My boyfriend doesn’t want me if I’m poly

I recently just came out to my boyfriend of 2 years that I was polyamorous. He says that he can’t be with me if I’m with other people, I want him to understand that he is my one true love but I feel the need to be surrounded by more than one, have more than one connection, he is truly and deeply hurt and I’m having a really hard time explaining to him and making him feel not insecure.

I have been unfaithful in the past, and I have told him I wanted to be with other people I just didn’t necessarily ever know what I was, and didn’t know the term poly. I have been faithful since my mishaps, and we really grew from that and it took a long time to heal but we did. I could never be unfaithful to him again, I know how much pain it caused him and I’m truly hurt and full of regret from the situation.

So last week I told him I was poly, and he thinks I’ve been cheating on him more. I explain to him I haven’t been and that I would and could never do that again to him. Which I won’t, I love him and even know knowing I am poly I would still never be unfaithful to him even if I began to have feelings for someone else. I have fucked up and I think he understands what was in the past was the past.

I’m bisexual, he knows this, I’m not sure if trying to gradually befriend a girl would be a better move if I talked to him because he Doesn’t ever want another man inside me or me with him. I get that. I just don’t know if my boyfriend will ever change his mind, or be more understanding and supportive of how I feel. We both want to make this work, but I feel as if I’m going to have to hide my true self if we stay together. I have faith he could be more understanding over time … but what if he isn’t? We both don’t want to waste our time, but we’ve been through so much together and I don’t ever see myself leaving him.
Help a girl out? Advice? This is so emotionally draining…
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Hello hippielettucesmoker,

You must tell your boyfriend to read the book, "Sex at Dawn: how we mate, why we stray, and what it means for modern relationships," by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethá. Also you should gradually befriend a girl, it would be a reasonable compromise since he doesn't want you to be with a man. You don't see yourself ever leaving him, so unless you can convince him that poly is okay, you will have to remain monogamous with him. For the rest of your life. This is an unacceptable outcome, you must convince him that poly is okay before that can happen. Start with the book and if that doesn't work, let me know and I will try to give other suggestions.

I truly hope you can work things out with him.
Sincerely,
Kevin T.
 

Janro

New member
I'm not sure I'll have any practical advice, as in a way I'm quite new to non-monogamy myself, but I've been in a sort of similar position as your boyfriend and wanted to share my experience in case it'd help at least some. My boyfriend cheated on me multiple times, each time we tried sorting things through yet it happened again. We're still together and currently trying to make opening up our relationship with consent and all parties in the know happen. It's been a bit bumpy, and I don't know yet if it'll work in the long run, but so far the past month or so has been promising.

What I personally would have needed from my boyfriend was time and patience while I sorted through my feelings and recovery from the broken trust caused by cheating. I would also have needed more introspection into myself as to what I really needed, what my and his love language is and how miscommunication on that area led us both to not feel loved by the other person and our connection getting worse due to it.

My boyfriend also held firmly on the belief that I would never accept him for wanting to be connected to more people, even though I told him time and time again that the thing I was not okay with was him lying to me, not that he wanted more meaningful connections in his life. I'm not sure if your boyfriend himself is strictly monogamous or not, or if he's even remotely open to the idea that even if he's monogamous it's okay that you're not, so his reasons are of course his and might not be similar to mine.

My boyfriend also insisted he's waited for a long time and I should already be okay with him having connections and sexual relations with other people, and that he found it hard to believe I would ever "be okay with" it since I hadn't processed everything by then. He was also afraid that if he'd still wait I'd never "come around" because I wouldn't have the motivation to consent to him having other meaningful connections in his life. Again this (consenting to be on a poly relationship as long as I have enough information that I can consent to it) is something I want to do, so if your boyfriend doesn't even want to consider it, it's naturally a different scenario. These things my boyfriend insisted on were mostly reflections on his own fears of being stuck in (our relationship's) misery, of never being accepted, of screwing things up again, of losing people he cares about, and these are something he is working on himself, which makes me feel more secure in our relationship.

What has helped me, personally, is doing some detachment work as well as looking into love languages and communicate my needs, wants and fears better and clearer, and being received with empathy and understanding from my boyfriend, and working together towards solutions instead of being stuck in "I don't feel good about this". Clearer communication, better personal boundaries and more transparency between my boyfriend and I have also been irreplaceable. Those have also made it easier for my boyfriend to understand what my fears are, what I fear of losing, or not gaining, and he can reassure me in those areas and take action in helping me. This has not been a quick process for me, and it could very well be that poly brings up fears from cheating, losing you, not being good enough himself, etc. in your boyfriend, and he needs time to adjust to the idea and continued reassurance from you, as well as your trust in him trying to get there. Unless he's very specific and strict about not being willing to give it even a thought.
 

Inaniel

Active member
I’m not really a fan of strategic poly planning; like vagina first with the hope of dick later… Maybe he will be okay with it one day, maybe he won’t.

Until then you have a lot of pain and heartache to look forward too, and it sounds like you have a lot of pain and heartache behind you already….

Why put yourself through this? I know your relationship is probably great in some ways but no relationship is worth constant heartache. Do you two have codependency issues? I can’t imagine why else you wouldn’t leave the relationship and find someone who you are compatible with…
 

Marcus

Well-known member
I have been faithful since my mishaps, and we really grew from that and it took a long time to heal but we did.

So last week I told him I was poly, and he thinks I’ve been cheating on him more.

These two statements don't agree. When you told him that you wanted to be polyamorous his initial instinct was to presume that you were cheating on him again. This is evidence that healing has not taken place, and that his trust in you is still fundamentally damaged.

Building trust after someone has thoroughly damaged it is a tall order. Most of the time we just push our feelings of resentment down and just stop talking about them, which can be confused with "healing". This becomes evident when there is a complication and the resentment immediately pops up to the surface, which is what appears to have happened here.

I have faith he could be more understanding over time … but what if he isn’t? We both don’t want to waste our time, but we’ve been through so much together and I don’t ever see myself leaving him.

You have faith that he can change his mind based on what he has demonstrated? Do you have this faith because you just really want it to be true?

Having a relationship for a couple of years, or dozens of years, is no indication that it can or should continue for another couple or dozen years. Previous time invested in a relationship is only valuable if that time has provided the opportunity to build a strong sense of trust, with a history of clear and fiercely respected boundaries, and a deep understanding of the deeper nature of each other. This sort of healthy relationship can weather storms like someone needing to adjust the previous agreement, but it takes some exceptional groundwork that most relationships just don't have.

I would encourage you to take him at his word and act on what you actually know, and not what you wish were true when that doesn't line up with what has been demonstrated.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I get that you don't see yourself leaving him. Right now you sound like you are in the bargaining stage of grief. Still trying to make it work anyway and not yet at final acceptance.

I do not think trying to coax him into polyshipping saying you will only date women (while secretly hoping one day he will change and accept you poly dating men too) is a good way to go.

I think a kinder way to go is to hear him where he is at TODAY. What's he saying? He doesn't want to do polyshipping.

You do.


These are opposite things. This is not compatible.

It's ok to feel sad about that, but it is what it is.

NRE wears off 6 mos - 2 years in. You are at that point together. 2 years in. This is where you figure out if what is initially compatible will become deeply compatible. You have discovered it is not gonna work here, and are understandably disappointed.

Nobody breaks up like "Yay! Let's make cookies!" But a mutually respectful break up can do a lot to ease the grief of the break up.

Is this your first serious relationship? You didn't mention the ages. In my blog I wrote about my youngest DD struggling with her break up because her partner wanted to try poly and she did not. They had a good, respectful break up. It helped her healing time after that. It was pretty quick even though in the MOMENT, all was sadness.

It starts here on post #217


We both want to make this work, but I feel as if I’m going to have to hide my true self if we stay together.

Why would that be ok to do? To shrink yourself, hide your true self, and hurt yourself doing that? Pretend to be something you are not just to stay in his orbit?

You don't think it might be ok if...
  • You accept that it won't work out romantically because you each want opposite things.
  • You each feel sad about that.
  • Rather than waste time trying to fly a kite that just won't fly... You both choose to break up with grace as amicably as possible.
  • You both agree not to talk for a month. So there's a firm end to this chapter before trying to start a new one.
  • Then after that check in and see what the next chapter is gonna be.
    • Does it land at "good exes" who are polite if they bump into each other on the street? But don't hang out like friends?
    • Or does it to land it at "good exes and friends?"
Galagirl
 
I'm not sure I'll have any practical advice, as in a way I'm quite new to non-monogamy myself, but I've been in a sort of similar position as your boyfriend and wanted to share my experience in case it'd help at least some. My boyfriend cheated on me multiple times, each time we tried sorting things through yet it happened again. We're still together and currently trying to make opening up our relationship with consent and all parties in the know happen. It's been a bit bumpy, and I don't know yet if it'll work in the long run, but so far the past month or so has been promising.

What I personally would have needed from my boyfriend was time and patience while I sorted through my feelings and recovery from the broken trust caused by cheating. I would also have needed more introspection into myself as to what I really needed, what my and his love language is and how miscommunication on that area led us both to not feel loved by the other person and our connection getting worse due to it.

My boyfriend also held firmly on the belief that I would never accept him for wanting to be connected to more people, even though I told him time and time again that the thing I was not okay with was him lying to me, not that he wanted more meaningful connections in his life. I'm not sure if your boyfriend himself is strictly monogamous or not, or if he's even remotely open to the idea that even if he's monogamous it's okay that you're not, so his reasons are of course his and might not be similar to mine.

My boyfriend also insisted he's waited for a long time and I should already be okay with him having connections and sexual relations with other people, and that he found it hard to believe I would ever "be okay with" it since I hadn't processed everything by then. He was also afraid that if he'd still wait I'd never "come around" because I wouldn't have the motivation to consent to him having other meaningful connections in his life. Again this (consenting to be on a poly relationship as long as I have enough information that I can consent to it) is something I want to do, so if your boyfriend doesn't even want to consider it, it's naturally a different scenario. These things my boyfriend insisted on were mostly reflections on his own fears of being stuck in (our relationship's) misery, of never being accepted, of screwing things up again, of losing people he cares about, and these are something he is working on himself, which makes me feel more secure in our relationship.

What has helped me, personally, is doing some detachment work as well as looking into love languages and communicate my needs, wants and fears better and clearer, and being received with empathy and understanding from my boyfriend, and working together towards solutions instead of being stuck in "I don't feel good about this". Clearer communication, better personal boundaries and more transparency between my boyfriend and I have also been irreplaceable. Those have also made it easier for my boyfriend to understand what my fears are, what I fear of losing, or not gaining, and he can reassure me in those areas and take action in helping me. This has not been a quick process for me, and it could very well be that poly brings up fears from cheating, losing you, not being good enough himself, etc. in your boyfriend, and he needs time to adjust to the idea and continued reassurance from you, as well as your trust in him trying to get there. Unless he's very specific and strict about not being willing to give it even a thought
I'm not sure I'll have any practical advice, as in a way I'm quite new to non-monogamy myself, but I've been in a sort of similar position as your boyfriend and wanted to share my experience in case it'd help at least some. My boyfriend cheated on me multiple times, each time we tried sorting things through yet it happened again. We're still together and currently trying to make opening up our relationship with consent and all parties in the know happen. It's been a bit bumpy, and I don't know yet if it'll work in the long run, but so far the past month or so has been promising.

What I personally would have needed from my boyfriend was time and patience while I sorted through my feelings and recovery from the broken trust caused by cheating. I would also have needed more introspection into myself as to what I really needed, what my and his love language is and how miscommunication on that area led us both to not feel loved by the other person and our connection getting worse due to it.

My boyfriend also held firmly on the belief that I would never accept him for wanting to be connected to more people, even though I told him time and time again that the thing I was not okay with was him lying to me, not that he wanted more meaningful connections in his life. I'm not sure if your boyfriend himself is strictly monogamous or not, or if he's even remotely open to the idea that even if he's monogamous it's okay that you're not, so his reasons are of course his and might not be similar to mine.

My boyfriend also insisted he's waited for a long time and I should already be okay with him having connections and sexual relations with other people, and that he found it hard to believe I would ever "be okay with" it since I hadn't processed everything by then. He was also afraid that if he'd still wait I'd never "come around" because I wouldn't have the motivation to consent to him having other meaningful connections in his life. Again this (consenting to be on a poly relationship as long as I have enough information that I can consent to it) is something I want to do, so if your boyfriend doesn't even want to consider it, it's naturally a different scenario. These things my boyfriend insisted on were mostly reflections on his own fears of being stuck in (our relationship's) misery, of never being accepted, of screwing things up again, of losing people he cares about, and these are something he is working on himself, which makes me feel more secure in our relationship.

What has helped me, personally, is doing some detachment work as well as looking into love languages and communicate my needs, wants and fears better and clearer, and being received with empathy and understanding from my boyfriend, and working together towards solutions instead of being stuck in "I don't feel good about this". Clearer communication, better personal boundaries and more transparency between my boyfriend and I have also been irreplaceable. Those have also made it easier for my boyfriend to understand what my fears are, what I fear of losing, or not gaining, and he can reassure me in those areas and take action in helping me. This has not been a quick process for me, and it could very well be that poly brings up fears from cheating, losing you, not being good enough himself, etc. in your boyfriend, and he needs time to adjust to the idea and continued reassurance from you, as well as your trust in him trying to get there. Unless he's very specific and strict about not being willing to give it even a thought.
I don’t think he wants to adjust to the idea of me being poly, it’s kinda like if I want to pursue it / my feelings he’s done. I’m hurt but I know he’s hurt too and doesn’t understand. It’s just a confusing time and we both are struggling
 
I’m not really a fan of strategic poly planning; like vagina first with the hope of dick later… Maybe he will be okay with it one day, maybe he won’t.

Until then you have a lot of pain and heartache to look forward too, and it sounds like you have a lot of pain and heartache behind you already….

Why put yourself through this? I know your relationship is probably great in some ways but no relationship is worth constant heartache. Do you two have codependency issues? I can’t imagine why else you wouldn’t leave the relationship and find someone who you are compatible with…
I haven’t even brought up the idea, I think regardless it would be a no. I’m scared to leave him and I’m scared for him to leave me we are totally co dependent upon each other. I don’t want to go through the whole dating process again either.
 
These two statements don't agree. When you told him that you wanted to be polyamorous his initial instinct was to presume that you were cheating on him again. This is evidence that healing has not taken place, and that his trust in you is still fundamentally damaged.

Building trust after someone has thoroughly damaged it is a tall order. Most of the time we just push our feelings of resentment down and just stop talking about them, which can be confused with "healing". This becomes evident when there is a complication and the resentment immediately pops up to the surface, which is what appears to have happened here.



You have faith that he can change his mind based on what he has demonstrated? Do you have this faith because you just really want it to be true?

Having a relationship for a couple of years, or dozens of years, is no indication that it can or should continue for another couple or dozen years. Previous time invested in a relationship is only valuable if that time has provided the opportunity to build a strong sense of trust, with a history of clear and fiercely respected boundaries, and a deep understanding of the deeper nature of each other. This sort of healthy relationship can weather storms like someone needing to adjust the previous agreement, but it takes some exceptional groundwork that most relationships just don't have.

I would encourage you to take him at his word and act on what you actually know, and not what you wish were true when that doesn't line up with what has been demonstrated.
I want it to be true. That’s for sure. We were each other’s forever and I don’t understand why my polyamorous self could change that. I suppose since he is 100% monogamous I need to be more open minded.
 
I get that you don't see yourself leaving him. Right now you sound like you are in the bargaining stage of grief. Still trying to make it work anyway and not yet at final acceptance.

I do not think trying to coax him into polyshipping saying you will only date women (while secretly hoping one day he will change and accept you poly dating men too) is a good way to go.

I think a kinder way to go is to hear him where he is at TODAY. What's he saying? He doesn't want to do polyshipping.

You do.


These are opposite things. This is not compatible.

It's ok to feel sad about that, but it is what it is.

NRE wears off 6 mos - 2 years in. You are at that point together. 2 years in. This is where you figure out if what is initially compatible will become deeply compatible. You have discovered it is not gonna work here, and are understandably disappointed.

Nobody breaks up like "Yay! Let's make cookies!" But a mutually respectful break up can do a lot to ease the grief of the break up.

Is this your first serious relationship? You didn't mention the ages. In my blog I wrote about my youngest DD struggling with her break up because her partner wanted to try poly and she did not. They had a good, respectful break up. It helped her healing time after that. It was pretty quick even though in the MOMENT, all was sadness.

It starts here on post #217




Why would that be ok to do? To shrink yourself, hide your true self, and hurt yourself doing that? Pretend to be something you are not just to stay in his orbit?

You don't think it might be ok if...
  • You accept that it won't work out romantically because you each want opposite things.
  • You each feel sad about that.
  • Rather than waste time trying to fly a kite that just won't fly... You both choose to break up with grace as amicably as possible.
  • You both agree not to talk for a month. So there's a firm end to this chapter before trying to start a new one.
  • Then after that check in and see what the next chapter is gonna be.
    • Does it land at "good exes" who are polite if they bump into each other on the street? But don't hang out like friends?
    • Or does it to land it at "good exes and friends?"
Galagirl
This is my 3rd serious relationship, and I think you’re absolutely right. I would love for it to land on the good exes and friends but I dont know if he could do it.
 

Evie

Kaitiaki

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I am trying to open up w my true self, to finally reach bliss and happiness

If this is the goal?

I think you could align behaviors to the goal. And NOT do this.

I feel as if I’m going to have to hide my true self if we stay together.

You cannot hid your true self and still be opening up with your true self.

I’m scared to leave him and I’m scared for him to leave me we are totally co dependent upon each other.

You'd have to work on overcoming codependency if you want healthier relating.

You might look at the CODA book. Maybe try to find a meeting.

Like even if he did want to try poly? You both would have to work on the codependency thing anyway to become more healthy, right?

I would love for it to land on the good exes and friends but I dont know if he could do it.

Well, you take care of your things that you control. Tell him you are willing to go for that. You do your part of the job to get to that.

And hopefully he does his part of the job to get to that.

You not going toward that because you are afraid he won't show up? That's sounding like the codependency thing.

You do you. Be yourself! You can't be someone else. Those are already taken.

You can expect him to do him. Whether he actually does that? Well, it's on him because he control his behaviors. But you could hope and expect him to stand on his own two feet. Just as you could expect you to start standing on your own two feet.

We were each other’s forever and I don’t understand why my polyamorous self could change that. I suppose since he is 100% monogamous I need to be more open minded.

I don't tell people I'm their "forever." It's just not true. I am not immortal.

I also don't tell them they are the love of my life. Because I'm not nearing end of life. I cannot make that call. Granted, DH is a strong contender... but he hasn't been the ONLY love of my life.

I think he will always be an important partner in your story, but if he's 100% monogamous, and you don't want to do monogamy? He's not the right long term romantic partner for you. This is as long as it can go. An important 2 years, but no. Not 20 years or your lifetime. And that's is OK!

I don’t want to go through the whole dating process again either.

Not wanting to do the dating thing again is not a reason to say with a partner that is not deeply compatible. You could be on your own.

You taking up his sweetie spot when he wants someone who is 100% monogamous like him? And you aren't that? How's that being loving towards him?

Love alone isn't enough for deep compatibility and going long haul with someone. Neither is doing "square peg round hole" and hurting each other during that. Him doing stuff he doesn't really want to be doing... or you doing stuff you don't really want to be doing....

Sometimes the last loving act is to let someone go gently. And letting the romantic relationship evolve into something else that fits better.

Rather than linger in the dragging out space? It might be better to make firm decisions and linger in the healing place.

Galagirl
 
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If this is the goal?

I think you could align behaviors to the goal. And NOT do this.



You cannot hid your true self and still be opening up with your true self.



You'd have to work on overcoming codependency if you want healthier relating.

You might look at the CODA book. Maybe try to find a meeting.

Like even if he did want to try poly? You both would have to work on the codependency thing anyway to become more healthy, right?



Well, you take care of your things that you control. Tell him you are willing to go for that. You do your part of the job to get to that.

And hopefully he does his part of the job to get to that.

You not going toward that because you are afraid he won't show up? That's sounding like the codependency thing.

You do you. Be yourself! You can't be someone else. Those are already taken.

You can expect him to do him. Whether he actually does that? Well, it's on him because he control his behaviors. But you could hope and expect him to stand on his own two feet. Just as you could expect you to start standing on your own two feet.



I don't tell people I'm their "forever." It's just not true. I am not immortal.

I also don't tell them they are the love of my life. Because I'm not nearing end of life. I cannot make that call. Granted, DH is a strong contender... but he hasn't been the ONLY love of my life.

I think he will always be an important partner in your story, but if he's 100% monogamous, and you don't want to do monogamy? He's not the right long term romantic partner for you. This is as long as it can go. An important 2 years, but no. Not 20 years or your lifetime. And that's is OK!



Not wanting to do the dating thing again is not a reason to say with a partner that is not deeply compatible. You could be on your own.

You taking up his sweetie spot when he wants someone who is 100% monogamous like him? And you aren't that? How's that being loving towards him?

Love alone isn't enough for deep compatibility and going long haul with someone. Neither is doing "square peg round hole" and hurting each other during that. Him doing stuff he doesn't really want to be doing... or you doing stuff you don't really want to be doing....

Sometimes the last loving act is to let someone go gently. And letting the romantic relationship evolve into something else that fits better.

Rather than linger in the dragging out space? It might be better to make firm decisions and linger in the healing place.

Galagirl
Time for healing for both of us. He let me know he can’t do it not now or never. I wasn’t trying to pressure him just let him know that this was something I felt and had always felt. I’m trying to breathe. I know it will take time.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
Well... he's stated a firm limit. He doesn't want to be in a polyship. and that's fine and he can want that.

But then what about you and your well being if you choose to stick it out with him?

Could ask him if there's another middle place.

I wrote about it in my blog thread starting with post #6.


  • Can he be ok listening to your poly thoughts and feelings so you don't go around bottled up? So it becomes a bit more "open enough" for you that way? You don't have to "hide" who you are and can be authentic you around him?

  • Can you be ok not dating other people, so it remains "closed enough" for him that way?
If that is not a middle place that works for both?

Might be ok to slow down. breathe, and eventually part ways so each can eventually be on their own for a while and heal. And be free to seek more deeply compatible partners when ready.

Galagirl
 

FallenAngelina

Well-known member
I don’t think he wants to adjust to the idea of me being poly, it’s kinda like if I want to pursue it / my feelings he’s done. I’m hurt but I know he’s hurt too and doesn’t understand. It’s just a confusing time and we both are struggling


It really isn't confusing and yes, he does understand. He doesn't agree with you but he does understand what you say about additional partners. He understands perfectly and has responded that if you want additional partners, he's done. That's his hard limit based on him knowing and standing by his values. That's very clear.

This is no doubt a deeply painful time for both of you, but it doesn't appear to be confusing or complicated. It's painful to recognize deal breakers in a loving relationship.
 

WhatHappened

Active member
I don’t think he wants to adjust to the idea of me being poly, it’s kinda like if I want to pursue it / my feelings he’s done. I’m hurt but I know he’s hurt too and doesn’t understand. It’s just a confusing time and we both are struggling
All to often people think that if they just 'communicate' better the problem will be resolved. This is not about him 'not understanding.' He doesn't want what you want. End of story. There is no resolution to that.

You have three choices:

  1. Live monogamously with him.
  2. Stay with him and go poly anyway which will almost certainly end the relationship down the road because this is not what he wants for his own life.
  3. Break up with him now and you each find someone who wants what you want.
This is NOT about his failure to understand.
 

Ostrich

Active member
  1. Live monogamously with him.
  2. Stay with him and go poly anyway which will almost certainly end the relationship down the road because this is not what he wants for his own life.
  3. Break up with him now and you each find someone who wants what you want.

Carol Merrill, show us what's behind door #3!

I have the potential to be shown door #2 as I am sure at some point in the future, DAG will want to have sex with someone else without including me. That's the deal breaker for me.

HLS, be very honest with yourself regarding what you want. If you feel being poly is more important to you than being mono (thereby being involved with your current BF), then please seriously consider breaking it off, sooner rather than later. WhatHappened's post above is the unvarnished truth.
 
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