I am starting to wonder if I made a mistake.
At the prompting of my partner, I started to date on an infrequent basis. After watching an television program in which the husband admitted to cheating on his wife because of a prolonged lack of sex (6+ months), I felt very self-conscious and uncomfortable. That is to say, that with my partner, it was an ongoing problem, minus the cheating. I felt like I was being deprived of a basic element of a relationship, but acknowledged that her very low libido as the reason (she's also not really big into intimacy, or displays of affection). I supposed that most people in my situation would either cheat, end the relationship, or explore alternatives. That was when she prompted me with the suggestion of casually dating others in order to have my needs met.
My 'introduction' to polyamory had been tumultuous. Several years ago, I ended up dating two women (separately and monogamously for my part) whom I developed strong feelings for. Unfortunately, the first one ended horribly, as I ended up unwittingly as both the cheated and 'cheatee'. The second one, while certain parameters were discussed, ended up dumping me for another who almost literally swept her off her feet. Zero communication was offered on her part regarding the new man in her life, although it became apparent from almost everyone important to her that something was developing between them. In both these cases, polyamory was more so an ideal, poorly practiced. With these experiences, I vowed never to inflict such pain upon others by willingly cheating.
In retrospect, while I offered myself several months to recover, I was still feeling vulnerable and numb going into my current relationship. My current long-term, and live-in partner offered me something that I needed after the difficult relationships I experienced prior: comfort and acceptance.
Now, as my schedule has cleared somewhat, I have started focusing more on dating and I met someone new (she hasn't been the first I've dated within my current arrangement). I am feeling the NR energy and it has made me all the more confused and depressed. It is as if a huge crack has emerged in our relationship - as though I've finally come to realize that I don't really love her - or at least not romantically. I am no longer content being 'comfortably numb'. I want to feel romance, which has been void in this relationship from almost the beginning (a good 4 1/2 years). I feel as though we are good friends who happen to share the same bed.
All of this, of course, is happening as I am dating someone whom I feel could develop into something strong. My new interest is currently dating others, but stated that she would like to find a primary eventually. I would like to fill that role, but I acknowledge that it may not go as I'd like, and that some of these feelings could be attributed to how I'm feeling about my long-term partner. I feel as though I moved in with her too soon, and that I didn't designate enough time and space for myself (we moved in together after 6 months, and saw each other almost every day). Another complication is the fact that she suffers from depression, and would no doubt take a nose dive should I reveal these feelings. She also has some anger issues, and I feel as though she might get aggressive with me. Lastly, I'm not in a financial position just yet to find my own apartment, as that may be a couple months away.
So now I feel as if I'm approaching a precipice. I don't want to do anything brash, or hurt anyone, but I know that may no longer be possible. So, what now? Am I being swept away/confused by the NR energy and that I should remain with my partner, or should I seek the bachelor's life once again? If so, how should I do that? How do you let others know, whom you've been with for years, that you no longer love them?