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How do you break the heart of someone who loves you?

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I stumbled accross this site looking for help. I am in a situation that breaks my own heart and makes me sick every time I think about it. I am in my early twenties and am three and a half years into a relationship with a beautiful young lady of the same age. We have spent the majority of our relationship (95%) in a distance setting only seeing each other every second weekend or so. We have even experienced months apart, but have lived together for a couple months and experienced a lot together. We talk on the phone every night. I have always enjoyed her company and have always been faithful to her and her to me. Our families love each other though do not get to see each other often. I believe that I was very in love with her but over the last year of our relationship I have realized I am not. I want to get out of the relationship.


How do I end this? She is very in love with me. We had talked about our future together when things were good, but once you start talking about those topics, it is hard to stop when you see your feelings declining. How would you have all of a sudden stopped talking about it if you were not sure you were losing the feelings? Telling your significant other to hold the phone of the "Future plans" would most certainly start a potential break up talk and at that point you don't know if that is what you want. And by the time you realize that future is not what you want…it's too late. Though I have been ready to get out of the relationship for about a year now I have never let on because I can not stomach the idea of hurting someone so badly, and in my cowardice to hurt someone that badly I chose to either wait for something to happen such as her feelings wearing off, or for me to bite the bullet and live a lie for life. I am in a state now where though I am trying to gain the courage to break up with her, I can just as easily see myself proposing to her within 2 years and living a life with her. I think sometimes that I could live more easily with forgoing my own happiness in finding my true love by providing her with hers, than I would be able to live with the guilt of causing someone so much pain. She is a kind soul and a loveless life with her would still be better than the life of most so maybe I shouldn't complain.


The problem is that there is absolutely nothing wrong with her. She is beautiful, smart and funny, but I am just not in love with her. We do not fight often and so for me to break up with her now would be so out of the blue I think it would blindside her so badly that she would not know what hit her. I don't know how she would possibility deal with it. I recently finished school and moved away to a location where we will not see each other for a couple months, but she has bought a ticket to come see me after the holidays. I did not fight this idea, and acted as I always do with joyful acceptance. I was willing to wait it out as I had planned but had recently realized the harm I am doing myself. Though I want to do this to spare her the hurt, I am making myself crazy. I have meet with a woman in my new location I went to high school with at home and though we had always been friends who seen each other 6-10 times a year I have never felt the feelings I have for her now. Though I have been attracted to other woman in the past year since I have realized I do not love my significant other, I submitted to no action, as a monk who took a vow of celibacy. I have no interest in cheating and have chalked it up to "this is the life I have to lead". But this time it is different. While I will still never cheat, I am enjoying things that I have forgotten how good they could be. I went out to a bar with the girl from high school and a few of our mutual friends as a group and I found myself enjoying the smell of her perfume and her beautiful laugh, and though I longed to be with her the only fantasy my sexually aggressive male mind wanted to imagine was holding her in a spoon position and feeling her next to me. I feel like I am falling for her. I do not know how she feels about me but do know from sources of mutual friends that the chances are better than not, and even if not it may be the driving force I need to build my courage to do what I have to do.


She will be moving soon and I had hoped that when she did she may find someone else. But if that has not happened yet I fear it never will. I do not feel that I can use distance as a reason for breaking up as it has been present in our relationship from the start and I fear she would move here in a heartbeat if necessary. I know that this is going to be hard in any way it happens and I pray to God every day for her feelings to subside for me. But it is the sudden impact of it all that makes me worry for her. I do not know whether I should just do it like a blind sided sucker punch or start by trying to distance myself in our phone calls. I know that this sounds insensitive but I feel that if she starts expecting that something is amiss that it will not be such a shock to her system when it happens. But how long is long enough to go from a seemingly "perfect" relationship to a total break-up? I need serious help. I have been sick over the subject as I have been broken up with too and know the aloneness it can leave you with. I want nothing more than for her to be happy but I can no longer provide that at the expense of my own well being.


Please give me your advice. All advice will be appreciated.



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Thanks for the response needherback. I appreciate hearing what it feels like from both sides. I was wondering how much contact is good or bad afterwards…how much of a shoulder I should be balanced with gently nudging her into independence without me. That provides some insight. Thank you.

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Wow, thats a tough one. First off, its nice to know that you are compasionate and caring otwards her feelings. You should feel proud that you have a good heart. That being said, you have to do what is right for you, and your life. Have you truly fallen out of love? Have you tried ways of rekindling your relationship? I know it is difficult sometimes to be with someone who loves you so much when you cant reciprocate the feelings, it makes you want to push them away more. All that is, is following your heart, which is the most important thing in life. You cant keep going through your life unhappy for the sake of someone else's happiness, its not fair to you. Also, if you truly feel this way, its not right to "lead her on" She will get over you, her life will go on... I've been on both sides before and time heels all wounds. Give her the oppurtunity she deserves to move on with her life and have that time to heal and find someone else.


As far as how close you stay to her, you will have to feel that out for yourself, and probably day by day. Don't give her false hope in anyway, it will tear her upart on an emotional rollercoaster. Be there for her, be a friend when she needs it, but don't cross the line after you make the decision.


I'm saying this from recent experience, all on the other side. This is how I would have wanted to be treated.


Best of luck to you!

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Think of it this way - every day you put it off for another day, is a day she could be starting to deal with this, and moving towards finding someone who will be in love with her the way you wish you were. There's no getting around hurting her, but it's not going to hurt any less dragging it on longer, and it's taking time away from both of you building something new with someone else.


As far as contact goes - my advice would be to back off for a while after - you won't do her or yourself any favors remaining so close to each other that you won't put your whole self into something new. It's all too easy to stay emotionally dependent on someone you're comfortable with and have learned to rely on, and it would tear her apart still being in love with you and having you close, but not hers. Let her determine what's comfortable for her, and what hurts too much, if she feels she needs no contact whatsoever, you'll have to accept that that's what she needs to get past this.

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Thanks The Morrigan. I am more than prepared for no contact. If fact I would rather her take the time to be with friends and family, and because we are away from one another it would only be by phone she can contact me any how. That is another point. I don't know how comfortable I am with this having to happen over the phone. It is the only way with the distance we have right now, and God knows it would be easier on me but I feel some how that the phone is not the right way to do this. However waiting until she comes to visit seems mean. Making her travel this far. You know what I mean?

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Yeah, seems you might not have an option, in order to wait to see her, you'd have to preserve the illusion things are fine til then, which isn't much of an option either. Was she coming there to visit you specifically, or are her friends and family nearby where you are? If it's to visit you in specific, you REALLY don't have a choice, that would be an awful situation, the buildup to the visit to have it be a breakup instead. At least if you tell her beforehand she can make other plans instead of planning around you.


You can explain to her on the phone that you'd have preferred to see her in person, because it seems wrong to do on the phone, and explain to her at the same time you'd have felt wrong leading her on until you saw her just for the sake of it being in person - if she wants the closure of a face to face meeting, you can always deal with that later. For now, it seems the most important thing is to let her know where you stand so she can start dealing with it, instead of feeling like you led her on just to let her down. No matter how you tell her, it won't be any easier for her to hear in person than on the phone, and since you're sure you're ready to break it off, you need to let her know as soon as you can to be fair to her.

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Your situation is somewhat similar to mine in that this girl is perfect for me in every way, yet I still couldn't easily tell her I loved her. This gnawed at me for months and several arguments brought us closer to calling it off, but she was so attached and in love with me. I finally took time off (for 6 months)... then she found someone else!


Think seriously about how you'll feel if you no longer have her affection, and whether she really is the one you want afterall. My only advice is not to do anything hastily unless you're sure your not in love with her and want to commit to her. Of course, you're young and I'm older - it's much harder for me I think because I'm worried I'll never meet a young (28), wonderful girl like her again. I thought I was doing the right thing in breaking up, but I'm now so full of anxiety and sadness that I really wonder...

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Thanks Marshall1. I do know that I want to be out of this releationship. It has been a long time since I felt anything and there is no queation I am not in love with her. I find myself wishing she would find someone else and that is not appropriate feelings to have about one you should love. I am younger and will have time to meet someone but that is not the driving force behind me. Perhaps I would just live with this were I further into my life but either way I do not feel I am doing either of us any good.

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Hello troubled. I think I was you like when I was 27, but by 29 I was getting old and there was no one else and as a woman I needed to procreate, get it? My husband of 5 years loved me like no one ever did, unconditionally, like a child (not smart to marry your first boyfriend). We had always had a bulk weekend experience as work brought me to various cities and we also lived together for 8 months so he had proven himself a great mate. I have never had rocket sex or felt passion, but he loved me so and I needed that, plus I am not selfish enough, feeling that I cannot hurt a fly so I hurt myself in the process. I have also felt that I never really dated like most people, getting into something serious too fast, although I was 27 you know.


Well 5 years and 2 kids later I realize he is not the one. He is the remedial, transition person, the one who has healed me from previous non working affairs (lots of romantic flings, liking guy friends who never liked me back). I realize (and I suppose the signs were there but I was so needy and selfish for affection and having a bf/husband was some sort of prize or level of success in my life) I am not attracted to him and have never been in love with him; I am going through motions and now I find it hard to say I love you or anything physical.


I now realize just 2 months ago that prior to me leaving my ft job and moving up with him for good, that I had actually fallen for another guy but I totally suppressed it, running away. Well, one night my hubby rejected me and I said, I don't have to take this, many men have wanted me before so I got on this mission to contact that one last temptation. That is 7 years later and we only knew each other briefly. He was interested in me I am sure and we definitely had chemistry but I ran away, but then those feelings came rushing back later because I HAD NOT FACED THEM.


Like you, things were good even in long distance so why change. He was talking about buying a house, my friends were getting married. I rushed though it did not seem so at the time. I did not want to take a chance on anyone else. I was dealing with real feelings now, real people, not some school/youthful experience.


I think you should write down your nicest goodbye letter and mail it. Or tell her you need a break. My experience was just when Internet so I didn't seek out help. Honestly, I should have gotten therapy or seen a counsellor before marriage. We did not even have a marriage course!!!!


Please get out now. Now I am stuck with 2 great kids whom I adore and I want to stay together for them though I lust for a guy I work with plus I think about the guy I was too chicken to show my interest in before, not my hubby at all.

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Thank you so much real amour? Your experiance sounds like exactly what I need to give me the push I require. That is the decision I have to make. I have to decide to do it now and how to approach it. But am unsure I can live with the guilt. I can very easily see myself heading down the same road as you and living a lie to myself and her. I do not want that. I just do not know if I am strong enough. Your reply leads me into thinking how things will develop over the years if I do not do it now. I do not want that life. I just want a way to make her understand. But I don't know if I can. Your responce has hit me with the reality of the situation the most and I thank you for that.

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