Ewolf: How do break up with someone you fell in love with?
Papabear: Are you still in love with her?
Ewolf: I don't know. See, here is the thing: she’s my first love, and I know it's selfish to want others, but I don't know if I love her. If I never was with anyone else, how am I supposed to have life experience and know what I want if I've only been with one person, and I am to much of a coward to talk to her about it.
Papabear: Oh, that is a different story. So, this is the first person you have been with (sexually, as well?) and you wish to know what else is out there? I can understand that. Tell me a bit more about your situation. How and when did you first meet? How serious are you? Does she insist on monogamy now?
Ewolf: Yeah this is the first person and only person I've been sexual with. Telling the truth, I've been interested in other people; I just feel wrong about it. When I first met her, we were young, in high school. I met her my first year in high school. She was “the one” for me in high school. I was lonely in high school, but we didn't even start dating until college. My first year of college we started dating, and to think of it, I really don't have much of what I would call fun. We share a common end goal—that is, to live happily—but I don't see much happiness on the way. We go on dates and we're very polite and helpful to one another, and I can say I know her intimately, but I can't say that I know how to deal with the situation. I can't tell you that if I break up with her it would break her heart, I kind of want to let her down easily, because we were both virgins when we had sex, but I guess our relationship has gone sour.
This is just me ranting, so use it as you can.
Papabear: Okay, I believe I have a better idea of the question now. This woman was your first and you are good friends and, perhaps early on, you loved her, and now you feel obligated to stay with her and support her and never stray until you die.
But, unlike in some countries where you have an arranged marriage between families and you have to marry a certain girl and stay with her forever and ever, we live in a modern society that is somewhat more free than that. Most people do not go on to marry their first girlfriend. Most people date several people through their lives before settling on one, and even then, marriages often end and people go on to date again or to remarry.
You feel guilty and “selfish” for wanting to move on, but you really aren’t. If you no longer love this girl, you are actually doing her a disservice by staying with her. Not only are you locking yourself into a kind of relationship prison, but you are preventing her from going out into the world, too, to find someone who loves her a lot more than you apparently do. Sure, you both have a goal to be happy (who doesn’t?), but then you say “I don't see much happiness on the way.” That is pretty telling.
You and I both know that this relationship has to end, at least in terms of a romantic relationship. There’s no reason why the two of you can’t stay friends. In fact, she may very well be feeling the same way and can’t figure out how to bring up the topic to you.
So, now is the time to talk. You can start the conversation by asking her how she feels about you. If she feels as lackluster about you as you do about her, then the rest is easy. Tell her she is special to you, but you don’t see the two of you marrying and spending your lives together and that if she is looking for that kind of happiness, as you are, then it would be best if you both started seeing other people.
If, however, she is totally head over heels in love with you still, that conversation will be a lot rougher. Somehow, though, I get a sense she is passionate about you, or else there would be a lot more fire between the two of you.
So, the way to do this is to address the topic and invite her input first. Like I said, I’m guessing she has similar feelings and doubts and she may even be relieved. Couple this with an assertion that you still want to be part of her life and that there is no reason why you can’t be there for each other if you get lonely. Good friendships should never be taken for granted.
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