looking for a fresh perspective
Please forgive me if this is covered somewhere or if I have posted incorrectly. I have never done this before and I am finding it overwhelming. I will try to be concise.
My partner and I agreed to an open relationship. I had reservations at first but it seemed to work out fine. I had no jealousy issues; things weren't impeding on our life together. We were getting ready to go to an event where play was a possibility and where polyamory was widely practiced. I brought this up in discussion. I said I was comfortable with our open relationship but I could not understand how people managed poly relationships. I specifically said I did not want a poly relationship. My partner also said he did not want one, that his plate was full already.
We went to the event (which was a several day event) and was approached by someone for play. All was going well. I noticed they seemed to click more but I figured it was because of the style of play they enjoyed. We continued to communicate after the event and even visited each others' homes (a relatively short drive). It wasn't long, however, before I realized that there was more to their relationship than just play. I asked my partner about it and he said that they did not have a relationship. After some more discussion he finally admitted they had a relationship. He, however, did not see how this was any different from before and would still not call it poly.
I'm not sure exactly what he told her but she was under the impression that we were both poly and that I was OK with things. When she realized that that was not the case she offered to step back (but not completely exit) and let us work things out. As he and I discussed things he told me not to make him choose because he could not. It was too late to back out. I told him I would try to make this arrangement work but I did not like it.
For the last nine months I have been trying to make this arrangement work but I still do not like it. I have learned some things about myself that I realized I needed to change. There are aspects of our relationship that have gotten stronger because of this. Yet, I still feel like my heart has been ripped from chest. I still feel like I have lost him. I still cannot deal with the emotional turmoil. He, on the other hand, seems quite beside himself and boasts that he has two girlfriends.
I have been trying to decide if I should somehow keep trying to make this work or if I should go my own way. Neither option is what I want. But what I want I can't have. Usually I am able to calm and center myself enough to find direction but in this case I'm just as torn as I was in the beginning. I am not able to pin point exactly what bothers me so badly, what I want to change. Since I'm unable to do this I don't bring it up because I know the topic only exasperates him (and his partner). And when I don't say anything he assumes all is well. But all is not well and I don't know what to do about it.
I realize that this is my decision to make. I am not asking for direction. I am simply wondering if someone has a fresh perspective for me to consider. I am interested in the opinions of someone from the outside with a poly perspective that can maybe explain my partner's actions better than he is able to. Perhaps I'm simply missing something. Any thoughts?