Boyfriend abhors the idea, can't understand
Hello, I'm new to this forum and I joined because I'm at a point in my life where I'm ready to accept the fact that I am capable of, and desire to, love more than one person romantically and sexually at the same time. I love the idea of having a community of like minded people to discuss this stuff with, yay!
Unfortunately the man I've been with for 4 years and who I want to be with for the rest of my life is in no way open to any form of polyamory. He doesn't "believe" in it, he says, and the overall impression I get from our conversations is that it's too messy, time consuming, and he thinks I'm just fooling myself and I'm not really able to be poly because I have insecurity issues. However, in a previous relationship I had experience with sharing a girlfriend between my (then) husband and I, also while he had another long-distance girlfriend. This experience, while not healthy for other reasons, opened me up and made me realize that I wanted more of it in my life. Now that I have been with someone who is monogamous I have realized that it feels wrong and untrue to myself to close my heart to people I would normally be open to.
Here is our background: during the first 6 months of relationship I told him I was interested in exploring polyamory and he never really said much, but generally made the impression that he might be open it; but then one night he had a few to drink and told me what he REALLY thought, which was that it's perverse and shallow and an excuse to maintain a facade of integrity while destroying self worth and a true bond. I was extremely hurt, felt betrayed and misunderstood, like I had already invested my heart into a doomed partnership. I took his words to heart and really looked at myself for months following in case maybe I was really just being selfish and immature like he claimed. About 2 months after this conversation the topic came up again, I showed him some websites and couple books, and he seemed to suddenly be ok with it since there was a girl we were acquaintances with that was obviously into both of us. Long story short we talked about possibly exploring something with her, set boundaries, and a week later he tells me that he slept with her. This crossed all the boundaries especially about honesty and all parties involved knowing and stuff, and totally upset and shocked me that he would cheat on me. So I gave up on the poly thing because I truly knew he didn't understand despite his claims. 6 month later I find out that he cheated on my again, a one night stand about 3 months after the first infidelity. At this point I was numb with shock from him hiding this from me for so long, and I didn't care if he stayed or went anymore so I told him if he stays with me I am going to explore being with another person (I know, totally horrible, definitely immature, but I was hurt and dumb). So for a few months I was intimate with a woman who had been a friend for a while, we were totally into eachother and it was great and I felt like my heart opened towards my boyfriend so much through that experience with her that I was able to forgive him and totally feel in love with him all over again. He also dated and slept with another woman during these months. Both of these relationships ended around the same time and it's been over 2 years since, we've both been monogomous because of all the pain and hurt it brings up for him from my being with the woman for those few months (it really destroyed him, he says, and at the time he kind of expressed this but I was really mean and told him it was my turn since he had cheated on me twice).
Ok so I know this is long, and thanks to anyone who is still reading, haha.
During these two years the poly topic hasn't even been brought up because of working out the feelings from our 'experiments' in the beginning of our relationship. A few weeks ago I brought it up again though because it's been killing me, not being able to feel free and be myself totally with him... He reacted the same way he did during our first real convo about it: very hurt and upset and not open to it. It threw him off I think because it brought up old emotions for him about trust and stuff.
Other than this mono/poly thing we are perfect for eachother, I am very content with him and he is so good to my daughter (from previous marriage) and he is amazing.
I am so subjective about this whole thing that I have no idea what to think and really need some objective viewpoints.
Should I give up? Does it sound like he's utterly monogamous and there's no hope?
Does it sound like he just misunderstands and has relationship/trust issues that need to be worked out and then he might be open to being open?
I think I just want some hope that it's possible to stay with him but I know that when I bring up the topic he feels threatened and bites my head off. I know what I need to do for myself and I know I'll have to end it if he can't accept ALL of me. But it's so very sad to think that I might have to do that.
Am I just going about this all wrong? What should I do?