Need some help...

Kombatkat910

New member
Backstory:
I (29F) met my BF (28M) April of 2022 and we've been together ever since. I met him while I was going through my divorce. (I was the one who initiated.) I was having a hard time dealing with sharing the kids (2 under 5) with my ex. There were a lot of emotions, including depression, on my side, but I was happy to have met my BF, and our relationship evolved as time went on.

He moved in, met the kids and helped me by watching them when I had extended hours. There was a time when my car broke down and he would take me to and from work and pick up the kids from daycare. He's done a lot for me, and I adore him to pieces.

We flew out to CA last fall so I could meet his parents. We talked about marriage, and when he finished his contract with the military in December, we drove to CA again. He met my parents on the way. He was supposed to stay in CA until I finished my contract, but ended up flying back a week later to stay with me in TN.

During the next couple of months, he got depressed because his plans for after the military hadn't gone the way he planned. He was emotionally distant. I understood and tried to comfort him. He ended up getting a job at a gas station around July and flew out to CA to wait for me. During those three months, we would call every night, text, send memes and everything, but around August he started being more distant, meaner, and wanting to break up in moments of frustration. But I was able to calm him down. We were better once I got an exact date to finish my contract in August. Then I moved to CA by September 1st, 2023.

What do I do about this?
Two weeks into being in CA he springs up on me that he needs to be poly to be happy. He had brought it up during our first visit to CA and I told him that was something I was NOT interested in, and he'd left it at: if I didn't want to, then we didn't have to. I was in pieces and flustered at him putting this on me. In the moment, I said maybe I'd think about it, because I legit had moved across the country to be with him.

The next day, he wakes me up in the morning and tells me he has to be honest. He had actually already met someone. He met this girl at a rave he went to and then saw her at a following event. She didn't know about me, but I guess he told her that morning, as well.

She was okay with being poly; she had done it before. But I wasn't. He told me that he still loved me and wanted to be with me, but with her too.

I've been trying to be okay with all of this, because I don't want to lose him. But I'm going insane. He sees her two weekends out of the month and messages/calls her while he's at work. When we go to festivals, he wants to spend one day with her and one with me. It's not like he's leaving me, or even wants to, but I feel like this is something I can't ignore forever, like I've been doing for the sake of having him be with me.

It eats me alive the nights I know he's with her, that he tells her that he loves her too, that he cares about her too...

I feel like I'm the bad guy, the crazy one, the one who's selfish... What do I do?

Also, I cant see anyone else, just him... not that I even want to, but then at least it would be fair.
 
You leave. You cut your losses and you go make a life you're actually happy in. You don't have to live being eaten alive by your emotions about this, it's not your jam, you've said so, but it is his. Neither of you are the bad guy here, you're just long term incompatible. Moving to be with him was a mistake, you saw the signs but you went anyway and now it's bit you on the butt. But it's only been two months, extract yourself from there and go live your authentic life where you'll be happy and find a monogamous partner. You may lose this guy, or after a time you may be great friends, perhaps even fuck buddies between your mono relationships, but that's way down the track. Right now, admit to yourself that you've made a mistake and this isn't the relationship for you long term. Sure you moved across the country, but don't get stuck in a sunk cost fallacy. He'd been (poorly) letting you know that he didn't think it would work, with being distant, meaner, wanting to break up, but you were a little too persistent and now it's backfiring. He is who he is. Even if he was good with you dating others, I suspect it wouldn't actually solve the real problem, being that you are wanting a traditional mono relationship, and he's not.

Cut your losses, move on.
 
If he has said that he is the only one that gets to be poly while you must remain monogamous, that is a red flag.
Even if you are happy being mono, you are not happy with him being poly. It takes a lot of work to have a poly partner - and that is when it is something that you want to have. You don't want it - and that is totally okay - you should not try to force it, because you will never be happy.
 
I'm sorry this happened like this. I could be wrong in my impression, but some of this sounds hinky to me.

Two weeks into being in CA he springs up on me that he needs to be poly to be happy. He had brought it up during our first visit to CA, and I told him that was something I was NOT interested in, and he left it at: if I didn't want to, then we didn't have to. I was in pieces and flustered at him putting this on me, and in the moment said maybe I'd think about it, because I legit had moved across the country to be with him.

I wish he'd told you BEFORE you moved out there, that he'd changed his mind and wanted polyamory.

The next day he wakes me up in the morning and tells me he has to be honest. He had actually already met someone. He met this girl at a rave he went to and then saw her at a following event. She didn't know about me, but I guess he told her that morning, as well.

As I understand it, he'd brought up polyamory once before. You said "no" back then. He said if you didn't want to, it didn't have to be poly. So the current agreements were for monogamy. Then he stepped out and started dating this woman he met, cheating on his current agreements with you. And now he wants to wave the polyamory brush at it to whitewash his cheating. Is that what is happening? If so, that's not great.

Be honest with him. You sound firm that you do not want any polyamory. There is nothing wrong with wanting monogamy. So say no. Break up and make plans to move out, or have him move out, if you've already started living together.

It is NOT selfish for you to do your self care, and think about what YOU want from your life. It doesn't have to match what he wants in his.

If HE is the one calling you selfish, because he can't get his way how he wants it, he's adding being a name-calling bully to the list of poor behaviors.

He told me that he still loves me and wants to be with me, but with her too.

He can feel all his feels. He still knew you didn't want any polyamory from before he met her.

Stand firm. You do NOT have to go along with this just because he waited to kinda have you over a barrel, after all the expenses and trouble of moving over there to be with him.

I feel like this is something I can't ignore forever, like I've been doing, for the sake of having him be with me. It eats me alive the nights I know he's with her, that he tells her that he loves her too, that he cares about her too...

I think you know this is NOT for you. You can STOP, especially if you feel like you are going insane. Why do this?

Also, I can't see anyone else, just him... not that I even want to, but then at least it would be fair...

So, he cheated, he waited until you moved to spring this on you, and he doesn't want you dating anyone else, even though he wants to date more than one person. Who made him boss, where he makes all the rules/decisions for YOUR life?

This does not sound great to me. You can tell him no, you do not agree to a mono-poly model.

I get he was the first person you dated after the divorce and he was a huge help at first. But the first big relationship doesn't have to last forever, especially if, on a closer look, you're not actually compatible.

You don't have to bend into pretzels just to hang on to the guy, especially if bending into pretzels hurts you MORE. You sound like you already hurt and don't need more stuff piling on. :(

I'm not sure if he was love bombing you or not. But you know that's a thing, right?

I suggest you part ways as peacefully as possible, and maybe take a time out from dating. This guy sounds like a rebound from the divorce. Maybe you want to take a little time to yourself to fully heal from both things: the divorce and this cheating/break up thing. Perhaps you could talk to a counselor, if you need extra support, and/or join a divorce support group. This was a lot to go through in less than two years.

Galagirl
 
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Hello Kombatkat910,

It sounds like you need to tell your boyfriend to stop being poly, to stop seeing the other girl. There is nothing wrong with wanting monogamy, you want monogamy and that is perfectly okay. He needs to think about what he needs to give up in order to be with you, it shouldn't just be you giving things up for him all the time. And I assume that breaking up with him is not an option.

I hope the two of you can work things out.
Sincerely,
Kevin T.
 
Hello Kombatkat910,

It sounds like you need to tell your boyfriend to stop being poly, to stop seeing the other girl.
No one has the right to tell someone else what to do, how to love. No mono person can tell me to somehow "stop" being poly. That's not how it works
There is nothing wrong with wanting monogamy. You want monogamy and that is perfectly okay. He needs to think about what he needs to give up in order to be with you. It shouldn't just be you giving things up for him all the time. I assume that breaking up with him is not an option.
Breaking up is always an option.
 
UPDATE: I ended up giving him an ultimatum, after speaking briefly with the other girl. I guess he had also told her she couldn't see anyone else, and that led me to believe he's not truly poly. I don't have an issue with people who live this way. If everyone is in agreement, then all is well. But I couldn't do this, as much as I wanted to.

I told him he gets to choose how things go. He can either break up with her and we can work on healing our relationship, or he can continue living his authentic life, but it just won't be with me. I didn't want to break up with him myself because it would be too easy for me to cave and go back to him, so if he decides to break up with me, then it's out of my hands. Honestly, I was 90% sure he was going to leave me. I walked into this believing that was going to be the case, but I was wrong. After the initial argument and bluff of leaving, he ended up deciding to work on things with me and to let her go.

New question:
Is it better for him to clean break it? Go see her, tell her what's going on and stop it all in one go, or (what we currently have in place) keep all the plans they had until the end of the year (she lives far away, so they don't see each other often), if she wants, and then it's over?

I feel bad on one hand, but justified on the other... I gave him options, he chose what he did, and that's on him.
 
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You're not selfish. This just might not be for you.

Why can't you see anyone else? Has he said that you shouldn't?
He doesn’t want me or the other girl to see anyone else because our love for him could change. He has the belief that women are more easily swayed emotionally especially if there’s intimacy.
 
I ended up giving him an ultimatum, after speaking briefly with the other girl. I guess he had also told her she couldn't see anyone else and that led me to believe he's not truly poly.

OMG, he's doing it to her too? Is he harem building?

I didn't want to break up with him myself because it would be too easy for me to cave and go back to him. So if he decides to break up with me then it's out of my hands.

I do not understand this logic. You might also think about individual counseling. Breaking up is a necessary skill for dating, and so is having strong personal boundaries. If you always leave it up to the other person to decide if a relationship ends or not, because if you break up you always go running back, no matter how bad it was, that leaves you ripe for manipulators. :( They won't end it. They will suck you dry.

Honestly, I was 90% sure he was going to leave me. I walked into this believing that was going to be the case. But I was wrong. After the initial argument and bluff of leaving, he ended up deciding to work on things with me and to let her go.

What is there to work on, really? Is his next affair going to be better hidden?

And why you? He's got you hooked more tightly than her?

Is it better for him to clean break it? Go see her, tell her what's going on, and stop it all in one go or (what we currently have in place) keep all the plans they had until the end of the year (she lives far so they don't see each other often), if she wants, and then it's over? I feel bad on one hand but justified on the other....

I gave him options. He chose what he did, and that's on him.

He cheated on your agreements and now YOU have to be his relationship coach for how to break up with the other lady? You see that's messed up, right?

I am concerned he's telling you what you want to hear and he's just gonna do same to her, and keep on seeing both of you in secret. Like, you think he dumped her, but he didn't, and she thinks he dumped you, but he didn't.

He doesn’t want me or the other girl to see anyone else because our love for him could change. He has the belief that women are more easily swayed emotionally, especially if there’s intimacy.

So what? You can see this is not fair. Neither you nor the other lady have to agree to ONLY see him.

He thinks women who share sex with more than one guy are gonna compare them, and then fall in love with whichever penis is better performing, because he thinks that women are stupid? That's all women want? Penis? Ugh. What a way to view women, and sex. But then on his side, he can have as many GFs as he wants? He can "handle it better," because he's a man?

What's attractive about this kind of thinking? What's wrong with your love for him changing? You might date new people and discover they treat you way better than this guy.

Besides, you may already be looking at him very differently after all this.

I wouldn't bother working anything out with him. He's not sounding all that great right now, TBH.
  • He's broken trust
  • Doing this already makes you feel insane
  • He wants poly and you do not
  • His brand of poly is weird. He sounds like he wants to build a harem with a one penis policy, where you can't date anyone else, just him
  • He wants you to be his relationship coach.
You might want to read this and assess things:


I don't think it's worthwhile, but if you are going to try:
  • He needs to break up with the other lady and deal with it on his own.
  • There needs to be couple's counseling.
  • No living together. You and your kids need to be safe on your own, no matter how this pans out with him. Have your own nest.
  • And no, you are not going to promise to date only him. It's a whole new deal, a reboot. You don't promise to "go steady" from day one, even when seeking monogamy. You can go see what else is out there.
Even without all the other things on top, if he wants polyamory and you want monogamy, that's just not compatible, so why try to square peg/round hole?

I honestly think you could do better than this guy.

Galagirl
 
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Hi Kombatkat910,

It is better to make a clean break, however he has chosen to keep all the plans they had until the end of the year, so that is on him. The important thing is that you stood up to him, and did not let him walk all over you.

Regards,
Kevin T.
 
He doesn’t want me or the other girl to see anyone else because our love for him could change. He has the belief that women are more easily swayed emotionally especially if there’s intimacy.
When I was younger, I'd focus on the fact that this guy is now doing the "right thing" by breaking up with her and concentrating on healing us and I'd completely ignore this very important point: he basically thinks women are inferior to men.

In my experience, even when a partner has stuck to a change, their underlying values still manifest in other ways. So, for example, while this guy might never even mention us having an open relationship again, I'll soon find that his general view affects the way he views other things in our relationship, like money, housework, or friends and family relationships. He will think my opinion is less worthy, or that I'm less component because of my gender.

It would be that conflict in values that would eventually end our relationship. It's a pervasive difference that isn't solved by closing to other people.
 
I see this a bit differently than the others. He’s a cheater and he wanted to use poly as his cover, to get away with it. That’s why he didn’t want either of you to date others. He has no idea what polyamory is. I suspect this will come up in the future, either with this same woman or a new one. Be on the lookout.
 
Is it better for him to clean break it? Go see her tell her what's going on and stopping it all in one go or (what we currently have in place) keep all the plans they had until the end of the year (she lives far so they don't see each other often) if she wants and then it's over.
There's no reason you should need to ask this question. If he's decided to break up with his other partner, how he does that is his responsibility.

He doesn’t want me or the other girl to see anyone else because our love for him could change. He has the belief that women are more easily swayed emotionally especially if there’s intimacy.
And how does knowing those things about him — that he doesn't trust your fidelity because you're a woman, and thinks a good solution to that lack of trust is to control your behaviour — make you feel about him as a partner?
 
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