I recently had a very difficult emotional conversation with my monogomous boyfriend. I am married and my husband and I have been practicing polyamory for about 5 months, I started dating shortly after that time.
The relationship has been very beautiful, and I have deep compassion with what he is going through but am struggling and would love some ideas on the best ways I might help him and help myself right now.
We had been close friends for about 6 months before I disclosed that I was poly, and we became lovers. He admitted that he had been secretly in love with me for months, but had not felt that there was any hope. He was ecstatic to have a relationship, but confused about poly (understandably) and it took some time for myself and my husband to convince him that it was really "okay" and not "cheating" etc. He became involved and has always been open about his comfort level and we have been open communicators all along. He has shared often feeling uncertain if he can "settle" to have only "part of me" etc. However, he is also close friends with my husband so has guilt whenever he feels possessive or wants me "all to himself." I have been open and understanding and I believe he would agree wholeheartedly.
So...here is the issue. Long story short, he cancelled our normal Friday date without explanation. I had a hunch, so I asked if he had a date. (I had actually encouraged him to date, just asked that he tell me if he decided to do so.) He admitted he did have a date. I was very hurt, not because he had a date, but because he cancelled OUR date and further, didn't tell me. He apologized for both. He said that he was worried it would upset me, and that it was "no big deal" anyway and was confused as to why this would be a problem for me. I explained that in poly, this is "cheating." He could almost understand, but not quite.
I further explained that if he wants to date, that is a-okay with me, I might get jealous, but it would be my job to work on that. I stated that I needed to know one thing. "Are you seeking an addition to our relationship, or a replacement?" And he can't or won't answer. He became very defensive. I felt it was a reasonable question. I was so hurt that I impulsively issued an ultimatum, stating that if he was seeking "a monogomous life partner which by definition would preclude our relationship," then I could not see him while he dated for that purpose. I stated that if he was seeking to "add a partner to our poly relationship" that I was a-ok and he would have my full support.
I later said I needed to reconsider my ultimatum, because I wasn't sure if that was fair. Anyone have experiences in these relationships? I feel compassion and want to treat him with love and respect, but am not sure I could deal with the emotional turmoil that would come from constant uncertainty about whether or not he had just been on a date with my replacement.