Need advice on tough relationship stuff
Hi, I haven't posted on here in a while but the advice I got was always helpful and I could really use some help with what I'm going through at the moment. Before I get into it: this might get long and pretty heavy, so feel free to stop reading now if you don't want to read a downer.
Anyway, so here's a bit of background on me and my relationship. I'm a gay guy who turned 22 this summer. I've been with my current partner for two and a half years, lets call him Chris (his birthday is 3 days before mine). We've been in a polyamorous relationship with another guy, lets call him Stephen (he was 25 when we met), since last July, which ended 2 months ago. Now, around the time we met Stephen and discovered polyamory I had been intending to propose to Chris. We met Stephen the week before we got engaged, and we hit it off. So we decided to try a tried relationship for a while. I think I'm polyamorous but the other two are mono, and to be honest I think I want to lead a mono life eventually, so I might not even be poly. But we decided to try it anyway. The relationship was only supposed to last for a couple of years, and I was young and naive to think it wouldn't be this difficult at the end.
Anyway, when I was first reading about polyamory and was learning all the terminology, I figured that Chris was my primary and Stephen would be my secondary, as it were. After a few months though we fell in love with each other and nearly broke up over it. But we cared so much for each other that we decided to try just enjoying the now and not thinking about the future. It was difficult at times, but we had some really good times and loved each other very much.
Now I met Chris when I was 19, we had so much in common and he was my first proper boyfriend. We fell quickly in love with each other and have spoken of being life partners ever since. Our relationship with Stephen was supposed to be an experience we could look back on fondly, and I made a promise to him that I would never love anyone more than him. I loved him and Stephen for different reasons, and figured that was ok. There was always a stronger bond between myself and Chris and myself and Stephen, but the two of them did grow to love each other. We would typically spend 2 nights a week together as each pair and one as a three, but that often varied. I kind of dealt with the whole organisational part of the relationship, it was me who spoke to each about the relationship and we didn't often talk about it together (which was stupid, I know).
But we were all very close, we even went on holiday together in June, to Spain, and had an amazing time. After that Chris and I were graduating. Chris's mother didn't know about Stephen and she was coming down for it, so Chris didn't want Stephen to come to dinner (and I couldn't get him a ticket to the ceremony). That really hurt Stephen badly, and I was extremely upset for him as well. We nearly broke again but being apart was too difficult and we weren't ready for it to end. Stephen said to me recently that that was the turning point for him. He'd been hoping that eventually things would change and we'd start treating him like a true equal in the relationship (something I would have been desperate to do, but that would have meant accepting him into the engagement or calling the engagement off, something I don't think either of us would have been ready to do). The graduation was the point he realised that wasn't going to happen, and he very slowly started distancing himself. It was a difficult breakup because it wasn't because the love had faded or because we didn't want to be together anymore, just that he needed to find a single person who could love him like Chris and I loved him.
I had just started a new dance course at college a week before Stephen ended it, and for a little while before that I was thinking that it needed to end soon for the sake of Stephens wellbeing, even though I didn't want it to. So I was strong for him, I gave him some space but talked to him when he needed it. With college and everything, I think I kind of put it out of my mind for a while, but then a few weeks ago it kind of all came crashing down on me. I started missing him horribly, and having spells of deep depression. I can't stop think about Stephen and how much fun we had together, and that I badly want our relationship to continue. I've seen him a few times since we broke up, but he used those couple of weeks that I put it off to try and move on. He's even been in a short relationship since that time, he says he really liked him, but he was young and had too many trust issues and stuff, and he went a bit mad at him on a night out two weeks ago (screaming at him on the streets and stuff) so he ended it with him. I found out a few days ago that he actually met him two weeks after breaking up with us, which I was actually quite hurt to find out, but he said he didn't want to turn an opportunity away so I kind of understand.
Things with Chris have been generally good in the past couple of months, he's very strong and he looks after me as it were. Chris is a really really great guy, he's loving, caring, hard-working, just really lovely guy. Recently though, I've noticed some things that have got me thinking that maybe this isn't the right relationship for us, but I don't know if I'm just thinking that because of where my heads at at the moment, or if I'm just for the first time giving these ideas some thought.
Basically I've changed a lot as a person in the last two years, discovered some things I'm passionate about, becoming slightly less passionate about other things. We both used to love gaming together, and all the same tv shows and books and stuff. Basically all the things we were most passionate about when we were 19. I've start to grow out of some of these things a bit - we still love a lot of the same things - I just feeling like I might be maturing a bit faster than him. I have a definitive life path I'd like to follow, it may have changed a bit in the last few years, but I know what I want to be and I want to start doing it soon. He has no idea what job he wants but has a degree in Psychology and wants to apply for a PhD next year. He also doesn't really want to move straight to the states from the UK like I want to now. I just wish he would have more of a drive and stuff.
There's also some attraction issues, I don't feel like I'm attracted to him as much as I should be. I'm a dancer so my body is in pretty good shape and I'm passionate about movement and stuff, whereas Chris has a tiny bit of weight on him, doesn't like to exercise, and isn't that graceful. I don't think that looks are the most important thing in the world or anything, but I never want to rip his clothes off, and the sex isn't that amazing, which I don't think is a good feeling for a 22 year old to be feeling. By comparison, I always enjoyed sex more with Stephen. I feel awful for thinking all this, but I'd always imagined I'd be single in my 20s, so my aspirations about the states generally involved being young and experiencing lots of things that I wouldn't experience in a relationship.
So Chris is currently in Spain with his dad until Wednesday, and so Stephen invited me out on Friday since we're trying to stay friends. I told Chris and he was totally ok with it and everything. When I was with Stephen it was both really nice and really difficult. He looks really good and spending time with him was so good, but it was so hard not being able to be intimate with him how I used to be. It was also difficult hearing about how he's been able to move on faster. He says that me and Chris treated him better than any boyfriend he's ever had and he wants to find that from one person, but that just made me wish I could be that one person. Anyway, we had a good night, some of his friends met us after a whole, and although I felt a bit awkward which was apparently obvious, after a while I loosened up and ended up having fun. We got back to his late because I'd left my bag there but it was too late to head back to mine so he said I could stay. We ended up sleeping together, and it was honestly so amazing. I don't know if it's ever been that good with Chris, or could ever be that good. I told Chris about what happened and he's ok with it and just doesn't want it to happen again.
So this weekend I've been having a pretty horrible time, crying uncontrollably ever time I think about stuff properly, so I end up just watching marathons on TV to take my mind off it. I really don't know what
To do about Chris, because I do love him so much, I'm just worried that we met too young and maybe rushed into things. Or maybe I'm just thinking all this stuff because I miss Stephen so much, I don't know!
Chris and I are living together, and we've always spoken very matter-of-factedly about our future, we'll get married, move around, have kids etc, so I can't even imagine breaking up with him. I couldn't even think of hurting him that much
But I'm also worried that I shouldn't stay with him for the wrong reasons...
I'm half worried I'm just thinking these thoughts because I miss Stephen so much and so desperately want to be with him that I'm considering the only option that would make that possible at some point, but the other half is worried that these problems I have with Chris are real and that as much as I think I love him and promised I'd be with him forever, actually we met too young and I don't want it to work out.
I know this got really long and is a really complicated story, so I'm sorry, but I could really use some help with this.
Please feel free to ask absolutely anything, thanks.