I do know my primary concern right now is that I feel like my having, essentially, a platonic affair with my old friend is about the crappiest reward for being an amazing boyfriend I can think of.
AGAIN... you could ask the BF how he feels. If he's feeling fine, then it isn't him having a "crap reward." You are not betraying him any.
Or do you subscribe to the belief that to feel
a thing is the same as to do
It could be YOU coming to terms with being a very human person with sexual attraction, and dealing with caregiver burn out. (I'm in those shoes now actually, I sympathize on eldercare wacky.)
In terms of being "normal?" YES. You have sexual desire. I have that too. So do others. I'm sexually turned on by my friends. Sure I fantasize. DH knows it. Hell, he likes to yank my chain about it. He likes watching me flirt with other people.
So? The world has not imploded. I have a marriage and DH and I are good. My friends and I are still only friends. Some know I crush on them, some do not. I enjoy the sexual frisson in my head. I enjoy the flirting. Friends are still friends. Cupcakes for all. Where is problem?
If you want to be free of this worry/guilt thing, you could talk to BF about it and ask for his reassure that he is secure and unthreatened by it.
And you could give yourself permission to be human, and relax and allow yourself to be secure and unthreatened by it too. Trust yourself to behave in ethical, appropriate ways.
And if later down the road you want to change arrangements and pursue a polyship later, you could trust yourself to behave ethically. You could talk to yourself within about it to assess your own willing/readiness, and talk with your BF to check on his willing/readiness. Then your potential poly dating partner to check on THEIR willing/readiness. When you are at THAT point in time.
Figure out where all the wants, needs, and limits are... THEN.
Do not "pre worry." That is not constructive or helpful. It just feeds anxiety.
If you notice your inner voice talks to you with too many "SHOULD this and thats" and this also increases the guilty/anxiety factor? Could consider changing the vocab to "COULD this and that" and see if you feel better inside your inner world there.
I can't help but wonder if that concept should be applied to our current relationship - and to what degree - or if for now, we need to concentrate on us as a pair.
I would gently suggest that if you are smack in caregiver burnout?
- Short Term: Get a babysitter for your patient and go out as a couple with some quality time spent on a couple date for just YOURSELVES. (It is the same thing I deal in -- only I also get to find kid care for the kid.)
- LongTerm: Reevaluate if THIS is the best living arrangement to meet MOST of ALL the people's needs. Have you hit a stage where you need other people's help here? Relatives? Professionals? Move your patient to live elsewhere? What are the limits of time/ money / disease progression that you deal in?
ADDING the stress of poly dating/adding new people to your polymath
is not wise at this time. Could call it "familymath" -- it is the same. All the people you tend to on your plate. Be it familyships or romanceships -- relationships are relationships.
That THESE are your people. The people you deal with and in.
Opening while doing eldercare TOO? That's a great way to drive yourselves crazier trying to meet yet another
person's wants, needs, and limits.
It's crazy enough
in eldercare land.
Remember even while you take care of dad -- you can take care of YOU too. Put your own oxygen mask on first. Meet your OWN needs first so you can be a better, healthier caregiver for your dad. It will be ok.