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help with break up contemplation

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I am a 26 year old female and I've been in my current relationship for about 4 years now. I am seriously contemplating breaking up with him, but I'm absolutely terrified. I love him deeply, but there is some part of me that is just not ready to settle down yet. And in my heart, I know that I could not be with this person for the rest of my life, I don't want to marry him or move in with him, at least not at this point in my life. We are long distance, although not far (2hrs). We've actually broken up three times before, twice were my initiations, once was his very early in the relationship (2mnths in). The times we broke up because of me, I knew that I wasn't happy and I tried to get out. But he pulled me back in, because there are so many things I am happy with. But something just doesn't feel right, and I've been tempted to cheat a few times. There really isn't much passion left in our sex life, if there ever was or at least has been for a very long time. He is my best friend, and we have great communication and I think our relationship is strong, but I don't think I'm "in love" with him anymore.

I don't want to break up with him before Christmas, or over the holidays, because they are stressful and awful enough as it is. But I am having a hard time carrying this secret around, because in my head it's like I'm already grieving the loss. I'm ruminating about it, and I'm having trouble functioning and I haven't even done it yet.

I'm scared about how he will react, he has a volatile personality and I'm also convinced that he will take it very badly, I know him and I know he will not let me go easily and will make it very difficult.

Our lives are so intertwined now I don't see how I can get out. My parents got divorced and they survived, and obviously their lives were much more intertwined but I don't know how they did it.

I also think I have residual issues about being afraid of breaking up, of being without his support and love.

I just don't know how to do this or how to function.

I'm looking for someone who has experience with something like this and can share advice, or empathy.

I can't live with this person, but I don't know how I will live without him, either.


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I am so sorry you feel this way. I am sure many of us would like to know how much our exes might have angished over their decisions as well.


I think the best thing to do is to tell him, and the sooner the better. If you were him, I am sure you would want to know. It's not fair to keep him in the dark when you obvious feel the way you do.


Try and talk to him and explain how you feel. I know he will take it hard, but that's not a reason to stay with someone. I am sure he feels the tension already. In the end, you will both be better off for it.


Good luck.

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What exactly are the reasons that you want to break up with him for? Why do you feel he's not the right partner for you? It could be that you two could benefit from relationship counseling. I know right now you feel you want to end it, but maybe there's some hope for you two. All relationships go through stagnant periods, and I am sure you two could learn how to put passion in your sex life.


Anyway, the first two questions I asked are ones you should carefully consider. Four years is a long time, and it's not that easy to find true love out there.

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Are you sure its just not cold feet, like you are missing out on something, rather than you don't want to be with him. People in long term relationships go through this and its because they have a lot of single friends and feel that they are missing out.

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the grass ain't greener on the single side of the pasture...


Has he been pushing for marriage or something? Why are you concerned with "settling down"? Many people have very long term dating situations...


Not too many people can actually envision themselves old grey and wrinkled sitting on a porch in rockers...


it sounds as if you have issues when it comes to that certain level of commitment...that "next step"...and instead of dealing with your fears, you may let a very good man (and many others in the future) pass you by...


get into counseling, by yourself at first...figure out where this fear is coming from and if it is legitimate, or irrational. You have been with the guy four years, you owe it to him to truly understand how you feel, before you take any actions...

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Is your situation like mine where you know the two of you are going great but you're just afraid that one day something will screw up and everyone will hate each other, and since relationships usually don't work out and look, more than 50% fail, we should just all break up and not try.


... is it like that? Of course, that's not all of it. =/


If your fear is similiar to that... this is how I dealt with it.. sorta.


I know I have commitment issues so even before I got together with bf I told him he shouldn't date me because one day I might hurt him or dump him on short notice. ^^: I said... =/ that.. some people are meant to be alone, and I'm one of those. I like him a lot but I think at the end I will push him away before I like him too much...


... well, he worked with it and decided to deal with it with me.


He said we'll worry about that when that day comes, and even if I end up hurting him it'll be worthwhile.


So, whenever I have one of these negative feelings like we're going to screw up or I really should dump him because relationships don't mean anything, he'll be there for me and talk me out of it... most of the time.


I think it takes a lot of work to push those feelings away temporarily and they will always come back, but it's not something that we can't deal with with a bit of effort.


I chose to deal with my fears because I think I will be very sad if I'm single when I'm 60... without a person to talk to at such an old age, I might attempt suicide again and I definitely don't want that. ... well, and I think my boyfriend needs me as much as I need him.


Most of the time I just take it one day at a time. I don't know if I'll end up like my parents who screwed up their relationship, I don't know if I'm going to be the 60% of the people who divorce within the first 2 years of marriage, but not knowing shouldn't be a reason to stop me from even trying. Maybe one day him and I will break up, but with that in mind I can go on with the relationship more carefully. At least I'm not one of those girls who think they will be with their boyfriends for ever and ever. At least I know there is a big possibility where things might not work out in the end... but while I emotionally prepare myself for that day to come, I can also activley put in an effort to make sure that doesn't happen.


... the way my bf puts it, "Just because your parents screwed up their lives and abused you, doesn't mean you'll screw up our marriages and abuse our kids." I agree it takes a lot of work emotionally and you'll definitely need your boyfriend's support with this... but... I don't know, maybe it's worth it? I'm thinking of getting engaged/married too ... I'm super scared and maybe it really won't work out... but I try staying positive and not chicken out. We won't know about the future until it actually happens.

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Thank you all for your valuable comments. I can't say 100% why I feel wrong about the relationship, I agree I have cold feet problems and have a tendency to see the grass as always greener, but there are things I've always had my doubts about. We used to fight A LOT and he is a very volatile person, and sometimes I'm not sure whether I want to be with someone with that kind of temper. I worry that he will be a strict and autoritarian parent. I also have developed a style of sort of being the one who always backs down because he is so moody and difficult. I've come to resent my position that way, but I find him intolerable to deal with otherwise. He's gotten a lot better, and we fight a lot less, which is good, but I have residual issues about his temper.

I'm not sure that I ever really felt that passionate towards him, maybe at the very beginning but I certainly haven't really felt into the relationship physically in a long, long time. Sometimes I feel like I just agree to sex to make sure he's happy and doesn't complain.

It's true, that true love is hard to find, but I've been in love before him and I remember how powerful it was and I don't think I've ever really felt that way for my current boyfriend.

I'm not so much afraid of things ending and being horrible, I used to be afraid of that but I've developed a great deal of trust for him and I believe he really loves me and is going to stand by me.

I agree I should get into counselling, I need someone with an objective stance to help me sort out whether this is fear of commitment or whether this is issues with my relationship in particular. Even if its just fear of commitment, part of me thinks I still need to date other people before I decide to give up on the single life. I've met a number of people in the past few years that I really would have liked to date, and I've even met people I felt something really special with but of course never pursued it and I feel sometimes like I'm young and this is the only time in my life I'm going to have to explore what's out there, and I've never had a chance to do that.

I worry that if I stay with him, and eventually we get married or move in together, I'll end up cheating because I'll have never gotten over my feelings of needing something else.

Anyway, my mom also really thinks I should see a counsellor. She married when she was 22 and was divorced 2 years later, because she married a guy in a similar situation to mine, where she knew it was wrong but she was too far gone to have the guts to get out - she felt obligated to see it through. After him she met my dad and that lasted 17 years, even though they got divorced later I think 17 years is a pretty successful relationship, and she got two great kinds out of it Anyway, the point is, I have internalized my mom's issues with committment a bit, and I definitely should speak to someone to get this sorted out.

My next question is, should I share this with him? That I'm having these doubts and these fears and I'm going to see someone about it? Because I can't tell him the counsellor will make it "all better" and guarantee our happiness, there is a chance I will find I have to take a break from this and be on my own. Part of it is I feel like being alone is something I've never had a chance to do, to explore me as a separate person. Anyway, so do you think I should tell him, if it might hurt him and make him anxious that I will leave him? I feel that may cause him undue stress. Maybe I can sugar coat it a little and just tell him I'm trying to deal with my committment issues? I mean, he knows I have issues, he is judgmental and difficult about it, understandably because I think he wants to move forward to some extent. What do you all think?

Thanks for replying, I've been going through hell and this helps.

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After reading all that, I think you don't really have a commitment issue all together, it sounds more like you can't commit to this one person.


... if you never felt passionate about him and can see yourself wanting something more down the road, it's probably best to get out of it now before anything major happens. If you used to fight a lot but now he's gotten better, do you think he might revert back to how he was before once you have children? Children tend to bring the worst out of couples... and people will find the easiest way there is to deal with conflict when they have children. Often that means shouting their heads off at each other instead of talking things out.



Counseling is probably a good idea. Maybe you just need a different way of thinking, or maybe he needs to really change his attitude when he deals with conflicts all together... I hope it'll all work out in the end.

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counseling is a good idea regardless if you stay with this guy or not...if anything this relationship is bringing isses you have to the surface...ot necessarily about him.


I suggest you start going alone for now, keep it personal, don't bother telling him until you have gone enough times to know you are comfortable with the therapist you chose, and you plan on continuing. You and your therapist can decide together, whenthe right time is, if at all, to let him know.

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