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Ms Chase
Ms Chase, Life Coach
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 2897
Experience:  Over 20 yrs experience with Relationships, Sexuality, Friendship, and Family Issues
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Im trying to prepare myself for what will be a very painful

Customer Question

I'm trying to prepare myself for what will be a very painful break-up conversation. We met in college and have been dating for over 10 years. I know that his love is unconditional, and I do love him, but I don't see him as a life partner - more as a deep friend. I know that friendship is what we need in lifepartnerships, but I've become more emotionally disengaged through the years and physically unattracted. How can I prepare myself for this conversation?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Dr PG (M.D.) replied 8 years ago.
I can understand that it is difficult to end a relationship of 10 years. If you are doubtful about this relationship as life partners, then there might be a possibility that he might be thinking on the same lines, and both of you are afraid to convey each of your feeings to other person. Both of you are going to be hurt when there is a break up. Tha is obvious in a long term relationship. But instead of focusing on this hurt you need to focus on the fact that if you do not face the truth, you both might end up togather and then have a fall out later on, which will hurt more. So, if you do not see him as a life partner, then you are doing nothing wrong.
There are two options-
- one is to take a break from each other and see where your feelings go, whether you want to be with him as a partner or not.
- if you are 100% sure that you need him only as a friend, then make a clean break.
It is tough, but keep both your happiness in mind and sit down and say from your heart. Preparing a speech might not help, speak from your heart.
Hope this helps.
Expert:  Ms Chase replied 8 years ago.
Hello Beth,

Have you ever spoken to him about it, or do you think he's ever thought about it?

Any relationship problems?

Why do you think this happened?

Have you ever been in another relationship?

Customer: replied 8 years ago.


We had one period a long time ago when I told him that I wanted to take some time off. That I didn't like who I was in the relationship and that I wanted some time to think and to clarify in my mind. But he kept contacting me throughout that time, and eventually I simply fell back into the relationship. At the same time, I probably wasn't devoting enough of my energies to focusing on the questions and concerns in my mind.

We really haven't had any relationship problems because 1) we get along well, and 2) we both tend to avoid emotional confrontations. But communicating about deep things has not ever been our strongest suit either.

I think the initial trigger was another man. That was a long time ago, but it definitely made me think that I wanted more. That I wanted someone who was looking for more adventure. Who likes to do more of the activities that I'm interested in. Who is handier. Who, on their own, without prompting, would be more likely to help out with house chores (he doesn't really cook or clean, and I didn't ever want to be the housekeeper).

I've been in a few other relationships. One was particularly emotionally draining. It went on for two years. There was one other two year relationship between that one and my current relationship.

One other thing that has held me close to this relationship is that he has been willing to give up/change his wants and desires to allign with mine. For example, I know that he wanted children in the past. I always said I didn't, because of the "partner" issue (I could see him taking on the role of the bread winner and I would be the lawyers wife, keeping the house, raising the kids, and being the foundation of the household. And I didn't want to have to carry that alone.) But I've also pulled away from any intimacy with him, too. I'm just much colder to him in our intimate life, and he simply perseveres.

I think in many ways he just thinks he can wait me out and I'll come around.

Expert:  Ms Chase replied 8 years ago.
Hi Beth,

I believe it's truly much harder to break things off with someone you consider a friend. It's also harder because of what I like to call his stick-tuitiveness....somewhere inside of him, he may have always known that you didn't feel as strongly as him or love the way he loved, but he felt that if he stuck in there and hung on long enough, he would wear you down and you would eventually, as you said, come around. Over time he has learned when to push and when to back off.

There are a few suggestions I will make and some things to think about

One thing is, I want you to think about him falling in love with another woman, getting married, making love, having children maybe, and living a life with this other woman. If this isn't something that brings about any type of emotion in you, and you say honestly from your heart, that you could care less, then you probably are done with the relationship. If you don't want to imagine this and it makes you feel bad, sad or mad, then you may want to reconsider how you truly feel about him.

Sometimes we have misconceptions about what we think a relationship is supposed to be. However sometimes they are more...sometimes they are less...sometimes we have to find certain things outside of the relationship. For example if adventure is what you seek, maybe that is something you would experience with a few close girlfriends, a few times a year you all take a trip and go somewhere amazing to satisfy your taste for adventure.

"Getting along well" is underrated. It's more difficult to find than people think and should not be counted out too quickly. On the other hand, avoiding emotional confrontations, and 'deep' things, can be very detrimental as it causes the relationship to exist on a less fulfilling level.

Over extended periods of time, a person who doesn't contribute equally to a relationship or doesn't share in the responsibilities can become frustrating, and frankly tiring over time. I don't know if you both work, or contribute equally, but even if one person works, it shouldn't ever exempt them from preparing a meal, chores or contributing to the household in a meaningful personal way.

I don't know how much of this you've discussed with him, I'm thinking not much since you did say that you don't talk about things like this, but perhaps you might consider therapy before making a decision? If you get along well and there is love there, then perhaps it's worth trying to save. I can't count how many people decide after the fact that they made a mistake, only it's too late to do anything about it, and the other person won't give them the chance to try again, so be as sure as you can that this is what you want.

As for the actual act of breaking it off, there's no easy way to do it. I tend to look at it like taking off a bandage, the slower you do it the more painful it is. You both have a chance to live another life, to find someone that can love you each like you need and deserve to be loved. Remind yourself that you only have one life, and it's your choice, no...your responsibility to be true to what will make you happy, and be fulfilled. You can try counseling, you can try a separation, or you can just be upfront and blunt with him. I do think that writing down a bullet list would be helpful. In emotional situations we tend to get sidetracked and lose our train of thought, a bullet list keeps us on track with the points we need to cover. I hope this has helped some. I welcome your thoughts, please do let me know if you want to talk more.


Ms Chase, Life Coach
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 2897
Experience: Over 20 yrs experience with Relationships, Sexuality, Friendship, and Family Issues
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