I've been in a relationship with my partner for over 14 years, but the past year and a half hasn't been the same. My partner knows we're not on the same page anymore and has expressed concern and a willingness to fix our relationship. But I think at this point, I need to be single. I still love and care for him a lot, but the connection we once had is gone.
We're 13 years apart in age, and I think that is starting to be a big issue. The fun we once had isn't there anymore. He doesn't enjoy or want to do the fun things I like doing with the few friends we see once in awhile. Instead, we spend nights at home without speaking to each other or talking about the weather and trying to have small talk. I hate to admit that I want to leave him, but I don't think it's fair to either of us to live like this. My question is, how does one break up with someone who has been nothing but great to them simply because you feel you've grown apart?
— Confused About the Future
If you feel a need to be single, and you don't think counseling will help, then it’s time for you to be single. Plain and simple. Coming to that decision is not easy, but following through with a breakup will be much harder.
You’ll be tempted to put it off and try talk yourself out of a split. After all, 14 years is a long time, and it’s easy to get comfortable with familiar routines. If you still love your partner, you’ll also struggle with the pain you know a breakup will cause.
Excuse the cliche, but you really have to follow your heart. It sounds like you two have grown apart, and there’s usually no coming back from that. To make the break-up process easier, you can try gradually separating yourself. Start going out with friends, even when he’d rather stay at home. Pursue hobbies or interests that he isn’t into. These actions will hopefully hint to him that the relationship is coming to an end.
When you finally break the news that you’re moving on with your life, he may be more mentally prepared if he’s had a few weeks of such hints. But don’t drag the process out too long. When you’re finally ready to do the deed, explain that you feel that you’ve grown apart. Tell him you love him, but you need to be single. Tell him you hope you can still be friends after the initial pain has subsided.
He may even thank you later for helping him move on with his life. It sounds like neither of you is happy with the status quo. Good luck!
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