My friend is currently struggling with this same dilema. She has also grown up poly in that she began her relationship life that way. Her parents did not identified that way as she grew up, although her mum does now and is exploring the possibility after her daughter came out as such.
My friend has fallen deeply in love with a man and has started a LDR with him. He is 20 and she is 25? 26? somewhere in there. She met with Mono and I a few weeks back to talk about mono relationships because she has no idea how they work and she wants to work on her relationship with this man.
The flavour of them is different and there are different considerations. She did similar things to you in that she is still dating other people, was about to hook up with someone for the first time, is in a triad, has a very casual sex life in a lot of ways in terms of parties, etc.... a whole bunch of other sexual encounters that I am not privy to I'm sure. So what does one do when they come from that back ground and are used to that way of life and then fall in love with someone who isn't poly and not used to it?
Mono gave her a good idea of what mono means to him and how he has been able to manage my polyness, but really bottom line, I have made huge changes to my thinking in order to accommodate our love for one another. As has he. We made that choice.
Some might see me as a sell out for it... sacrificing my freedom for someone else's needs. He might be seen as someone who has sacrificed the so called "safety" of a mono relationship complete with the value set that comes along with it for someone else's needs.
To us? We have created our own version of what it means to us through a lot of hard work.
To me? I have tons of freedom in being bonded to him and being his girlfriend... he is dedicated to me only, I am treated like the queen bee by him. He is not willing to ever search for more, because I give him everything and I feel safe within that. I don't ever have to worry that he will stray else where (and I say "stray" because in his mono way of thinking, that is what it would be). His focus is all me and I am rich with his attention as a result... huge benefits I have grown and been healed in his love. He has taught me what I am worth and what my body is worth to me and those I share it with.
To him? and I am talking for him, he can answer for himself and change what I say if he wishes.... he has benefited from increased communication, being a part of a family that loves him where his family has abandoned him, his freedom to go of on his motor bike if he wishes for as long as he wants without thinking that I am alone (not that he does ), spending free time on his own to do his own thing and heal from his past, and being able to tangibly grasp that I am dedicated to his needs... he can see that in my actions as I tell men I am not available. In a mono relationship that is a given, in our relationship that is HUGE as it is something that I have chosen that goes against my nature to a certain extent. I have found freedom in saying no and choosing his love over casual sex.
This could be a life stage thing too though.... he has raised a child to 17, I have a child, we have both been married, we have both owned houses and things, had careers and still do, but they are in management rather than obtaining them... I think things would be quite different if we met 20 years ago... I would not of considered him for one second due to his nature, mine and where we were at. We might of loved each other, but it would of died due to conflict and different life values and understanding of relationships.
So, in a nut shell, No, I don't think you are unhealthy, and yes I think there is no easy answer and really it all boils down to where you are at, where he is at and how much you love each other and if you want to try something new and rearrange your thinking around your sex/relationship life.
You never know.... maybe one day you will think monogamy is just fine and settle down to having a marriage and kids and blah blah blah.... I did that, but then realized I just needed to adjust my way of thinking about my life rather than give up on what I was doing in order to have the typical stuff that people want to have...
Life is so changeable and I don't think we can ever expect that we will always have the same needs... just go with it and listen to yourself.. what is your gut saying to you about someone, about yourself? What do you want for your future? What are you willing to let go of and what is most important to you...? What are you willing to explore?
All this is what your lovers need to hear, so that they can make their own plans. This to me is how you respect their boundaries and don't feel caged in at the same time... the thing is to say these things often and in such a way as to educate them. Let them in on what is going on in your mind as it happens... Don't scold or make them think they are less than you because they are different and have different ideas about what they want in their lives. They are entitled to their own path.
They also need to know that you will not engage in a conversation with them if they are in it to convince you of something different than your beliefs... one can say that assertively and still be respectful.
No one way is right, there are just different ways and we can all learn from each other. This kind of attitude is respectful and not giving in on yourself or them.
Anyone want to be friends on Facebook?
Send me your name via PM