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Can I call our breakup a break?

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  June 6, 2011 09:01 AM

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Q: Dear Meredith

My fiance and I have been engaged for over 5 long years with no movement on the marriage front. Initially we intended to marry within two years, but he expressed some initial reluctance which both surprised and scared me. Since that time, he really hasn't endorsed the idea, aside from when I mention it. When I do mention it, he says things like, "Let's do it," but now I have questions.

During the course of our relationship I have been responsible for all of the household financial responsibilities (we have been living together since the engagement). I had to sacrifice time with friends and family in order to do so, which has left me pretty isolated as a result. The responsibilities of being the breadwinner (I allowed him to focus on a business idea that has ultimately failed as a result of inaction on his part) as well as the isolation have taxed our relationship.

To further complicate matters, I have recently realized that I am developing significant feelings for a former coworker who has also expressed interest in pursuing some type of relationship. I realize this is a separate matter but it is weighing on my overall thought process.

I recently turned 30 and realized I need time to determine if our relationship is in fact moving in the right direction. I would like to leave our apartment.

I'm scared about potentially sacrificing my current relationship. I need some guidance with how to move forward. I believe I'm entitled to some space while I decide the fate of our relationship, considering the sacrifices I have made, but I don't know if such "breaks" are really just the figment of Hollywood's imagination.

Am I being fair, here? Please help!

– Murky Waters, Brighton


A: Your waters aren't very murky, MW. They look pretty clear to me.

You're sick of supporting your fiance.
You're tired of your relationship.
You have feelings for someone else.
You turned 30 and your priorities changed.

It's fair to leave your relationship as long as you call this what it is, a breakup. You can't move out and make your fiance wait around for you until you're 100 percent sure that you're comfortable as a single person. I know it's scary to jump without a safety net, but you have to be honest with him.

You have to say something like, "I'm leaving. This isn't what I want," instead of, "I'm taking some time to think." Don't pretend that you're simply hitting the pause button.

Sorry. I know it's tough, but read your letter to yourself and the answer will pop out at you like one of those Magic Eye illustrations. Sometimes a relationship is just ... over.

Readers? Is she allowed to call this a break? Is she entitled to a trial breakup because of all that she's done for the relationship? Is this about turning 30? Should they have been engaged to begin with? Is she just confused because there's a new guy? Discuss.

– Meredith


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ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
Blogger Meredith Goldstein

Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

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