You are wondering why I can’t break up with someone I don’t love anymore, and, honestly, so am I. I never pictured myself in this situation, and here I am, as though it was what I was always going for. I’m turning 28 in three weeks and I am with the man I’ve been with for the last five years, and I can’t leave him. In fact, I’m almost positive he’s going to propose to me near my birthday, because I know that he’s going to want to start having kids and really settling down soon.
And it’s not that I don’t care about him, because he’s a wonderful person and I’m lucky to have him in my life — in many ways, I don’t think I could do better. I couldn’t find someone who was as sweet and caring and accepting of all my (many) flaws. If it were just a question of “who is the best person for me in this life” there would be no question in my mind. But there is a definite feeling of “I love you, I need you, I want to be with you” that has kind of evaporated in our relationship and that I am afraid will never come back.
But we have simply been through too much to let one another ago. He supported me through school, and I supported him through severing contact with his father over a serious childhood trauma that his whole family was happy to ignore. We built each other, we are one another’s family, we have everything together and we are the people that we are today only because the other person is there for us. It would be unfair of me, after all this, to leave him. Who would he have left? What would he do? How could he explain all this to a new person who just happened to come into his life?
And, to be honest, I’m afraid. I’m afraid of what the day would look like if I didn’t wake up next to him in the morning, if he didn’t make my coffee and I didn’t help him pick out his outfit for work. We have a lovely apartment that we’ve found and decorated and paid for together, something neither of us could afford on our own, something that we probably couldn’t recreate. All our friends love gathering here because it’s a safe space, because it’s beautiful and well-stocked and everyone can feel that we already family.
But that’s also part of the problem: our friends. We share all of our friends, and love them so much, and they know us practically as one person. We are one of those rare couples who has been able to be genuine friends equally with tons of different people, seeing them together and individually, and never feeling like it was putting one of us out. Imagining them having to feel uncomfortable around us, or even having to “choose sides” is just impossible. It would feel like breaking up with our circle of friends as much as breaking up with him.
I can’t leave him. We have built our lives together, into one life, and it would be like breaking up with myself — with the best version of myself. I don’t know what a good marriage is really like, but it must be something like this. Complacent, secure, safe, and not really in love. Not infatuated. Not attracted. Not turned on. And maybe that’s okay. Maybe I just want too much.