LovingRadiance - The last paragraph you wrote is really what meant the most to me here. I've kind of been going through stages where I get closer and closer to knowing myself and thus, being able to conduct my relationships in a way that is genuine to me. It reminds me a lot of what you're said because something I keep seeing over and over again in my life is that trying to compensate by being someone I am not only makes me miserable and shortchanges the people in my life. Eventually it takes more and more to hold the facade together and I end up being angry at those I love for some vague, undefinable reason (which I am coming to understand).
Anyways, I took your suggestion about communication to heart. I think my boyfriend and I have been pretty good communicators in the past but I wanted to try your suggestion to see if it changed anything. On the negative side, nothing vastly new was uncovered. On the positive side, we were able to affirm each others' feelings. It made the conversation a bit less difficult. I need to keep this in mind for use with people who are not as strong communicators as my boyfriend is.
idealist - When I first learned about poly, compersion was one of those things that just hit me on the head - like someone had invented a word for something I had been feeling all along. With that in mind, I think my boyfriend felt it with my second boyfriend, but really hasn't felt it in the year and a half or so since him and I broke up. My boyfriend is certainly a little controlling - he has a D/s dynamic that caused us a lot of trouble early in our relationship because he found it hard to have dominant feelings towards someone who he had so little real world say in what she was doing with other people (though "so little" is kind of relative - he did have a bit of control over what I did with my other boyfriend but I began to fight that pretty hard, which upset him). I don't think he wants to control me beyond my wishes though, and that's the problem.
So as I said above, my boyfriend and I had a conversation about all this last night. I hadn't expected to jump into it but I guess it's a long time coming and I was just ready to reassess. I started by saying something that has been said here and a lot in my head over the course of the relationship, "I don't mind you conducting your relationships the way you want but I need the freedom to conduct my relationships the way I want."
This concept is of course, something he supports so we continued. To make it easier to follow, I will just summarize my desires versus his.
Me: 99% of my relationships begin casually. I'm friends with someone and we develop feelings for and/or a sexual attraction to one another. At this point, I am alright with the idea of being physically involved with them in a limited way, such as making out. As the dating relationship develops, it becomes a sexual relationship which is usually accompanied by a deepening emotional relationship. At that point, it can become more serious or it might not. I don't particularly "wait" based on any progression elsewhere in the relationship such as, "I don't have sex until we've said 'I love you'", etc. My ideal isn't that we become boyfriend and girlfriend, however, I'm happy with just letting the relationship be what it is. This is a very prominent pattern for me, even describing the way my boyfriend and I got together. The thing that tends to vary is the timeline for all these events. The thing that I can put my finger on is when I am developing feelings for someone which can take two weeks of simply talking to them online or years of conversation and hanging out in the real world. All of this is not stuff I'm 100% needy of - I realize it is a LOT to ask. I am capable of restraining my promiscuity if when I do get interested in someone, I just need to voice my interest and then am allowed to proceed at my own pace.
Him: All of his relationships happen because of intention. Typically, he will meet someone and hang out with them as friends for a bit. If he is interested in them he will take them on a date. While he's "dating" someone he prefers the relationship to be casual and not physical. When it becomes more serious, he will start being alright with the physical stuff and begin to be emotionally intimate with his new girlfriend. He doesn't really have a set "schedule" for this but he says it takes several months for him to become comfortable. He doesn't pursue a lot of relationships (as I've said he hasn't seriously been with anyone since we've been together) and doesn't see that changing about him.
Anyways, as we hashed this out he suggested I try to formulate a routine which I could follow. My suggestion for this was telling him if I was interested in someone so that he would be prepared for me to beginning a dating relationship with them. However, him and I disagreed on what a "dating" relationship should be and could not seem to come to a consensus. It was at this point that he suggested we might not be compatible (a possibility we have danced around in the past but never really confronted) and we began talking about alternatives. The two that stuck out to us were 1) living separately for a while, 2) backing off of our primary relationship to accommodate each of our needs.
Of course, neither of these are either of our favorite options but I'm feeling frustrated with what the next step would be otherwise. If anyone has suggestions, I would love to hear them.
Sorry for rambling on so long and also thanks for listening. Having a place to write all this out and get input is helping me stick to my guns. Otherwise, I tend to get to this stage and back out because I think maybe I'm just in the wrong. At least here if I am, there are people who will talk to me about it rather than just criticizing me. I appreciate it more than you all know.