Q: Dear Meredith,
I'm a woman in my mid-20s and have been with my boyfriend essentially the entirety of my adult life. We have lived together for a few years, and on the outside have what many would consider to be the perfect relationship. He is honest, kind-hearted, handsome, and pretty much amazing on paper. We barely ever fight, mainly because one of us is truly happy.
I am considering ending our relationship and demolishing the seemingly wonderful life that we have built together. I have been having issues with our relationship for the past few years or so, and have actually discussed ending it on a handful of occasions in the last six months. We have what I would consider to be a few huge, deal-breaking issues. Each time that I bring these up, he insists that he is truly happy and that these problems are not deal-breakers for him, and that the issue is in fact my expectations.
Let's start with the biggest issue from my point of view: our sex life. I have always been attracted to him, but our sex life has never been as great (or frequent) as I would hope for. We have discussed this at length -- he apologizes and promises we will do better, but we never do.
He is also not a passionate, live-in-the-moment person. I live my life fully and love completely, and while my decisions are usually well-thought-out, spontaneity is very important to me. He prefers routine and relishes the nice life we have built together.
We're reaching the point where marriage is the likely next step and I do not want "fine" for the rest of my life. I know natural lulls in the relationship are to be expected, but when is it too much? My friends are getting married, and he has told me he is planning a proposal.
Ending the relationship will absolutely destroy our lives. We live together, and financially separating would be catastrophic for me, less so for him. The thought of separating our lives makes me physically ill -- our families are very close and everyone we know has been inviting themselves to our future wedding because we’re the couple that seems destined to be together.
And, for good measure, let me throw in a huge curveball: I am having what I would consider to be a one-sided emotional affair. I met someone at work and fell in love at first sight -- something that has never happened before. I will never tell him how I feel or act on it, so there is no chance of me actually cheating on my boyfriend. But this is what makes me think that I've fallen out of love, do not deserve his love, and need to be single rather than carry this on.
My question is: Is there any way to get the love back? I want to want him, get married, and have a happy life together. Am I making a huge mistake for questioning what any sane person would tell me is the best thing that has ever -- and will ever -- happen to me? If not, how would I move on without completely destroying our entire lives?
Please be kind. Also please note I am actively seeking out a therapist.
– Losing Everything, MA
A: Ending this relationship would be rough, LA, but a breakup wouldn't absolutely destroy your lives, as you put it.
You're already in a messy state. The only way to destroy your lives would be to maintain the status quo. He's not what you want right now, and you just can't force it.
You have to tell him that you're not happy anymore and that you want to move on. I understand that part of you loves him and wants to be with him forever, but the other part of you is screaming and won't shut up. You want to be single. You want someone else.
So start the process -- before he buys a ring. Talk to your family about finances. Tell your friends what's really going on. Let them help you make a plan.
This relationship is the best thing that's ever happened to you -- so far. Based on what you've told us, there must be more to come.
Readers? How can she save this? Would she be staying with him for friends and family? Should he be thinking about a proposal? Could she work this out in therapy? 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 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.