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How to break off a long term relationship

Michael wrote:

I am in quandary.

I have been with a woman for the last five years. We made a promise to be exclusive to each other, and we have both been true to that promise. I want to break away from this, but I am torn because I value her friendship dearly. I have no love at this point, but all the respect in the world.

Any approach I have considered I know will be harmful to her. I have a very hard time saying I want to end this. We have not be intimate in two years. It seems like it is time to bring this exclusive arrangement to an end. At our age (50 myself, and 56 for her) I want to move on, but I am having a difficult time considering any action that would hurt my good friend. We are financially independent of each other and have remained so over the years.

Maybe I am just not material for commitment, or maybe I have just not found what I am looking for.

I have told her very straight forward I won't be considering marriage. But I have always been there when she needed me, through the surgery, and when she was down. That's something you'll do for your friend.

Dear Michael

There's one other thing you'll do for a friend. You'll be honest. Stop faffing about trying to make a martyr of yourself, and talk to her.

You may be surprised. She may have noticed the lack of intimacy over the last two years, and may have been plucking up the courage to talk to you ...

From what you say, it's nothing you've done, or she's done ... you've just drifted apart. So why the guilt?

Nothing hurts a relationship more than a slow death. And nothing kills it quicker than deceit. You say you have "all the respect in the world" for her; then there's no quandary, just a simple matter of proving it to her and to yourself.

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