Question: Dear Luise! First, I am a 23 year old male, and I’ve been with my first and only partner for almost 7 years (come this October 27th). Over the years we have had our ups and downs, and I regrettably say after our first year I did cheat on my partner, but we worked through it, and have been together since then. I was young, only 17. There have been a couple of other instances he wanted to take a “break” to see if this is what he wanted. Those times were always so hellish for me. He always came to the conclusion though that he did want to continue being in a relationship with me. Now I feel as though the tables have turned because for the first time, I have been considering taking a break or breaking up. Over the years I have done absolutely everything for him: changed my work schedule, moved to the town he lived in, barely saw my friends, took a year off of school etc. Although I do realize those were my choices, not his. Now, I feel as though I need time for myself, maybe something new. Since he’s the only one I’ve been with, I want to make sure if anything, that he’s the one. I wouldn’t want to have midlife crises after starting a life with him and then leave him in the dust. I feel as though I’ve spent so much time worrying about him, and trying to do anything to make him happy, that along the way I somehow lost part of my happiness and my independence. Unfortunately, I met someone online and foolishly continued to talk to them via email, text, and phone calls. I will admit, he makes me smile and laugh in a way that I haven’t felt in a long time. I do love my partner, and later in life I can picture myself with him.. But as of now I feel as though I need to break away, “grow up” and mature as an adult. I feel extremely confused because I don’t want to hurt him and sometimes, but not all the time, when I picture my life without him, it hurts. I know he loves me now and just wants to make me happy and see me happy, but I just feel as though something on the inside is missing. Lately though, all I can picture and think about is the new boy, and what life would be like with him. As you can tell I am very confused as to what I should do. I know you may not have an answer, but maybe some helpful insight. Anything would help. If you need any additional information, then please let me know. Thanks for your time! J.
Answer: Dear J.: I don’t think you are confused at all. You know what you want to do and actually need to do and you are asking for a painless way to have it happen. You can’t break up without there being hurt involved, it just can’t be done.
And you can’t go trotting of to “see the world” to be sure you have picked the right partner and expect to be able to return.
Some people have successfully hooked up on the Internet but it is dangerous. It’s about 95% fantasy and you can put yourself at risk.
I think you need to fess up that you are moving on and then do it. It’s sad but when we find a partner early on…we can stunt our own growth in some ways. You loved to the best of your ability, don’t apologize for that. Blessings, L.