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The end of a marriage?

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  February 25, 2013 08:40 AM

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Thanks to everyone who came out Friday night.

See you tonight for the "Casablanca" screening at Theatre 1, where I'm sure people will ask Ty Burr about "Argo" ....


Q: Meredith, I have less of a relationship question and more of a logistical one. I am wondering how to break up with someone.

My husband and I have been married for less than 5 years. He is my best friend. We've been together for a very long time and I can't imagine life without him in it. That being said, while I love him ... I'm not in love with him anymore. We started dating pretty young (early 20s; we're in our early 30s now) and I have felt myself wondering more and more what else is out there for me. I also don't feel as though either of us is trying particularly hard in our relationship, and we're not bringing out the best in each other like we used to do. We both have had our struggles in the past and have been there for each other, but I simply don't feel any spark. I don't think it is fair to him for me to stay in a marriage I am not 100% emotionally invested in anymore.

A secondary issue in our marriage is that we simply want different things out of life. I want to excel at my career, take on extracurricular activities, travel, and stay active. He is content working at his current job, and he is much more of a homebody than me. I'd love to move somewhere exotic for a few years and I think that is that last thing he'd ever want to do. At this point I think that no matter what, one of us is going to be unhappy with how our lives turn out.

So I guess I have two questions for you. The first is, how hard should this be? I find myself having more and more doubts about our marriage, resolving to "fix things" and "work harder," and just cycling back into complacency. Is that what people talk about when they say that "marriage is hard," or does this go deeper than that?

The second is, what do I do next? I can't imagine having the strength to sit him down and tell him I'm not in love with him anymore ... but at the same time I'm not sure that going slower and trying to work on our relationship first would accomplish anything, as I've tried that so many times in the past. Our lives are so intertwined (although we don't have kids) that the idea of breaking it off seems completely insurmountable. But at the same time I've come to the realization that I can't spend the rest of my life in this relationship. Help!

– What next, Quincy


A: "Is that what people talk about when they say that 'marriage is hard,' or does this go deeper than that?"

I'd say yes and yes.

Yes, marriage is hard. Many couples have to work to rediscover their spark after they've been in a relationship for more than a decade. But your issues go beyond excitement and attraction. You want to travel. He wants to stay home. You're no longer interested in the life that you designed for yourself in your early 20s.

It's time to tell your husband that you're worried about your future as a couple. You don't have to come right out and say, "I think I've stopped loving you." Just tell him what you want for your future and find out if any of it appeals to him. Maybe he'll surprise you and reveal a side of himself that you've never seen. Or maybe he'll say, "Thank goodness you said something. Can we separate now?" You say that he's your best friend. If that's the case, you guys might be able to come up with a plan that appeals to both of you.

At this point, it's not about working harder and squeezing out more love. It's just about honesty. You shouldn't be afraid to communicate. Not talking is scarier.

Readers? Is she missing a step here? Is she making assumptions about her husband's desires? What should she tell him? Is this what people mean when they say marriage is difficult? Help.

– Meredith



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ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
Blogger Meredith Goldstein

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.

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