I think you should have told him after the first time you were confused that you don't like that system and either go back to hand signals or even talk it out between points.
Originally Posted by Cindysphinx
Partner: "No. If I say 'Let's go!', that means I'm going to poach, but if I don't think I can reach the ball then I won't poach so you don't have to cross."
This is not a great idea. On a called poach the net man commits to going and your assignment is to cross. Your read should be on your opponents, not on your own teammate. This is a meaningless call. He has first priority on a 'reachable' return across the middle regardless of the call.