As of last night, I'm ecstatic. As of this evening, I'm too overwhelmed by joy to really express it very well.
First, a little background: My partner (28,m) and I (22,f) were both raised in extremely conservative religious environments, and we've gotten much more liberal and secular in our attitudes as we got older, but for me especially, a lot of the ways of thinking I was raised with got so rooted into my worldview that I've tended to be oblivious to some pretty fundamental truths about myself. The currently critical and relevant truth on the table is that I'm polyfidelitous as a natural part of my orientation, but I managed to be virtually oblivious to this for a long time, not really putting two and two together in my head about things that seriously should have made this obvious to me. Ever since my high school dating environment, I've never really had fewer than three romantic partners at one time, and I've always kept my partners aware of each other's existence and their importance to me. At seventeen, I was successfully participating in nonsexual good-poly long term relationships. It's never been a casual thing for me; I've always gotten very close to the people I've dated, and been deeply devoted to them, and each time a relationship ended with a boyfriend, it was on mutually-friendly terms, usually relating to our lives just taking us farther away from each other. Things went swimmingly this way for years, and then I found my current partner, my fiance, during a time when all of my prior boyfriends had moved on in life to college or other things, and my closest relationship was the woman who is currently my secondary, but had not yet become romantic with me.
My guy and I were amazing with each other from the start, and we knew that whatever we had, it was right and good and made us both incandescently happy. I had my best pal-not-yet-secondary, as well, and nobody else was attracting me, so I was totally content. Over the next couple years, we got engaged, and the relationship only grew stronger. My best pal and I started really recognizing our feelings for each other, which was startling for me, because I'd never had any attraction to another woman before, and it took some real emotional introspection to figure out where she and I stand with each other.
Then trouble in paradise: this winter, I met a guy who had amazing chemistry with me right off the bat, and being around him felt -right- in the way that being around my partner felt -right- from the beginning. My first few attempts to discuss with my partner didn't get much of anywhere, mostly because I still hadn't actualized to myself that yes, polyamory is integral to my identity, orientation, and sense of Self. Once I figured that out, I explained it to my partner in a pretty long e-mail, so that he could mull it over. My partner's way of expressing love is very one-person-focused, and I personally just flat-out don't experience jealousy at all. He had to put a lot of effort into explaining it to me, because I didn't really understand that it's more a reactive emotion, less a conscious choice that a person makes about their attitude. For me, sharing people I love just seems like the most effortless thing in the world, and I had a hard time understanding how my partner didn't feel the exact same way.
The e-mail sat unanswered for awhile, and I started wondering if I was ever going to get any feedback from him about the issue, or if he was going to try to ignore the subject, hoping it would go away.
Finally, last night he leveled with me, and we pulled an all-nighter together, him asking me really in-depth and earnest questions about what I want, how I feel, and how I love. Perceived-infidelity was something which, at one time, he would have considered a deal-breaker... but he valued me and our relationship too much to treat giving up on it as any remotely entertainable option: we're each other's truest mate, and we've both felt secure in that certainty for years, so even something this serious can't and shouldn't be able to destabilize that certainty. He thanked me for having the courage to talk to him about it, because the last thing he wants is for our relationship to become one-sided silent suffering while one of us defers to the other on everything. It's one of the hardest things he's ever had to do, but this hyper-monogamous man with serious jealousy chose to transcend that jealousy so that he could take my needs and identity seriously and compassionately.
We talked about my secondary and the new guy I'd recently started falling for. We talked about safety, health, and communication. We talked about logistics and even about moving later in the year so that we can be closer geographically to my secondary. On his own power and cleverness, he thought up ways that my spending time with my paramours could be a boon to our relationship, like how it would allow him more time for solitude and recovery from social fatigue (he's very introverted and needs a couple nights a week to himself normally) without me having to feel lonely or shut out from affection.
Every question he asked was important and respectfully given, and the answers compassionately and patiently received. Every suggestion and idea he offered came from a place of love and understanding, and he treated the situation not as "just in case this happens," but as "this will happen for certain, so let's talk about it, so we're on the same page." Every step of the way, he supported my voice and my free agency, and he phrased things so that I could empathize with what he felt, as well. He earnestly gave me his blessing to pursue more contact and depth in my currently long-distance relationships with my paramours, and he even sympathized with me about the longing and discomfort of having them at long-distance like this, expressing a wish that they would be accessible to me sooner than later.
Two weeks ago, I didn't dare hope for anything remotely close to what occurred last night, and my partner has absolutely blown me out of the water with his devotion, his consideration, and the selfless depth of his love for me. Today we snuggled and spent quality time together, after I'd been away with relatives over the weekend, and our reunion was as sweet and intense as the first times we came together after a time when our own relationship had been long-distance. I don't know what I could ever have done to have deserved this wonderful man as my primary and my future husband, but he is infinitely precious to me, and I'm so damn grateful to have him, and so damn in love with him. This is the happiest I've ever been, and he says the same goes for him.
Also, as of the last hour, my lady paramour and I are now officially long-distance girlfriends. Feck yeah!