Hello Good Doctor!
I’ve been a long time reader, and over the years have used a good number of your suggestions for improving myself, and so wanted to start by saying thank you for the help!
A little information on me, I am a 25 year old fairly recent graduate, in a long term (8 years) relationship with a lovely girl we can call Jane. The two of us purchased a house together about a year ago, and lived together on and off as schedules permitted throughout my time at university. By all means she is fantastic, lovable, sweet, funny, and a whole load of other things. All in all I am quite happy!
So why am I writing for help? Well, I’ve grown and changed a lot as a person since we started dating. This has been a largely positive change in most areas in her eyes, with the exception of one.
While I had grown up largely focusing on monogamous relationships, around 3/4 years back I started to notice I rather enjoyed the prospect of polygamy. I first started to think about this shift in relationship style when I realized as time had gone on I had become less and less prone to jealousy or the general sense of “relational ownership” I had felt when I was younger, and that I greatly enjoyed the idea of being able to express romantic/physical/whatever inclination to more than one party, and wanted Jane to be able to do the same.
Around this time, I asked Jane something to the effect of “Lets say I loved you fully, but also had strong feelings for another person. Do you think it would be possible for me to have feelings of love for both of you?” Jane has always been a bit a somewhat jealous type of person, never doing anything mean or destructive because of it, but none the less reacted not so well to this, assuming that in spite of what I’d said that it meant I did not or would not love her. As a result, after moving beyond the initial tears and fears, I never brought it up again.
Fast forward to the here and now, I still feel the same way. The only difference is that Jane and I have both been becoming increasingly close friends with someone I used to know from my mid teens, who we can call Susan. Back in “the day” Susan and I were never wildly close friends by any means, but were in to the same general music, hobbies, etc, and had hung out together over the years, and have kept in relatively good touch. Recently Susan and I started chatting more, just about random current events, politics, etc. It was a nice talk, and I suggested the three of us have dinner or find a time to hang out some time and catch up. We did so, and progressively one meet up became another, became many more, and we currently all meet up for movies, dinners, drinks, general whatever every weekend. Jane has expressed to me a level of attraction to Susan, and likewise Susan has expressed that she is very romantically interested in both Jane and myself. Susan has also expressed her own non monogamous leanings to both Jane and I.
I have discussed things again recently, and in much more persistent detail with Jane. I have expressed that I think it would be nice to open our relationship up to the possibility of the three of us dating, and that in the event Jane had similar feelings for another, that I (and Susan in this context) would be open to that too, regardless of gender, presentation, etc, so long as we liked them as people.
Long story short, Jane’s response was about as hard a no as it possibly could be. I wasn’t really expecting it to go over especially fantastically, but I’ve tried to improve communication and expression of desires so wanted to at least give it a “proper” try.
Anyways on to my actual problem, which isn’t the one that it probably sounds like it would be based on the stuff above.
I’m not looking for help making a decision of whether I should be with Susan or Jane, as I have already made my mind ages ago that Jane is someone I want to be with no matter what. If that means she is the only someone, and that I will not be following my poly leanings, than so be it. The issue is that even though I can consciously say this, it is something I still really want. I want to be allowed to express romantic feelings for people, and have them reject or receive them, and have that develop however it may. I have very strong feelings for Susan, and would love to act upon those, or similar for potential others in the future.
Basically, the TL;DR question to summarize this is: I am poly leaning and my partner is not. How can I focus more on her, reduce my strong romantic desires, and get myself back into the typical “The One ™” mindset?
Many thanks again!