8

I'm following this stack from the beginning but posting this anonymously was needed.

Context

I'm in my mid-twenties and with my girlfriend for more than 8 years now. We are from a western Europe country. We basically grow up together, we learned a lot through those years and we had amazing time. We lived at the same place for one year now and everything is fine from that side. During those years, we had some difficulties, she had some trust issues but it's fine by now. There is no issue to talk freely between us.

Problem

For some time now, I feel that I can't commit myself more in this relation. She is the most important person in my life for sure, but I can't, without doubts, think of marrying, or having a baby or even buy a house with her. This feeling comes from the fact that I really know her, and I never had another significant relationship so I can't say that she is the one because I didn't try anything else. I had this on my mind for months now, and it seems that hidding this and pretending everything is fine changed my perfect relationship to a toxic one.

Question

I'm conscious that this specific problem is more intrapersonal but the question I would like to address is more about how I can tell her that, beside the fact that I really lover her, I don't feel secure to continue with her. Especially because I'm not sure that I have lived enough experiments to engage myself more. She is really sentimental and will probably fall from high. I would like to know what the best way to approach this whitout hurting her feelings that much.

Goal

My goal is to expose her what I currently feel for our relationship but I can't manage how to tell her that or even how to start the talk. I want her to understand what my struggle is without her focusing on the "break up possibility" because I know she would be.

  • 1
    Have you already tried explaining it just like you did here? What Interpersonal Skill are you struggling with? – Tinkeringbell Mar 5 '18 at 8:02
  • 2
    So you're asking how to break up with your girlfriend? – sphennings Mar 5 '18 at 8:04
  • 6
    Are you trying to say that you want to date other people so you can make sure that your current girlfriend is the right one for you? – sphennings Mar 5 '18 at 8:16
  • 3
    You meed more context (culture, what sort of relationship you currently have) and more a more clear goal. We can not tell what you want to come out of this conversation – Jesse Mar 5 '18 at 8:22
  • 3
    We can't tell you how to decide if your current partner is "the one". You'll need to figure that out for yourself. Most relationships come with a default assumption of monogamy. This isn't a necessary requirement for a relationship. Are you wanting to open up your relationship with your girlfriend? – sphennings Mar 5 '18 at 8:31
19

The idea that if you were to date someone else you might find someone better is a siren song that's going to lead you to ruin, friend. It's natural to wonder whether there may be "someone better" out there somewhere, however that's where maturity should step in and inform you that it's foolish to throw away a solid relationship on the hope of something better.

First of all, it's incredibly insulting to your girlfriend, because you're telling her that she's not enough. Don't expect to be able to have such a conversation, and not break her heart. It may literally spell the end of your relationship. In fact, let me be clear:

You shouldn't talk to her unless you know exactly what it is about your relationship that you'd like to address, or if you're breaking up with her.

Second, you need to realize that life is not a Disney movie. What "better" are you hoping to find? Someone who listens more attentively? Who likes more of your hobbies? Who's kinkier in bed?

Unless you know exactly what's unsatisfying in your relationship what are you going to go looking for? And if you do know, then why aren't you taking steps to improve your relationship such that those things are true of it?

The older you get the more you realize that a successful relationship is not about looks (although they do matter), but about how the two of you interact on a daily basis. Because the boring, day-to-day activities comprise 90% of your entire life.

If you have respect, honesty, and the ability to engage in conversations openly, and without judgement, then you already have more than many (most?) people ever find in a partner.

Sure, you'll see some more attractive woman walking down the street, and wonder what it would be like if you could pursue her, but, realistically, the chances of finding someone with whom you click as well as your current partner are very low.

Among other things, it takes years to tease out all of the different aspects of someone's personality, and come to realize whether they're the kind of person you could spend the next decade of your life with, never-mind marry and have children.

And so, I advise you to take a long, hard look at your relationship before you throw it away.


Addendum:

There are legitimate reasons for walking away from a relationship - even a long term one - such as abuse, or the fact that your partner is toxic, or a dead-beat.

If your partner is the mill stone around your neck, always holding you back from trying new experiences, or living life the way you'd like to - and could * - live it, then perhaps it's best to part ways.

* The distinction is important because being told that you can't live like James Bond is just being realistic, not holding you back. Someone telling you not to learn how to snowboard even though it's a dream of yours, however, is probably holding you back due to their own fears/insecurities/agenda.

It's best to find someone who shares your passions, but it's typically impossible to find a partner who enjoys 100% of the same activities as you. Even then, some activities (such as excessive gaming) are a net negative to your development, and your partner may push you to pick up something a little more useful. That's not necessarily a sign that you should break up. It may, in fact, constitute a sign that you need to analyze your lifestyle and aim to do a little more with yourself.

Someone who tries to cut you away from your friends, family, and hobbies, and demands constant, fawning attention is a bad choice of partner.

Generally speaking, if the above are not the case with you, then you probably have a pretty decent relationship, and throwing it away on hopefully finding someone better is silly. However, you need to find that peace within yourself, otherwise anything someone on the internet tells you is useless. Remember that you only live once.

5

I suggest you take time to think about your situation by yourself or maybe with a good friend or a psychologist. You don't have to be "sick" to talk to a professional and it does not mean you need a shrink. These people have lots of experience and will likely be able to give you ideas what to think about.

I also recommend that you read this book: “Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay” by Mira Kirshenbaum It will give you lots of interesting questions to think about.

After you spoke with people and/or after you read this or other books it should be clearer in your mind what you want or what you don't want.

I suggest you only bring this up with her if you decided you want to break up with her or at least if you decided you need a break from her. Then this talk is inevitable and you have to do it. If you are not sure and bring it up it will damage your relation and even if you stay together she will likely remember it for years and maybe the (too early) talk will at the end destroy the relationship.

My personal advice: Don't talk to her about it if you don't know what you want.

  • 2
    absolutely, only when you're clear with what your intentions from talking to her is then should you. If you open a conversation without a clear direction, it often runs into something terrible – SomeoneElse Mar 6 '18 at 3:53
1

She will be hurt no matter how you do it.

You can minimize the hurt, however. Here are some ways to do that:

  • Don't dribble this out. Make a clean break. Be honest about your feelings and state of mind.

  • Arrange your life so that you don't run into each other by accident. For example, if you were taking the same class together at university -- that would make this extra painful. The most painful thing of all would be for her to bump into you while you are with a new love interest.

  • Follow through with any commitments you may have with her family or any projects you may have going on.

  • Make yourself available for some of the roles you currently play in her life, for example, if you are the person who knows how to fix the stereo when it's on the fritz, make yourself available to fix it, or to teach her how to fix it, as she prefers. If she has some stress with a work colleague, and you've been supportive about this, continue to be supportive about it.

  • Be generous on the financial front.

  • Allow her to keep the personal belongings the two of you acquired together if she wishes.

  • Allow her to keep the pets the two of you may have adopted together.

  • If there is a friend that "belongs" to both of you, she gets first dibs.

  • 2
    1. He didn't say he wants to break up with her so this is not the answer to the question. 2. Why should he be generous and let her keep everything? Lots of women talk about equal rights for men and women but then they want it all. He has no reason to give her everything even if he is the one who initiates a break-up. – user8838 Mar 6 '18 at 3:36
  • I like your answer because it's probably good advices for the next step but as Edgar was stating, you didn't answer the real question. – user13792 Mar 6 '18 at 7:21
  • @Edgar re 2: You could see it as sexist, sure, or you could see it as the dumper trying to be nice and ease the difficulty of separation for the dumpee who had no time to prepare for it. Of course OP doesn't have any obligation, but since he still cares for her on some level he might want to be generous and leave as positively as possible. – Em C Mar 6 '18 at 16:34
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    Guys -- he says he doesn't want to hurt her. My answer is focused on that. Objectively, is it in her best interests to stay committed to someone with a commitment problem? At any rate, if he gets his act together later on, he'll have a better chance getting her back if he treated her well at the I-want-you-but-I-don't-want-you stage.... – aparente001 Mar 6 '18 at 21:49
1

1) Your logic is flawed. If you are not sure you want to marry her because you have not tried anyone else, you won't be sure after trying 1, 2, 10 other girls. You cannot gain "security" this way. Marriage cannot be "tried", because the important thing about marriage (worth its name) is that it is meant as a definitve commitment. Herein liest the only "security" in these matters: the one created by the mutual delibarate commitment and self-giving of the spouses.

2) You say you love her. Do you mean it, I wonder? If you loved her, then your problem would be how to make her happy, not how to make yourself "secure". Or by "loving her" you simply mean that she is satisfying your emotional and other needs and you would be unhappy without her? In that case you are not loving her but yourself and you are using her to make yourself happy. If this is the case, then the honest thing to do is to part with her, since you are not prepared to give her what she deserves (i.e. love).

3) If you truly love her (this is not primarily a matter of emotions but of deliberate decision and commitment), then be a man and propose to her. She will be "the one" for you if you decide so. So take the responsibility and act. Your relationship has lasted long enough to be ripe either for marriage or for a breakup.

4) There are valid reasons why someone should not want to commit himself (yet), even though he genuinely loves the other party: like not knowing him/her well, not being sure whether he/she would be a good father/mother etc. But not being sure whether someone else would not be better is not a valid reason. You could never be sure about that. If you are not yet sure whether you want to marry her, focus on getting to know her better, not some other girls. Ask yourslelf not whether she is the best possible match for you, but whether it would be at all possible for you to spend life with her, and for her - and if she would be willing to do the same. This would be enough! Take a month or two, if necessary, but not much more, and then make your decision. She deserves that. She deserves a loving, committed husband and the security of marriage. If you are not prepared to give her this, give upt the relationship as soon as possible, to make room for someone else who is capable of giving this to her.

Simply, be a man!

0

I would comment on this question, but since I can not I write an answer, although I do not consider it as complete. I hope this is allowed.

Like others mentioned, those news will break her heart no matter how you share it. So you should ask yourself first what you want.

Break Up? - Tell her and be short and clear, make sure her best friend or her mom is available, depending on which she would prefer to talking to.

Is an open relationship an option? - Talk to her and emphasize it is not about her being incomplete it is more like you wanting to get more exprience with other women.

Not breaking up? Well honestly I can not think of a way breaking those news will not destroy your relationship, so I think you should either break up or do not talk about it at all with her. Do you have a close friend you knows both of you well and can give you an honest answer about your doubts?

0

I am currently in a similar situation in my relationship so I'm also posting anonymously. Seeing as the question is pretty old, my answer might be already out of date, but here it is anyway.

As I understand, you do not see any serious problems in your relationship that would warrant a break up, but you still do not feel completely sure whether this person is the best for you, because you didn't have enough experience in life. I can see, how you would be incredibly ashamed (as am I in a similar situation) having doubts in your partner while they don't give you any reasons for that.

My situation:

Here is what I did in my situation (I am not saying this will work for you thought): we had a conversation on the topic of making the next step in our relationship, and my SO was asking me to explain, why I was reluctant to commit to it. At first I would say, that I don't feel confident in our relationship, and that I thought there might be someone else there for me. This wasn't the best way to go about it, I know, and it hurt SO's feelings, and certainly didn't let them understand me more.

But then they would start explaining why they were sure, I was the right choice for them, because whenever some potential candidate would show interest in them, my SO would see how much they love me and how much more benefits our relationship has compared to the they could have with that other person.

So this was a bit eye opening for me, because I realized, that the reason I am not sure, is because I didn't have a lot of those situations, where I could compare my SO to someone else. I am not trying to guilt them or blame them in being unfaithful. But the simple fact, that my SO had people making advances towards them made them ever so slightly more confident in their choice. And me not having having a possibility of a choice as a result having much less confidence. Even if it is very likely, that my SO would be the best choice for me, I didn't really get to make this choice.

The answer to the question:

So in the end I explained to my SO this fact while emphasizing that they really didn't do anything wrong and there'r no fault in them. I think if you manage to explain yourself to your girlfriend, and make her understand, that you don't really want to end the relationship, but that this problem prevents you from making the next step, you might be able to start a conversation with her and figure something out.

-1

If I have this question right you are asking how you can bring up the subject of your feelings to your girlfriend about your starting a relationship at a young age 8 years ago causing you to wonder if your girlfriend is actually the right one and if you are experienced enough to be sure if she is a good choice.

There is no easy way, you just tell her you would like some time away from the relationship to see other people.

I had a girlfriend tell me that a decade ago and after awhile she came back. It didn't last two weeks. There was no tone she could of used or words she could of said that made the end result any different or the pain any less.

What your trying to do here is rarely going to work out for you well. At best your going to come back to a relationship that is strained and takes a long time to heal. She may take it well, and be excited about finally being able to get out in the world and explore the full depth of her womanhood unencumbered by her relationship with you. She may take it badly: try google "A women scorned" search for more details about what that could mean to you.

The only way to breech this subject with her is to simply say what is on your mind and share your thoughts about this, the relationship and about her with her. Be honest be straight forward. But be aware there is no polite way to let someone down and no way to help someone with their lose when the relationship with you is what they are loosing. Good luck.

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