I am just struggling with feeling selfish - taking the benefits of being in the family (living with girlfriend, him paying for things, being a live-in parent to my step-daughter), but not *feeling* the family love for him in return.
What DO you feel? Sounds like you feel respect and grateful. Glad you get along and don't fight and are not jealous. So could express all that. The things you DO feel.
He is asking uncomfortable, direct questions about whether I love him as a family member, whether I would be friends with him if we'd met outside of GF, whether I'd still want to live with him if ever anything happened to GF and daughter, whether I think of him in the same way I think about my two male best friends at home.
Just answer. Honest, but tempered with tact perhaps? Something like...
- I am not sure if we would be friends if we'd met outside of girlfriend. That's not how it happened. I prefer to deal in what IS rather than "what if."
- I do not know if I would want to live with you if anything happened to GF and daughter. I cannot "pre-feel" before I get there. Again, I prefer to deal in what is, and not "what if."
- I think of you differently than I do my male friends at home. They are not my metamours.
- Why do you ask me these things? What is your need? How are YOU feeling?
When I avoid his invitations to go out for a night with him, or when I disappear into my room when GF isn't about, I feel guilty. Telling him that I don't love him as family feels... disrespectful? And feels like kicking a puppy who has been generous to me... Does that make sense?
It does make sense. But you could not lie about how you feel at this point in time. He doesn't need to know you struggle and you can maintain some privacy about it. You do not HAVE to love your meta.
On the other hand, if he craves connection, you could invite HIM to something -- coffee? A game of Scrabble? Just to chat and connect without it being a thing, at a time that is more handy for you and at a level you can deal with. Your shared GF comes as a "package deal." Accepting the rest of her people -- the kid, him -- comes with that. And if the price of admission here is a Scrabble game here and there with him to smooth feathers, why not?
It's not reasonable for him to ask for feelings you just do not have.
But you could choose to be generous in spirit and give him some of those intangible things in service to the greater polyship : some of your time, take an interest in conversation with him (even if he's boring to you), good wishes, kindness, credit where credit is due, appreciation, etc.
You are in polyship with him too, not just her. Sounds like he wants attention or a sense of belonging? Could it be any other needs in the "connection" bucket besides "love?" Something you could be more willing to provide? See the "connection" list here.
Could that help ID what you think he needs so you can ask him.... "Hey. Are you needing some of THAT?"