‘I love girlfriend and she’s my best friend – but I’ve made horrid realisation’

‘I love girlfriend and she’s my best friend – but I’ve made horrid realisation’

Dear Coleen

I’ve been with my girlfriend for eight years, since we were both 19, and we own a home together. For quite a long time now, I’ve felt I want out of the relationship, but I haven’t been able to leave.

In the past, I’ve caused arguments, so I can walk out and stay with a friend for a few nights, but I always go back.

She’s my best friend and we have a nice life and a beautiful home together, but it’s not enough and it makes me feel so sad.

I still love her and don’t want to lose her from my life, but I know I’m not in love with her any more and the physical attraction has gone for me too. I hate admitting that, but it’s true. 

We got together young, started living together when we were 21 and bought a flat together at 23. At first it was great, but we’ve both moved on in different ways and I feel we’re different people now.

I know it’ll break her heart if I leave and it’ll break mine, too, but I know it’s the right thing. I can’t live my life being feeling trapped and unhappy, and wondering what else is out there.

I also want to fall in love again and have a future with someone, but I know that person isn’t my girlfriend. Can you help?

Coleen says

It’s really hard to sustain a relationship when you get together as teenagers.

You do develop as people as the years go on and often you realise that what you want from life and from a relationship is very different to what your partner wants. Of course this situation is very hard and very sad because you’ve grown up together and shared the past eight years of your life.

There is no easy way of breaking up a relationship, especially one where you still love and respect the other person. But it sounds to me as if you’re certain it’s what you want to do.

If you haven’t already, confide in the people you trust and talk it through with them. Get some back-up.

And then you have to be honest with your girlfriend about how you feel. Listen to how she feels – perhaps you’re both still together because it’s familiar and safe, and the unknown is quite terrifying.

She also deserves to be with someone who’s completely committed to the relationship; someone who’s in love with her and desires her. That might not be how she sees things now but, hopefully, in time she will.

Initially you’ll both need time apart to adjust and come to terms with the end of the relationship. But once you’ve both moved on, you might be able to resume contact and be good friends.

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