OP: Breaking up after 3 years... need some support pls!

I haven't been on these forums for a while but I really need some objective opinions and some support. I'm so torn on what to do. I'm breaking up with my bf of over 3 years, so of course this is really difficult. So here are both sides of it...

THE PROS: We have a really nice relationship. We live together. We get along well and hardly ever argue. We are highly compatible. I enjoy sex with him. He's a great companion, very sweet and attentive. If I get home late he waits up for me and will make me dinner or a cup of tea. He doesn't have much money and is pretty frugal but on special occasions he buys me beautiful jewelry and he takes me out for the occasional meal. He adores me and thinks I'm perfect for him. He makes me feel very loved and special. He tells me how gorgeous I am on a daily basis even when I'm wearing no makeup and in pajamas. I am entirely comfortable with him. I can imagine a long-term future with him. I know he'd be a great father. He'd be a wonderful person to grow old with.

THE CONS: Most importantly, this is the first big relationship for either of us. I have never really had another serious boyfriend, because we met in high school. We're young (college age). I want to date other people and experience other things. I have nothing to compare him to. I don't really feel passion for him. I used to be in love with him, but I think my feelings for him now are largely platonic. I love the familiarity of coming home to him, having him comfort me, etc. But that said, that could be a roommate, sister, close friend, mother... He knows me better than anyone else (and I him) and we get along great, but I'm worried I should feel something more burning for him. I want to really have a desire for him, and I don't. Our sex is pleasurable and he can usually make me cum, but I don't come on to him very often or initiate it because outside of the actual experience he doesn't really turn me on. I never fantasize about him, and when I look at pictures of him or think about his appearance, it doesn't appeal to me.

He's not very social, so I don't like taking him places. In the course of our relationship, I have made some friends, but he has made none. He makes pretty much no effort to meet people or build social connections. He also complains that I am away too much doing other things, but does little to keep himself occupied outside of his college classes and several hobbies which he does alone. He has several old friends who he communicates with regularly, but he knows no one in our city (we moved here together 9 months ago) because he has not made the effort to get to know anyone. I on the other hand am trying to make friends and would enjoy having more of a social life and more independence from each other.

I'm objectively the much better looking and more outgoing one. So naturally I wonder what it would be like to date other people. I feel like I'd be very successful at it. I know this is probably true for a lot of people, but I've had several major crushes in the last year where I seriously have considered leaving my bf and really wondered about what relationships with them would be like. I'm more attracted to many other people than I am to my bf. I'm not shallow and looks are not the most important to me in any way, but it would be nice to be physically drawn to my bf.

The big thing for me is that I think I should feel more for him. The idea of being without him is really painful for me in a lot of ways. I wonder if I am doing the right thing. I worry that I will never have as nice a relationship with anyone else or be as comfortable with anyone else. I know so many older people who end up alone or in unhappy relationships, and what I have with my bf is really great. We are compatible as companions and having great sex or having burning passion might be overrated. It's so nice to be loved and to have someone who cares so much for me. But then there is the longing in me that says I can do better. That says I am a great catch and that I can find someone who feels this way about me but who I also feel for on a deeper level. And the feeling that I should have that passion at some point and find out for myself whether that is what I want.

I have told him all this and he is planning to move out, though he is still convinced we are right for each other and that he will never find anyone he loves more. (Which I feel is a little silly and overdramatic because we're so young - there is tons of time, but he's still in love with me, so I understand how he feels). If I said the word, he would stay with me. If I said the word, he'd marry me today. As for me, sometimes I am dead set on the idea that we need to break up and have time apart and explore and date other people and see what is out there. And sometimes I start crying because I will be giving up a lot and losing my best friend. I just worry and wonder. And I love and care about him and I don't want to hurt him, which I am. And it would be a lot easier to stay in a relationship than leave it. I've been with him a long time and I am so used to him, so of course I am going to be upset.

I feel like rationally, of course we need to break up. I am anticipating what everyone is going to say - you're too young, you need to date other people and find out what you like. And I agree with that. I do feel that that is what I need. If I stay with him, the feelings I have aren't going to go away. And we could have an open relationship, but I don't think that would resolve the issue either. But it's the hardest thing I've ever done and he hasn't even moved out yet, so it's not quite final and I am feeling so torn.

Does anyone out there have thoughts on this? Have you gone through something similar? Support and opinions would really be appreciated. Mostly support. I am feeling upset, confused, and vulnerable and just need to get this stuff off my chest a bit and hear what you guys have to say, because this is so damn hard!!! Thanks in advance.


Posted: 06 Oct 22:46


I understand you wanting to go and date other people, and it seems like you may have outgrown the relationship... but be warned: after time the passion does subside when you've been with someone for a while (in your case, 3 years).

It never will be the same as when you first started dating, and I'm not saying that you shouldn't break up with him... but in any relationship, regardless of who you are with, eventually passion will die down. The trick is trying to keep the spark alive to keep the relationship from dying from boredom.


Posted: 06 Oct 22:46

I went through the same thing right after high school. My boyfriend was so in love with me.. I was in your position-- I knew i could do better, i met so many other people that were more attractive than him etc. etc... So right after high school i started college and he left for the military. I of course was always on the scene partying meeting new friends and felt like i didn't need him and that i would have no problem meeting other people and getting into a relationship with someone new. So he returned home and i broke up with him that same day... basically a few months passed and i had met a few people who turned out werent right for me afterall even though I thought they were so much better than him.. He on the other hand got into a serious relationship with another much more prettier girl than me who appreciated him for who he was. As stupid as it sounds it made me realize that I made a huge mistake. I realized that nobody was like him, I couldnt get comfortable with anyone the way I was with him.. time went by and I still felt the same. I realized that I knew how much he loved me. I knew that he too would have stayed together with me if I didn't want to break up, I think that i got a little too comfortable and was probably just looking for more of a chase i guess. Well eventually him and his girlfriend broke up and we got back together and it was never the same again. He had become a totally different person, he did not look at me the same way and felt like he could do better (because he did). We did not last. To this day (i've graduated college) I still compare every single boyfriend i've had to him. Nobody has loved me like he did and I haven't met anyone that can make me get over him completely. I know our situations are a little bit different and youre right its always good to experience and meet new people, we are super young. But this is the mistake I made and its my biggest regret. Its a tough situation youre in but don't always believe that theres better because sometimes you already have it and you don't even realize it. good luck =)


Posted: 06 Oct 22:47

Oh my gosh now I'm so much more confused. Luvmakin, I'm so worried that I will do the same thing you did. That is my biggest fear. And Calipirate, I know you're right about the passion thing too. I wonder whether it is just the time thing or whether I really could have more passion with someone else. I am just so confused! I don't want to mess something great up, but I also feel like there's too much I want to change about my bf and that I need to KNOW what else is out there instead of speculating about it. Like, now that you've gone out and tried other stuff and know what's out there, you'll know to hang on when something good comes around again, luvmakin. So maybe it's better? I just don't know!! This is killing me.


Posted: 06 Oct 22:47

I married my very first girlfriend, but before we ran away and eloped (her parents hated me), she was also about to break it off after being together for a few years. I knew I was the one who would make her happy, but she wasn't sure--even though she'd had many unsuccessful relationships with guys before me. She was restless and probably, like you, thought she could get a boy who was either better looking, or a better lover, or would make more money, or ignited some passion she felt she didn't feel for me. Anyway, she almost, but not quite, left me, and we were married for 33 years before she died. We had our share of troubles--she was always critical of me (as if maybe she could make me into the "other guy" she didn't pursue) , and was never as sexually attracted to me as I felt she could be, even though I never failed to satisfy her. Maybe she could have done better, and maybe she carried that feeling with her her entire life, taking it out on me from time to time. However, we remained best friends and were always good together in most ways. Yes, the passion ebbs and flows, one gets restless and has regrets. But when she got cancer and was dying, she knew why she stayed with me--so that I would be the one to take her to the gate and love her to the end, be the one devoted enough to her so that all of her wishes were honored, that I'd finish raising our children and she'd trust that I'd do okay. that's the kind of guy you want to stay with--a good dad, a decent human being, a hard worker and good provider--a man you can depend on. Crushes come and go, passion goes in and out like the tides, but a guy who is husband material is the guy who makes you feel safe and protected, a man you can trust, not always a man who constantly stirs your blood to a boil. Real life is not all sweaty sex--it's mostly talk about the car payments and kid's homework and health insurance and where to hang the dishtowels... Life is the nitty-gritty details of every day, and the man who makes your pussy drip may not be the man who will fix your dripping faucet. Maybe you CAN do better, but maybe not,and leaving him now will ruin everything... Search your heart and soul. I've always postulated that there are four equal aspects to every relationship, and they should be in balance as much as possible. They are: Physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual. Weigh each one--your needs and how he fills them in each area. Then decide.


Posted: 06 Oct 22:47

Thanks for the input, Michael. I am so sorry for the loss of your wife, and I am touched by your reply. You are definitely right - I want those things in a man. I want someone who is a good father and all that stuff. I know that to have someone like you have described is the best, and I don't think I need burning passion my whole life.

I guess I think the biggest difference between my situation and your wife's is that your wife had unsuccessful relationships before she settled with you. I've never had other relationships. I wonder what they would be like and I feel like I owe it to myself to find out, and to my bf to not always wonder whether I would be happier with someone else.

I do really worry about making a mistake. I really am so confused right now. But I've been talking to some friends who think it's a good idea for me to explore and make the mistakes I need to make, that are part of growing up. I don't want to be TOO cautious, just because I am afraid. I don't know.

Intellectually, I am very satisfied with my relationship. We have great conversations and understand each other completely on an intellectual level. Spiritually, I think we are linked and well matched. Emotionally, I doubt that I feel for him what he feels for me. And physically, I think we're OK, but there's not much special there. I dunno... I just am not sure what I want.


Posted: 06 Oct 22:47

oh man...this whole thing happened to me couple months ago with my ex. i did something real stupid that has to do with us (cant say what i did). but yea, she didnt like it and ended up breakin it up. now, ive gone out with a couple different girls and the same thats happened to you, hapened to me. i dont think ill find another person like her. i knew she was fully in love with me, i, too, was in love with her. at first i told myself it was no big deal...just another girl passin by. i thought i was going to find another girl and satisfy my need. but i was so wrong! i regret wat i did. it wasnt a big thing either. i didnt cheat on her or anything like that. it was just somethin i said. but it was that thing that i said that fucked me up bad and i miss her alot and still in love with her.
its true on how the saying goes..."You dont know what you have until its gone"


Posted: 06 Oct 22:47

Wow... these answers are really the opposite of what I was expecting. So depressing! Now I'm REALLY worried I'm making a mistake. I think we're going to wait a couple days and see how things go. I just feel awful for being so indecisive and putting my boyfriend through all this.

The worst part is how kind he is being to me. He comforts me when I start crying about it. He tells me he will still be my best friend if that's what I want and that I can always call him and ask for anything I need. Which just makes me feel worse and question myself more... because who does that? He's so sad, but he's also being so very kind.


Posted: 06 Oct 22:48

Brown, are you really ready to settle down and devote yourself 100% to someone just because they're "Father material"? If you're not at that point in life and want to experience something else, then I think you know what the answer is. True you may not find someone exactly like him, but you have a lifetime ahead of you to, when you're ready for that.


Posted: 06 Oct 22:48

I have to agree with the OP. I think you are doing the right thing... You are VERY young, I'm not much older than you. I have been in a few relationships and I still don't know what I want completely. I have some ideas of the things I definitely do NOT want in a man. It sounds like he might even be willing to wait around for you, if that's something you even want. Of course, who knows how long he can wait and how long you will need to start dating others and experiment. No matter what you will have to give the new dating some time, I'm sure it will be difficult getting anywhere near as comfortable to someone new, but you should stick it out until you have a better idea of what you want...

As for luvmakin, I don't think he would have been the right guy for you if he did change so much the second time around. People are still maturing and learning who they are at this age, he was bound to change in some ways (and you too!) I would take it as a good thing that you found that out before you were married to him or something.


Posted: 06 Oct 22:48

Your story depicts the many reasons why the dating process is so important. Dating does not begin and end with the first warm body who expresses an interest in us. Dating should be an ongoing process in which we ask a person out and see where it leads. Perhaps it begins and ends with one date, others will proceed to a couple or a few, a few others will last and develop. Eventually, the field is narrowed to one or two people that we believe will be a great match.

Dating is all about learning what humanity has to offer us. By dating lots of people we experience different likes, dislikes, characters, morals, values, goals, religious beliefs, etc. In addition, the process helps us grow and mature and expand our knowledge of the world around us.

You've done the former by limiting your exposure to one individual. Now, in my never to be so humble opinion, and in agreement with you, you now need to do the latter--date lots of other men in order to be better able to recognize when Mr. Right comes along.

Maybe Mr. Right will turn out to be your boyfriend, yet you will never be completely certain unless you get in the (dating) game. I believe you should remain friends and agree to explore in order to become better individuals.


Posted: 06 Oct 22:48

Thanks for the new opinions. I think there is a lot of truth to what you have said. And my bf has said he will always be there if I want to go back to him... which is so nice to hear.

I absolutely love living with him and I love him as a person. He is hands down the best and closest friend I've ever had. We've shared so much of our lives and our lives are so entwined. So of course there is sadness there. I don't want to give that up. But if we remain friends, how much will I really be giving up? Some preconceived notions of what my life would be like with him? Those were bound to change anyway. Giving up sex with him doesn't feel like a whole lot... I just want the closeness of him really. I want the companionship.

And I do think I will inevitably need to have other experiences. Staying with him, I will probably end up resenting him or cheating on him at some point, because I cannot go through my LIFE (which is a damn long time, especially at my age) without knowing what else is out there. That seems ridiculous. I have to date others. I have to have other sexual experiences. I have to figure out what I like and I have to grow on my own. There are so many experiences that I am closed off to because I'm in a relationship.


Posted: 06 Oct 22:48

I cannot offer you the support you seem to need - because I have never "led with my heart" as you appear to have done.

The simple truth is that you two have grown in different ways and are no longer the compatible pair you used to be. The fact that you desire "freedom" is sufficient proof of this.

Do not regret the "loss of love" for him that you're currently feeling - this is the natural process of 'detachment' which you have to endure before you can go out and see who else is out there.

Please do not be in a hurry to enter into any more relationships.

One thing - stop confusing 'security' with 'love' - you feel secure knowing he is there. But that is not enough and never will be enough. You have only transferred the feeling of security when you lived at home as a child to this man - but that is not LOVE. Time to leave the nest and fly, honey.


Posted: 06 Oct 22:49

Ok first off, wow. Does every girl think the same? You sound just like my ex gf who left me for some online guy over a video game. That is a story for another day, but still she said basically the same things you have. About how she wants to explore what she might be able to have with him or any other guy. Same with me, she wanted me to get out there and get other girl experience in and see what I might be able to have with other girls as well. Like you and your friends said, you should get out there and date around, make mistakes with people you only date to learn from, then when you find that "special person" you will have already made those mistakes so if that situation happens to come up once again, you will know how to handle it, instead of breaking someones heart or being heart broken.

I know when I was sorta forced to break up with my EX, it was really hard for me, but looking back on it now, I still love her to death, yet I can't really be her friend either right now until all this has passed. (I broke up with her end of January, still not completely over it for X reasons.) In the long run, I know i'll feel better and I will know I have made the right choice for me. I have done so much for her in the past like your BF has done for you, pretty much everything you have named and a lot more. Do what you have to do, do what your heart is saying, and for the love of god, please DO NOT lead this guy on because you are "afraid of hurting him", it will only lead to disaster and other things you don't want to see. Trust me, I'm there right now.... And as for the thing about him saying he will take you back when you are ready, people say that all the time, don't use him as a back burner and last resort, it's mean =/. And as for him, he shouldn't wait for you either, he should go explore as well. People in relationships always say they will be best friends after a break up or that they will always be there, they say that now, but in reality, it's not like that. It's a lot harder to do, easier said then done par say.

I wish you luck in your decisions and I hope you make the right ones soon before you hurt yourself or someone else. Good luck!


Posted: 06 Oct 22:49

No, every girl does NOT think this way.

There are those who change their guys as easily as they change their shoes.
Some leave hard feelings behind them but actually - who can stay mad at a social butterfly? She just flits from guy to guy with laughter on her lips and joy bursting from her every pore! She's a delight but she's not ready to settle down just yet.

And there's nothing wrong with that.


Posted: 06 Oct 22:49

I was on the opposite end of this before. I dated a girl throughout college, and after 3 1/2 years she suddenly broke up with me. I was devistated. We talked for a little at firstt, and then hardly at all, and remained broken up for 6 months.

I dont know if it was so much that I was wrong for her, but more so that I think she needed some self exploration for awhile. While it was a depressing and long 6 months, We ended up getting back together and I am 100% happy it happened. She had time to try other things, self explore, and realize she really wanted to be with me. During the breakup she was with another guy for more than half of it. It was awkward to talk about at first, but then as time moved on, we talked a lot about it.

She was regretful about it because it was more so a rebound, and purely a sexual relationship, but after a while she realized so many things were missing from it that she had with me. Lesson learned, rebounds can be a good thing....

But my point is, sometimes you need to see what else is out there so you can be certain you love what you have


Posted: 06 Oct 22:49

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