Relatively New Poly/Mono Challenges...
I have been somewhat of a lurker for quite a while and have learned so much from what I have read on here over the last year or so. I have never posted here before. In fact I am not much of a writer usually, but I was inspired today. As I write this I feel a little insecure about what responses or feedback I may get, but here goes anyways
To give everybody a little context of our relationship, I am a poly male and I am in a relationship with a mono female. We have been together now in some form for around 5 years. We started dating first somewhat casually and then things progressed to us being monogamous for about 2 of those years. This phase ended in my cheating on her. We really worked hard on our relationship and in that time we took a step back and started dating other people. Eventually things got a lot more serious and we decided to be monogamous again. By the time we got to this place was about year 3 and my beliefs had changed dramatically from before. I identified much more with being poly than before and so our second monogamous phase only lasted 3 months and we were both miserable.
This time however I we had a long talk about what needs were not being met and set up a more clear agreement to open up our relationship with integrity and honesty. We have been in this phase of our relationship for the last 2 years. Once this happened our relationship got much stronger. Stronger than it has ever been in fact in my opinion. We didn't have the same exact vision, but we were working towards a mutual vision and things felt great for a while. We even set up a monthly tradition that we called the "bill or rights" talk which is where we wrote down all of our agreements based on our needs and how to navigate through situations as they occur and as we get triggered. Then we challenge each agreement each month to see if anything has changed and needs to be re-negotiated. This seemed to make things stronger for a while. One thing I am sure of is that I deeply in love with her and I see her being in my life for a very long time if not for life.
She says she is monogamous and wants to get to a place where she lets it be "ok" with herself to be poly, but just hasn't been able to get there. This is really frustrating for her and as a result "I think" I have noticed more and more of her trying to control my behavior. Here are an example:
Recently I have scheduled a date with another woman who has been around for a while. It's not a serious relationship by any means, but it is fun to hang out with her every once in a while. I set it up the way she prefers me to. I checked in to make sure that she was ok with it, was in alignment with all of our agreements in our BOR, and planned it a week in advance so she wasn't caught off guard.
The night before she was overly sexual and I was tired (I had sex with her 2 times the night before and worked all day the next day.) When I didn't comply she started a fight, said things that she says she didn't mean that were pretty hurtful and then said since we just had a fight she is not ok with me going out with the other woman anymore. Now I am usually pretty considerate of her feelings and typically if she gives me enough notice about her feelings, I will tailor my behavior to make it easier on her. However, this particular time she waited until the morning of the date to tell me this which is unfair to the other woman. It also feels to me like she is using my sense of being considerate as a way to punish me for the argument that we had.
I have noticed that lately the night before the date she will pick a fight with me or find a "loop hole" in our agreements to compel me to re-schedule the date. She says that even if we clear up an argument if I go out with another woman, she views it as me running away from the relationship which is primary. To a degree I understand where she is coming from and I could be wrong, but I do not think that is what I am doing.
This type of thing although the situations are different still bring up the same concern with me. After about the 3rd or 4th time this happened I tried to have a conversation about whether she is ok and can handle our relationship or has something changed, and she always seems to say that she is. She has admitted to have a challenge around it and I have offer to close off our relationship for a while to make it easier for her, which she has declined numerous times.
I have been as patient as I can be to move at her pace, but I am a person who needs to see progress or growth or at least be told when she is trying. We have had many conversations around this and it always ends on her saying that I just need to trust her and trust that she is growing. This is really challenging for me to deal with as I am not asking her to tailor her behavior to meet my needs as she is asking me.
So here is what I would love to receive feedback on....
1. Am I looking at this the wrong way? If so I would love to get some perspective of how I can be looking at this differently.
2. How would I approach the challenge of hearing someone saying that they are making progress when I don't (with exception of a few times) see much at all. Of could it be that she is moving sooo slow that I can see it and am just getting impatient?
Thanks everybody for your feedback in advance!