Q: Hi Meredith,
I like to imagine what you would say to me about my relationship on any given day, but now that a real problem has arisen I thought I would stop pretending and actually ask for your advice.
My boyfriend and I have been dating for two years. Before I found him, I was more of a wild child and found it very hard to settle down with anyone. He was exactly what I needed; trustworthy, kind, fun, and he opened my world up to new experiences. My family loves him, his family loves me, and as he's in his 30s (I am a few years younger), we talk frequently about our future, including picking out our wedding songs.
Here comes the shocker: He tells me he thinks of me as his best friend, that he's never loved anyone more than me, but that he isn't sure he loves me "enough." He says he doesn't know if this will work because he thinks I deserve more love than he can give me.
What does this mean? I need more help deciphering this. I think he is amazing and I have never made him feel like he doesn't do enough for me. Is he setting the stage to walk out? If so ... why? Is it something internal he is battling (he has a history of depression), or is that just a cop-out?
– Isn't Love Enough?, Boston
A: It sure sounds like he's setting the stage to walk out, ILE. And it sounds like he's being pretty honest about why. He just doesn't know if he is as attached to you as he should be. And he seems to be putting the ball in your court, which, yes, makes this a bit of a cop-out.
I want you pretend that I'm next to you, the little angel on your shoulder giving you advice. (In your fantasy, can I be wearing this?) Imagine me asking you the following questions: Do you want to be with someone who's unsure? Has he given you any indication that his feelings for you have been affected by his depression? If you walked away from him, would he run after you?
Answer those questions and then ask him what you asked me. "Is this the first step to breaking up? Or are you just sharing your angst and fears before we take the next big awesome step?" That's what you want to know, right?
Usually, when someone says they love you but that they don't love you "enough," it means they want to move on. Get some clarity from him and then ask yourself whether his answer gives you enough confidence to stick around. Let this be your decision.
Readers? Is he just being neurotic and depressive or is this his way of taking a step out the door? Does it matter what's causing his doubt? Should she leave? Discuss.
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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 new novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith here and on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.