He Fears Moving On

Q: I have been involved with a girl for more than five years and have had many good times. She, however, does not get along at all with my parents, to whom I am really close. This has pained me for years. She takes me for granted most of the time, and she always has a major problem, either personal or work-related. I can't take all that drama. There has been no forward movement in the relationship, nor can I see me taking it to the next level. I have tried to speak with her about this and got nowhere. I believe it is time to call this to an end, but now I am afraid of being alone and all the heartbreak this will cause. How should I go about this? -- Jon, 31

Dr. Susan: Sometimes it helps to think of both extremes when you have a hard choice to make. Are you willing to commit to this woman for the rest of your life, forsaking all others? If the answer is no, which you have indicated it is, then let's look at your other choice. You tell her you've decided to move on and express sorrow for her pain. Do it cleanly, and do it now, before you're unfaithful or wasted more years going nowhere.

And yes, you will be lonely. The only way to avoid that is not a good option: wait until you meet someone else, betray your girlfriend, and jump into a rebound relationship with poor odds for success. Too many people, out of fear and cowardice, choose to break up that way. Just make up your mind that you really really want out, then tell her and get it over with.

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