Q: I am 18 years old. A college freshman. I have been dating my boyfriend for 10 months. We met last summer because we work together. He is a wonderful person -- sweet, very romantic, loving, understanding (to an extreme degree), and in my head, when I think about him, I just think about how he is just absolutely the perfect guy. But for some reason that I can't pinpoint, I am not at all IN love with him. Whenever I think about him, I also have this feeling of guilt. It just feels wrong, and although I don't know why this feeling came about, it is still very much there.
The thing is, I'm away at college, and once our summer jobs were over for the year, we have been a minimum of a 40 minute drive away from each other. In the beginning we were constantly texting each other and Skyping almost every single night for hours and hours on end. But it’s become much more difficult to communicate.
And above all else, I am so busy with schoolwork and stressed out that I am despicably flaky when it comes to communication with him. He is so wonderful, and I just feel like he deserves so much better than me.
But I have no idea how to end it. He really has never ever messed up at all, and I am very, very far from perfect. Also, we work together in the summer around kids, and I don't want there to be a lot of awkwardness between us-for the campers' sakes. I don't know how to do this.
Can someone please give me some advice? I have never broken up with anyone before. The only other relationship I have ever been in lasted two weeks, and then there was just awkwardness between us, so we broke up. I don't know what to do. Someone please help me out here.
– Torn and Confused, NY
A: There's no way to break up with someone who loves you without being the bad guy.
But here's some advice: Wait until you get to camp again before you make any big decisions.
Camp romances are strangely powerful. You get close to someone and start dating them, and then camp suddenly is over, which makes you feel estranged. Then, just as you're about to end your summer relationship because it's just too difficult to maintain, it's time for camp again.
In a few weeks you might find that you are in love with him -- or that you like him enough to date him again during the summer. Or maybe he'll show up to camp and decide that he's the one who's ready to move on.
Something tells me that when you get back into the camp routine, you'll be able to make these decisions together.
And don't worry about the campers. They're used to counselor drama.
If you do wind up having to break up with him, just tell it like it is. You're 18 and unsure about what you want, and he deserves a better summer romance. The best way to break up with someone is to be honest and then give them space.
Readers? Ever fallen for someone at a summer job? How did it end? Any advice for someone who’s about to break up with someone for the first time? Help.
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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 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.