Hi Dr. NerdLove,
I have been seeing/dating someone for over four months now, and everything was great. He was always so sweet, and we had so many common interests that we just talked for seven hours on our second date. I found myself falling for him, but then two weeks ago, my friends sat me down and basically dropped a bomb on my happy bubble. My one friend had been scrolling through Bumble when she saw my SO’s account. She created a fake account and matched with him, and they ended up chatting and setting up a date. I read through those messages, saw the flirty emojis, and then saw that he suggested they meet for coffee at the same place he suggested we go on our first date. It was also on a Sunday at 2pm. This is what really knocked the air out of me. I didn’t know how to process or deal with it all. My friends ended up going to the coffee date and essentially telling my SO that they had told me, and he seemed terrified. Later that evening, he texted me saying that he thought we were on the same page with our “friendship” and that he really likes me and values our “friendship”. The fact that he used that word twice for emphasis was so painful.
In the first couple months of dating, I kept trying to bring up our relationship so that I could have some peace of mind. He kept avoiding the conversation though. I knew he was a bit wary of labels and commitment, so I thought that maybe that was it. I reasoned that he showed his care through actions and that I didn’t need a label to be happy with him. That was a mistake.
Two days after the coffee meet up, he came over to my apartment to talk. For four months he hid the fact that he doesn’t like monogamous relationships and that he is essentially poly. He confessed to hiding it from me because he didn’t want me to tell him to “take a hike”. He said that he was working up to talking to me about it, and that if I left then, he would at least have gotten to spend time with me. Is it wrong for me to find that incredibly selfish?
I don’t doubt that he cares for me, and I don’t doubt the chemistry that we have, but I’m starting to doubt that he cares enough to consider my feelings. I was faced with the ultimatum of breaking things off or officially entering an open relationship with him. For an entire week I could barely get out of bed or eat. My dreams were filled with heartache and more conflict. I couldn’t focus on anything, which was especially bad because it was finals week.
I eventually made the tentative decision to try the open relationship with him. I knew that I would not be able to see anyone else though. That’s just not the way I am. I invest myself fully into my relationships, and I love to love and be loved. My previous relationship was extremely toxic and abusive, so I still carry many insecurities and warped perceptions about relationships. I expressed this concern to my SO, and he basically said that jealousy was childish and that I had no reason to be insecure. He kept dropping comments about how there was stigma against his lifestyle, making me feel like I couldn’t express my concerns or feelings in fear of offending him.
I really truly don’t know what to do. Well, I do. I know I need to break things off. That is the best option for my mental health and soul, but perhaps I am too nearsighted because I can’t bear the thought of cutting him out of my life. At the same time, I am in a perpetual state of anxiety and heartache. I am hyper aware that I am always initiating contact, so I try to hold off for several days. The silence just makes things worse.
My mind is a jumbled mess, and my emotions aren’t even distinguishable anymore. Please, I am so desperate for advice and help. I feel like this is crushing me.