Basically, Dan will be preparing for the MD exam and has asked me not to go out with other men during a 2 month period while he is studying for the exam 10-12 hours a day, 7 days a week.
It is not manipulation to me. It is simply a request.
He's not always going to be medical exam testing in his life but its one of those big life milestone things that does suck up time, effort and energy and IS stressful. From his POV you dating in a new construct (polyship) is also stressy. 8 weeks to me is pretty short. Shoot, a year is short to me.
He's not saying NO never, just consider taking a break to allow him to succeed at this stressy career thing. He's been trying to work with you on opening a previously monoship shape to something new (polyship) to help you meet your relationship wants/needs/goals. Here is opportunity for you to work with him back to help him meet his career wants/needs/goals. Did you not expect to take turns in a marriage? In 6 years together you never had to take turns?
You could answer him.
- "Yes, I will do that"
- "No, I will not do that."
- Compromise counter offer -- "Ok, I won't see any NEW people. But X? I've already been seeing him. He's not new. So plan to continue to see him. Does that work for you?"
Then let Dan digest your response. Finish negotiating
the terms for the next 8 weeks to something that suits both to the "good enough" place.
Getting all bent out of shape over him just asking seems like emotional outburst to me. Calling his want to meet his career goals "selfish, petty and ridiculous" is not kind.
What if it were not studying for medical exams... but his mother was dying? Or him having back surgery? And he asked you to chill on new dating for 8 weeks to let him deal with those things first so he's not having stress on top of stress? So he can then come the polydating thing in better shape and not run down bedraggled? Would you be more willing to do it then?
What is it about this request that pushes your buttons?
- That it is not fair? (To who? How? You do not expect to take turns in life partnership when stuff comes up?)
- That X, who is dating you, would break up with you over you being unavailable for a few weeks? (What if you were on a business trip that has NOTHING to do with Dan's schedule -- they'd dump you then too? )
- That you will be stressy dealing with the house chores and have no emotional outlet if you do not date? (Because you neglected to cultivate other emotional outlets like having friendships? What did you do for emotional outlet before opening up with Dan? Those outlets are no more? )
I think it is a manipulation but I wonder if perhaps I am wrong?? Thoughts.
It's reasonable for him to ask to see if you are willing or not willing to do something. He is not a mind reader. It's a reasonable request and it is reasonable to ASK. I think you could be over-reacting.
All you have to do is say "No, thanks" and not stop dating if you don't want to stop.
Then Dan gets to digest your answer and make his next choices from there.