Thank you, you don't know how much that means to me. I'm glad that you understand where I'm coming from, and note what went wrong along the way. Much love to you <3
She encouraged me to seek relationships of my own, even a year ago. I don't know if that's because she would be genuinely happy for me, or just to make it easier on her to accept the changes she wanted to make, knowing it'd be simpler and quicker if I made those changes as well. My guess is the latter, though. I do believe she is poly, and it's a shame she couldn't realize it sooner or have better self-control in trying to work through it. Instead, she chose to destroy the life we'd built.
I don't really know what she'd do. I believe people are capable of change. I know I've changed over the years, and rarely it's been a big shift for the better. I don't know if I should be the one taking that risk for her, though. That might need to be her own journey apart from me. I agree with you that I feel like those are my two best options, and I agree with many here that the latter seems most likely.
I don't think that I'm bargaining. At least I don't feel that way. I'm not trying to hold onto the M blindly, because I do see D as a legitimate path forward. WS and I have a good working relationship where we're used to talking about options. I still plan on doing so, but just with a much more critical eye than in the past. I agree with you that the M can't hold unless one of us has a more dramatic shift in our preferred relationship style. I thought I knew what it was like to be loved, but I think you're right in that I don't believe I've been truly loved in my previous relationships. In this one I was, but when it was truly put to the test, it didn't hold. I also worry about what you say - who knows if she might change her mind half-heartedly just to keep me. I do have friends who give me tough love, and I thank them each time we talk because sometimes I need it. Thank you for your advice.
I agreed to her conditions just as she agreed to mine. It's all about diplomacy when it comes to new things. Of course that goes out the window when one side breaches their word, so of course I no longer agree to her conditions. I'm sorry if I mistyped before, but I did not agree to her dating other people after learning of her affair - the affair was less than a week ago! I agree that would be a huge misstep, but that isn't the case here.
Seriously considering it.
I know she's pan because I've seen the people she's attracted to and dated in the past. There isn't anything wrong with being pan, or poly. The problem is cheating. I do believe this is the first time, and that might be naive to you, but it also doesn't really matter at this stage to me - cheating once is as bad as cheating a dozen times. It's incredibly damaging regardless of the tally. I know what her end game was, and I was working to see if I would be okay with it. I told her many times it would be a slow process, and I might not ever get to where she'd be happy. But we both wanted to try because we didn't want to give up on each other. I don't feel shame in that. The fact that she had sex came out of left field, as for an entire year physical interactions were something that hadn't really been her concern. I know better now, but I don't fault myself for believing her back then. People can change, and it's a shame she concealed this development from me until she had ruined everything.
I don't think she had cheated on me before. She had talked with her therapist about being poly before there was ever a date with anyone. She's a smart woman and would have just cheated and hid it if that was her goal. No need to put me on high alert with telling me she's poly. I do honestly believe she would be fine if I had dated around. I know it's hard to believe because of the horror stories we come across, but let me be a counter-voice. I think it's most likely that she stepped into this world after having these feelings repressed most of her life, and after finally meeting someone she felt comfortable with and discussing it in therapy, opened it up. It was scary for her to even talk to me about it a year ago. She took a risk because she trusted me, not because she wanted to bang other people. She fucked up back then by trying to push me too far too soon, but backed off once our therapist validated my feelings.
Polyamorous relationships are valid, full stop. That doesn't mean it will work for you, your SO, or anyone else. It just means they work out and don't work out, just like monogamous relationships. The problem isn't polyamory - it's breaking set boundaries and betraying trust. I also was against her being physical with anyone else, and to a much greater degree. I don't understand why you think I was fine with being cheated on, or agreed that would be part of my relationship. I never said such a thing.