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Hey, my name is Mike, and I'm new here. I'm looking for unbiased perspectives about this strain in my relationship.


Just a warning beforehand, my boyfriend is about 3 1/2 years younger than me. He was 14 1/2 when I dated him at 18. He is now 18 and I'm now 21.


This is how my relationship started

Once upon a time, I was a high school senior taking the bus to and from school every day. There were these two people on the bus who I would overhear talking in the mornings and at one point I finally decided to pipe up. One guy was questioning and the girl was a lesbian. I was like heyyyy I'm gay too let's be friends. Not long afterward, I would hear the guy talking about his gay little brother who drove him crazy all the time. My school had virtually no out gay boys and I was so desperate for a relationship, that when he said his brother would be finishing middle school early to come in the spring, I was immediately interested in meeting him.


When January came around, I had learned that we were moving out of state after I graduate. Using this knowledge, I felt like I had a comfortable timeframe to work out a short term "test" relationship. And I was upfront about it. We hit it off really well the first week when I met him, and I asked him if he was interested in having a relationship, even if it was just until the end of the school year. And so it was a yes. (We don't remember the exact day we made it official, but we came up with 1/24/2014 as our anniversary date).


We lasted a month. Not really a surprise. We jumped into it quickly, we didn't know what we wanted, and to make matters worse, we both had to keep it under the radar and only saw each other on the bus. He was convinced that he was hurting me because he couldn't be around, but I assured him I was fine. I was happy to see him whenever I had the opportunity to. Still, one day he seemed to think that we broke up. He outright ignored me one day on the bus, and I was seething in anger. I had no understanding or warning why this was happening. He sat with me for all of 5 minutes, got up, and started talking to other people. Wouldn't even look at me. I was so heartbroken--I didn't take the bus for a week and didn't speak to him for a long time.


A couple awkward months passed by, when I was with my study group in the library, I saw him walking from the cafeteria to, I guess, a classroom. I decided it was enough; I went up and apologized to him, hugged him, and made up. We still didn't talk all that much until the end of high school. The last couple weeks in May, he said he would miss me after I moved up north, and we started messaging each other on Skype again.


After high school

Meanwhile, I was in an internet relationship with another guy from IIRC mid-April until February the following year. During this time, my current boyfriend and I just spoke like friends. Sporadically we'd hear from each other. I don't remember sharing too much about the other relationship I was in. But anyway, that relationship came to an end and I started speaking to my lover much more than before. By September 2015, I grew so comfortable and close to him (more than I had been in high school), that we decided to have a full relationship again, except that it would be open because we weren't certain of the future.


We wanted opportunities to meet other guys but have each other to fall back on. Regardless, this was a risky move, because feelings could have been hurt if one of us were with someone when the other was ready to be together. But it was from this point forward that I considered myself to love him unconditionally. I was convinced that nothing would pull us apart, and I'd be happy if he found someone else anyway.


Although I was in college since Spring 2015, I wasn't able to find any relationships (except one, I'll get to him later). We both tried online dating. I was ghosted by one person after talking to them for a week, which was the first time I had my confidence tested, and failed. I met another guy, who I actually crashed with for a week when I wanted to run away from home, but he decided he wasn't interested in me and it just fizzled out awkwardly (after I had pretty much been dragged back home by my family). My love life continued to be a disappointment. I was, and still am (by my definition), a virgin. And I was afraid to date any other people.


Evan (using a different name to conceal his identity)

Until I met Evan (29 years old at the time), I never entered a committed relationship since my first partner. And boy was this one a rollercoaster. We met through the Gender-Sexuality Association at my old college, and I initially didn't think much of him. But then we started noticing each other around campus even more, so he decided to give me his number. He threw subtle hints at me for a couple of months that he was interested, and then proposed going steady with me in December 2015. But, all other details aside (because this is about my current partner and me, not anyone else), he was just so frustrating to deal with. I was confused about the definitions of dating and boyfriends and we were somehow somewhere in between; like he had boyfriend-like expectations of me but treated me more like a friend. His wishy-washiness took its toll on me and after having an argument one morning I just cut it off with him.


While I was dating him, however, I brought up my current partner a couple of times. Although I wanted the opportunity to have something long-term with Evan, I expressed my concern about leaving my mate behind. Evan was very traditional and probably would not have approved of the relationship that I would've wanted to keep with my boyfriend. For a long time I had anxiety about seeing Evan again at school the next semester, but he didn't show. He actually deteriorated and, unfortunately, died this past April. I regret not saying anything to him, because although he didn't really treat me right, I thought he was a decent person.


That weird period in fall 2016

At this point in my life, I think I started really struggling with some symptoms of depression. I was afraid to go back to college. I was determined to do the bare minimum and just ignore everyone else. Things that I used to like to do no longer felt fulfilling to me. The latter still applies to me, to an extreme degree now (used to be an avid gamer; don't feel motivated to even pick up a controller now. Can't sit still to watch tv. Can't even read a book). But one of my few long term acquaintances brought me into a super-PAC, which I volunteered for from September until the election in November. I started networking with people and I thought I was making friends. I met this guy who also had an open relationship LDR, and we were going to be friends with benefits, but he actually led me on and made it really awkward for me and another guy. I also met a gay couple who was potentially looking for a polyamorous arrangement, but they never kept up with me and I don't talk to them anymore.


Regardless, my boyfriend is always on my mind. I always wanted to put him first but noticed our conversations were getting shorter and further apart. He moved in with this guy he met on Grindr to escape his... witch of a mother... But this other boyfriend was super possessive and controlling. I steadily got blocked from Snapchat and Facebook, and Skype and Kik were both dead silenced, for about 8 months. The last he had told me was that he planned on running away from this guy at some point, so I held on to hope that I would see him again. Discouraged from any relationships, and becoming a hermit since the election until the end of the school year, I just chugged along in school and actually tried to focus my effort in one of my classes. Every day though I grew more concerned about him. I worried for his safety, his happiness; and, above all, just wanted to hear from him again.


2017, the best year ever? Yeah, no.

I'm not sure what got into me, but in the wee hours on December 30th, 2016, I decided to download Growlr and I drilled that app hard. I was hitting up every bear I could. And I actually found someone! (Or so I thought). We met on the night of New Years Day and I thought to myself that this has to be a turning point and the start of the best year ever. I thought he was simply the most delicious man on Earth and he was really into me. A little too into me. I've never encountered someone as sex-driven as him. It was...actually...really uncomfortable. He seemed to be patient and understanding, but he misconstrued a comment I made during my yearly FL trip, and had us not talk for the rest of my trip (I wound up needing him to drop me off at the airport and then pick me up when I got home).


I thought he would be a great boyfriend because, you guessed it, I was thinking about my sweetheart. I was still holding out for him even though he wasn't there for me and I often worried that I might never hear from him again. I even had a few friends suggesting that I think about letting him go. This guy I dated though, because he wanted so much sex all the time, was totally into being in a triad with us. I had hoped that if my love had the opportunity to escape his abusive relationship, he could move in with the guy I was dating, because the situation I was currently in, I was not sure I'd be able to accommodate him if he did suddenly move up here.


Of course, like all my other relationships (at this point), there had to be a falling out. He berated me for not knowing "what love really is", and even though I was trying to be constructive and patient, he wound up ghosting me. At this point, I felt completely destroyed. I had no one. My confidence was gone and as a result of being ghosted twice, I don't trust any guys anymore, except my current boyfriend.


It's a miracle!

At the end of April, I finally heard back from my man! Backtracking really quick, my mom kicked my dad out and started the divorce process, and as we repaired our relationship I asked her if she'd be alright with me making a real facebook (my other facebook that I was using was an alias she didn't know about). The morning after I made this new facebook and tried to add my boyfriend to friends, he quickly got a hold of me and we caught up on everything! We started video chatting almost every day and boy had puberty been kind to him! He's objectively not a particularly attractive person and has body image issues, but I'm honestly so physically attracted to him and comfortable with him that I don't care about his looks. I still think he's a total hunk though.


He moved in with his long lost half-sister in Richmond and they seemed like a great pair. He described her as basically himself but with lady parts, and I agreed. He transferred his job at McDonald's to one nearby, and he seemed really happy. I was so genuinely relieved that he was in a safe place and getting back on his feet. But there was trouble in paradise.


Polyamory for beginners

This is where things start unraveling. And those of you who are opposed to polyamory will be like "duh, of course", but hear me out. It's quite obvious, I hope, by now, that I love this guy with all my heart. We spent a large part of our relationship simply being close friends, and for a long time he felt like a little brother to me. I care for him like family. And, I believe, that in any relationship I pursue, I shouldn't be possessive or controlling or limiting to my partner. I should be there to help him grow and to love and to move forward, but... preferably with me.


We had some discussions about polyamory and mutually agreed that we were in a good position to do it, but we disagreed on how to handle the policy of it. When he moved to Richmond he quickly got back to Grindr and met a couple of nice guys. The heat was up and we needed to flesh out our ground rules. Except... I wasn't really ready to make a move on it. I didn't want to hold him back from having fun, so I reluctantly said that we would work on it together as it happens.


He got really into this other guy but told me they would be just strictly friends. But I was confused because he seemed intent on making this guy a secondary partner for us. We did at least settle with each other that he and I are primary partners and we should put each other's needs first. Yet he was dragging his feet about telling this other guy about me. I kept trying to get him to handle it differently but he was making up excuses and I couldn't say no, so he started a thing with this guy. I thought they were cute together and I knew that while he was in Richmond he would need new friends and a support system because... his sister turned out to be the equivalent of Satan. I let it slide because maybe I'm a pushover, maybe I'm a softie, maybe I care too much. I don't really know at this point.



After my last semester of community college ended this past month, I made arrangements to go on a trip to FL to help my best friend move into her new house, and in exchange she bought me a plane ticket to Richmond (well, she handled ALL of my transportation costs. She is too good to me). I spent 10 nights in FL and planned 5 nights in VA. However, my boyfriend was accidentally late to work one day while on his two week probation during transfer and got fired from McDonald's. He had been looking for another job but without it he was behind on rent money.


His half-sister's step-mother, although having no hand in her daughter's rent, caught wind of this and requested my boyfriend be kicked out. His half-sister let him stay, but pressure from the step-mother probably caused her to snap at him several times and threaten to kick him out because the landlady was about ready to evict them.


Despite the potential peril, things seemed to be pretty stable when I booked the trip, so I was determined to go see him, for the first time, in the flesh, in more than 3 years. His other boyfriend brought him to the airport to pick me up. I saw them entering the terminal after I passed through the TSA gate, ran up to him and tackled him with a huge hug. It was unbelievable seeing him again. We both did not know how to react or process it. The guy brought us to his house that night and I finally got to meet him, but I quickly uncovered that I don't like him.


Now, I don't know if I'm being petty on any of these, but I want to start listing my objections now:

For one: I didn't get the opportunity to talk to him before I saw him, so I didn't have any firsthand expectations of what he would be like, which should have been a red flag honestly. In hindsight, I would have suggested to my boyfriend that we both meet and get to know our potential third (and I did just that with another guy on Snapchat, but he didn't like him so I started breaking it off) together, so we're all on even footing. I probably actually did bring that up; I'm not sure. However, my boyfriend did supposedly consider him a secondary partner, which means to me that if he wanted to date him on the side that's okay with me, but I simply do not see having him in a triad as an option.


Two: which feeds into the first one I think, I'm not really interested in this guy physically or emotionally. He seems pretty cool, but he can also be a scathing jerk and pretty obnoxious. My boyfriend even apologized to me a couple of times about him being a jerk but I just kinda shrugged it off because I thought it was just him getting to know me or something.


Three: while on this trip, a few things in particular that he did to me and my boyfriend bothered me. I had very limited money by the time I made it up to Virginia. My best friend gave me $100 because she was (legitimately) concerned about him and me being kicked out and needing money to survive. When we started home from the airport, he insisted I pay him to get alcohol and pay the tolls. I thought fine, I'll just fork him over a $20 bill; he's with my boyfriend so I can trust him to be good to me. We couldn't settle on a beverage so I got pressured into choosing vodka which I have limited and unsatisfactory experience with. So we got there and it was time for shots. We were pretty drunk and I ordered two pizzas. I was still pretty messed up from my flight and misjudged my hunger, and plus with being drunk, I wasn't comfortable eating more than one slice. Despite my state of mind, I am absolutely without a doubt certain that I put those two pizza boxes in the fridge. My boyfriend said we'd take them home with us so we'd have something to eat. When I got up and checked the fridge, the pizzas were not there! No explanation from either of them. Fine. He drops me and my boyfriend off at the half-sister's house and heads off to work. And we actually had a pretty good day hanging out. The following days however, the other boyfriend was just blowing up his phone every moment he got and it was pretty disruptive. I never even texted him that much. We would be watching Netflix and he'd have to pick up his phone and start texting him back. Then he insisted that my boyfriend "sneak out" with him for one-month anniversary breakfast. I was really perturbed that he was making my boyfriend leave during my short stay with him, and my boyfriend even said "I feel bad for leaving Mike behind". Still he persisted, and I just told him, "don't let me hold you down; go, have fun". Cool, whatever. But it got me thinking, does this guy even realize what my place is in my boyfriend's life?


Four: what really broke the straw for me was what happened this last Monday. My boyfriend's half-sister kicked us out and we were standing around in a nearby parking lot. It was an emergency situation and we needed to figure out where we were going to stay. The most obvious solution was to stay at the other boyfriend's house. I only had two nights left and I would be going promptly to the airport the following morning, on the flight that was already booked for me a month in advance. I was quickly disappointed to find out, though, that the other boyfriend would not let me stay. He offered to let my boyfriend stay, until Friday (provided he would be employed by then and therefore prove his ability to pay rent soon), but despite my delicate arrangements refused to let me stay for the short remainder of my trip. His only excuse being that his landlord is nosy. So I was forced into booking a last minute bus trip from Richmond to Philadelphia, again asking my best friend for more money, and greatly inconveniencing my single mother. My bus departed at 1:30 AM. We took an uber, with my friend's money, to the bus station and waited. And waited. And waited. We said our heartbroken goodbye and like that I was on my way back home. I could hardly sleep on the bus. I got about 2 hours of sleep, maybe. I arrived in center city Philadelphia at quarter to eight AM with an overstuffed backpack, a pillow, and a sad, groggy state of mind. I had to go find and catch a train by myself, which I had never done before, and get to the bus station, grab a SEPTA bus, which again I'd never done before, to be dropped off at the hospital where my grandfather was having a brain biopsy so my mom could take me home that afternoon. I was absolutely livid that a person I thought I could trust just wanted me to go back home, and he never apologized for any of the inconveniences that happened to me that weekend. No word about the pizza. No apology or even asking permission for borrowing my boyfriend for the morning. Just plain audacity.


My man had started getting sick that weekend, which kind of limited our time even further. I felt bad and let him sleep in when I could. I bought him medicine. I took him out for a haircut, treated him to multiple meals, and of course, was there every moment for his every need. And it felt great. I love being a caretaker. I would gladly go out of my way for him every day of my life. But I honestly feel betrayed because of what happened next.


I had to wait until Wednesday night before I could finally have a whole conversation with him again, and I basically broke down on the phone and explained how upset I was about what his other boyfriend had done to us. I told him I was still supportive but I would not be traveling to Richmond to see him again if he was going to stay with this other guy. His only response was "I respect your decision". He then said we would continue the conversation later and hung up. I texted him normally on Thursday and up until about 2 PM today. He ignored/overlooked/didn't reply to any of the texts I sent him Thursday, and the only text he sent me today was "nice" to me saying I would be home alone this weekend.


So since he moved up to Richmond and told me his sister was probably going to kick him out, I told him that I will make room for him at my mom's house to stay with us and get him back on his feet. I even talked to my mom about it and she said by no means will she let him go homeless (even though we're in a very screwy situation ourselves). I probably extended this option too hard because I brought it up pretty frequently. I really do want him here. I'm tired of seeing him drift from place to place. I need him to be safe. He had told me before that he would move in with me in a heartbeat if I wasn't going to university next semester. I'd be staying in a dorm and he said he'd be "lonely" being at my place when I'm not there. Even though I assured him I'd be coming back every weekend, and he'd probably be busy enough working during the weekdays, and that he can stay up to four nights a week at my dorm when he has time off. I then had an epiphany on Thursday. I decided that for my personal and financial interests, I should defer my enrollment to the spring, and instead work this fall so I can become more independent. He appeared to ignore this news, as he didn't directly respond to any of yesterday's texts.


Because he hasn't been communicating with me, I don't yet know if he's had any success getting a job, so I can't make arrangements to come up here if I don't know when or if he's being kicked out again. After his one word reply to me today, I finally snapped and said "Why aren't you communicating with me? I can't help you if you're giving me the silent treatment. You've left me completely out of the loop for two days." I see him popping on and off facebook again. Four hours later, when I come back from a walk and consult my closest friends, I leave an ultimatum--"I've had enough of the discourtesy and one word responses. My family is going through very stressful times right now and they need me to pull through for them. It's your choice whether to be part of it or not. If you're not going to work with me, then I need you out of the picture for now. I'm sorry. I'm certain that [boyfriend] will take great care of you. Love you always."



I feel like I've gone above and beyond the call of duty for what a boyfriend should do and I'm at my wit's end. I thought I knew him well enough that he'd be a mature and conscientious young adult by now, but I was proven wrong these past couple days. I'm tired of agonizing over him all the time and just want to be free if he isn't going to reciprocate with me. It brings me down when I'm around my family and he's not there, because I consider him family. I need a break from him if he won't work with me constructively. But I'm also scared of moving onto another relationship. I'm worried that I might have an unhealthy relationship with him. That I might be too obsessive. Is he worth fighting this hard for?


I extend my heartfelt gratitude to anyone who took the time to read this whole thing and respond. I actually did get a text from him while I was typing this, but I'm scared to look. It could be anything. I'm more worried that it might be the end though.

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I did read the entire thread, and you are doing all the caring and heavy lifting here. Is this something that you are willing to continue to do? In addition, your boyfriend seems to keep you in the dark whenever it is convenient for him. This is not an equitable relationship. That is what you are dissatisfied. I think that you are maturing and beginning to realize what you really want in a relationship, and this boyfriend does not fit the bill, honestly:snowman: chi

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