I am confused.
How I perceive this? (And I could be wrong...)
- You ask the BF to affirm that he values you and loves you. He does so.
- You do not believe the BF thinks you are some "side dish" thing. He has validated you.
- He gets upset when you question your place in his life despite his reassurances.
So far, it's suited me, because I'm busy with work and children, wasn't looking for a boyfriend, and have no desire for a husband. I've enjoyed every minute with him, I have seen both of us grow, change, and, I believe, become better people as a result of our time together.
I note you write past tense here. Is it that you are questioning HIS place in YOUR life at this point in time?
I, personally, have no desire to enhance someone's marriage at what could be seen as a cost to myself (the cost being that there is no future in this relationship, although at this stage I admittedly don't want one--one day I might.)
I'm not sure what "future in a relationship" means to you. Remarriage?
But if you are wanting more comittment from the relationship than it can give you... is that what this is about? Could "one day" actually be here already? Or on the horizon since you feel inclined to break up with him at times?
It doesn't really seem to be about other people's relationships and how they view their OSO's and if it "enhances the primary relationship." For some it might. For others it might not. So? That's those other people over THERE.
It seems to be about THIS relationship HERE and your desire not to be "less than" and your desire to have "a relationship with a future" at some point. That you sort out with him.
He's been TELLING you that you are NOT "less than" to him. Do his words and actions not match? Why not just BELIEVE him?
And get on to the next part of the question? Talk about your shared future and what that may be like?
Is the future he can offer you in this relationship not the kind of future you ultimately want for yourself? Could ask him.
"What sort of future do you envision for us? 5 years down the road? 10 years? Is there a committed future here or is this a float along thing?"
See if it matches your wants/needs for your future or not.