In a relationship, in love with a friend, need to make some decisions
May 27, 2014 3:47 AM   Subscribe

I’m in a stable and loving relationship that is approaching the deadline for commitment. I’ve had strong feelings for someone else for a long time, which I’ve managed to control, but have recently resurfaced with a vengeance, and are making me seriously question whether to commit. Help!

I’ve been with my girlfriend for nearly two years, and things are good, and reliable, and we’ve talked a lot about marriage. She’s very keen to settle down, and has imposed a time limit to decide where we go. In the face of the imminent arrival of that limit, a lot of doubts come up. Although I believe I feel very positive about marriage and commitment in general, I’m definitely on the fence at the moment. Something isn’t quite right.

To complicate matters, there’s this friend who I’ve known for around six years, and for more or less all that time, I think I’ve been in love with her. We have a lot in common, and I’m always excited to see her, and feel amazing afterwards. Even seeing her name makes my heart jump a little bit. But she and I have always been in different relationships.

Over that time it became a real problem for me, especially being in a relationship myself - I dreamed about her, thought about her, possibly obsessing, to the point where it got unhealthy. So I made a conscious effort to block her out of my mind, and actively avoid her, as it wasn’t good for me, or my relationship. We were friends, but I didn’t see her that much, and didn’t know that much about her. I knew that I was amplifying her good sides, that she was a fantasy and not a reality, and an immature reaction to the problems I was facing in my relationship at the time. I wanted to draw a line under it, and for a while I succeeded.

Trouble is, I’ve seen this friend around again a few times recently, and those feelings have come flooding back. She split up with her boyfriend at the end of last year, and I remember hearing and feeling pretty excited. The times we do hang out, there’s definite chemistry, and I get the feeling she’s reciprocating. I had been avoiding opportunities to see her, as I understand that this isn’t helpful or respectful when I’m in a relationship, but also I really WANT to see her, and it’s difficult to switch that off fully. But I know she's not available because I'm not available. I'm not a cheater and I don't want to cross boundaries.

I have a real desire to understand what ‘true love’ is, and I get the feeling this might be it. However I also think there’s a good possibility it isn’t, and that it’s a fantasy that’s built up over a long period of time that, despite my best efforts to kill it, isn’t going away. I don’t really know the reality of her.

I’m of the opinion that you can make a relationship work with anyone, as long as both of you are willing to put the work in. So maybe I’m being selfish / lazy / immature, and not focusing on the good things that I have in the moment with my current partner, but looking elsewhere as the realities of commitment present themselves. And I could definitely put more work and appreciation in with my girlfriend. I feel like I might be compelled and inspired to, though, and that isn’t the case - it definitely has to be a conscious effort. Is that bad? I feel like this friend could compel and inspire me. I think about marrying her and get excited. But again, these thoughts probably aren’t based in reality.

I understand that my girlfriend will be hurt if we break up, and that’s unavoidable. But I understand she’ll be even more hurt in the long term if I commit to something that I’m not 100% convinced by. That’s life-ruining shit right there. Do I need to grow up and recognise what I have?

TL;DR - having thoughts about jumping ship, feeling pretty shitty about it, need advice to avoid stupidity and too much hurt.
posted by ashkenazy to Human Relations (33 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I don't think it's a good idea to marry or commit to someone if your heart is elsewhere. No matter if the longer friend is available or not, it's just not a good idea to have a 'what if' hanging over your present relationship.
posted by honey-barbara at 4:02 AM on May 27, 2014 [13 favorites]

In re. the friend: it sounds like limerence.

I would not want a meaningful commitment to somebody with so much hesitation and an unresolved crush elsewhere.

But I am not your girlfriend. Do you want to put more work into your relationship with her? That part isn't clear -- you have the idea that you could, maybe that you should, but didn't mention actually wanting to 'grow up and recognise what I have.'

If that is unpalatable and on reading it your reaction is 'But of course I want to! I love her!' then my suggestion would be to lay most of your cards out (about doubts surfacing in the face of the deadline, but wanting to work to overcome them) and see what she says, and accept any dumping that might come your way. If you're not dumped, work as hard as you can and re-visit the issue in a bit, keeping lines of communication very open.

If you can't muster up a real desire to fix things with the girlfriend -- don't go forward there. A solid relationship is work. Love involves labour. When you don't want to do the work, it's probably not really love, at least not in a way that means you can leverage it into a mutually beneficial, happy, long-term thing.

Peeking at your previous questions -- is the friend the "how and when do I tell her my feelings for her?" of 2011? That's been going on at a fairly high level for a long time if yes. And the 2013 Q about the girlfriend is a little unsettling; one wonders if she knows more than you think if she is dealing with that degree of anxiety over your interactions with other women.

Not a great place to be on the eve of a possible engagement.

Above all, don't marry your girlfriend with doubts and interest elsewhere. You are quite correct in "she’ll be even more hurt in the long term if I commit to something that I’m not 100% convinced by."
posted by kmennie at 4:03 AM on May 27, 2014 [3 favorites]

If you leave your friend out of it for now, how do you feel about marrying your girlfriend? Not how do you feel about "marriage and commitment in general", but how do you feel about marriage to her. Unless it's coming from your heart that you want to be with her for ever, rather than because there's a deadline looming, I would seriously consider not getting engaged at this point. Your feelings about your friend sound strong, and no one here has any idea how that relationship would work out. If you become single and she is too then by all means go for it and see how it turns out. But you need to sort out your primary relationship first. It sounds like you care for your girlfriend but you're not crazy about her, and your head is saying she's a good person so you'd be a fool to leave while your heart isn't totally in it. Personally I'd say follow your heart on this one, because if you're thinking like this two years in then where will you be in ten years?
posted by billiebee at 4:09 AM on May 27, 2014 [10 favorites]

Without even thinking, just going with your gut, answer this: how would you feel if your girlfriend wrote this?

Would you want her to stop seeing this other guy and try to make it work with you?

Would you be sad that she had feelings for someone else while you were considering spending your lives together?

Would you want her to stop sneaking around and seeing another man who she thinks she may actually want to marry?

Would you realize your relationship is over because she is having an affair?

Would you be incredibly pissed off that instead of working on creating a life with you, she was considering marrying a man with whom she's never actually had a real relationship?

I know how I would feel if I knew these things about my significant other; how does it make you feel?
posted by kinetic at 4:12 AM on May 27, 2014 [7 favorites]

You need to get this ambivalence out of your system before you can properly invest in your current relationship. I think this 'other women' is probably a red herring, and the real problem is that you don't want to commit to your current girlfriend.

Break up with your girlfriend. I think your reluctance to commit will become clearer when you've had a few months away from her. You can either date the other woman in the interim, and see how it goes, or not.

Of course, you'll risk losing your current girlfriend, but...that's life, sadly.

Don't marry her, though. Not yet. It's not fair to either of you. I would really, really not want to marry someone who felt that way about me.
posted by Salamander at 4:14 AM on May 27, 2014 [3 favorites]

It sounds like you're not that into your current girlfriend, so for goodness sakes don't ask her to marry you. That feeling of "something missing" is not going to go away and you can't compromise the rest of your life just to avoid hurting her. Break up with her as soon as you can so she can find the person who thinks she's the one, rather than someone who thinks she might possibly do but isn't sure.

Whether you end up dating this other woman or not isn't something you need to figure out right now. First break up with your girlfriend, then see what happens.
posted by hazyjane at 4:19 AM on May 27, 2014 [4 favorites]

You don't sound like you're into current GF, especially not enough for marriage.

End that and go for the friend who makes your heart jump. Do it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:20 AM on May 27, 2014 [20 favorites]

I know you want to be a good guy for your girlfriend and that marrying her to make her happy seems like the right thing to do. It isn't. You're not into the relationship with your whole heart and you're doing not only yourself but also her a disservice by trying to talk yourself into it. Break up with her.
posted by something something at 4:33 AM on May 27, 2014 [8 favorites]

What happens in romantic movies is all well and good, but I want to observe here that it is markedly more frequent for women to be subject to unwelcome advances from male friends who thought there was "chemistry" than it is for two people to go six years without being able to say anything more of it than "chemistry" and then to suddenly realize they are both madly in love and live happily ever after.

The truth is that sure, maybe you could love her, maybe she could love you. But it isn't "true love" right now because you aren't even communicating well enough to know if she's really interested. There are hundreds, thousands of women on this planet who you could probably have a satisfactory long-term relationship with, you can't just jump ship every time you run into one, or assume that you'll be lucky enough never to have it happen again. If you leave, leave because your current relationship is worth leaving. If you stay, stay because it's worth staying for. I think what you have to ask right now is if any real-life relationship that involved morning breath and conflicts about dishes or whatever could possibly live up to what you've built in your head with a fantasy.
posted by Sequence at 4:40 AM on May 27, 2014 [19 favorites]

I have a real desire to understand what ‘true love’ is

As long as you can say or think this, you are not ready for marriage.

Break up with your girlfriend so she can find someone who's wholeheartedly into her. Once that's done, you might as well ask your friend out. Six years of nursing a crush is generally not a sign of true love, but a sign that you've been letting an idealized fantasy stew in your head for far too long. You need to move on from this crush before you can be in a healthy committed relationship with anyone, and that includes the friend you have the crush on. Sometimes experiencing the reality of a situation is the only way to kill the fantasy. On the other hand, maybe the fantasy's so deeply implanted in your mind that you'll need more time and help to get it out. I don't know. But I do know that you can't be a good partner to anyone else as long as you have unresolved feelings for this friend.
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:48 AM on May 27, 2014 [22 favorites]

Don't get married because it's the next thing to do or the right thing to do.
This is not a checklist that you're running down.

Get married because it's what you want to truly want to do.
posted by John Kennedy Toole Box at 4:55 AM on May 27, 2014 [6 favorites]

I think it's pretty clear you need to break things off with your girlfriend. And you should do this completely separate from your feelings or intentions or hopes for your other friend. You should do it because you're not committed to this relationship and because ending things would be the right thing to do.

As for your friend? Honestly, maybe it works out, maybe it doesn't. But don't leave for her. Leave for you. Because neither you, nor your girlfriend should be in a relationship one of the partners isn't fully committed to.

I’m of the opinion that you can make a relationship work with anyone, as long as both of you are willing to put the work in.

I think this is wrong and it's dangerous. Some people are just incompatible and no matter how much work you put into it, it is sometimes, oftentimes, not enough to overcome changed feelings. The way you describe ends in loveless marriages till death do you part.
posted by inturnaround at 5:40 AM on May 27, 2014 [9 favorites]

Not only are you not in love with your girlfriend, you think you may be in love with someone else. Your girlfriend deserves better so do the right thing and break-up with her. I more or less think that if you are an ethical person, this is a foregone conclusion.

Once you are single, go declare your infatuation to this other woman. She may or may not reciprocate, but that doesn't change the fact you've at least done the right thing by your now-ex girlfriend.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:42 AM on May 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

If I were your girlfriend I wouldn't want you if you thought you were settling for me, instead of the idea of some other woman.

Does she know that you have a crush on this other woman? If not, she doesn't have all the information to make this decision with you.

Have you ever broached the subject with the other woman? What if she doesn't feel the same way about you? Then what?

Be honest with your girlfriend and let her go. "I'm in a relationship with you because it's about 80% of what I want, and you're just as good as anyone else out there. The thing is, I have a mad crush on Elsie and frankly, if I thought I had a 10% chance of having a relationship with her, I'd drop you like a sack of wet Kleenex. So, whatta ya say, wanna get married?"

Doesn't sound so nice when I put it like that. If you can't commit 100% to your girlfriend, if you're not ready to partner up with her and be with her forever, then break up, she's just not the person for you.

I’m of the opinion that you can make a relationship work with anyone, as long as both of you are willing to put the work in.

This is just wrong. Plain wrong. And that thinking is why 50% of marriages end in divorce. A relationship starts with attraction, then you build on that with trust and respect. Right now, you're showing neither of these things to your girlfriend.

It's time to break up. Not because you might make a go of a relationship with this other woman, but because you're not in this 100%, and your girlfriend deserves someone who is 100% into her and 100% committed to her. Not just settling because...hey, why not?
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:46 AM on May 27, 2014 [15 favorites]

There's no need to feel bad about your feelings. You're considering leaving the relationship and you know this would be a tough decision to make, with consequences for you and your girlfriend. However, you are entitled to your feelings. Ideally, you would feel enthusiastic about making a commitment to your partner. The reality is that you don't. Is it possible for you to know and accept this reality without judging yourself?

There are a few possibilities here:

1) You don't feel enthusiastic about committing to your girlfriend because you two aren't compatible for a long-term, healthy, invigorating relationship.

2) You don't feel enthusiastic about committing to your girlfriend because you have commitment issues.

I think you should explore, with a therapist, whether you have unexplored phobias around commitment. This exploration is something that takes time. It won't be solved overnight. It's interesting that you fantasize about marriage with your friend, but shirk from the possibility in the actual "good, loving" relationship you're in right now. That might be due to compatibility issues - but it also might be due to some unresolved or unacknowledged issues you may have around the reality of commitment (rather than the fantasy of it).

It behooves you to get to the bottom of this, because even if you break up with your girlfriend, you may encounter a similar dynamic in your next relationship - whether it's with your friend or another woman down the line.
posted by Gray Skies at 5:58 AM on May 27, 2014 [3 favorites]

By the way, I would just add, without judgment: If my partner posted your question and decided to marry me out of guilt or pressure to be the "good guy", I would interpret this as a staggering and heart-breaking betrayal. Nthing the other responses that she deserves better. That isn't a character judgment on you - it's just a statement about what a healthy, happy ready-for-marriage relationship should look like. This doesn't seem to be it.
posted by Gray Skies at 6:02 AM on May 27, 2014 [9 favorites]

The six year crush isn't likely to work, but it does indicate a marriage you have reservations about getting into. I don't know what the life path is if you break it off, but I know from experience those reservations can be fatal to a marriage. I suggest you break it off.
posted by ead at 7:00 AM on May 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

Something isn't quite right.

This is the key point but you haven't elaborated upon it, so we don't really know what is the situation with your current girlfriend.
posted by Dansaman at 7:14 AM on May 27, 2014

If you were my boyfriend, I would want you to break up with me. How sad for her, the poor dear.
posted by BusyBusyBusy at 7:41 AM on May 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

Marriage shouldn't really be this much of a decision. You should feel with all of you that you want it. If there are parts that are saying "no", you need to make space for them and figure out what they're about. Maybe they are just afraid of settling down and need to be reassured. Does spending a lifetime with your girlfriend make you feel warm, happy, at peace? Or are you still questioning even with that in mind?

I think the crush on your friend is a manifestation of you wanting out of your relationship. This happens. When you feel unhappy in the current situation, the mind looks for ways out. It's called 'attraction' for a reason -- you're being pulled in that direction because there is stress and tension in the current situation. It is an imagined ideal, of course, and who knows how it will feel if it actually becomes your life, but the fact that it keeps coming up indicates that you are not fully at peace in your current relationship. Again, it might be possible to obtain that peace in your current relationship by doing some internal work and re-focusing, but to me it's telling that you're in this situation right now.

I think you've done a good job recognizing the unreality of the crush situation, until now, and you've also done a good job recognizing your choices in doing the work with your current partner and making a deeper commitment. But you're feeling the siren song again. Do your best to put that aside for now and think about your current relationship. Is your partner right for you? Is she your life partner? You know the answer deep inside. Answer that question before you fixate on anyone else.
posted by PercussivePaul at 7:48 AM on May 27, 2014 [4 favorites]

And the 2013 Q about the girlfriend is a little unsettling; one wonders if she knows more than you think if she is dealing with that degree of anxiety over your interactions with other women.

This. Taking the two questions together, this whole relationship seems awfully pressured and unstable. I don't think marriage is the fix for this.
posted by BibiRose at 7:59 AM on May 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

I read someone on here say once that when it comes decision time for huge life things - getting married, having kids, etc. - the only acceptable answer is not just "yes", but "hell yes". And anything other than "hell yes" is really a no.

Sounds like you're closer to "hell no" territory with the current GF than "hell yes". The other girl is a red herring - date her or don't, but either way you should break up with your current GF.
posted by peachfuzz at 8:03 AM on May 27, 2014 [18 favorites]

In terms of cause and effect: I don't believe your crush on the other woman is fueling your hesitancy about commitment to your girlfriend. I believe your hesitancy about commitment to your girlfriend is fueling your crush.

It's not an easy mental exercise, but try to imagine how you would feel about your girlfriend if your crush were completely out of the picture. Would you feel incredibly lucky to have found her, and champing at the bit to spend the rest of your life together? My guess is, probably not.

Now flip the script. Imagine that you ARE totally in love with your girlfriend--you feel lucky to have her and excited about the prospect of spending the rest of your life together. Would you feel so worked up about your crush? My guess is, probably also not.

Ultimately, it's not about being helplessly overwhelmed by your crush but by your current relationship not being strong enough to drown out the little "but what ifs" that we ALL feel from time to time when we're in a serious relationship.

If your relationship were great, your crush would lose most of its appeal. The reverse is not true: if your crush lost most of its appeal, it wouldn't make your relationship great.
posted by drlith at 9:14 AM on May 27, 2014 [7 favorites]

I think you're afraid of being alone. You clearly don't want to marry your girlfriend. But you are afraid to break up with her if it means that you'll be alone. So you want the reassurance that you will be able to go straight to another relationship.

You need to accept the fact that doing the right thing by your girlfriend means letting her to go so that she can find someone who is really into her - not marrying her when you don't really want to.
posted by dawkins_7 at 9:44 AM on May 27, 2014 [3 favorites]

I understand that my girlfriend will be hurt if we break up, and that’s unavoidable. But I understand she’ll be even more hurt in the long term if I commit to something that I’m not 100% convinced by. That’s life-ruining shit right there.

These are both two true statements, and both (in my reading of them) support your breaking up with her. You are aware that she will be unavoidably hurt when you break up with her, and you are aware that committing to her when you aren't 100% would hurt her even more than the breakup hurt.

So what is the question here? You need to break up with her. She deserves better than to have a partner who isn't excited to be with her, isn't 100% in to the relationship, and feels like they are settling for her. And you deserve better than to be in a relationship you aren't entirely happy with.

Do I need to grow up and recognise what I have?

If you mean recognizing that you have a broken relationship with your girlfriend. "What you have" isn't some wonderful relationship with your girlfriend that you just need to recognize. What you have is an unfortunate situation where you are going to have to make someone sad for a while in order to do the right thing.

Also, I fully agree with peachfuzz, that for big life decisions like this you need to be in a "HELL YES!" state, not a "meh, I suppose I could maybe make it work". This choice shouldn't be putting the fear of god in you. It is a truly terrible idea to enter in to marriage hoping that you'll eventually get there emotionally. Terrible idea.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 9:56 AM on May 27, 2014 [3 favorites]

I kind of disagree with the perspective that unless you're *positive* you want to be married to your girlfriend, you shouldn't do it. In my experience, things are more nuanced than that, and it's perfectly normal to have hesitation, uncertainty, and even doubts but to still move forward with marriage. What's true is that nobody knows how things will turn out, and if you need to have total certainty, it'll be really difficult to do anything.

I don't think it's an accident that your crush feelings are coming on strong as your commitment date is getting closer. The question is how seriously are you going to take those feelings and are you planning to act on them.

You're trying to convince yourself that these feelings are REAL, but seriously? Take a step back - there's nothing in the story that you're told that would lead most reasonable people to conclude that this is IT! You have FEELINGS and MAYBE SHE HAS FEELINGS TOO, but there's nothing of the real world in there. Would those feelings survive after you have a disagreement? When you discover that she eats crackers in bed which you hate? At least with your present girlfriend, you have real world knowledge about what the relationship is like.

If you're going to move ahead with the commitment to your girlfriend, you need to see if you can cultivate a slightly bemused, maybe even affectionate relationship with your flights of fancy, but be willing to see them as just that - fantasy. If you can't do that, by all means move on from your girlfriend and pursue your crush. If nothing else, you'll have the opportunity to learn something about yourself and relationships.
posted by jasper411 at 10:03 AM on May 27, 2014

I would not want to be either of these ladies. You're really unsure about your current relationship, and kinda hand waved that things are... good?

On the other hand, I would not necessarily want to be the lady you dumped your current lady for, and then tried to dash into this new relationship. It might be personal preference, but to me that screams of A, rebound, and B, 'if they dump ladies for me, they will dump me for ladies"

I would either take time off of your current relationship, or have a serious, serious talk, maybe in couples therapy, ASAP. You might also want individuals therapy, to work some of these issues out. Its not the end of the world if you break up with your current lady. It will likely be worse if you keep half assing the relationship into marriage. What about marriage + kids? How would that go, with your fears and issues?

If you do decide to break up, I would recommend taking some time off dating for working on yourself. Lady 2 might be The Mythical One True Love, but to get there to TOTL, you have to love and like yourself, and be really self aware.

Good luck!
posted by Jacen at 10:45 AM on May 27, 2014

I think dawkins hit the nail on the head. Your post reads as though you're only truly considering marriage with your current gf because of some arbitrary, self-imposed 'commitment deadline'. It sounds like you are comfortable (ie: it's easy), content with the relationship as-is (ie: biding your time), don't want to be alone (ie: still looking), but aren't ready to commit to a woman you feel ambivalent about (or can't see yourself marrying). Your long-term crush has become this plan of 'escape' for you - so it's good that you recognize you're building things up in your head about this woman and what MIGHT happen there.

But that's all pretty telling. I can't really agree more with everyone else - your gf deserves better - to be with someone who's NOT ambivalent about her and who wants to marry her because they love her - not because it's expected. Your crush deserves better - someone who hasn't built up this idealized version of her, and a some whirlwind romance, in his head. And you deserve better - you deserve to be with someone you're crazy about and WANT to marry.

So be honest with yourself... if your current gf made this post, what would YOU want her to do? Personally, I'd want to be free to find another person who wasn't marrying me in obligation or planning to escape by running off with a 6 year old crush. Hell, you may find all you have to do is reveal the fact you've been nursing a crush for the same woman for 6 years and she may leave on her own accord (I would).
posted by stubbehtail at 11:12 AM on May 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

If and when you decide to marry someone, it should be to a person who makes your heart leap. If you're not absolutely sure about marriage and have strong feelings for someone else, it's time to break up.

Your friend may not be your best match, but from what you've written, neither is your current girlfriend. Marriage is hard enough without adding the burden having to put in extra effort to be excited about your spouse.
posted by quince at 2:14 PM on May 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Don't marry your girlfriend.

Everybody's poo-poo'ing the friend crush. The smart money says that it is an infatuation and you only know an idealized version of her, so your feelings can't be "real" and it won't come to anything. Well, that's very rational, but love isn't rational. I felt very similar about a male friend of mine for several years - he even got married during that time. I just really liked him and could not shake the feeling, even though I was ashamed of having these feelings for a married man. I also told myself that it was an irrational infatuation. He became something of a bar that I measured other men against, because I knew a relationship would not work unless I liked the guy as much as I liked my friend. Eventually my friend's marriage ended in divorce and we were drawn together like two magnets. It was scary, going from fantasy to reality, but I had to know the outcome to get him out of my system. And guess what - reality with him is better than I could have imagined. We've been very happy together for a couple years now. I'd marry him in a heartbeat, and I never wanted to get married.

This is no guarantee that things will work with your friend, but if you do not try with her, she will be a boogeyman for your future relationships. My advice is: end it with your girlfriend. Wait a little while for things to settle. Approach your crush. If she feels similar to you, things will come together easy. If it's a bad match, it will crash and burn and you will be free to seek something that is real. Do not, under any circumstances, approach your crush while you are still with your girlfriend. If you want the best chance of a happy future with her, you have to do things right.

I’m of the opinion that you can make a relationship work with anyone, as long as both of you are willing to put the work in.

The relationship is called "roommates", ends with all parties gritting their teeth and waiting for the lease to end, and makes for a terrible marriage.
posted by griselda at 4:09 PM on May 27, 2014 [7 favorites]

I’m of the opinion that you can make a relationship work with anyone, as long as both of you are willing to put the work in.

That's a nice opinion. Is it the result of life experience, or do you wish/hope it's true?

"Love" isn't the outcome of hard work. Hard work is the outcome of love. I would adjust what you've said here to say "you can make a relationship work with anyone, as long as both of you have the same expectations of what that relationship is, and put the work in."

You might have a successful relationship with your neighbor, but you both agree that your relationship is one of "neighbors" and you make an effort, or don't, to get along.

If your girlfriend is expecting a relationship labeled "lovers" or "spouses in love", and it turns out you'd like a relationship labeled "roommates" --- man, you can put any amount of hard work into it and it's not going to satisfy. You'll be working toward different aims.

Oh -- yea -- what griselda just said.

I feel you. I was married for 5 years and it turned out I only wanted a roommate. I looked like a bigger asshole 5 years in than if I'd ended it sooner. I will forever be the asshole in some circles.
posted by vitabellosi at 4:54 PM on May 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

You need to break up with your girlfriend, don't bother the other person, and grow-up and figure out who the hell you are first.
posted by PJMoore at 7:22 PM on May 27, 2014

ashkenazy - I want to tell you that I'm sorry you are going through this, it is not an easy thing to deal with. You have a lot of responsibility here, both to your girlfriend and yourself. You need to be thoughtful and careful because you are in a position to damage at least one person. It seems that you have at least some thoughtful tendencies in that you are seeking advice/help in the first place - good for you! Obviously you're not out of the woods yet, in fact the hardest parts are ahead of you, no matter what you decide. That said, amidst a sea of internet strangers telling you what to do, you also need to hear some empathy and compassion. So while you are trying to do the right thing and minimize the hurt or, more optimistically, navigate how to have a happy, healthy outcome - bear in mind that what you are doing is HARD. That doesn't exonerate you from being ethical, but maybe it can empower to try to think a little more clearly.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 8:20 PM on May 27, 2014 [3 favorites]

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