Originally Posted by redpepper
Its completely clear to me now that I, like Mags, enjoy the commitment, but need the space. This is what I work on rather than working on ways to leave. Perhaps that is an option for you, or perhaps you really are done.
I am really struggling with how to arrive at this level of clarity. I feel like I have been wrestling with ambivalence for so long. Its really getting exhausting for both me and Alex (and sometimes I imagine also for our friends who are supports for us). I love her and she loves me (probably to a fault), but I have not been able to get to the place where I have the independence and freedom I crave in the context of this relationship. I know that I play the biggest role in that. So how long is too long to keep trying? I feel like I have been slowly slipping into a depression over the past 8 or so months, and the NRE with Sam has been a nice boost to my mood but obviously does not solve the core issue. I don't even know that leaving Alex would solve the core issue either, but I do feel like something needs to radically shift or I'm going to disappear under the covers for an indefinite period of time (and not in the fun way).
Alex has been amazing in terms of expanding with me into our new agreements around non-monogamy. Part of me doesn't want to give up on that hard work and then have to re-create it with someone else down the line. But maybe I would be even better at it if I had time to explore who I am outside of the expectations of a primary commitment? She has drawn a hard line around "polyamory", saying that she is okay with me having a sexual relationship outside of our marriage but not an emotional one. I haven't even really tried to take that one on yet, because as I wrote earlier I already have feelings for Sam. And as I know from reading other people's stories, this is a common theme...people think they can agree to not have feelings, but sex often comes with feelings. It does for me, if I have sex with a person more than once or twice. I suppose this is another example of my passivity with Alex, in that although I have told her that I do have feelings for Sam, I still have agreed to keep that relationship primarily sexual even though I want more and so does Sam.
Which leads me to another thing I find myself struggling with: while I know (at least intellectually) that it is okay to want what I want, I have a hard time knowing when it is okay to ask for it and when it is just selfish and I need to just sit with the wanting. When I do ask for things that are hard for Alex to say yes to, initially she often has a strong reaction and then softens somewhat after we talk about it. But her intense reactions do dissuade me from asking for what I want, and I find myself questioning everything I feel, wondering if I am just an entitled brat and need to suck it up, or if my intuition and experiences are really leading me somewhere important and I need to listen to them. I have a hunch that one or both are true in different contexts, but I have a hard time making the distinction.