What opalescent said.
I had this thread bookmarked this morning to respond to tonight when I had more time - they covered the points was going to make.
It's ok to build your "castle-in-the-sky" as to how you hope things turn out with you and this woman. It may even come true (mine did with Dude). But there are a LOT of steps and probably a fair amount of confusion/chaos before that can even possibly START to happen in this scenario.
The fact that you are a woman and not another man may, in fact, come into play (it did in our case...the fact that Dude was a guy was a huge stumbling block for MrS, who was always comfortable with the idea of other girls)...on the other hand I have also seen that go the OTHER way. (One of our friends in college - he couldn't stand the fact that his bi girlfriend was attracted to women, that she was attracted to men he got - it meant that she was attracted to HIM, but he viewed her attraction to women as a REJECTION of men, because they could offer him something he felt he couldn't - he felt he couldn't compete with the girls, whereas he was pretty confident that he could stand up against any male "competitors." MrS talked to him, actually, it was a "no go" ... shame too - she was smart, sexy, interesting and was interested in ME...damn.)
I'll just re-iterate a few points - just because you love her doesn't define what your relationship with him has to look like (if this goes down). You don't have to "love" him. If you like and respect him - that helps (both with the practicality of the situation and with your feelings of jealousy). At the very minimum you can be civil and respect her relationship with him (even if you don't respect him for himself).
Hmmm..."Can polyamory be learned?" THAT, my friend is an absolutely FANTASTIC question. (Which probably deserves it's own thread.) That ties in with the debate as to whether poly is "hardwired" or a "choice" (which is endlessly debated here - often being compared to sexuality). I suspect that poly CAN probably be learned...maybe even by the majority of people (although how large of a majority, I am not willing to speculate). If I look at the number of people who are able to love multiple people sequentially (i.e. serial monogamists - however you want to interpret that) I suspect that a number of them might have been polyamorists if THAT was our cultural norm rather than monogamy.
It seems to me that many, many, many people accept what society "tells" them is true as...true. If society told them something ELSE...? For me, I think that my being poly was hugely influenced by reading that I did in my formative years (Heinlein, et al.) combined with being raised in a family that consistently expected us to question authority and make up our own minds. Had I not had that experience, would I be poly now? (just speculation - I did have that exposure/experience - so I will never know)
Me: poly bi female, in an "open-but-not-looking" V-plus with -
MrS: hetero polyflexible male, live-in husband (24+ yrs)
Dude: hetero poly male, live-in boyfriend (5+ yrs) and MrS's BFF
SLeW: platonic girlfriend and BFF
Lotus: "it's complicated"
+ "others" = FBs, FWBs, lover-friends, platonic G/BFs, boytoys, etc.
My poly blogs here:
The Journey of JaneQSmythe
The Notebook of JaneQSmythe