Thanks so much for the amazing support. I have had a very emotionally turbulent 72 hours, but the GOOD news is that my boyfriend and I are still together, love one another more now than before, and understand each other's suffering more than before. I love my husband more than before, and have found out several areas of personal growth that need to happen on my own part. It was just too bad it had to be so difficult! But, I know that's the life I have chosen in this, and he is very worth it to me and I am worth it to him.
A great deal that occurred had to do with misunderstandings on my part, followed by assumptions about what everything meant. First, I had to apologize because I realized that the "date" I thought I had with my boyfriend had not ever been confirmed anywhere other than my own brain...that was hard to admit but I did. Secondly, I had to admit that I jumped to huge conclusions about what his intentions were in the date. (Which, after I found out what actually happened...a facebook friend asked if he wanted to get a cup of coffee and he agreed) was not an intention to seek a lifetime exclusive partner! Now, we both agree that there were completely valid reasons that I might have seen it that way based on the communication, but my head took it to galaxies that it never needed to go.
The good that has come from the situation is that we now understand each other's deepest insecurities and emotions in a way that probably wouldn't have been possible without going through it. And...he has opened up to actually learning and reading about poly, something that he has been closed to before.
In the past, when I have asked him about his needs, he has been cursory in his responses. He might say, "to be respected" etc. He was able to tell me that he has believed that up to this point he has had no say in anything regarding this relationship and has felt he has to "take whatever is offered and try to be happy with it." To clarify...that is in no way how my husband and I operate, but he had initial faulty assumptions that the primary/secondary model involving the primaries setting all rules and parameters was the ONLY kind of poly relationship. We couldn't clarify, because I didn't know he thought that. The issue is, because my hubbie and I are new at this too, we didn't know we were giving off that vibe. So...when he would call and say, "hey, you want to do some second hand shopping together" and I would say, "that would be awesome, let me check in with hubbie," he made understandable assumptions that permission was being sought. When he was extremely ill and felt horribly lonely and depressed, he hadn't realized he could call me to come be with him...since it wasn't a previously discussed time. List goes on.
So...when I explained that anything and everything could be brought to the table and discussed, it made a big difference. He explained that feeling like a "secondary" was humiliating for him and destroys his self esteem and so he's had to wonder if there is any way to do this, no matter how much he loves me, and to maintain his own sense of identity. And, of course, he doesn't know yet and is now willing to try to see. He had assumed when I had previously tried to give him things to read about poly or suggested he review this site, it was my way of helping him be more comfortable with "the way things are" rather than "learning how things might be."
Anyway, thanks for the support all!