“I have been roommates with someone for 5 years. I have very strong feelings for him. I find myself very protective and in many ways we function as husbands minus the sex that is. I actually in a lot of ways think of him as I would a primary. Unfortunately, while he does love me, and jokes that we are essentially husbands because we do plan everything and share our lives and accomplishments with each other, I don’t know that he realizes just how strong my feelings actually are. As a result he will make light of them and I end up feeling hurt. I don’t know how to tell him how that makes me feel and I also feel like it is keeping me from seeking out someone that would actually be more reciprocal in their feelings because it is obvious to everyone else how much I actually do love him everyone except maybe him SO I get to be the one that he tells how much he wishes he could find someone to be in a relationship that understands what he wants from a relationship, which is everything I already give him minus the sex, and who will understand his need to be poly, again I end up being his boyfriend’s best friend and often they end up coming to me for relationship advice. which hurts like a son of a bitch let me tell you. He is a great roommate though and so I don’t want to move out to move on. I just want to figure out a way to reconcile the apparent fact that it will never be anything more than almost a relationship with the fact that I am tired of being alone.”
Your roommate is stupid, living under a rock, or he knows exactly how you feel. If I were a betting man, my money would be on the third option. What your roommate doesn’t know is how to tell you exactly how he feels without ruining the great friendship that you share. He wants you as a roommate, a confidant, and a best friend. He is not romantically or sexually interested in you as a life partner.
I am going to go out on a limb and guess that he doesn’t mean to hurt you by making light of your feelings for him, it’s his way of acknowledging those feelings, while trying to let you know that they are not reciprocated. In telling you what he’s looking for in a life partner he’s again trying to tell you that these are the things that he wants, but he wants them from someone else. There could be any number of reasons why he doesn’t see himself in a romantic or sexual relationship with you. I am not going to venture to guess what those reasons are, but I will say that there is one. If he was going to change his mind about you, he would have done it by now, and gone for it with you. Roommates have many opportunities to make what I call the “Oops – first move.” That is a first move made with no (or few) negative consequences. It happens when you’re drunk and you take a risk, or when the power’s out and you’re just “keeping each other warm” or something similar to that. If this hasn’t happened in five years, or if it did happen and the consequences were distinctly negative then it’s not going to happen.I also think that you are trying to protect yourself from fully committing to a relationship outside of the one with your roommate, thereby protecting yourself from this risk involved. You have put yourself in an imaginary primary relationship, leaving nothing for yourself but secondary relationships. In many poly people, secondary relationships are “safer” than primaries because of the “Primary First” rule. The conflict is occurring because reality is not matching your fantasy and your heart is having a hard time accepting that. It’s time to shift your mindset. Try to convince your heart that your roommate is a secondary, and you are on the market for a primary. It’s a scary thought, but put yourself out there. The universe has a funny way of responding.