Q: I am extremely torn in my current relationship. We are a homosexual couple and my partner is absolutely incredible. He is so attentive and can always lift me up when I am feeling down. He makes sure I am always taken care of and makes it very apparent that he is not OK unless I am. He shows the most genuine love for me in so many ways and I know I am at the center of his heart.
My issue is that we are 23 years apart in age. I am 22 and he is 45. Despite all of his amazing qualities, I still have so much trouble committing. I feel like if I commit, I am letting go of my youth and the life experiences that 22-year-olds have and cherish in their later years. We got together when I was 19 and had so much growing up to do. So while I love this man so much, I have this sense that I should move forward for myself because I have a long life ahead of me and I just feel that there is more out there for me to do before I settle down with somebody. But it breaks my heart to let go of someone so amazing and I know he will be devastated. Any thoughts?
– Just Too Soon, California
A: I'm sure he's great, JTS, but you're just not ready for a rest-of-your-life relationship. On some level, your partner knows that. If you're 42 and dating a 19-year-old, you have to know that the relationship is probably temporary. In fact, if you're 19 and dating a 19-year-old, you probably know that the relationship is going to end.
Tell him how you feel and start figuring out what's next for both of you. After three years, you're also good friends. Don't keep this to yourself and then pull the rug out from under him as soon as you're ready to bail. Just start the process. Talk.
And please know that you're doing the right thing. Yes, you're both going to be devastated to lose each other, but it was inevitable. You're just not ready. It's time to be 22 and trust your gut.
Readers? Any reason to stick around? Can you make him feel better about ending this relationship? Should his partner know that this is coming? Thoughts about the age difference? 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.