My poly partner has a mono mentality...
I am going through a lot of ups and downs with my frustration levels right now! This story will be long; I apologize in advance. I'll try to stick only to the most relevant details!
My partner and I both accepted polyamory at the same time. It was in fact at the very beginning of our relationship - he was involved with someone else but feelings between us were growing and he was very confused and hurt by the whole thing. He didn't understand how he could have feelings for both of us at the same time and so I introduced the idea of polyamory to him. He immediately took to it and did a lot of research, every step feeling more and more like this was the part of him he'd always had but never understood. At that point, I understood polyamory and accepted it but always felt I was more in the middle of the spectrum -- I could happily be in either type of relationship. I didn't feel much need to pursue other relationships but would accept one if it came along. [His other partner was monogamous and struggled a lot with the idea of polyamory... in the end, they parted ways].
Shortly after that, though, I started having issues with pain when having sex. It started off mildly but in the space of a year or so got much worse, to the point that sex wasn't even really an option for me. We went through a lot of issues trying to adjust, always finding another hurdle as soon as we started to feel comfortable again. He was the only person I wanted to have sex with, because he was the only person I trusted with my body. I also got everything I needed from him emotionally because, despite all of the guilt, frustration, uncertainty, insecurity, etc that surrounded sex, the rest of our relationship was so strong. If anything, it brought us even closer together.
But, unfortunately, the issues with sex got worse and worse. Sex is a large part of who he is and the negative emotions attached to that part of our relationship started to affect the rest of our relationship, naturally.
I finally have figured out what is wrong with me [don't get me started on my story with doctors] and have started treatment. I regained my ability to have sex as well as my libido. Throughout the issues, I encouraged him to have other partners to help keep him sexually satisfied because I was unable. We also discussed, at a certain point, me having other partners [with or without intercourse] so that I could have sexual experiences that weren't so heavy, with the weight of our entire relationship riding on them. We discussed his discomfort regarding that, but we thought it was just a matter of him not being accustomed to sharing me and needing time to adjust. On an intellectual level, he completely understands polyamory but he'd never really had to experience me being with anyone else so his lifetime of monogamy just caused instinctive reactions.
Once I opened myself to being with other sexual partners, though, I allowed myself to explore the idea more. Now that I'm better sexually, I want to actually enjoy that aspect of myself. He and I both are very open people and like no strings attached relationships. But because of the issues he and I have had sexually, he's having a really hard time accepting that. Through this, we've been uprooting a lot of monogamous views on things that we didn't think he had. He's actively been living a polyamorous lifestyle for over 2 years now. We've had hundreds of conversations with each other, as well as in explaining our lifestyle to others, in which he's been so clear and understanding of what makes polyamory work and how monogamous people can adjust. But now, it's a complete switch.
He's said such hurtful things in the last few weeks that completely caught me off guard. We planned to get married next year and suddenly he can't see me as a wife anymore if I'm with anyone else. He thinks me doing certain things with other guys is dirty and it makes him uncomfortable to touch me. Me being with other guys makes him see me as no different from the casual, no strings attached girls he's been with. It's like everything else in our relationship - the emotional attachment, the way we interact and add value to each others' lives in so many other ways - suddenly means nothing if I sleep with other people.
I don't know. It's just really difficult. Frustrating. We've both identified as polyamorous and he's been with multiple partners for a couple years now. Even though I haven't been with as many other partners, I've never had any reason to believe he was SO set in this kind of mentality at all. He's reacting right now as though I just dropped this idea of polyamory on him out of nowhere and he doesn't understand anything about it. BUT, he doesn't have any of those thoughts about himself. He still feels the same way and doesn't feel like his actions affect our relationship at all. The only thing that's making him hesitant to attempt being with anyone else is feeling guilty because he knows he's essentially taken that option away from me [he hasn't told me not to but he knows this reaction makes me feel like it's not an option without losing him].
*sigh* There are a lot of other little details but I've said enough already. I'm just confused and frustrated and tired. I'm doing my best to be patient and understanding, as I would with a partner who is monogamous and now learning about polyamory. It's just so hard because it's HIM. It feels like he can understand and accept this lifestyle if it's him or anyone else living it, but when it comes to HIS partner, I need to be only his possession. I have no idea what to do or how to help. The last thing I want is to start resenting him for simply feeling what he genuinely feels.