New to Poly: Can This Work?
Apologies for this being so long. :-)
I and my ex-ish boyfriend have had a really difficult year (we have been dating for 5 years with one other 2 year long break-up). During the summer I was going through a high time of stress, he was unemployed/moving, and I felt as if I was doing all of the work within the relationship. I have a very deep desire to be desired and wanted, and he was not pursuing me or paying me any attention (I would always have to message him first, I planned all the dates, he seemed disinterested in sex, etc.)
I started to feel very bitter and angry, and instead of communicating with him, I shut down. I broke up with him, and immediately hit a rebound fling. My boyfriend was, understandably, devastated and betrayed by this, as he saw me as using him as a back-up option.
It's been 3 months since then. A few weeks ago we started talking again, and I realized what a horrible and immature thing I had done, and how I cared about him more than anyone else in the world. I really want to make amends; he really wants to as well, but fears he doesn't know how and won't be able to get over the anger and betrayal.
He would like to see from me 3-6 months of improvement (in communication, in maturity from both of us) before we make another attempt. He wants to be committed to a future with us, and we've been having a lot of painful, difficult, but necessary conversations over the last few weeks.
However, in the meantime, he wants to date around. He promises he is not looking for a relationship (as he is not over me and ultimately wants me monogamously), but doesn't want to be left "holding the bag." He is too afraid that I will abandon him as soon as he gives up his options.
I don't blame him for this. I think it makes sense, and if that's what he needs right now.... to date around before he's sure about me... I want to give it to him. But I am naturally monogamous, and I am having a really hard time emotionally with this. I am terrified that, despite his promise, he is going to fall for someone before he and I have truly worked through our issues.
Is there a way to make this work? I thought perhaps he could present himself as poly (while I will remain mono), so anyone he goes out with knows he's not looking for anything long-term or serious. However he's worried that will severely lower his chances, as he says he has a hard time getting girls interested as it is.
Any suggestions would be really welcome. I love him more than anything, am committed to making this work, and want to give him the things he needs to feel secure about us (time, and not feeling as if I am setting him up to fall.) Thank you!