Q: Dear Meredith,
I'm 27, stuck, and am seriously hoping for some feedback.
I've been in a relationship for 10 years with a truly great person. He is kind, considerate, loving, etc. He always wants to be in my presence and constantly needs attention and to be taken care of. He is my best friend. He is also selfish, lazy, and angry at times, and finds it difficult to move past obstacles (fights, disagreements, etc). We have been engaged for a couple of years.
We met through mutual friends and hit it off. I was still in high school and had gone through some very bad experiences in my life that made it difficult to be around men in general, but we hung out a lot and had a lot in common. We were in a relationship for about five years and I started having second thoughts. I ended up breaking up with him. I couldn't give him a reason as to why I was breaking up. Within a week of us breaking up, he went out a found a replacement (I don't blame him for this).
My mistake was staying in touch with him. I wanted to be friends. I found out about this other girl and became afraid to lose him and spent a month trying to get him back. We got back together but he continued to see the other girl on occasion. I think he was trying to hurt me the way I hurt him.
Six months later he moved in and we have been living together since then. We lived together for about two years when he proposed, but I couldn't answer yes or no. I just cried. I am not sure I want to marry him. I am 100 percent sure that I need to figure myself out before wasting time and energy on a wedding.
Although I respect him greatly, I am not happy in the relationship. I do not know if love him the way I should. I definitely don't love him the way he loves me. And let me be a bit shallow here -- there is not much physical attraction either (maybe I'm just messed up in that department). I feel like I shouldn't complain. This guy took me back after I screwed up and I don't want to hurt him any more than I already have. Looking at the situation rationally, however, I am probably hurting him every day because I am sure what I am feeling comes though my daily actions.
I still care for the man, but he deserves much more. Perhaps I am being overly rational and should go with my gut, but I am afraid of making a mistake. I don't think I will get a second chance at a do-over. I have never cheated on him (my parents are in a situation where one is openly cheating on the other).
I want to be happy, to want to run home from work because I can't wait to see the person I am involved with. I want to be giddy with excitement about getting engaged. Does this actually happen? Do these emotions exist outside of the Lifetime network movies and books? I haven't had particularly good role models when it comes to happy, healthy relationships. Is happiness not a part of the package? Other than this mess, I am a well-established, rational individual.
– Should I Stay or Should I Go, Boston
A: Get out now. You love this guy because he's your closest friend, but you're not attracted to him and you don't want to marry him. The end.
The Lifetime network stuff does exist (well, some of it). You should be excited about getting married. You should feel romantic about the process.
You shouldn't stay with someone because you're afraid of the unknown. That seems to be your issue. You've never really dated anybody else. You have no context. It's time to get some.
Letting go of him will be awful, but you have to make it happen. There will be loneliness. You will second guess yourself a million times. You'll also get just as jealous as you did years ago when you eventually hear that he's moving on. But this time around you'll have to fight the urge to call him.
It's going to be messy. But it'll be messier if you stay with him. You say that he deserves more, but so do you. So go. Your gut knows this is over.
Readers? Is there any reason to stay? Can you tell her what she's missing? Can you explain what she'll experience if she breaks up with him? Can you help her through this? 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.