Originally Posted by beginninglove
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).
. . . 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.
Well, it could very well be that your relationship with Alex is done and it's time to get out, but I wonder if you are wanting us to tell you what you already know.
Now, let's say you do break up. Sam has expressed having feelings for you and you have feelings for her. What will prevent you from being passive with Sam, and following the same trajectory with her that you did with Alex and other relationships in the past? I think your work will be to watch for that feeling of being confined, controlled, suffocated, and to be aware of thoughts and associations that bring it up (these patterns usually come from childhood - by the time we're about 7 or 8 years old, we've already put together our strategies for going out into the world and that stays with us in our subconscious. So the trick is to bring it to consciousness and become aware of those patterns so that instead of falling into them by default, we can make a choice!). I would also look at opportunities to be assertive and come out and say what you need, as much as you can. Sure, you won't always get what you want, but why should the word "no" keep you from asking again?
Here is a great video of a young girl speaking at a Ted conference on how she doesn't let the word "no" stop her when she wants something. She's all of 16 years old in this video: Fiona Lowenstein at TEDxYouth
Is Sam poly (sorry, I don't recall) or do you think she wants a heavy-duty committed monogamous thing with you?
If you do move on from your relationship with Alex, I think it would behoove you to be independent and not live with anybody for a while (not any lovers, at least), and date around. Take any new relationships slo-o-o-owly so you don't allow yourself to get caught up in old patterns of being. And listen to your intuition, take chances in expressing yourself.