of my life when I'm still getting to know them. And my life isn't over or nearing finality for me to be able to make that call. Too fast of attachment could be something to look out for. I'm not saying she's unhealthy, but some people get really CLING ON too soon in dating. That's sometimes a red flag.
Pay her no mind in her upset. Be compassionate but remember to lift this up to yourself and to her when necessary:
- What you are doing is being HONEST, and honesty is not foolish or sad.
- You are being HONEST with your own self and with her.
- You see that it is hard for her to hear. It may even be hard for you to say. But you want to stick to hard truth and being honest.
- That ought to serve you, her, and our shared relationship (friendship or romanceship) better than lies.
- Even "soft lies" are lies and NOT honesty.
That she is handling her disappointed in this way... well, nobody is perfect when upset and some people need time and experience to learn to navigate the stages of grief. It is part of knowing oneself.
She made it sound like it was something I could get over and would once I started thinking like an adult
Her belittling your maturity in her upset is not kind.
That your wants, needs, and limits are different than hers? She is a unique individual and so are you. You both have the right to have healthy relationships that you can thrive in. You both have the right to have your romances in the shape that you hope for. That is Life.
We are going to talk again in a few days. I am afraid of losing her and finding out that she was right and that I was just confused about all of this. Before this conversation I had been feeling a deep sense of self-assurance and trust about my desire to be polyamorous. Will this really be worth it? How can I know?
You don't have to lose her friendship just because you want different things in a romance. You can tell her you are be willing to be her friend.
(She could be willing to be an appropriate friend back. That is separate issue. Only she controls her own behavior and state her own willingness. You control your own behavior and state your own willingness.)
You could lift these up to yourself and to her too:
- You want to explore poly.
- You cannot share that with her. Her wants are mutually exclusive. Nobody's fault, and she is not lacking in anything just because you want different things in Life. You are sorry she is disappointed. So are you. But it is what it is.
- You do not want to cheat on her or be unethical in other ways.
- You cannot (at this point in time) know the end of the book before you read it. So you could be ok considering yourself "in the process of finding out." That is HOW you alleviate confusion.
- You are willing to still be friends.
If you stay in relationship with her when she wants to be exclusive and you do not, you are not being true to your own want to be free to explore. Compromising your own want to know yourself better to give her hers is not you taking care of you.
I see that you don't want to hurt her. Let me repeat... You are NOT hurting her. You are being honest.
There is disappointment in the situation not being a runner, sure. But this is not maliciously hurting her out of being MEAN. This is just Life and a part of DATING. You both want different things. Could accept that. That is why people DATE -- to seek the ones who are compatible.
You are responsible for your own best healths -- mental , emotional, physical and spiritual healths. Take good care of you. Could use this quiet time post break up to NOT date but to heal. And in the healing, think about reading resources.
I am hoping that once she is past her grief she will come to be your friend.
But if it turns out not, and she wants to just part on good terms that is ok too. Breaking up is not fun, but if it must be had, I like having them with good grace. I don't like having a big ol' hooha crazy thing. That's no good to anyone!
Hang in there.