So... a new stage to an old feeling
I've been reflecting on my poly journey over the last couple of days and wanting to share with people who may actually get it. I'm still pretty much closeted IRL, I have a long-term partner and he isn't super keen on being judged by people but he's aware that at some point more people may need to know.
Over the last 3ish years I have explored the idea of polyamory in my head, have discussed it with my partner, backtracked twice as he felt threatened, then I had a baby and was trying to survive post-partum depression and a bunch of crappy things life threw my way. My last child is now 2 and last year I met a guy I felt an instant attraction to. After confessing to close friends that I had a "crush" on him I found out he was poly and a whole world of what ifs opened up.
I started chatting with him over email, and at some point I told him I was attracted to him and interested in polyamory, but that I had entered into a mono relationship (because it was default and I was unaware of any alternative really!). We spoke about it for a bit, he indicated that he wasn't interested in getting involved with someone who was in a mono relationship where there had been no renegotations, and that also he would have to meet my partner. However he was interested in getting to know me better.
At this point I told my partner I was still thinking about poly and had contacted someone to express my interest. He flipped out, as it was the first time I'd actually found someone. The other times it had all been theoretical, but this had the possibility of going somewhere. He thought it was me wanting to replace him, some convoluted way of ending the relationship. I kept saying it wasn't, tried to find ways of expressing why I wanted this, and how it wasn't the end of our relationship, but nothing I said seemed to help.
The first few times I saw the other guy (we'll call him G) it was pretty tense at home and my partner would go from being theoretically ok with it to flipping out and feeling really threatened. It was like 2 steps forward 5 steps back. The first 2 times I brought up poly I caved when he freaked out, but this time I knew I had to persist. I feel like I've been living a lie my whole life. I feel down to my core that I am polyamorous and I feel angry that this lie that monogamy is natural and inherent has been sold to us (particularly women) so thoroughly that we don't even question it. Several times in my past I have fallen for guys while in a mono relationship and of course couldn't act on it, but desperately wanted to. I said to my partner that at this point, knowing what I know about myself, that either we would adapt, or we would end up breaking up in the future (or I would become a cheater which I have no desire to do!)
About here I realised I was deeply in love with my partner in a way I wasn't with G. G was new and exciting but the feelings were quite superficial, because we were still getting to know each other! I expressed how I felt to my partner (a day after we almost broke up) and that was the single biggest thing I could have said to help him process everything. He said he wanted to meet G (after previously saying no way) and so that happened, went better than I expected, and now G and I are very very slowly working towards something. I'm not entirely sure what, we're both pretty damaged individuals (great!) and I know I have more feelings than he does at this point. I'm also way more impatient for a physical relationship while he is cautious and wanting to take it more carefully. He is married and while they are both poly he is managing the aftermath of some issues.
I've seen a very poorly-handled transition to polyamory, that seemed to just magnify all the faults in the relationship and cause the end of the relationship. I am keen to avoid that, and while it has highlighted areas my partner and I need to work on we're both committed to working it out, and being the best we can be to each other. I actually feel like I'm communicating better and being more considerate of his needs, and just more tender in general. Now that I feel free, not trapped, I am happy in a way I have never been. Even if things don't work out with G I reckon my partner and I have actually strengthened our bond, and I am happy knowing that I have that option should an opportunity arise. It's still early days so maybe I sound gushingly naive and I may crawl back in here after my partner can't handle the fact that I've had sex with someone else but right now I feel pretty positive. I'll add to this as things progress.